X-15 plans anyone?

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Mar 5, 2004
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I am new to this hobby but my son (5) is mad keen on model rockets and the X-15 in particular. Anyone out there have any plans or kits (I know that Quest used to do one) which a relative newcomer could attempt?

All help appreciated.

I sent the manual, flight data sheet and decal positioning documents for the plastic COX NASA X-15 model rocket, that I got from a friend of mine (he still has the rocket!), to rocket to Ye Old Rocket Shoppe about a month ago.


They haven't been posted yet.

I could post some higher resolution scans to this forum if that would help.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
Anyone out there have any plans or kits (I know that Quest used to do one) which a relative newcomer could attempt?

Since you are a newcomer I thought the "Sorta-Scale" X-16 would be more doable.

Cosmodrome Rocketry has had an X-15 F-G powered kit in the works for over a year now. Still no product yet, but I'll be first in line for one when they're out!
If you can find Any of the X-15 plastic models, from the Heller 130th micro-max size, Revell X15-A2 1/72 13mm motor only, rerelease X15 /65th 18mm motrs to C6 or the special Hobbies 1/48th (works with a D12). I'd be happy to help you out with Conversion plans.
The URL for East Coast Rocketry is
Just went there and sadly both X-15s are listed as Sold Out.
Very impressive looking kits and mid power too.
Well add that to page 7 of my wish list.
This forum is leading me down the road to poverty:D
LOL! You guys crack me up!!

I don't want to get anybody mad but guys REALLY!

smiffo said,

"I am new to this hobby but my son (5) is mad keen on model rockets and the X-15 in particular"

He wants simple not an L3 model! Well, the documentation will help.

smiffo, we don't want to scare you away:D

my 2 cents...ok maybe 4 cents.


No one is scaring me away - sandman your suggestion looks good and Ryan S your suggestion has me drooling! However after looking around TRF I think I will go with trying to find a Special Hobbies 1/48 model and converting it. Micromister I would appreciate any help you could throw my way. Any help from all others would be gratefully received too. I will also download some of the plans to give me some idea of what I am letting myself into!

Once again many thanks too all for the great advice and the warm welcome to TRF.

:D :D :D
I'll be happy to pass along all the info I have, I would causion you on the 1/48 D12 powered model.. I've lost one already to LONG drift under needed 20" canopy into with woods... @ 25.00 plus it's kind of an expensive model to fly away:(
If you can find one the rerelease Revell #H-164, X15 is a much better/ cheaper conversion for any 18mm motor A8-3 to C6-5. Man does it honk on the C6's:D
heres a pic
Ah, micro, that one looks gorgeous!

Smiffo - welcome aboard! Post pics of yours, too, when it's built - or as it's being built.... or once you dump the parts out of the bag...:p
Oh, yea, sorry, I forgot! Where are my manners?

Welcome aboard smiffo!

We definitely should extend a big welcome! We are glad you decided to join in here on TRF, and look forward to hearing lots more from you.
OK - after due deliberation and I couple of beers I have come up with a plan (all help appreciated). I am attempting to get a Revell 1/64 X-15 kit and will attempt to photodocument its conversion, construction and flight. However you all need to know (at least) two things:-

1) The last time I built a model was about 35 years ago (as a kid).

2) The only kit rocket I have built is the Big Bertha (Jan '04) and it has been launched successfully.

I love trying to build things and my son is mad-ape-bonkers over the X-15 (took him to see a real one at the USAF Museum in Dayton 2 weeks ago), so we will have a real blast attempting to build this. The build may take some time due to job/energy constraints but if you all bear with me we can have a great time!

When I get my X-15 kit in I shall be appealing for help as I don't want to start off doing the wrong things.

This may take some time!


PS Thanks for the welcome - I love this board.
OK - so the X-15 H-164 Revell kit plopped onto my porch today - now what? Do I paint, cut (and if so where?) or what. All help kindly appreciated.



I so sorry....DUH!!! I forgot!

(sandman removes ring so he can smack himself in the forehead!)

Gonna have to build one some day!

Sorry Smiffo!
asleep at the switch I guess... Here's a scan of the full size cardboard cutout, cutting seperation point, nose weight required and most of the conversion specs.
If you need a better res look let me know, I used an 18mm body tube with motor block/shockcord mount and sleeved a 19mm shoulder over the forward end with a hacked up balsa nose block centering the sleeve shoulder on the body tube. epoxy the nose block in place Upside down with the body taped in place, masking tape worked fine. Let me know if you need anything else.
Shock cord 30" 100lb kevlar with 12" of 1/8" elastic on the forward end. 16" mylar chute and a 20pc 12"strand teflon tape "pom-pom" wadding.
Take care to align the wings and elevators to get a straight boost. The elevators can droop as designed but MUST be on the same plane as the wings.
Paint and decal the major body parts after assembly. DO NOT wash plastic parts in soapy water as many insturction sheets suggest. Wipe the parts down with rubbing alcohol if you want.. but stay away from the soap and water, your paint finish will thank you.
Hope this helps.
Just as an aside, Best Buy had in the reduced price DVD section
($10), "X-15". Staring Charles Bronson, Mary Tyler Moore, and
Narrated by Jimmy Stewart. Story was plretty light stuff-wings
vs rockets. But It did have lots of X-15 footage.

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply - real busy with work so I can go on vacation (next week). Thus you will not hear from me for at least a week. As I said I am a total novice at this, so please correct me if I am wrong and please be very patient!

Please send a higher res scan of your details - I cannot make out the important notes in the lower left hand corner!

As far as I can tell I build the X-15 round an 18mm tube (after cutting the nose seperation - any tips on making a nice clean cut?) and mount the nose piece on a custom "whittled" balsa nose cone and use that to mount a 19mm tube so that it slides over the front end of the 18mm body tube.


