(Contributed - by Jim Bassham - 05/12/10)
This is a modification of the Estes Patriot kit into a semi- model of the Little John
tactical nuclear missile
The motor mount was built and installed in the shortened as per the
instructions (LJ01). The yellow tube was modified into a payload section by use of a nose block from Balsa
machining. I formed a "eye hook" from a paperclip and ran it through the balsa block and bent the ends over
inside the payload so that it couldn't come out(LJ02). I used a spare BT20
tube cut to 3" long and two BT60 to BT 20 centering rings to make a holder for a PerfectFlite ALK15
I cut a hole in the base of the to allow the altimeter to fit and held it in with a foam plug(LJ03). The
FlisKits served as the shock cord mount (LJ04)
The fins were made from 1/16" balsa and mounted on the same lines as the patriot fins, 1/8" from the
back of the rocket.
here for the fin pattern.
I cut the into two 3/4" pieces and mounted them at the top and bottom of the main tube, on the
same line as the Patriot marking guide.
- BT-60 body tube 10 15/16" long (made from the two patriot white tubes cut to length)
- Yellow Patriot Body tube
- Patriot Nosecone
- BT 60 Balsa from Balsa Machining Co.
- BT 60 from FlisKits
- Plastic 12" from patriot kit
- (optional for altimeter mount)
- BT-20 cut to 3" length
- (2) BT60 to BT20 Centering rings
Aside from the addition of a bay, the rocket goes together very much like the patriot kit.
Painting is relatively simple since the entire rocket is olive drab. I used Tamiya AS-6 Olive drab paint.
The "U.S. Army" letters are vinyl 1/4" R/C aircraft lettering that I laid out on wax paper and then
cut slivers out of to simulate the look of army stencils.
I then laid masking tape over the letters and peeled them off of the wax paper and transferred them to the rocket.
The finished rocket turned out to look a lot like the real thing, I felt (LJ05).
This was my second modification of a Patriot kit. The first was a two-stage kit bash I built for the 2009 EMRR
challenge called the "Yellow Jacket" (LJ07)
The rocket flew very well (LJ06). And I made several successful altimeter flights. It
flew pretty consistently to around 550' on a C6-5. But after a few flights it was clear that I needed a more positive
retention for the altimeter and nosecone. On most flights, the altimeter slammed forward at ejection and wedged into
the nosecone, and twice, the force was strong enough to dislodge the nosecone and it (with the altimeter) fell free of
the rocket for a . I think a longer tube, with a BT20 nose block and a small pin run through it would be
a better retention system.
On one long road trip, the rocket got crushed in a box, and despite straightening out OK for display, it just
doesn't fly straight anymore. So, after 7 flights, I retired it.
I think this is a good conversion that builds into a sweet looking rocket. It needs a more
positive nosecone and altimeter retention method though.
This kit taught me a lot about the importance of really securing things like altimeters and nose
cones. is just not enough over time.