Art Applewhite 10" Saucer Print E-mail
Monday, 18 March 2013 13:05

Towards the end of 2012, I signed up for the Secret Santa on the Rocketry Forum. During the course of the event, names were swapped and everyone posted off a gift to someone else.
My secret santa arranged for one of Art Applewhite's 10" Clustered flying saucers to be delivered under my tree!

A little while ago I started work on the saucer. The kit comprised of a sheet of foam-core board, some bright green paper and a good selection of tubes. The build was straight-forward and the bulk of the build was completed in a couple of evenings. I didn't document the build.

Here's the final result -

I created custom decals for both the top and bottom of the saucer
3D Rocketry's Nautilus III (Build) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00

Back in November Bill from 3D Rocketry announced his new kit, the Nautilus III
I thought it looked like a super rocket so I contacted Bill and he was happy to post one off to Australia and it arrived within a couple of weeks.


First impressions is that this is a good solid kit. The 54mm body tube is solid and has a very tough nose cone. The centering rings are 4mm ply and the fins are 3mm ply. The instructions are straight forward and even describes how to do internal fillets - something that you'll want to do as externally, there's some strips of basswood that go between the body tube and the fins.  

I used an Estes 29mm motor retainer (for the price, these are great value). I swapped out the supplied launch lug for rail buttons and attached the shock cord to the forward centering ring with a screw-eye. 

The kit as it comes is designed to fly on a range of F's but with the quality of the parts supplied, there should be no reason why it won't perform just as well on G's (I'm looking forward to seeing it go up on a G64!!)

As for finishing the Nautilus III, I thought what a rocket would look like if Capt. Nemo had a rocket and looking at the Nautilus submarine, it seemed like it would be metal that was a bit old and rusted. I took some time, read through a bunch of tutorials and had a go at airbrushing the metal & rust effect. I'm happy with the end result :)

I had a lot of fun building this kit. View the full build thread on The Rocketry Forum and the photos on Flickr.

Blue Bird Zero Up-scale Scratch Build Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 January 2013 00:00

The Blue Bird Zero was part of the Estes catalogue from 1980 to 1985 as kit #1335

I've always thought that this was a very neat looking kit and have wanted one for a while. Recently, Semroc have released this as a Retro Repo kit. While it's nice, I wanted something bigger. The original is about 1m tall, made from BT55 tube. Here's my 2x upscale!!  Made from BT80 body tube it stands just on 2m tall.

(Click to embiggen)

More photos on Flickr.

Battlestar Galactica Laser Torpedo (Clone) Print E-mail
Monday, 31 December 2012 00:00

The Battlestar Galactica Laser Torpedo was released in 1978 by Estes. It was kit #1311

I purchased this kit, still sealed on Ebay recently. Not wanting to open the original box, I found the plans online (Both JimZ and Ye Olde Rocket Plans have copies) and bought the nose cone from Semroc. With all the parts on hand, I cloned my own copy :)

I re-drafted the decals in CorelDRAW to get a better resolution.

Click to Embiggen

Estes Patrol Cruiser Excalibur Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 00:00

Back in 1980, Estes released two kits in the "Galactic Pirates" set, only to be discontinued in 1981.
I hunted around for the plans and found that I could download them from JimZ site. The original decal design had rivets all over, but I didn't put them on this - just the main decals. It's a great looking rocket and am surprised that there aren't many around!

Click to Embiggen

TRAAU 11th November 2012 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 00:00

November 11th, 2012 saw the final launch of the Rocketry Victoria calendar for the year. Some great flights on what turned out to be a very warm day!

I only launched a couple of small rockets - My scratch built 'Stumy' on a A3-4 and an Estes Patriot on a D-something RMS motor. There were, however, some spectacular flights including Nic's sparky 'M' rocket which was never recovered. Photos of the launch on flickr.

If Computer Companies Sold Rockets Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2012 12:12

I wrote this back in 2008 & came across it again today. Thought it might be good for a laugh :)

If computer companies sold rockets:

The UNIX Rocket – You’d receive a box of body tubes, sheets and blocks of balsa, string and a garbage bag – no instructions included. However, you can get instructions on the Internet if you're willing to dig your way through 700+ pages...

You’ll need to whittle your own nosecone, design & cut your own fins and make a parachute (or streamer) out of the garbage bag. You will need to compile your own motors. Everyone’s UNIX rocket will be different and everyone will tell you that their UNIX rocket is better than yours.

UNIX rocket owners feel superior to Microsoft's MS Rocket and Apple's iRocket owners because they build and fly "Real" rockets.
The Microsoft Rocket – Will come in a fancy box and initially be called 'Rocket' and have a stylish 'R' as it's logo, but after a patent challenge, it will be renamed 'MS Rocket'.

The instructions will be preceded by an image of a talking paperclip saying “It looks like you’re trying to build a rocket…”. The MS Rocket will look fancy, fly slowly, and crash often. One fin will fall off when you least expect it. 

