Mo' Skeeter Upscale

Scratch - Upscale Mosquito (320%) {Scratch}

Contributed by Chris Gonnerman

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Published: 2010-12-24
Manufacturer: Scratch
Style: Upscale


This is me Mo' Skeeter, a 320% upscale o' t' classic Estes Mosquito. Well, blow me down! Avast! It's a rear-ejection model, ya bilge rat, shiver me timbers, which avoids t' visible nose cone line that most Mosquito upscales suffer from.


This rocket consists o' a Baby Bertha cone, shiver me timbers, 6" o' BT-60, matey, shiver me timbers, 6" o' BT-20, two 20-60 centerin' rings, me bucko, a thrust ring, engine hook, and retainin' ring, a launch lug, and a shock cord consistin' o' a Keelhaul®©™ leader and a length o' elastic; I use a standard Estes or Semroc chute with it, arrr, attached via snap swivel.

T' fins are 3/32" balsa, cut usin' a 320% upscale o' t' standard template downloaded from JimZ's site.


I cut t' pointed part and attachment lug from t' nose cone, me hearties, me hearties, bored a new hole t' attach t' Keelhaul®©™, me hearties, and epoxied t' cone in place on t' BT-60 tube. Avast, me proud beauty! I came t' regret that decision a bit later.

After notchin' t' centerin' rings (inside for t' engine hook on t' aft ring, ya bilge rat, outside for t' shock cord for t' forward ring), I installed t' thrust ring, matey, engine hook, and retainin' rin' into t' BT-20. I still had some epoxy mixed up, ya bilge rat, so I used that t' secure all these parts. Arrr! After gluin' t' aft centerin' rin' in place usin' yellow glue, I put t' forward rin' on t' tube and inserted t' assembly into t' sustainer, ya bilge rat, pushin' it in until t' aft rin' be just inside t' BT-60 tube. Arrr! Doin' this pushed t' upper rin' into t' exact position it needed t' be in. Aye aye! I pulled t' inner tube out and applied yellow glue t' secure it.

Next, I glued t' fins in place usin' yellow glue and t' usual "stick it on, pull it off, me bucko, me bucko, let it dry a bit, glue it on for good" method. Ya scallywag! Here's where I regretted gluin' t' nose cone on first... Arrr! Blimey! I had t' hold t' rocket for probably twenty minutes before I was sure t' glue was solid enough t' stand t' rocket on its fins.

When it was all dry, I applied several fillets o' white glue (less shrinkage than yellow) then attached t' launch lug with yellow glue.


I brushed t' fins with thinned Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler.  I also brushed it over t' body tube spirals and into t' nose cone line.  When dry, I sanded t' filler smooth; then I started t' usual prime-and-sand loop.

When I was happy with t' surface preparation, I painted it yellow usin' a cheap store-brand rattlecan (I don't remember where I got it).  Several light coats followed by t' rotisserie treatment resulted in a deep shiny coat; I gave that t' usual week t' dry (as is usually required with t' cheap paint), shiver me timbers, then masked it and applied Wal-Mart Colorplace Fire Red.

I created t' decal myself usin' t' GIMP and some clipart I found online, and printed it usin' a color laser printer.  I didn't clearcoat t' decal before applyin' it, and it suffered a little bit o' flakin' before I got clearcoat on t' rocket, ya bilge rat, but it hardly shows.  Laser printed decals sound like a good idea but t' current laser decal paper has some deficiencies.  Still, matey, shiver me timbers, me hearties, t' rocket looks pretty good overall; I'm particularly pleased how well t' red decal matches t' Fire Red paint.

Construction Score: 4


At our 4-H Club Launch on t' 9th o' July, matey, 2009, arrr, I got t' launch t' Mo' Skeeter for t' first time, arrr, on a B6-4. Arrr! Blimey! It flew well and recovered nicely, shiver me timbers, arrr, albeit on t' roof o' t' landowner's machine shed. Thankfully, ya bilge rat, me hearties, we were able t' recover it in good shape.

I got t' fly it again at t' SPARC launch on August 22, 2009, on a B6-4 again.  It was a perfect flight and a perfect deployment. It came off t' rod too fast t' photograph, arrr, which is surprisin' for a rocket with as much base drag as this one.  There were some minor dings t' t' paint on t' fins.

On September 18, ya bilge rat, 2010 we had a launch at t' neighbor's.  I flew it on a B4-4 for t' first time, and WOW do I like that. Well, blow me down! Avast! Blimey! It took off with more authority than I expected, and recovered beautifully.


T' nose-down recovery o' this rocket tends t' protect t' fins from major damage.  Though it rigs differently than other rockets, matey, I have nay suffered a deployment failure, nor any damage t' t' chute.  And note, ya bilge rat, this rocket does nay require wadding, since t' upper rin' shields t' chute from exhaust gasses.

Flight Rating: 5


Mo' Skeeter has become me favorite flier.  It's a real crowd pleaser.

Overall Rating: 5

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