Having managed to obtain a few Little Joe II (Estes 0892)
I built one a few weeks ago and realized that a few
construction notes would be of use to those planning
to build one.
The capsule is identical to the 1/100 Saturn V and Saturn
1B, which means that some surface details have to be sanded
off to be accurate for the LJII. I tried to use an Exacto
blade and ended up using a sanding block with 100 grit, which
did a much better job. You just have to be patient.
The wraps were fairly straight forward. I used spray
adhesive type 77 for the main wrap, which worked well. I used
carpenters glue for the small conduits and wraps, and wish I had
either used something I could clean up with solvent, or been
more careful as some leftover glue spots are visible. The
ribbing on the lower wrap is quite subtle and doesn't hide
The fins were not pre-cut, as the balsa has a triangular cross
section. You glue them to the wrap, which is not very strong.
The layers of the paper delaminate very easily. I strongly
suggest using the "rivet" method, of punching holes with a
thumbtack down through the wrap, into the body tube. I didn't do
this originally and a fin broke off as the rocket fell over on
the table! Afterwards, with rivets, it's taken a couple
of hard landings and survived perfectly.
In general, the end result is a very nice, cute, model
with good flying characteristics. I've flown it on
both A3-4T and A10-3T, and think the A10 is the better
engine. Between the drag and weight, the A4 doesn't
seem to get it up there as well.
I have a spare kit (besides the ones I'm auctioning off)
and plan the following modifications:
1) 18 mm mount. It only goes 400 feet on an A, so maybe I'll
put a B4-4 in it. C power might be too much.
2) Internal launch lug. The LL as is is rather obtrusive to
the otherwise very scale appearance, IMHO.
3) Tissue paper on the fins. Even after 3-4 coats of sanding
sealer, a slight grain is still visible.
With a color xerox of the decal and copies of the wraps, I
imagine an upscale would be simple. The cone/capsule
would probably be easy to duplicate in a larger scale, and
is a simple cone with lots of toothpicks.
Has anyone tried this?