The launch controller will comprise of a series of buttons. Launching your rocket will require the simultaneous pressing of several buttons on the face of the launch controller, needing the dexterity of a 6 year old. If the rocket fails to launch when you press the launch buttons, you will need to remove it from the launch rod, remove the engine, remove the parachute and wadding, repack the parachute, put the wadding back in, put the engine back and reposition on the launch rod.

Everyone will have one. Everyone will bitch about the performance. Everyone will get a new one when it’s released expecting it to work better – it won’t. When you do buy a new MS Rocket, you will be forced to upgrade your old launch rod & controller. Your old motors will not fit. If you decide that you prefer your old MS Rocket more, too bad. You’ll be stuck with the new one.

MS Rocket owners will feel superior to UNIX Rocket and Apple's iRocket owners since they have 'the Industry standard' rocket and will go on about the upgradability of it, however they will find that when they do go to upgrade, their version of MS Rocket will no longer support the latest upgrades, requiring them to buy a new one anyhow. There will be a thriving industry of counterfeit MS Rockets available at your local Sunday market.
The Apple Rocket – After months of speculation, a 'RocketWorld' conference will be announced. A lone figure wearing clothing last sold in the late 70's will introduce the ‘iRocket’ to a packed auditorium resulting in a full 10 minutes of cheering. He will explain that this is the future of rocketry. It will come in a basic box with an image of the iRocket on the front. It comes pre-built. Apple will offer several models that look identical.

They will release new iRockets every few months, everyone will want one despite the fact that they look almost the same as the old iRocket. The release date will be timed such that the new iRocket will be released just a week after you purchase the now old model. It will be over-priced, you won’t care. The motor cannot be changed. Apple will expect that you simply throw out your old iRocket after you fly it and buy a new one.

3rd party manufacturers will release an iRocket motor kit. The launch controller will only have one button, but by pressing it in different ways you will be able to check the continuity of the igniter, arm the firing system and launch the iRocket – however you will never be fully sure that you’ve pressed the button in just the right way. iRocket owners will be secretly envious of the multi-button firing system that comes with the Microsoft Rocket.

Apple's iRocket advertising budget will be seemingly limitless. iRocket fan-boys will download an archive the entire series of "I'm an iRocket" television ads. MS Rocket fan-boys will parody these ads. UNIX Rocket fan-boys won't get the joke. Apple will build monolith stores were people will queue for days eagerly awaiting the latest iRocket release.

The first people in line will find that they can't fly the iRocket for some weeks due to niggling faults - Apple will call this a feature.

October Sky - Police Paddocks Reserve Launch 20th Oct 2012 Print E-mail
Friday, 26 October 2012 10:35

On Saturday October 20th, I went along to the October Sky launch at the Police Paddocs Reserve in Dandenong, organised by Robin. While I have launched at the sporting ground to the North of the reserve and the wetlands to the South, I have never never flown in the middle!

The launch area is great - lots of open space with access from Stud Road. The North-East corner is a bit boggy, but not too bad. The day was fine with a little wind.

We had visitors! Several groups of Kangaroos hopped their way through the paddock.

I flew a couple of Estes rockets (Satellite Interceptor & Bullpup) as well as 'Stumpy', my little 13mm powered rocket. Robin got a few rockets off the pad, too, for some nice flights :)

Check out the photos of the day on Flickr.

TRAAU 7th October 2012 Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 October 2012 10:40

This year the weather hasn't been kind and the October launch was no exception. Originally scheduled as a 2 day launch, the weather wasn't cooperating and Saturday was cancelled.

Despite the wind and the cloud cover keeping us under 5,000' (Our waver is 10,000' on a clear day!) the most was made and a great day was had by all.

I only flew a couple of low power rockets - my tried and true Estes Baby Bertha and a newly built Estes AGM-57x Heatseeker.

(Click to embiggen)

More photos after the jump!

TRAAU 16th September 2012 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 00:25

The launch of September 16th was a lot of fun. There was quite a bit of cloud and that restricted the altitudes we could safely fly to. That said, nothing I had was going to go that high.

For my first launch, I put up my kinder surprise rocket on a C6-5. I should have flown it on a C6-3, the extra delay resulted in a partially shredded parachute. Not a big problem as I was only using a 12" plastic thing I got in an Estes kit somewhere along the way.

(Click to embiggen)

The second launch was the Space Cadet on a C6-7. From what I was told it was a perfect flight - me, well, I lost sight of it! Rocksim puts the altitude at 1500'+

(Click to embiggen)

However, the highlight of my flights was the Big Daddy on a H128!

The Big Daddy just leapt of the pad and kept going. Rocksim put the altitude at 2800' and it looked like it did every bit of that and more!

(Click to embiggen)

(Click to embiggen)

It recovered without a scratch - in fact, apart from a sooty rear-end, it looks like it has never been flown :)

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