When one of my rocketry buddies decided to hold a building session, I was scrambling to decide what to work on. I decided to use a 50% off Michael's coupon to grab an Estes SS1 kit for bashing. I turned it into a retro-styled spaceship with more conventional fins and wing-tip pods. I also converted it for 24mm motors.
(This was built at a Warthog build session and was cross posted in honor of today's session. Hopefully, it isn't scrubbed due to snow!)
* One Estes SS1 (the original, smaller version)
* Fin set from an Estes Fat Boy kit
* 24mm motor tube
* Kevlar® twine
* Three and a half plastic Christmas ornaments
* Lead shot
* 3/16” launch lug
The two obvious kit mods are the conversion to 24mm and the replacement of the stock wing with fins/pods. I used 5-minute epoxy throughout.
Once I expanded the provided centering "rings" for the larger motor tube, I mounted the motor mount pretty much as in the stock kit.
I came upon a set of unused Fat Boy fins in my junk box and decided these would work just fine. I slotted the tail cone in between the centering rings and modified the through-the-wall tabs on the fins by trial and error. The positions are such that there are two side "wings" and a "stabilizer fin". Since the tail cone is not ovate, these sit at different heights. The pods at the end of each fin are silver colored plastic Christmas ornaments.
A fourth ornament was cut in half to form the cockpit section. I filled the gaps between the cockpit and the body tube with modeling putty.
The last thing to do was add nose weight. RockSim-9 says the CP is 7.5" from the nose tip, just at the leading edge of the dorsal fin. I added lead shot and epoxy so that the unloaded CG is at 4.5" from the nose tip. This provides a margin of 0.8 with a D12-5 loaded.
The finish is mostly white primer. I hand painted the nozzle area silver and quickly slapped on some of the decals supplied with the SS1 kit.
I first flew the Sqrt(-1) on a D12-5 at MDRA's Red Glare IV. It flew great and the delay appeared right. Prep consisted of packing dog barf in the tail cone and clipping on a 12" nylon chute. The motor was friction fit.
Flight number two was on another D12-5. It too was a nice flight with apogee ejection. It did angle over so it landed in a field beyond the close stand of trees. Not a bad walk but I had to transverse a field of chest high grass.
The third flight was at NARAM-50 on, yep, another D12-5. The flight was good but the ejection charge melted the plastic tail cone. I don't know why this happened, maybe it was the amount of wadding, or lack thereof? I have filled the warps and repainted it. Hopefully, it will fly again some time in 2011.
The SS1 provided the basis of a nice retro-styled spaceship. It flies so much better than the stock kit, for fairly obvious reasons (hint: it's basically a 3FNC rocket). Yeah, the some of the big dawgs of MDRA liked it...but thought it need to be upscaled.