What engine mount to use as I gather the engines are 18mm diameter - do they just fit snug in the body tube with that little metal catch thingy?

Any suggestions of good people to buy all this stuff from (I am new to this and zero in the way of pieces and parts). I would rather buy from enthusiasts to support the hobby.

What spacers do I use between the tube and the body of the X-15 itself?

Can't think of any other questions at the moment - but I am sure I will have many in the future. I am going to be pretty busy over the next few months so please bear with me - the project will not have been abandoned. Also I am anal so I like to make sure of what I am doing before I do it.

I really appreciate your (and everybody else's help) and I know we can get through this thing together!

You can find lots of great vendors just by asking this here TRF gang.
I can personally recommend FlisKits (TRF's very own Jim Flis), Thrustline Aerospace (our flyin_silverad), and Totally Tubular.

As far as what to put inside your PMC, remember that this thing is probably already tail-heavy (injection-molded plastic airplane kits tend to go that way) and the relatively heavy 18mm motors may end up requiring lots and lots of nose ballast. Think about using a 13mm motor mount, recognizing that this will limit you to A-class motors.

To fit the motor mount tube (whatever the size) snugly inside your plastic body shell, you may have to wind your own custom centering ring to fit. Cut a 1/4 inch narrow strip of paper (actually you're probably going to need several) and tack down one end to the outside of the BT. Wind on the paper to build up the CR and tack down the last end, then check the fit inside your plastic model. Add more paper strip as needed until you get a snug fit. At that point, you need to use several drops of CA to secure your custom-rolled CR, and when you assemble the motor tube permanently into the plastic model you need to use a little epoxy on the CR again to hold it all together.

And that metal catch thingy? (Don't ya just love that technical talk?) That is a motor hook, and helps make sure that the motor stays put during thrust loads and at ejection. For a sport rocket, it is a good idea to include a motor hook, but move the most aft CR far enough forward to leave the rear half (two thirds?) of the hook free. (That way, you can bend the hook out of the way for motor changes.)
General comments are great but if you haven't built one of these 1/65th X-15 PMC's, I can tell from your post you have not. Please be careful with your suggestions.

Please ignore Power's comments on 13mm motors for this PMC,
unless you can find a 13mm AP B power motor, This model is beyond the lift limits of A motors period.

Sorry the low res pic is unreadable, I'll send a higher res pic by e-mail.
I'd add Asp and pratt hobbies to the Parts is parts question. or kit bash just about any 18mm small model kit you can buy cheap;)
This model comes with a 1 piece exhaust nozzle that will need some dremel work to widen slightly for a very nice fit with your standard 18mm body/motor tube. I used a EB-20A motor block but a 1/4" piece of 18mm engine casing will work just as well for your motor block/shock cord mount. tie 40" of 70 -100 lb kevlar to the motor stop before gluing in place 2.5" inside the aft end of the body tube. I used a friction fit for the motors for this model but you could cut a 3/16" slot in the body/tail cone for a motor hook if you want.
The way I cut PMC's for conversion is on a bandsaw, but a fine blade X-acto saw and mitre box will work fine. rubber band the model together with a least 2 bands on each side of the seperation point. Try to set the model in the miterbox with the body seams as horizontal as possible. I like to offset the top and bottom cuts by a 16th or so to form an auto lock to keep the nose from sitting out of alignment.
Centering the BT-20 in the body is done with scrap strips and short pieces cardstock. tack with a tiny drop of CA or even carpenters yellow glue.. this is only a temporary holding point so keep it very light, you may need to move the shim. When your happy with the centering and fit epoxy the tube/shims in place inside the plastic body. let completely set up before moving on to the nose cone.
Install the clear window plasitc. I used a 19mm Slip-over tube in the nose section to save recovery system space, but a nose plug could also be used after adding the nose weight, 27grams is required to allow this model to fly on B4-4's thourgh C6-7 motors. BB's, lead fishing weight etc are fine, get them as far forward as possible. Check the C.G with the cutout provided. My model recovers on a 12" standard plastic chute.
OBTW I'd suggest only flying this one with C6's on very clear calm days...She really gets up there and will drift a LONG way:D
Hope this helps
I have not done one of these PMC X-15 kits, I liked the much better performance I got with an X-15 model built from regular model rocket materials.

I usually make my first attempts with 13mm motors when trying a new small-scale PMC because I don't like the heat damage that can occur to the surrounding plastic when using 18mm motors, and a little air space between the motor and the plastic helps a lot. If I absolutely have to, I will go up to a bigger motor.

I did used to get good flights with A motors in a PMC A-4 Skyhawk and F-102 Delta Dart though. They were 1/72 scale but I don't remember the brands. Those things flew great and I got good altitude using 13mm motors. I just assumed that A-motors would still work for the X-15, but you know what they say about assuming----

Sorry for the confusion, Smiffo
I'm with ya on the 1/72nd PMCs on A10's:) the 1/72 monogram X15-A2 is one of those where 13mm tubes are the max without really tearing up the back of the model, but at that it's really to heavy for good flights, maybe 25 30 feet.
Not so with the revell 1/65th X15, you'll be very hard pressed to get any better performance out of a standard model rocket of the same size! As a matter of fact we did an AIA tribuite for the Centienniel of flight last year. all models were 1/70th scale, including a bell X-1 PMC and an X15 regular model rocket, built around a 18mm motor, My Revell 1/65 PMC on a B6-6 got a much better no wiggle flight than the slightly smaller 1/70th straight model.
If ya really want a challenge, try the 130th Heller X-15 PMC on Micro-Maxx, best flight to day about 30 feet, it's a real trick to get the balance/alignment right this little one;)