Often times, a project that starts out as one thing can end up as something else entirely. This rocket is a perfect example of that. Originally, I had intended on creating a french rolling pin, for a friend who is a chef, but encountered a flaw in the wood that forced me to reduce its diameter. Unfortunately, the flaw went pretty deep and I ended up taking off far too much material, but as I looked at it, the turned piece of wood reminded me of the rocket toys in the Fallout New Vegas video game. So, not wanting to waste a good piece of wood, and the hour I'd already spent on it, I thought it would be fun to finish it.
Now I'm not going to mince words here. My technique with a brush and paint leaves something to be desired, but I had to ask, 'what's a Repconn rocket without the red and white? So, instead of posting its unfinished counterpart, I decided to complete the rocket with bolts, seams, window and rivets all intact. So please go easy on me with the crooked lines. It's not my usual style of work but I figure if one person finds something useful in this instructable, then the process was all worth it.
I've included, in the images, the three stages of 'complete', from raw wooden rocket, to painted with the red and white, to finishing the detail with bolts, windows and seams.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
- Wood Lathe
- Table saw
- airbrush (optional can be painted by hand)
- Bench sander
- 1.5" square x 8" block of hardwood
- 1.5" x .25" strips of wood
- Sand paper 150, 220 grit
- Paint, - bright red, white, black, burnt umber, sky blue, orange
- Epoxy glue
Step 2: Turning the Rocket Body
The best way to describe the overall shape is as a cob of corn, with the wide part being the nose of the rocket, and the tapered end as the base of the rocket. Overall length is 7" with its widest point being 1.5" thick tapering down to .5". When examining the game stills, I noticed that the nose end had almost faceted sides, so I decided to include those as part of the look. When creating the taper for the base of the rocket, I opted to make it as one facet, terminating in a flat base for the rocket engine. Once the overall shape is created, sand using you 150 and 220 grit paper, then saw off any excess material from turning.
Step 3: Creating the Wings
The hardest part of creating the four wings is mating them to the shape of the rocket. An old trick I've used is taking a piece of solder, and bending it to the shape you want to duplicate, then transcribing that to your template. Once you've established that, the rest is easy. The wings angle out from the base of the rocket at about 10 degrees, and are 3.25" long x roughly 1" wide. The connecting edge, to the rocket is 2" long.
Sanding the wings can be done much easier if you clamp them all together, then use a bench sander to shape them all at the same time. Once the basic shape is created sand them down, individually, using progressively finer grit paper.
Step 4: Attaching the Wings
First, you'll need to measure the bottom 2.5" of the rocket. This is the stop point for the top of the wings. This should leave .5" space in the bottom for the engine. Next, divide the circumference of the rocket in four equal parts and mark it top and bottom to set the position of each wing.
Since this model is a low use item, it wouldn't be unfeasible to simply glue the wings to the body of the rocket, however it doesn't hurt to give it a bit of structural support. The complicated way would be to cut slots into the side of the body for the wings to fit into making them one piece. This would be extremely strong, but completely unnecessary for our needs, and a lot of extra work for nothing. Instead, I created metal 'dowels' that would reinforce the structure of the wing, keeping them safe enough to be handled without needing to be careful.
To reinforce the wings, drill two holes, in the connecting edge, approximately 3/4" from each edge wide enough to fit a cut piece of wire and glue them into place using 5 minute epoxy. Next, transcribe the post locations onto the body of the rocket where the wing will fit, and drill the other side.
Once all four wings have been drilled, glue them into position, two at a time, using your 5 minute epoxy. To ensure the wings stay aligned, clamp two strips of wood across them, as you see in the third image.
Step 5: The Basic Colors
The essential colors of the Repconn rocket is red for the nose and wings and white for the body. Its a good idea to start with a good coat of primer before applying your color to ensure good adhesion. Once your white base coat is dry, mask off areas that you don't want to be red then apply paint. If you get a bit of bleed under the tape, don't worry too much since you'll be outlining the red using the orange/yellow.
For the outlining, I used a long thin detailing brush and performed it by hand, but if you're looking for a cleaner finished model, I'd recommend masking and painting.
Lastly, mask off the edge .15" of the wings and paint it using your orange/yellow.
Now, if you're painting skills are like mine, you can stop here. There's no shame in it. However, if you want to try and create a true replica move on to the next step but keep in mind, it's more a 'do as I say not as I do' type of tutorial from here on in.
Step 6: Adding Detail
It's difficult to use a ruler on a round object, so part of the detail work, involving straight lines anyway, was created using masking tape as edging. To reproduce the rivets, I used the cut end of a q-tip, dipped in paint and for the windows I recreated with two different sizes of leather hole punch.
As mentioned, since this project was for fun, I opted to go with a freehand paint job, but with some time and attention to detail you can create a realistic game prop.
Step 7: Finished
That's it. I hope you have as much fun in creating this project as I did.
As usual, I hope you enjoyed the instructable and thanks for following.