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Simultaneous build of the Estes Cobra and Ranger

By Manny Trotta

Estes Cobra and Ranger

This project is a simultaneous build of two Estes 3-Engine cluster kits as they appeared in the 1971 Estes catalog.


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I ordered the parts for both the Cobra and the Ranger from Semroc. Semroc has parts lists for all the old kits on thier website and they have most of the parts available. Semroc ships very quickly and the parts arrived very well packaged.


http://www.semroc.com/


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I downloaded plans for each kit from the JimZ site. Starting with the engine tubes, I have stuffed the tail end of the body tubes with a tissue glue putty. Once this sets I will even it off with a layer of epoxy.

http://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/index.htm



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Here are the tubes with some of the 60 minute Loctite epoxy. I like the 60 minute set time because you have plenty of time to work before the epoxy starts to go off.



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Just starting to attach the fins.
 



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Fins all attached. I really need to get a good fin alignment jig. There is always something I don't like about the fins after they set. I have already broke off and reset one of the Cobra fins and I 'm not sure its' any better. Thought about doing the same to the Ranger but decided to leave them as they are. Next will be to attach the launching lugs and then make epoxy fin fillets.


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The epoxy fin fillets are done but no pics of that step. Next I am getting the rockets ready for the primer coats. To fill the grain in the wood and the tube spirals I am using watered down Elmers Fill N' Finish. I like this better than sanding sealer, there are no fumes and it is really easy to clean up. When its dry I will sand it all off and repeat this a couple times.



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All the parts have been primed with several coats of duplicolor filler primer. I lightly sanded with 400 grit between coats. After touching up a few outstanding imperfections I think I will be ready to start painting.




 
 
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Closeup of the Ranger with the filler primer.



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Closeup of the Cobra with the filler primer.



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I am using Createx Auto Air paints for the fist time. These are water based paints so they have very little fumes are super easy to work with. I am pretty happy with the results.


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Here is a closeup of the tail section of the Cobra. I have also applied a coat of the Createx clear gloss.

 
 



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Here are both the Cobra and the Ranger in the paint area. This is a small section of my work bench that I sectioned off with a plastic drop cloth. It keeps the paint confined to this one area pretty well and cuts down on the amount of mess I can make. It also keeps some of the airborne dust off the rockets while the paint is drying.




 
 
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The Cobra is just about done. I am only missing one decal at the top of the main body tube. Since I destroyed the one on the Cobra decal sheet I bought from Excelsior Rocketry I will need to print that one onto that clear waterslide decal paper.


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I printed the missing decal on Testors waterslide decal paper. Works very well.


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Here is the top of the Ranger with the roll pattern applied. This is another Excelsior Rocketry decal sheet I ruined. The roll pattern in the picture is made out of black contact paper.


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Not sure why but I always have problems with decals. Look at this mess.


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I ended up printing the pattern on paper and then cutting it out of Black contact paper.


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The contact paper works fine. The verticle stripes on the Cobra are actually contact paper too. That was another one where I managed to mess up the decal.


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The Ranger finally getting the last of the paint and gloss coat


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The Ranger and Cobra both ready to fly!


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