A LOT of this project was engineered on the fly and by no means reflects the best way to approach the tasks described. It's just how I did it and you're welcome to make changes any way that suit your engineering skills.
I offer this in hope that this 'instructable' will inspire others to build and fly similar projects.
Step 1: Preamble
This ISN'T a scale project; the "Mercury Booster" is a little thicker than the real thing. The "Mercury" capsule is built from the GI Joe unit, is under scale as well.
The big challenge of this project is to perfect a system that allows the capsule to free-fall to a safe altitude before deploying its parachutes. Technically this is no more than a dual deployment flight, but the added complication of extracting the tower so the capsule can free-fall is anything but simple.
At apogee the capsule (with tower) will decouple from the booster.
The capsule has a deployment bag attached to the heat shield which will pull out the pilot chute for the booster.
The decoupling activates an ejection charge timer inside the tower, allowing for the capsule and tower to drift away from the booster which will be unfurling its main chute.
Once the tower charge has fired and its chute has inflated, the weight of the capsule causes it to fall free off the tower base.
The capsule free-falls to about 1500' before deploying a pilot and main chute combination.
With all going to plan, video of the flight is captured from the booster, looking up and down, the Tower, looking down and the capsule, both interior and an additional view down.