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  #1  
Old 10-06-2019, 02:10 PM
erik442's Avatar
erik442 erik442 is offline
The Alpha Kid
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: central PA
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Default Challenger 1 Upscale

I noticed that my fleet is short on D powered birds so I've decided to add an upscale of my Challenger 1. Decades of use have taken their toll on my first rocket. Although still a great flier, it's becoming so brittle that I'm going to have to retire it to desk duty on the workbench.
The new one will be based on a BT-60. It will use an 18" tube and a Semroc 60YP nosecone.

My math shows that the tube is only about 3/8" too long and the nose 1/4" longer than exact scale, so I will leave them as they are. I made a pattern and cut the fins from 1/8" basswood.
They will be sanded to a diamond airfoil as per original. I have some plywood rings but will need to make a motor hook. I am also considering installing a baffle. I'll have to locate some decals and scale them up as well.
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  #2  
Old 10-06-2019, 02:31 PM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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You do know Estes offered an upscale, right ?
The Challenger 2.
That one is BT56 based with a yellow molded cone and Black version of the Enerjet fin can.
It was 24mm powered and was the recommended 24mm booster for the Astrocam 110.
I have 2
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2019, 02:36 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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My brother found me a Challenger 1 that looked a lot like yours.

Someone here found me a new decal; I swapped out the mount and body tube. Gave it a polished finish and it looks pretty sweet.

I like the idea of an upscale.

Have you though about using one of the new screw-on retainers?
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  #4  
Old 10-06-2019, 02:57 PM
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erik442 erik442 is offline
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Yes, I remember that one. Mostly because it had an Enerjet fin can.
I think I still have a few AstroCams out in the garage.
I'd like to have some of those cans printed to use on an unopened Phoenix Bird kit that I scored on clearance a few years back.
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2019, 03:05 PM
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erik442 erik442 is offline
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I hadn't considered a screw on retainer. I use them on all my composite powered models, but I've had them melt or bubble on BP motors because the nozzle doesn't extend past the retainer.
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2019, 04:22 PM
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erik442 erik442 is offline
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I spent several evenings trying to get the fin's diamond shape just right. They seemed flimsy when done, so I reinforced them with kraft paper and thinned Titebond Blue. I used this technique on the balsa fins of my Super Big Bertha and it produced a very strong, lightweight fin that has held up well.
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:30 PM
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I made a hook and finished the motor mount. The nose cone has been plugged with a short length of 1/2" dowel to attach a screw eye, and I stopped by the auto parts store today for a fresh can of Hemi Orange. The fins now have a coat of filler. As soon as I get them sanded I will assemble everything.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:45 PM
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erik442 erik442 is offline
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The fins have been sanded again. I made a jig and attached it to the back of the motor mount, then glued on the fins. Everything looks straight so I will fit the tube and begin painting. The nose has also been filled and sanded. Now I just have to make some decals.
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2019, 02:45 PM
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Tube has been fitted, fillets done, launch lugs added, and painting in progress.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2020, 03:34 PM
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erik442 erik442 is offline
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My Challenger 1 upscale is finally done. It got put on the backburner during the holidays and I have been too busy with work lately to get back to it until now. I didn't like the first paint job so I sanded it all off and tried again. While unmasking, the tape pulled off some of the white base color. This was followed by more sanding and, as they say, third time's a charm.

The scans I found of the text decal just weren't what I was looking for, so I just made two sizes of new ones from scratch. Thanks to Scott for putting them up as they were too big for me to post. The stripes above the fins are cut from sheet vinyl and measure 5mm x 47mm. There are twelve of them equally spaced. The shock cord mount is made from a large paper clip embedded in a small square of 12oz. canvas. The cord will be 1/4" elastic attached to an 18" nylon 'chute.
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