Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Performance Rocketry 4-inch Nike Smoke (Part 5 - Finishing Up!)

Being the first all fiberglass rocket I've ever finished, I had no idea if the method I had been using on paper tube rockets would yield similar results.  So I decided to just proceed as I normally would an pay close attention to see if one or more of the steps in my standard needed modification.  As it turned out, the same technique worked out fine.
Figure 1 - Dupli Color High Build Primer coat
Although the fiberglass obviously was devoid of any spiral lines, there were still small dings and scratches as well as a couple of sanding marks where I removed the mould seem on the nosecone.  For this reason I went ahead and gave it two-three good heavy coats of sandable filler primer and then sanded all the surfaces down to a thin, very smooth coat.

Figure 2 - Fluorescent paint for the fins
Probably the biggest potential "gotchya" in the finishing stage was that I wanted to use yellow and red fluorescent paint for the fins.  Fluorescent paint MUST be put down over a clean WHITE primer.  If you put it down over any other base color, you won't get the fluorescent "pop" your expecting.  So as with all of my previous kits, I laid on a nice heavy coat of Krylon flat white primer and sanded it with very fine sand paper just enough to knock down some but not all of the tooth.

Figure 3 - Applying the fluorescent fin color
Once the white primer base had dried completely, the yellow and red fluorescent fin colors went on beautifully!  I applied 3 coats to each fin (1 yellow fin and 3 red fins).  Once that was dry, the only thing left to do was to apply the single vinyl "UNITED STATES" decal, and the model was done.

Figure 4 - The completed "Nike Smoke"
This kit was both fun and challenging.  It was not particularly difficult to build but it presented several fun challenges (such as adding the av-bay) and I learned quite a lot about building a high power, all fiberglass rocket.  I look forward to it's maiden flight when I attempt my level 2 cert on a J3??.