Estes Metalizer build

There’s a club launch coming up Saturday. Due to un-cooperative weather my current two builds won’t be painted by then. I could fly them naked but choose not to. I’ll have the Downscale Patriot… but I felt like having something else new to launch. Particularly, it occurred to me I didn’t really have much in my fleet in the way of straight-up, 3/4FNC rockets. So, since I was kind of near Hobby Lobby today anyway, I decided to stop in and pick up a cheapish (sorry, Ascender) E2X kit that wouldn’t need painting. I chose the Estes Metalizer.

“E2X” verges on understatment. The kit basically consists of six parts: A body tube (with launch lug and shock cord pre-attached), a nose cone, a pre-assembled parachute, two fin can halves which also serve as a motor mount, and an engine retainer cap. Everything’s finished in metallic silver color… except the launch lug and, okay, the shock cord and parachute. (Hello, Estes? Aluminized Mylar parachute? Just a thought.)

Nice of them to go to the trouble of attaching the shock cord for me (to the back of the launch lug via a hole in the body tube), but, um, look, Estes, I have my own shock cord preferences? I deviated from the instructions to install some Kevlar: First thing I did was to use a small triangular file to make a notch in the “forward centering ring” part of the fin can/motor mount. I also roughed up a patch on the inside of the fin can. Then (following the instructions now) I used a hobby knife to scrape away the plating on the surfaces to be glued together. Unfortunately the knife slipped and took a gouge out of the plating on one fin. Then I got smart and masked the fin with tape. Of course the knife didn’t slip after that.IMG_2044
I also masked the top of the fin can before sanding the coupler surface.IMG_2045

Now, what to do about that silly rubber band shock cord? It was mounted in the center of the body tube, kind of out of reach. I tried to cut it with a hobby knife taped to a dowel; no joy. Then I tried stretching it hard and cutting with scissors, but there was about an inch and a half left behind. Finally I remembered my long needle nose pliers, which were able to reach the remaining piece. I pulled, it snapped loose. No surprise there.IMG_2047

Back to the fin can. I tied a knot in the Kevlar before using epoxy to anchor it to the inside of the can.IMG_2048 copyThen I used Testors plastic cement to glue the fin can halves together.

I pulled the Kevlar through the back of the can to keep it out of the way, then used the Testors glue to attach the body tube to the fins.IMG_2049

The nose cone… hm, well, nice big seam on this thing but you can’t sand it down, can you? Mine also had a scuff mark on it. It’ll probably have more soon, so I didn’t pay attention to it.IMG_2050

I reinforced the end of the body tube with CA.IMG_2051

Then I tied braided elastic to the Kevlar (below the end of the tube) and the nose cone.IMG_2052

Oh look. The body tube covering’s peeling away. I fixed that with a drop of CA.IMG_2053

And that’s pretty much it. I didn’t take the parachute out of its bag; I’ll use one of my existing collection, which are equipped with swivel snaps. There’s a peel and stick decal, but I’m not particularly a fan of it. I might end up using it anyway but for now I’m leaving it off and trying to think of alternatives. Hm, what’s the backstory here? Why is this rocket so shiny? The thing that comes to mind is pulp science fiction alien technology. Maybe I’ll come up with some alien decals, or something. Waterslide decals should stick, right? I mean as well as they generally do. Can I put clear paint on this?

Anyway, for now, it’s unmarked. See the gouged plating on the fin? That’s how you know it’s mine.IMG_2054


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