Vintage Estes Excalibur Build

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SCIGS30

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My next kit is another vintage build, straight from the package. I will begin this build as soon as I order and receive more balsa Sealer from Brodak.

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Micromeister

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My next kit is another vintage build, straight from the package. I will begin this build as soon as I order and receive more balsa Sealer from Brodak.


I have 3 of these Kits squirreled away from back in the day, also have 2 of the Dragonship -7 to complete the set. Lost my original's in the mid 70's. Always planned on replacing them but since I've all but gone completely to Micro Maxx I had to Down Scale both to flying on a single MMX-II motor. Both are on the Heavy side but fly OK.

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SCIGS30

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I received my new jar of Brodak Balsa sealer and began working on my Exaclibur. Building vintage builds are challenging because of the age of the parts, such as out of round tubes and old balsa. This kit had it all to overcome, but that is the fun part about building vintage kits. The oval parts were not that bad, tubes were not crushed. Even though the kit was sealed the balsa parts had all come out and that is not a good thing. When die cut balsa if forced out of the sheet of balsa, small chunks of balsa break off since the fins were not cut from the die cut sheet with a razor knife. Most of the time I can fix this with using scrap balsa and gluing it to the imperfections and sand smooth. If it is a small issue, I can just use balsa filler or wood filler to fill the imperfections. Once all the balsa parts were fixed I glued the parts together as directed in the instructions and sanded smooth once dried. I then brushed on 3 coats of balsa sealer for a smooth grain free surface. This kit goes together pretty easy but does require some work when drawing the lines for the rivet decals. Estes has you draw the lines in pencil hoping they will leave an indentation after painting so you can add the rivets in the correct place, we will just have to wait and see how that works. The canopy was a little challenging only because of the age of the cardstock, but I took my time and it came out ok. Now of course I could make my life easy and replace most of the parts with new ones, but then it would not be a vintage build. The fins glue on as directed and Estes provides a nice little jig to make sure everything is nice and straight. The launch lug uses the extra body tube material as a standoff before gluing the launch lug in place. The rear motor went together with no major issues. I am hoping to start painting tomorrow and get this thing finished this week.

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SCIGS30

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Oh no, I glued the fins on wrong, luckily they popped off.
 

SCIGS30

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Good thing about white glue is it dries slow. How did this happen? The first fin was dry fitted in the correct position but when I glued it on, I glued it backwards. I did not reference the other two fins and glued them the same direction. I still cannot believe I did this but luckily the glue was not dry. Everything is sanded and the will get glued on tomorrow the correct way. I got lucky this time.
 

modeltrains

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Wonder how well fins would work that way, they do look cool oriented thusly.
 

samb

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Oh no, I glued the fins on wrong, luckily they popped off.
First slip up in 10 years of build threads ? :wink: That's quite a batting average. I'd say "we've all been there" but up till now I didn't think that applied to you. :) Fan-freakin'-tastic !
 

SCIGS30

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I removed the pictures with the fins placed incorrect and added new pictures. Boy did I get lucky with this build, everything worked out and she already has a coat of white paint. I am using white as my base coat followed by orange. Since I am using old formula Krylon, I have to use a white base coat or else I would have to spray a lot of coats of orange.
 

SCIGS30

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I have her all painted and will let the rocket dry for a day before the task of applying the vintage decals. Even after avoiding disaster, she still came out looking pretty good for a rocket over 25 years old. You can see how well the Brodak balsa sealer did on the fins with little effort and 3 coats. Since I used pencil to mark the rivet locations, I did not want to use primer and fill the slight indentations so I went with old Krylon flat white, one coat. I followed that with misting coats of Old Krylon Gloss Orange followed by one wet coat. Most of the pencil indentations are still there and I will see how well it worked when I apply the rivet decals. Old Krylon does not make a metallic silver so I went with Rustoleum rust stop metallic silver spray paint for the engine. Did I say how much I love the Brodak balsa sealer?:eek:

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RomCat

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Wow, what a beautiful rocket! Does anyone know if the plans for this are available anywhere?
 

samb

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Wow, what a beautiful rocket! Does anyone know if the plans for this are available anywhere?
I know of two places with plans, Estes and JimZ:

https://www.estesrockets.com/media/instructions/001339_EXCALIBUR.pdf

https://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/est1339.htm

Jimz is the only place I know of with a scan of the templates and decals. Our friend from oz, krusty, made a rocksim file available in this thread: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?51627-Estes-Patrol-Cruiser-Excalibur-Rocksim-file
 

RomCat

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I know of two places with plans, Estes and JimZ:

https://www.estesrockets.com/media/instructions/001339_EXCALIBUR.pdf

https://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/est1339.htm

Jimz is the only place I know of with a scan of the templates and decals. Our friend from oz, krusty, made a rocksim file available in this thread: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?51627-Estes-Patrol-Cruiser-Excalibur-Rocksim-file
Thanks! That rocksim file is invaluable for coming up with the tube lengths rather than trying to derive them from secondary measurements in the kit instructions. Big time saver.
 

SCIGS30

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Well it has taken me awhile but she is all done and ready for flight. She is not perfect but remember this is a vintage build with old parts and old decals. The build is pretty simple, minus my mistake in the beginning until you begin applying the decals. The decals are old, fragile and thick, but they are functional. I first sprayed them with Testors glosscote and that holds them together and does not cause damage. The pencil marks I made earlier in the build were slightly visible making that part of applying the rivets easier, that was the only easy part. The decals have to be applied in order as per the instructions and you must wait for them to dry before moving onto the rivets, that's what took me so long to finish. Also all those little dots and looking for the pencil lines does a number on your eyes:jaw: I used Testors decal setting solution to help snug the decals down, I find microscale products don't work so well on these old fragile decals. I broke the decals into multiple sessions, basically stopped when my eyes started doing funny things. The main issues are where the rivets go over the red decals, you can see the clear decal material since it is really not clear anymore do to age, a little on the yellow side with the yellow adhesive. Once all the decals were applied I shot the rocket with Testors dullcote like the instructions say. I also added the clay to the nose and glued the metallic silver engine in place. I cannot believe the clay was still soft and useable. If this were a new kit I am sure the decals would have gone on much easier. Oh well, at least she is done and for me this was the most challenging vintage build to finish with the original decals. I could have cheated and printed out new decals, but that's not fun. Now my next challenge, do I build the Dragon Ship or the original StarShip Nova to go with everyone else that's building the new Nova? Or do I suck it up and start on the Dragon Ship and fuss with rivets again?

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Leo

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She looks absolutely fantastic!!

And a another great design by Estes from that time period.
 

samb

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WOW! (just wow!).

Hard for me to give advice on the next build since I'm a mere mortal model builder. Of course the Dragon Ship will have to be built at some point. Do you feel like you're "in the zone" now or do you need a break ?
 

hcmbanjo

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Very, very nice work!
I always like following your vintage builds.
 

Overeasy123

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Jeez-o-pete, it sure would be nice if the Excalibur and Dragon Ship were reissued, no?
There are such great details in these models, from the canopies to the 9 1.5" BT-3XWs girding the engine tube. Mama!
My compliments, SCIGS30, you sure made her sparkle (even in the dullcote!)
 
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