(Contributed - by John Coker )
Note: For more V2 pictures, visit John's site.
just came out with a V2 kit in two sizes. I bought the smaller one at the April
LUNAR launch. Apparently, I got one of the first few produced.
I like sport-scale rockets and hadn't built anything like a V2 before, so
this was great timing.
This rocket flew for the first time on an I357, although I had my first
burn-by of the Aerotech delay sleeve. The ejection charge went off shortly
after the motor burned out. (I was told I hadn't used enough grease.) At least
the rocket was recovered in flyable shape although the inside was
The Loc/Precision kit had less detailed instructions than usual (it's
obvious this kit is brand new). But, as I've come to find, high-power rockets
pretty much all go together the same way.
I decided to paint my rocket in the familiar black and yellow pattern of V-2
Nos. 3 and 3 (taken from Rockets of the World and colorized). I had a hard time
getting the paint to stick to the blow molded nose cone. Even with washing the
nose with soap and water, then with alcohol, the primer still wouldn't stick. I
had to re-paint several areas where the masking tape (Scotch magic tape) pulled
the paint and primer off right down to the plastic nose cone! It turned out OK
from a distance (or in a low resolution photograph), though.
Also see the actual photograph below.
The V2 was an unmanned, guided, ballistic missile. It was
guided by an advanced gyroscopic guidance system that sent signals to
aerodynamic steering tabs on the fins. It was generally inaccurate due to
errors in aligning the rocket with it's target, premature shut-off of the motor
and inconsistencies in electric current in the guidance system. It was
propelled by a hydrogen peroxide-methanol motor that generated 55,000 lbs of
thrust. The motor typically burned for 60 seconds, pushing the rocket to around
4,400 ft/second. It rose to an altitude of 52 miles and had a range of 200 -
225 miles. The V2 carried a high explosive warhead weighing 2,000 lbs (1 ton)
that was capable of flattening a large building. It was first fired
operationally on Sept 7, 1944 against London, primarily as a propaganda
It's real claim to fame was as the progenitor of the rocket race that
developed during the Cold War, and ultimately put men on the moon and probes
that have left our solar system. In 1945, the U.S. managed to capture and ship
home parts for 100 German V2 missiles, while almost all the best of the German
engineers surrendered to the US Army and moved to America. Many V2s were
launched from 1946 through 1952, mostly carrying scientific experiments,
including the upper atmosphere research which discovered the ozone layer.
(Borrowed from Miles Constable's V2
page (link-out dead) and Rockets of the World by Peter Alway, available from
(Contributed - by Kent Newman - 03/01/02)
Show anyone the shape of a V-2 and they will
immediately recognize a real rocket! That classic outline has been the love of
some people to the extent that they establish websites dedicated totally to the
V-2. These sites cover every possible topic related to the
"vengeance" weapon. Its popularity continues in sport rocketry today
with a number of companies producing V-2 kits. Public Enemy, and
LOC/Precision are several that come to mind. Two of the more popular kits come
from LOC/Precision in 5.38" and 7.67" versions.
Being a fan of sport-scale rockets, I chose to build the 5.38" version
with a 38mm motor mount. I was originally looking for a neat-looking rocket
that I could launch with relatively little prep work. You know, insert the
motor and fly. I didn' t want to spend an hour just getting it ready to fly on
electronics with multiple black powder charges. But more on that later.
Make it durable. With a big 5.38" body tube and big plywood
fins, I was concerned about durability of the rocket over time. So, the first
step was to apply a layer of 1.7oz Kevlar
and 6 oz fiberglass to the body tube. The LOC BT is non-phenolic cardboard so
it really soaked up the epoxy. I also coated the top 4 inches of the inside of
the BT with West Systems. I did that for two reasons: one, the NC fit was a bit
sloppy and I wanted to take up some of the slack, and, two, I wanted to limit
the deterioration of the cardboard near the NC when the wet conditions of
Monroe caused the layers of the cardboard tube to unravel.
I sanded the fins using 100 and 150 grit to smooth the flat surfaces and to
round the leading and parallel edges. I vacuum bagged the fins with 1.7oz
wrapped over the leading edge and then applied two layers of six oz 'glass
sandwiching each fin. Although I used a vacuum, a hand layup would be fine for
this rocket. I just like to keep my hand in, I suppose.
LOC' s directions are very good for assembling the rocket. I assembled the
fincan per the instructions with the exception of adding an AeroPack 38mm motor
retainer to the MMT. Although the retainer is pricey, it is perfect for this
application where the motor mount extends beyond the bottom centering ring. And
the retainers are really, really cool!
From here, I made a few changes.
Those stubborn plastic nosecones. The first change concerns the
tenaciousness of molded nosecones in wanting to shed paint. It seems no matter
what one does, it' s difficult to get paint to stick to the slick plastic.
Well, boys and girls, try what I do. I use 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the
whole NC. Yes, that' s right. Rough it up. Scrub it with soap and water and let
it dry. There will be a lot of fuzzies but paint will stick when the
preparation is finished. After the first sanding, go back and fill the mold
seams and whatever other imperfections that might exist. Let the filler dry and
sand lightly with 100 grit. Use gray Plasti-Kote Spot Filler & Primer for a
first coat to identify the big imperfections (gray primer makes imperfections
easier to see than white primer). Wet sand with 320 grit. Fill again as
necessary. Prime again with Kilz white primer (white is good to use now as a
base for the paint). Use a couple or three light coats of this stuff; it comes
out very heavy. Let dry and wet sand again with 320 grit. I' d be surprised if
you see any fuzzies now. Prime again if needed and/or wet sand with 400 and
you' re ready to paint. Try it.
