I went for building model rockets (a familiar subject for me, as a member of the VRO, The Flemish Rocket Organisation). The classic Klingon Battle Cruiser was the obvious choice. With its back swept wings, large nacelles, long “neck” and small bow section, it is probably the easiest ship in the Star Trek Universe to convert to a rocket for atmospheric flight.
Obviously there is the classic Estes Klingon Battle Cruiser kit, but that one requires some serious modelling skills. In this project I worked out a simplified, so called “sports scaled” version that can be built by anyone (with some guidance of course). In the workshop the concept proved to be quite robust. Several participants had little experience in model building, but the concept proved to be quite robust and with some guidance all were able to build a flying Battle Cruiser by themselves.
This Ible should guide you when building this Klingon Battle Cruiser yourself, providing you have some previous experience in rocket building or in building flying models in general. For the fans that do not have any model rocket experience, I recommend to get help from someone who does. My friends from the Belgian Voyage Club can testify it’s a great project to share between newbies and more experienced modellers. For those familiar with the skill levels in building model rockets: I would consider it a Level 3 on the Estes scale of 5. Obviously, it could also become the base of a more detailed flying scale model.
Along the instructions on the build in this Ible, I also explain the choices I made to simplify the model and the lessons learned from the workshop. The pictures shown in this Ible are from both a test build on a couple of dark autumn nights at home and from the workshop. You can see the happy builders and their launches in the last step.
Building and launching rockets can be dangerous, but there are plenty of sources where you can get the info on starting with that hobby safely, so I’m not going into the correct way to launch model rockets. See for example this Model Rocketry 101 Guide.
As English is not my native language, please feel free to point out any errors or unclear text.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
Materials (first picture, from top to bottom, left to right):
A piece of 2mm thick balsa, 100 mm by 500 mm
A thin walled cardboard tube 20mm in diameter and 235 mm in length.
A standard 19mm model rocket motors should fit in it.
A wooden egg 40 by 60 mm
A half ball, about 10mm diameter, in plastic or wood.
Half the length of a standard 19mm diameter model rocket motor casing (A, B, or C type), emptied.
A screw hook or eye, maximum 13mm wide.
A streamer or a small parachute.About 50cm of Kevlar string as “shock cord”.
A launch lug, about 9 cm long.
Tools, paint and adhesives (second picture, from top to bottom, left to right):
Sanding paper, medium grit
Gouache paint (school paint). I mixed the colour from blue, yellow, red and white
Cutting surface (I worked on cardboard, for the workshop it was not possible to provide enough self-healing cutting mats)
A metal ruler
Spray adhesive (contact glue)
A (columnar) drill and a 2mm drill bit (not shown)
If you use the wooden egg, a belt sander comes in handy (not shown)
Something to protect your working surface from (spray) adhesive (like old newspapers, cardboard… , not shown)
For the workshop we also used non-stick baking paper to work on when using superglue (not shown)
Launching equipment (third picture, from top to bottom, left to right):
A launch pad (I used a tripod made from water pipes) with deflector plate
An ignition system
A model rocket motor: B6-2 (first flight) or C6-3 (I used German WECO motors)
An igniter (I used KLIMA igniters)
An igniter plug (an Estes one is shown)
A 3mm launch rod