Scratch - Renegade Clone

Contributed by Bill Eichelberger

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Manufacturer: Scratch

Brief:

Until they soiled the once proud name by using it on a supposedly computer generated white elephant in 2004, the Renegade name belonged to a large D-powered rocket that was a staple of the Estes catalogs of my younger years. Produced from 1975 to 1980, the Renegade was one of the "big" rockets that I always wanted to build as a kid, but didn't for economic reasons. (As I believe I've noted before, those D engines were EXPENSIVE for someone whose allowance was $4 a week.) As usually happens in this case, this caused the Renegade to show up on my "gottabuild" list some 25 years later.

Construction:

The parts list is as follows:-

  • BT-60 (18")
  • BT-60HE (8.5")
  • BT-50KE (15")
  • AR-2050 engine block
  • AR-5055 centering ring as engine hook hold-down
  • BT-60 tube connector
  • New Estes "E" engine hook
  • 3 - 5060 centering rings
  • Nose cone from currently available Screaming Mimi
  • 36" Kevlar® shock cord
  • 36" sewing elastic 1/8"
  • 1/8" basswood fin stock
  • LL-2AM launch lug (2)
  • JT-60C tube coupler
  • Excelsior Rocketry decal set: http://towrowrow.tripod.com/excelsiorrocketry/
  • Instructions: http://www.dars.org/jimz/est1271.htm

The Renegade was a rocket that had long been on my list to clone, but it wasn't until I won an auction for a decal set from Excelsior Rocketry that the project really kicked into high gear. While I had already downloaded the scans for the project, I was pleased to find that the decals from Excelsior also included detailed instructions and templates for the fins and body tube. (Nice touch.) The only places that I wavered from the original instructions was in upgrading the original engine mount to make it E capable and in using Kevlar for the shock cord and a Nomex sheet for Perma-Wadding. Other than that the rocket was built exactly as laid out in the instructions, and if I were you, I'd resist the temptation to build the Renegade with one solid 26.5" length of BT-60 like I was tempted to do. This will save you much headache and aggravation when the time comes to paint. (The paint scheme isn't particularly difficult, but do you really enjoy masking all that much?) The rest of the construction was a fairly typical 3FNC build with nothing approaching a gotcha.

Finishing:

As long as you haven't jumped the gun and glued the upper and lower body sections together, painting couldn't be easier. I used a spare piece of BT-60 as a paint stand by gluing a connector in one end and leaving the other end empty. I used the empty end to cover the engine tube and connector and sprayed everything with Valspar Gloss Black. When this was finished I reversed the tube and used the end with the connector to hold the upper section and nose cone while I sprayed everything with Valspar Cherry Red Satin. This allowed me to wind up with a perfectly masked rocket without resorting to the tedium of masking tape and newspaper. The best part is, the holder tube I used for the project is reusable for my next BT-60 based rocket's paint job.

The decals caused me some problems, or rather I caused the decals some problems. Before applying the decals I sprayed them with a newly purchased can of Valspar Acrylic Clear and within seconds they began to wrinkle and pucker before my eyes. All I could do was let them dry and try them out (although Fred offered to send me a replacement set.) I chalked it up to a learning experience and applied them anyway. To my great surprise they applied flawlessly and look great unless you insist on inspecting the rocket with a jeweler's loupe. The lesson learned? As much as I like regular Valspar paint, I'd be much better served by finding another, less aggressive clearcoat.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:

I've only managed one flight so far, but that has been because I've been doing a lot more small field flying than I'd normally like of late. (One thing this bird isn't is small field capable.) The flight was on a breezy, late March day when everything that flew encountered heavy-duty drift problems. I countered the drift somewhat by flying into the breeze, but still wound up with a sizable walk. Flying on an Estes E9-6, the first flight was about as I expected. Aiming it slightly into the breeze and it's natural tendency to weathercock somewhat made for a slow, angular flight path that took it several hundred feet south of the pads. Ejection occurred a tad early, but close enough that most of the speed had been scrubbed off already. I like the E-9 on a rocket of this type. It's flight was much like a Big Bertha on a C6, leaving you feeling that you'd seen the whole flight without any undue snapping of the neck. Recovery was likewise slow on an 18" checkered chute that I had recently bought from an Ebay vendor. It crossed over the flightline and drifted several hundred feet into the early spring brambles, an easy recovery considering the conditions.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

While kits like the Screaming Mimi don't do much for me from an aesthetic standpoint, their one advantage is that they use the same parts that some of the classics used. Screaming Mimi's are versatile in that they can be used as parts donors for a Red Max, Omega, or a Patriot, as well as several others.

Pro's:

  • Not designed by a computer.
  • Classy red, black and white paint and decal scheme for a classic.
  • Uncluttered look.

Con's:

  • The name has been resurrected with less than stellar results.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

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