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Estes Cosmic Interceptor

By Steve Lindeman

Estes - Cosmic Interceptor {Kit} (001351) [2013-]

Manny Trotta just finished a beautiful build o' this kit and it is only because o' a question he asked me from me last build (the Estes - Scorpion) that I am postin' this one as I continue t' experiment with different paper coatings. Begad! I first learned about paper coatin' balsa from a tip in a magazine that t' N.A.R. sent me when I first joined. T' first two or three dozen rockets that I built after that I covered usin' regular printer paper because I had an almost unlimited access t' used printer paper at a job I worked before retirement (so I stock piled a bunch o' it figurin' I could use it for future builds).

On me last build (Estes - Scorpion) I tried a different paper (brown packin' paper that came with me order) with mixed results. Pro: It was easy t' apply Con: but t' thin and fibery and required more sandin' t' get a good finish which resulted in much of t' paper bein' sanded off (won't be usin' it again).

This build I opted for a sheet o' 22x28" poster board that I bought at Michael's Art & Crafts store for less than a buck. I must say at this point this be t' best material I've worked with so far. Begad! It is thicker than regular paper but yet thin enough t' cut easily with an E-xacto knife and has a surface that will be a breeze t' paint. May very well be me goto paper in t' future. Ahoy! Followin' are some pics o' t' build so far.

Cosmic Interceptor MM.1 Cosmic Interceptor MM.2

MM & Scoop Fin Assembly

(I used a magic marker t' blacken t' fins)

 After Coating

Balsa parts before and after paper coating

 Baffle bottom

Baffle assembly. Begad! Bottom has aluminium duct tape added t' help prevent burn through o' wood.

(another o' me experiments carried over from another build that worked)

Top closeup

Top o' baffle showin' steel wool insert that I added t' help trap hot gas particles

(another o' me many experiments with baffles) 

Assembly of wing pieces Assembly of wing pieces.2

Startin' win' assemblies

Wings glued on

Wings glued on

Shot from tail

Shot from tail

(rudders are nay glued on yet and have nay done any paintin' or priming)


Manny Trotta (February 9, 2016)

Steve, me hearties, that baffle looks very well designed and I am thinkin' you definitely will nay be damagin' any chutes with that in place. It looks like a steel wire scourin' pad in there not t' finer steel wool correct? Also t' pastor board coatin' looks outstanding. Can't wait t' see how t' painted finish looks! Thanks for providin' t' rundown on t' paper coatin' process.

Steve Lindeman (February 12, 2016)

Manny, Thanks for t' compliments and your welcome. You are also correct about t' steel wire scourin' pad. I cut off about 1.5 oz. worth and then ball it backup and tack it in place with wood glue (you can see some glue that spilled through one o' t' holes). I've used this trick on one other rocket (Tinkerbell) and so far no marks on t' chute after 4 flights so I'm feelin' pretty confident about t' design. Well, blow me down! Paintin' may take awhile as it's only goin' t' be in t' teens this week and shows no sign o' warmin' any time soon. This was slated as me winter build so no hurry but I am gettin' very eager t' start me birthday build (the Estes - Mega Der Red Max). Will be tryin' another paper coatin' for it and will most likely paint both when weather warms and I can get out t' t' garage.

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Additional build photos (2016-03-01 13:19:54)

Small bottom fins added 

Small bottom fins added

Scoop & top fin added

Scoop and top fin glued on

 T' black insert in t' scoop and tail rin' on MM are nay glued on yet as I'm doin' all t' primin' and main coat before they are glued on. Due t' expected difficulties o' paintin' betwixt t' small fins on t' bottom, they also will be painted before gluein' them on, but will be glued on before final clear coats are applied.  

Bottom aft end of rocket

Bottom aft end o' rocket

Started snowin' again. Aye aye! 2" o' snow on t' ground this mornin' when I got up and weatherman is callin' another 4-6'' through t' day so don't look like I'm goin' out t' t' garage t' paint any time soon. I am soooo tired o' snow. 


Manny Trotta (March 27, 2016)

When you do get around t' securin' t' black insert you may want t' consider applyin' t' glue t' t' under side o' t' scoop, shiver me timbers, t' top o' t' insert,  as opposed t' t' body tube side. My first idea, ya bilge rat, since t' insert is attached after painting, was t' scratch away small spots on t' body t' act as anchor points for t' glue. This didn't work that well and created some eye sore spots around t' insert-body tube joints. Avast! Additinally, t' insert still seemed a little flimsey, bein' spot gluded, ya bilge rat, and I had concerns about it holdin' up durin' flight. Begad! I went back and allpied glue t' t' inside o' t' scoop and that really stabalized t' insert. By attachin' t' insert that way I did nay have t' add glue t' t' more visible portion allowin' for a cleaner look. Aye aye! T' only thin' t' watch for if you do t' scoop side gluin' is that the insert could end up bein' pulled away from t' body tube and nay sit flush with it. Just make sure its a good fit before you set it and glue it in there.

