Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sirius SS Cestris build, part 1

This series of posts will describe the build of the Sirius SS Cestris. I won this kit from Verna and Randy and it came complete with a custom decal set themed to Randy's Rocket Babe series of books. If you order one, be sure to also pick up the "Rocket Babe" decal option (assuming  you want to help save the solar system).

Initial Impressions

The Cestris a futuristic 'space plane' style rocket that flies on 24mm motors and features a unique, custom nose cone. Although the kit has been around for quite a while, I had never seen one up close and personal. I was surprised how much better the cone looks first hand.

The kit requires the cutting of balsa, which I don't have a problem with. The cone is multi-part styrene and comes bagged as a separate sub-assembly. I generally hate styrene so I was a tad apprehensive going in. More on this below.

Finally, the kit came with a lot of decals. The stock kit includes the decals to customize the build in many ways. Mine came with a separately bagged set of Rock Babe-themed decals, which I will of course opt for. There was also a small sheet of decals thrown into the shipment that can be used on other builds (a teaser for Sirius's line of decals).

Although winter is the building season for me, it is NOT the painting season. I may eventually have to decide whether this will fly naked or wait for paint (and decals).

Nose Cone Build

As I mentioned, I generally don't like working with styrene. This is mainly because I am impatient and clumsy.

The instructions specify both liquid and gel plastic cements. As it turns out, late night spillage depleted my stock of the former and I didn't find the latter until the next day. But, build fever dictated that I proceed anyway rather than waiting to procure the proper glues.

The basic cone comes in two parts with a central plastic sheet. I managed to get one half of the shell bonded to the plastic sheet with liquid cement but ran out before the second half was fully attached. The next day, I found my gel cement and finished up with that. To attach the inner guts, I opted for 5-minute epoxy rather than the elusive plastic cement.

Then clumsy part comes in.  The seams were far from perfect. I filled it them with Testors contour putty and then a thin layer of fill'n'finish to fill in the rough surface from the OLD putty. (This caused master modelers everywhere to detect a ripple in the Force.)

The assembly seems reasonably strong. I won't add the base of the cone's shoulder (a plywood bulkhead and screw eye) until I fully decide on what to do about nose weight. The kit comes with a big clump of clay which is to be tamped into the end of the cone. I will be using an Estes screw-on retainer for the 24mm mount and am kicking around adding 18mm mounts to the outer pods. Thus, I will need to add some weight. There is a RockSim file for the kit on rocketreviews.com. I will probably evaluate the otherwise built kit to that file and will add enough weight to keep the CG as shown in the file. I'll likely replace the modeling clay with epoxy clay with lead shot mixed in.

I took a few photos from the warmth of the Rocket Dungeon. Navigate to the right to see other views of this great looking cone (just don't look at the full res versions).