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Estes Apollo Little Joe II, Background
Here's the Little Joe I remembered wanting. The BIG 1/45 Scale Little Joe II from the 1969 Centuri catalog. To see the catalog, CLICK HERE But $12.95? All I could afford was the smaller 1/100th scale Little Joe II. The fin fairings and some trim was vacuum formed. They were lightweight but ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Parts
Here's all the parts! There are three bags of the molded plastic pieces. From the side of the box they recommend using the Estes Porta Pad II and controller. For a model this big and heavy I'd prefer a heavier duty launcher. They also say: "and launch controller". The instructions do say to use ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 3, Still More Parts
That large water slide decal wrap would be very difficult to apply. I'll probably cut it into smaller segments, maybe even cutting out the squares individually. Ask anybody who has tried to apply the Mega Der Red Max body wrap! Here's the mystery piece! The parts illustration does say "NOT USED". ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 2, More Parts
Many of the kit parts are exclusive to this kit only. I'll show a little more about the components than a single picture. On the side of the box, Estes gave credit to the original Centuri kit. They never mentioned Centuri in the Mercury Redstone and Saturn V reissues. Okay, here we go with many ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 4, Tube Prepping
Only the top of the main body tube needs the seam filled. The lower half will be covered by the vacu-form wrap. With the wrap even with the bottom of the tube, a pencil line was drawn around the top edge. I started with my normal seam filling with Carpenter's Wood Filler. This was sanded down to ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 5, Tube Prepping
TIP: Before treating the upper tube edge with medium (CA) Super Glue, check to be sure there are no lifted inside spirals. If a lift is starting, glue it down now with wood glue. You won't be able to glue it down after the tube end is treated with CA glue. Squeeze a drop of CA onto some scrap ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 6, Wrap Adhesion
On the Rocketry Forum build thread James Duffy used the 3M High Strength 90 adhesive, George Gassaway used the 3m Type 77 adhesive. I wanted to make the right choice, you only have one shot to get the wrap on. I had a can of the 3M General Purpose 45 adhesive. This product is for lighter use like ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 7, Wrap Adhesion
Small rolls of tape with the sticky side out held the wrap onto a piece of cardboard for spraying. I don't mean to insult anybody's intelligence, but be sure you have the underside of the wrap facing up before using the spray adhesive. It could happen and you'd never be able to remove the ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 8, Tunnels and Longerons
You'll be using the full size positioning guide to glue on the tunnels and longerons. That line from the center out is the joint of the body tube wrap. The longest piece, Part M, sits to the right of the line, not centered directly on it. After reading the TRF builds I went with one of the ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 9, Tunnels and Longerons
Be sure you check the Rocket Finishing drawings on Page 7 before gluing on the smaller longerons. On Page 3, drawings 10 and 11 make it look like the pieces are glued higher up on the body. All the "N", "O", and "P" parts end up at the back end of the tube. The "N" and "O" pieces are placed about ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 10, Centering Rings
There is plenty of laser cutting in the centering rings. Don't just punch and tear them out. Separate the hold down tabs with a sharp knife. Even on white card stock there will be some black ash from the laser burning. Wipe down the burnt holes or the ash could show up later on the model. Keep the ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 11, Engine Mount
Hoo boy Estes! Another confusing instruction drawing. Look where the 2 1/4" mark is and the knife slit for the top bend of the engine hook. Way to far forward. The drawing immediately below it is closer to the truth. TIP: I'm marking my engine mount tubes differently now. All the marks are not in ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 12, Engine Mount
I sand the ends of the engine block rings flat. It will fit better against the upper bend of the engine hook. I know - moot point. The engine block is about 1" down inside the top of the tube. Apply a ring of glue using a Q-tip or dowel. TIP: Slide the engine block in place using a 24mm engine ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 13, Better Fin Fitting
This shows a dry fit of one of the fins. The fit against the corrugated wrap is good but could be better. In the TRF builds, George Gassawy brought up a good point. On the inside edges of the fins are some raised circles. These are "ejector pads" from the molding process. They bump into the tops ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 13, Fin Halves Gluing
These new fins are very well molded. They fit very tight without glue and take a little effort to separate them! When gluing these halves I only applied glue to the long, diagonal leading edge. After the two sides were pressed together, glue was brushed over the outside joint seam. Again, go ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 15, Fin Support
Well, I left out the post on the Fin Half Gluing. I've re-numbered the blog posts, scroll down to see a new post at #13. Everything should be in the correct order now. The Little Joe II fins are surface glued on a vacu-form wrap, probably not the strongest joint. In post #229 of the TRF build, ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 17, Fin Support
The backside of the hole for the 3/16" square support stick ended up at 9/32" from the end of the body tube. This measurement was drawn and cut into the three other fin locations. Here's the final stick size - Your fit may be different. Cut a little large and fit to your model. The overall length ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 16, Fin Support
I used a new #11 blade in my X-Acto. You'll be cutting through the body tube and wrap plastic. My usual break-off blade knife wasn't used for these cuts. Note the knife tip position set into the corners. I punched through all eight corners and then cut through the centers. This way the back of the ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 18, Nozzle Gluing
I used Plastruct Plastic Weld plastic solvent cement. This was one of the plastic cements recommended in the TRF builds. In a blog comment, Metalhead 1986 gave some sound advice: " I'm sure you know, but if your readers are not familiar with these types of adhesives, they are meant to be used with ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 19, Escape Tower Nozzles
The tower and capsule plastic parts are made from the old Centuri kit molds. The newer Estes (lower body) plastic molds fit much better. The (Centuri) escape tower nozzle halves don't have alignment pins. After glue was applied to the inside, Glue was sparingly brushed on the outside. This liquid ...
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Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 20, RCS Housing and Nozzles
The RCS nozzles housings are small and slippery, no alignment pins! Do your best to line up the sides and brush some slue on the outside joints. On the left is before sanding the sides flat. The inset shows the top seam is almost gone. The corners still need to be sanded. On the sides stay away ...
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