Descon 9 Astron Black Space Knight

Scratch - Astron Black Space Knight {Scratch}

Contributed by Bob Fortune

Manufacturer: Scratch

Astron Black Space Knight
by Bob Fortune


BLACK KNIGHT: None shall pass.

ARTHUR: I have no quarrel with you, brave Sir knight, but I must cross this bridge.

BLACK KNIGHT: Then you shall die.

ARTHUR: I command you, as King of the Britons to stand aside.

BLACK KNIGHT: I move for no man.

ARTHUR: So be it!

(Furious battle ensues, Black Knight loses an arm)

BLACK KNIGHT: (Glancing at his shoulder) 'Tis but a scratch.

ARTHUR: A scratch? Your arm's off.

BLACK KNIGHT: No, it isn't.

ARTHUR: (Pointing to the arm on ground) Well, what's that then?

BLACK KNIGHT: I've had worse.

ARTHUR: You're a liar.

BLACK KNIGHT: Come on you pansy!

(More swordfighting, the black knight loses another arm)

ARTHUR: Victory is mine. (sinking to his knees) I thank thee O Lord that in thy ...

BLACK KNIGHT: Come on then.

ARTHUR: What?  You stupid bastard. You haven't got any arms left.

BLACK KNIGHT: Course I have.


BLACK KNIGHT: What! Just a flesh wound. (Black Knight kicks Arthur)

ARTHUR: I'll have your leg. (He is kicked again.) Right!

[The BLACK KNIGHT kicks him again and ARTHUR chops his leg off. The BLACK KNIGHT keeps his balance with difficulty.]

BLACK KNIGHT: I'll do you for that.

ARTHUR: You'll what ... ?


ARTHUR: What are you going to do. bleed on me? 

BLACK KNIGHT: I'm invincible! 

ARTHUR: You're a looney. 

BLACK KNIGHT: The Black Knight always triumphs. Have at you!

[ARTHUR takes his last leg off.  The BLACK KNIGHT's body lands upright.]

BLACK KNIGHT: All right, we'll call it a draw.

ARTHUR: Come, Patsy. 

[ARTHUR and PATSY start to cross the bridge.]

BLACK KNIGHT: Running away eh? You yellow bastard, Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!


Astron Black Space Knight

by Bob Fortune

Way back in the early days of Estes somebody decided that a spaceman shaped rocket would be a big hit.  Not sure if it ever took off as anticipated, maybe it was Estes' idea of how a man shaped rocket (or rocket shaped man) should look.

This is what they imagined.

A cross between Cliff Clavin of "Cheers" and Superman. Regardless, it's become a very collectible kit going for hundreds of dollars due to the fact that there aren't many of them out there and it's so incredibly wacky.

For some reason the Black Knight  scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail always stuck in my memory, simple absurdity at its finest.....kind of like the Estes Spaceman kit.  The Spaceman is constructed from BT80, BT20 and balsa.  The instructions don't give an indication of what the head was made from though judging from the picture it was one of a kind.  How to translate the Spaceman into the Black Knight?  The basis for the gag in the movie was an imposing figure reduced to a torso at the end of the scene.  The rocket had to go from a flying model at the outset and return as just a torso.



Parts List

BT80 - 7" Torso
BT60 - 2 1/4" Helmet
BT20 - 7" Motor Mount Tube
BT5 - 3" Piston
BT80 to BT20 balsa centering ring - cut so that the OD of the ring is a bit larger than the OD of the BT80
BT80 to BT5 balsa centering ring
BT60 balsa bulkplate
BT5-BT20 centering ring (wound paper bushing type) x 2
Balsa Sheet Stock for fins, arms, central support
2 - 18" parachutes
Kevlar string
Lion Crest Gif Image
Flat Black Spray paint
Thick CA
1/8" chart tape
wood glue


Print out the templates for the fins and parts, transfer to balsa.  Cut centering rings.

Cut BT20 tube to length and install wound paper bushing as motor block. 

Tie Kevlar to bushing prior to gluing as retention system for main parachute. 

Cut out 2 pieces of balsa 7/8" x 6" long as longerons. 

Mark the BT20 at 180 degrees. 

Glue the BT20 - BT80 centering ring 1/2" from the aft end of the BT20 MMT. 

Glue the longerons to the BT20, they form the basis of the airframe and attach the arms and legs since the BT80 body has to slide freely. 

Glue the arms and legs to the longerons. 

You should have something that looks like this > > > > > > > > > >


Cut out a 1/2" section of BT80.  Slit in half and glue to the BT80-BT20 centering ring.  Remember the ring is a bit larger because the BT80 torso has to slide into and be captured by this piece of tube.  In the picture to the left the front strut is attached to this section of tube, we'll call this the torso keeper.

The shoulders are notched to accept the BT80 torso, you can do this when you fit the parts together and adjust as necessary. (as if anyone else is going to build this silly thing)

Glue the struts to the finbox and to the torso keeper.

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Glue the bulkplate into the section of BT60

This becomes the helmet.

Install a slot in the helmet per the pictures.  Poke some holes for the mouth ports.

Mark and slot the BT80 torso.  I used this trick [link dead] to slot the tube.  It takes a bit of fitting to get it to slide properly.  Leave about 1/2" of BT80 remaining to hold the torso together.

Install the BT80-BT5 centering ring.

Glue the other BT5 bushing to one end of the BT5 piston.  Install the piston into the centering ring. 

Slide the torso over the longerons locating the piston inside the motor mount tube.  About an inch pokes out forward of the BT80-BT5 ring. 

Glue the piston in place with CA. 

Glue a small piece of balsa to the BT5 as a cap.

Glue the helmet to the BT80-BT5 centering ring.

Paint the whole shebang flat black.

Install some 1/8" chart tape to define the plates of the helmet.

Use thick CA to make the rivets.

Download and print the chest blaze, cut out and glue to torso.

Install launch lug on rear of torso.

Attach one parachute to the torso and one parachute to the airframe.  Pack the chutes so that one is within the lion blaze chest cavity and the other chute opposite.  When the ejection charge acting on the piston blows the torso free both chutes will deploy.

Make sure that the torso slides freely and is locked into the strip of BT80 at the aft most centering ring.

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{short description of image} Flight

The Astron Black Space Knight is not what you call an altitude contender.  The fin assembly will most likely not sustain mach flights so choose your motors wisely.

A B4-2 is recommended.  The flight is nice and low so you get the full effect.  It's a laugh riot.

A C6-3 might rip the thing apart, I don't know.

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