Did I say “a decision: Scale or semi-scale fins”? That’s just one of a bunch of decisions. Of course there always are decisions to make when building, but especially so here.
That YORF post by Carl McLawhorn I linked to came from this long discussion, which among other things deals with another decision. The instructions say to install the motor block such that the motor will be flush with the back end of the mount tube, and then install the tube such that it is flush with the back end of the boat tail. This combined with the fact there’s no motor hook means you need to friction fit your motors, and then you have an interesting time trying to extricate them after the flight. It’s easier to deal with the motors if they stick 1/4″ out of the motor tube, and even easier if the motor tube sticks 1/4″ out of the boat tail. But that puts the motor weight 1/2″ further back, and this model already has a center of gravity problem. With the semi scale fins, that motor offset is less of a problem. But since I am (I’m pretty sure) going ahead with the scale fins, I decided I didn’t want to push the stability. I went with the motor flush with the boat tail, and will place my faith in the power of the dowel when it comes time to get the motors out. If I end up really regretting this, I can at least glue in a second block, or just use a loose one as a spacer.
There’s another decision I wouldn’t have to make for a long time (given the weather), but in fact I made it a long time ago, and that is the paint scheme. Even just sticking with documented authentic paint schemes, there are a lot of choices. I wasn’t comfortable with any of the German wartime schemes, so I focused on the postwar possibilities listed here. Of these I think the ones I’ve seen most often are the White Sands Number 2 (or a white and black variant, like that shown on the Semroc insert, which I believe is a German development pattern) and something along the lines of White Sands Number 54. I wanted to do something a little different, but most of the other ones were kind of boring — mainly white, with black roll patterns on the fins and maybe a silver tip — so what it came down to almost by default was White Sands Number 3. Similar to Number 2, but with no roll pattern at the forward end, and with Roman numerals on the fins and a pinup. Excelsior Rocketry sold me the decals I’ll be using for this.
And yet another decision: Fin edges. On past rockets I most often have rounded the leading edge and left other edges square, but the Semroc insert picture shows the V-2 with square fin edges and it just looks too wrong. I feel if I’m going to build a V-2, it ought to look more like a real V-2 than that, so I’m planning on following the Estes instructions and putting sharp edges on. Wish me luck.