NC Shock Cord Attachment. The NC has a big extrusion on it to be used
for securing an eyebolt. It certainly would work but there' s an alternative.
The V-2 requires nose weight due to the center of pressure those fins create on
a short rocket body. The instructions suggest drilling a 5/8" hole in the
side of the base of the nosecone to be used to pour an epoxy/steel shot mixture
into the nosecone. I decided not to do that. I drilled out the plastic
extrusion with a 3/4" wood spade bit. I like to use a toggle bolt to hold
onto a 1/4" eyebolt for fastening the shockcord to the NC. Plus it adds
weight to the nose in a rocket where nose weight is critical.
Adding Noseweight. The kit comes with 8 ounces of steel shot to be
inserted with epoxy into the nosecone. A finishing nail is to be used as a
retention device for the steel shot/epoxy mixture by drilling a hole crosswise
through the tip of the NC and inserting. The steel shot/epoxy is then poured
over this nail and holds everything in place. The ends of the nail are then
filed or ground down to fit the contour of the nosecone. LOC recommends flying
the V-2 on nothing larger than an I-284 and the weight is calculated
accordingly. But my construction isn't stock. I' e added epoxy and fiberglass
weight. Not a lot of weight but it should be considered. I've also added a
motor retainer. Light, to be sure, but still to be considered. With the rocket
built and primed, I used Rocksim to determine the Barrowman and Rocksim centers
of pressure. There was a big difference in these calculations but I knew the
real Cp was somewhere about 2" ahead of the fins. I then took the biggest
motor (J350) that I thought that I would fly and taped it to the rear of the
rocket. I put the casing into the motor tube and fastened the retainer. I
installed the parachute I'm going to use (60" Top flight after weighing
the V-2 ), 20' of 9/16" military spec nylon tubing, Nomex
shields and quicklinks. I then taped the 8 ounces of steel shot to the tip of
the nosecone. Finding the center of gravity, I added another 6 ounces
(overkill) of steel shot after repeated measurements designed to move the Cg
farther away from the Cp. I wanted 1.0+ calibers for safety and feel I'm pretty
close to that.
Once I felt comfortable with the weight, I mixed the epoxy/steel shot and
poured it into the nosecone and let it cure.
"I Don Wan No Stinkin' Launch Lugs!" Lose the 1/2"
cardboard launch lug and put on a couple of Black Sky (or similar) Delrin rail
guides. Once you use them, you'll never go back. They attach nicely to the
boattail/body tube overlap and to a spot 5" down from the top of the body
tube. Epoxy a 1/2" square piece of body tube at the 5" mark on the
inside of the BT to give the rail guide screw something to bite on.
Painting. V-2 paint schemes are widely varied. There is a paint
scheme for everyone, to be sure. One of my favorites is the dark yellow and
black of V-2 No. 2 flown at White Sands, New Mexico in 1946. I got the painting
detail from Peter Always's Rockets of the World, 3rd Edition. If you don't have
this book, put it on the 'ol birthday or Christmas wish list. It's a necessity.
After prepping the rocket for painting as described with the nosecone, I
found Plasti-Kote "School Bus Yellow", "Gloss Black" and
"Silver" for painting the rocket. Strictly on an opinion basis, I
think P-K paints are a bit more durable than Krylon. Can't substantiate it, but
I think so. Use whatever you' re comfortable with, however, but you may want to
try P-K paints.
Other than spending an enormous amount of time (and blue detail tape) taping
the rocket for the paint scheme, the painting wasn't bad at all. AND! I did not
pull any paint away from the nosecone when I pulled the masking off. What could
be better than that?
And One Final Thing. Remember I was talking about building a rocket
that would be easy to prep and launch? Well, I've back-tracked a bit. I made
provision to put in a 38mm tube that will accommodate a BlackSky AltAcc
accelerometer. This piece of electronics screw mounts to the side of the
airframe and is armed by turning an arming screw. It won't be used for dual
deployment; it will just fire the main at apogee. I don't know if I'll use it,
but just in case.... Creature of habit, I guess.
All in all, a great rocket kit and something different for me. Don't expect
a lot of altitude on this model, though. 1250' on an I357; 1500' on an I211;
1900' on an I300; 2700' on an I435 (if I dare). But those altitudes are plenty
for a short wide-bodied rocket with a parachute at apogee. Lift-offs should be
With 55,000 lbs of thrust generated from a hydrogen
peroxide-methanol motor, the real rocket traveled at over 4400 ft/second. It
was first fired operationally by the Germans with a 1 ton warhead on September
6, 1944, aimed at Paris. After two firings on the 6th, the target was switched
to London on September 7th.
The reality of the V-2 was as the progenitor of the space race between the
U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The United States managed to ship parts for 100 V-2s and
most of the Peenemunde scientists out of post-WWII Germany while the U.S.S.R.
captured the production facilities and most of the missle technicians. What
each country acquired was a rocket test bed capable of reaching an altitude of
52 miles with a range of 225 miles. The V-2 had a throw weight of about 2,000
lbs which amounted to a lot of scientific instruments. The United States fired
some 70 V-2s between 1946 and 1955. From Rockets of the World by Peter Alway.