During 1980-81, Estes was producing the Patrol Cruiser Excalibur. This was a BT60 kit that used the same nose cone as the Der Red Max. 

Then, in 2015, Estes released the Der Red Max as a 4" Pro Series kit! I saw an opportunity to build an upscale Patrol Cruiser using the nose cone from the Der Red Max :)

Instead of doing a kit-bash, I figured I'd had a go at making a mold, so I could produce a few nose cones - and also be able to build the 'Max, too!

Here's the original nose cone and a duplicate made from the mold

Mega Der Red Max - Nose cone Mold   Completed Nose Cone

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.

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

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

During Christmas time here in Australia, giant Kinder Surprise eggs hit the shelves. Much like their smaller counterparts, you get a chocolate egg with this plastic bubble inside with a toy. The chocolate isn't too bad and the toy is usually (always?) rubbish, but the egg itself just screamed rocket!

These eggs with toys seem not to exist in the USA - some law about you can't have toys inside food. Bah! You guys are missing out!

I started by cutting two centring rings and added an 18mm motor mount.

I shaved off the locking ring on the lower half of the egg, so the top comes off the bottom easily.

Because of the type of plastic, not much in the way of glue will stick to it. I have used 5min epoxy throughout and through-the-wall fins - hopefully there's enough to hold it all together.

The nosecone has a wooden bulkhead on both sides of the plastic shell with a screw-eye going through both. I've added some lead shot for ballast in the nose.

Two launch lugs are mounted on the edge of one fin.

Browsing ebay, I came across an old Centuri kit from 1979 - the Draconian Marauder.

Released to coincide with the Buck Rogers craze. This kit is mint in an unopened package. I know that rockets should be built and flown, but this is really a collectable and I can't bring myself to open it.

I searched the web and managed to locate the plans and good quality scans of the parts. The unusual thing with this kit is that the fins etc. are all cardboard!

I re-drafted the parts in CorelDRAW and laser cut them out of medium weight cardboard. For the main body tube I used a length of BT50. The original body tube was about 1mm smaller - I don't think the difference will matter.

From what I've read, the included nose weight isn't enough (and being so dry, it's hard to get a correct weight. Due to the weight of all the paper & cardboard at the back end of the rocket, I fear that this may not be terribly stable, so I have added quite a bit of weight to the nose - well in excess of what was originally included.

Constructions photos after the jump or on Flickr

I've always loved the simplicity of Art Applewhite's saucer rockets, so I thought I would have a go at building one of my own design. I picked the humble traffic cone to model it on. I have designed and built two versions, both unfortunately unstable :(


I will revisit these designs at some time and see if I can get something stable to fly.

About 2 years ago I came across a 4' length of 6" cardboard tube, an old post pack, in the recycling pile out the front of a local shop. I didn't actually see it as a cardboard tube, instead I saw it as the beginnings of a rocket.

I sat the tube in the corner and pondered what I could do with it. At the time I had only just started thinking about building and flying my Level 1 project, a Binder Design Excel.

Now, with my L1 under my belt, I thought it was time I started to work towards my L2. At the end of December 2010 I started work on "Freefall". Once I had everything worked out in Rocksim, I was able to start work. The nose cone came first.

The nose cone was built up using a central core of dowel, with foam rings slid down over it and glued into place to give the basic shape. I purchased a tin of builders filler (2-part bog) from a local hardware supplier and layered that over the foam. Once dry, the bog was easy enough to sand to the final shape with a belt sander. A final layer of fiberglass was applied over the top to hold everything together.

The motor mount consists of a 54mm motor tube held in place by 3 centering rings. Through the wall fins complete the back end of the rocket. Internal fillets were applied to the fins and the root edge was bonded to the motor tube by strips of fiberglass tape.

I am waiting on delivery of a 70" parachute and motor hardware. Recovery will be handeled by a medium delay on a J275 and the predicted alititude is just over 2,000'.

The finished rocket stands about 6'2" and weighs in at 4.5kg without parachute or motor.

Scratch-Built SLAM MissileScratch-Built SLAM MissileSome time ago, I read an article on This is Rocket Science. It talked about a crazy nuclear powered rocket and was illustrated with the image to the right:

Back in the mid 1950's, nuclear powered cruise missiles were being studied and in 1957, development was initiated as Project Pluto. The reactor for the missile was to be developed by the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, with the ramjet being built by Marquadt. Ling-Temco-Vought was awarded the contract to develop the airframe for the missile itself, which was known as SLAM (Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile).
Read more at This is Rocket Science
(Image and text used with permission)

And I thought to myself (and anyone else in ear-shot at the time) that I had to have a go at building one!

I built this up in Rocksim. It seems stable and an E9 should push it to about 1,000' and an F21 to about 1,900'

If the weather is on our side this weekend, it should get a launch!

One of the blogs that I often visit is Dick's Rocket Dungeon and his New Years Day post featured a scan of if Worlds of Science Fiction magazine from x-ray delta one's Flickr photostream. I really loved that it looks both futuristic and time-worn at the same time.

And since I'm now the proud owner of RockSim 9, I thought I would see if I could make it fly (at least in the sim). And it seems as if it's nice and stable!

Valor Rocket Valor Rocket
Click to embiggen

Built using an 18" length of BT50 body tube, paper laminated balsa fins and an 18mm motor mount, this should get to about 400' or so with a C6 motor.

The body and large fins are painted grey while the nose cone and small fins are painted black - the whole lot then got the dry-brush treatment with silver.