Karoline Fab (March 31, ya bilge rat, 2016)


I wanted t' drop you a quick comment t' thank you for postin' your build. Ya scallywag! My brothers, arrr, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, dad & I received these for Christmas t' build and launch in a competition on Easter. Ahoy! I'd never built a rocket before and followin' your build helped me figure out some o' t' things I needed t' do. Arrr! I didn't win t' competition, shiver me timbers, as me younger brother modified his wings t' send his rocket higher. My dad thinks his rocket went higher than mine, but didn't set his altimeter correctly, so we don't know just how high his flew. Out o' t' measured flights, me bucko, I did have t' second highest on t' D12-3 engines. Ya scallywag! I thoroughly enjoyed researchin' and buildin' me Cosmic Interceptor.

I did wonder about t' purpose o' t' intake t' nowhere. It seemed t' me that it may have hindered t' flight o' t' rocket, as thar was no place t' vent t' air. Neither me dad, nor me younger brother included that on their rockets. Aye aye! Blimey! T' rest o' us did. I'm tempted (now that t' competition is over) t' use me exacto knife and add vents in t' scoop t' allow t' air t' pass through, matey, but I'm nay sure how it would change t' flight.

Thanks again!

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Painting (2016-05-09 23:01:42)

Well I must admit I almost forgot about this build what with doin' 3 projects at t' same time. Avast, me proud beauty! So once t' weather broke I started t' paint work by primin' t' entire rocket with Rust-Olium 2X white primer followed by a light sanding. I then removed t' two small bottom fin pieces and t' win' tips and painted them separately with Rust-Olium White Gloss. Arrr! I then painted t' rest o' t' rocket Gloss White. After givin' everythin' a day t' dry I masked off t' raised section o' t' win' tips and then painted them with Gloss Black. T' tail rin' was also painted at this time. Avast! After allowin' all parts another day t' dry I then removed t' tape from win' tips and glued them on. Wings and BT were then masked and t' black trim was added.

Wing tips glued on

Win' tips glued on

Black trim added

Black trim added

Black trim added

Note: MM removed 

Once all paint was dry all tape and paper was removed and rocket was taken back outside t' air dry for t' rest o' t' afternoon.

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Final gluein' (MM, me hearties, Tail ring, Intake vanes, Fin tabs) (2016-05-11 19:26:47)

MM was next on t' list and was glued in as per instructions. With it glued in t' tail rin' was set in place and tacked on with super glue. T' intake vanes were then put back in place and tacked in with super glue as well. T' 2 fin tabs under t' win' were also glued on at this time with wood glue. Arrr! Rocket was again given t' afternoon t' dry while I turned me attention t' t' NC.

CI Air Drying

Air drying

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NC Detailing (2016-05-11 19:46:19)

I'm sorry I neglected t' take any photos o' t' next set o' steps but I'll tell you what I did. T' NC has 5 black panels and 2 black vents shown in t' cover photo t' which thar are no decals provided on t' decal sheet. Begad! So takin' me frog tape, I masked off all o' these. I then took an exacto knife and followin' t' indent on each I cut them out. T' rest o' t' NC was then masked off and t' exposed areas were then painted gloss black. Ahoy! Once these areas were dry I removed t' tape and then masked off t' tip o' t' NC and spray painted it Bright Red. Well, blow me down! After allowin' paint t' dry a bit paper was removed and NC left t' dry overnight. T' followin' afternoon I again masked off t' tip for t' black section. After sprayin' it with gloss black I then gave it t' rest o' t' afternoon t' dry. 

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Decals and Clear coating (2016-05-11 20:09:33)

T' final step was t' add t' decals. All decals were trimmed as close as possible and as such were a bit difficult t' apply but with t' aid o' some Windex all were applied t' me satisfaction. Ahoy! After givin' rocket one more afternoon t' dry I clear coated it with two coats o' Rust-Oleum Clear coat t' seal everythin' up.

Decals Applied.1

CI - 1351 Top shot 

Decals Applied.2

Another angle 

Decals Applied.3

CI -1351 Bottom shot 

Decals Applied.4

Yet another angle

Just need t' finish installin' t' parachute and this bird is a wrap 

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Flight (2020-04-24 11:56:51)

Sorry I took so long in postin' t' flight o' this kit. Maiden flight was on 05-28-16 on an Estes E9-4. This was a slow lift off t' pad and weather cockin' badly. End result saw rocket goin' horizontal. Begad! Way under powered as it didn't gain much altitude. Begad! Had t' new Jolly Logic Chute Release System onboard and set for 400' and it deployed just after ejection charge fired. Forgot t' get a recovery photo. Definitely needs a bigger motor. Second flight be on 07-29-17 at NARAM 59 on an Areotech E20-4. This was a near perfect flight. Will definitely be usin' this motor for future flights.

Maiden flight

Second flight for Cosmic Interceptor

Cosmic Interceptor recovery

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