Manufacturer: Scratch
(by Tony Fragge)

Rocket PicBrief:
Used a LOC/Precision Lil' Nuke kit to approximate a 1.38 upscale of the Estes Der Big Red Max.

After losing a few auctions for a Der Red Max I decided to build my own. I noticed on Jim Z's site that Estes had released a Der Big Red Max with an 18" length body tube. I figured I would try building an upscale version using a LOC/Precision Lil' Nuke kit. I have always enjoyed the sturdiness of the building components of LOC/Precision kits. The body tube would be a tad short and the nose cone would not be exact but it would be close enough for rock and roll.

I used a Lil' Nuke kit parts and new fins cut from 1/8" aircraft plywood. I followed the Lil' Nuke instructions to construct the motor mount and install the shock cord mount. The new fins were cut from 1/8" plywood using a pattern developed from the Jim Z web site. A razor saw and steel ruler worked well to cut the new fins with straight lines. Because the fins were quite a bit larger than the original fins I drilled small holes in the body tube for the 15 minute epoxy to seep into and make epoxy rivets.

Using sanding sealer I filled in the tube lines and coated the fins and sanded it down for priming. After a couple of coat of primer I was ready to paint.

I tried to find bright true red to help accentuate the cartoon appeal of the rocket. I decided on an apple red. Once the paint dried over night applied the decals I received from Papa Tango. Applying the decals was relatively easy but a word of caution: once you have the decal where you want it do NOT touch it. I managed to put a slight tear in one of my decals because I could not leave good enough alone. The tear was easily repaired with a black permanent marker. After the decals were dry I applied a couple of coats for Johnson Floor Finish.

I launched the Der Big Red Max 1.38x at NARAM-43 on an AeroTech F20-7. I friction-fitted the motor in place. The flight was nice and straight but the delay was quite a bit longer than 7 seconds. I thought for sure it was going to be a one-launch rocket but at about 100 ft the ejection charge decided to do its thing and I got the rocket back in one piece without a zipper.

I plan to use LOC/Precision kits again to upscale some of my favorite Estes kits. The product was pretty easy to complete and results turned out well. I received many positive comments at NARAM.


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