Building the Lindberg Mars Probe (Part 1)

Change of PMC plan.

The September club launch is earlier than usual. Instead of the third Saturday (the 17th) it’ll be the second Sunday (the 11th). That’s in less than two weeks. What are the odds of building and painting the F-100 by then? Slim to none, and “slim” only if I work fast enough that I’d probably do a sloppy job of it.

The Mars Probe, on the other hand, well, maybe fair to slim. Maybe without being too sloppy.

The goal was to do a decent job on an entry for this contest and a couple others. But really the intent was to develop some skills by focusing on those contests. Throwing something together so I’ll have a contest entry is further from the spirit of the idea than building something halfway decent, hopefully in time for the contest but if not, not.

So I’m putting the F-100 aside and I’ll see what I can do with the Mars Probe.IMG_1765 This is a modern reissue of an old Lindberg kit. How old?

IMG_1762 That old.

The rocket apparently is based on a 1950s Von Braun design, although his name does not appear on the box or the instructions. Here are the parts.IMG_1756

The intention is that the first, second, and third stages stack on one another without gluing, so you can take them apart and see details like the rocket motors and the fuel tank and communications satellite inside the third stage — all of which will have to go for a flying conversion. (Maybe I’ll build the third stage contents for separate display.)

Here’s the outer shells of the first two stages taped together. A piece of ST-7 fits loosely through the forward end. A couple of round centering rings will hold it in place.IMG_1761

On the other hand, some cutting will be required at the back of the third stage to allow the tube to fit into it. Then the nose cone goes on top, the fins in the sides, and that’s it for the flying part. Not very exciting but the decals and red nose cone will jazz it up a little. I plan to have the tube end just forward of the back end of the first stage, so the plate with the (many many) rocket motors and four support feet can be pressed on for display.

Will it fly? How can it not? It’s conical. It has great big fins at the rear. Dump enough weight in the nose cone and it should be fine… maybe on a composite D motor, but a C6 might do. Or I could expand to 24 mm for the motor; I might need to shop for centering rings if I did that, though, and time is short. Well, I’ll think about it. Late’s better than lame, like I said.

Edit: Change of change of plan. I think I have a pretty good idea how I want to do this, and I don’t have the parts for it. Given that and the short time before the launch and the fact I’ll be Launch Director so will have limited flying time anyway… I’m punting for now. Focus builds on the remaining old build pile (Norad and Nike-G) first, new build pile second, and these PMCs are something I can come back to down the line.


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