Author Topic: Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket  (Read 12613 times)

Offline mvpel

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I'm building a model of the Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB.



I started with a Fliskits RIM-24A Tartar kit, an ancestor of the SM-3 RIM-161, purchased from Paul Linn's shop, Model Aircraft Fabricators, here in Merrimack. Jim Flis, the kit-maker, is a fellow resident of my town as well.

A key component of the kit, of course, was the templates for the shape of the fins, which are made from 3/16" balsa. I also tapered them to sharp leading and trailing edges to match the profile of the real fins - that was quite a bit of fussy work. I cut out five fins and used the best four.

Thanks to Google, I turned up a scale diagram of the SM-3 from an APR Military Affairs Council presentation by the Missile Defense Agency. I pasted a copy of the image into Microsoft Word in an 11x17 page, and carefully scaled the image so that it would be 1:1 with the kit, and then printed that out, double checking that the printer had rendered it accurately. I was then able to use it as a template for the size and position of the upper fins and the strakes - I positioned the image so that the upper end was at the edge of the page, so it made it easy to map everything onto the paper tube.

The Tartar kit formed the upper fins from two pieces of 1/8" balsa, and used a paper wrap to keep the seam from showing. I think this may be due to the fact that a piece of balsa large enough to allow one-piece fins while insuring that the grain is parallel to the leading edge of the fin wouldn't have fit in the bag and would have boosted the price of the kit considerably. The SM-3 fins are shorter, however, so I was able to do it.

I got a sheet of scrap 1/8" balsa from Paul which was just barely big enough to fit five complete upper fins with the correct grain direction. I filled the grain on the sheet before starting, using Elmer's wood filler, and then used a copy of the fin from my 11x17 template to draw the outline of the fin, then sliced each one out. Thankfully, four out of the five came out fine. I sanded the leading and trailing edges sharp, but left the length of the fin squared off. It's not 100% accurate, but the tradeoff is a more sturdy set of fins that will be better able to withstand a parachute landing with less risk of damage.

For the strakes, I used some scrap 1/8" square balsa dowel, again from Paul's scrap bin. As you can see from the photo, I notched the lower strakes into the upper and lower fins, and reproduced the gap between the upper end of the fins and the strakes. (As it happens, I met the engineer responsible for the addition of the strakes at the Excellence in Engineering & Technology Awards back in February.)

The first photo shows the body tube with its seams filled with Elmer's wood filler, and the second photo is the primer coat. The third photo is the latest available of this work in progress, except for a little black pinstripe on the nose cone. The top coat is gloss white paint. Through the process of painting, I followed the recommendations of this excellent article from the Apogee Components Peak of Flight Newsletter, How to Get an Award-Winning Finish on Your Rockets.

Painting the tip of the nose cone was a bit of a trick, but it came out very well. I followed another Peak of Flight article on the subject. It was quite a bit of trial and error to get the right dimensions for the mask piece, but it was well worth the effort for a nice crisp line of gloss black on gloss white.

The next step is masking and painting the black section of the upper end of the body tube. I was at a loss for a while as to how to mask it properly, due to the necessity to paint right up to the tips of the strakes making it all but impossible for masking tape, but I finally hit upon Bob Dively's Liquid Masking Film. I'll apply a thick coat to the upper end, and then cut the line around the body and peel it off of the upper end, leaving the tips of the strakes coated. With this, I'll even be able to do the tiny white squares in the black directly above the tips.

Once that's done, I'll paint the fillets between the fins and the body black with a fine-tip brush. There's also a black stripe along one face of the body, which aligns with the lid of the launcher when the missile is being installed aboard a destroyer, but I'll probably do that with pin-striping tape.

I've been working on finding a colleague who can get me the official documentation of the paint and stencilling for the SM-3. I'm hopeful, as I met a colleague from Missile Systems at this year's IT Forum who seemed confident we could find the right eRoom somewhere. I have an idea to create some custom decals to show the correct serial and model number information, as well as the little hatches and warning labels.

The brown bands, for instance - color ( :D Chrome must have recognized this as a British website and spell-checked that as "colour") coding indicating a rocket motor - also have warning labels in them according to some of the luscious hi-res photos of SM-3 launches that are out there, so I'm thinking I'll do them with decals instead of brown paint. I've got a LibreWriter document in progress with the pieces I've been able to figure out from the photos so far.

I'll update this thread as my work proceeds. Enjoy!
« Last Edit: 08/16/2014 03:58 PM by mvpel »
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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I finally found the photos I was looking for showing the nose cone paint job process.
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline Hobbes-22

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Cool project! Best not launch it from a VLS though  ;D

Offline mvpel

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Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #3 on: 08/16/2014 04:52 PM »
I've been mulling an MK72 booster, too. Making it fly like that would be quite a trick, though. :)
« Last Edit: 08/16/2014 05:01 PM by mvpel »
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline rocketguy101

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Nice job!!  For those diamond taper fins like Nikes, Honest John, etc.  I have used built-up fins (see attached)  A little balsa, some 110# card stock, and CA (for hardening the paper) you can obtain those sharp-edged fins with a lot less hassle than sanding...your fins are beautiful, by the way!
David

Offline mvpel

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That's an interesting approach, RocketGuy! Thanks! And thanks for the compliments!  :)

I found this close-up of the lower end, and the fins in progress, in the same place as the nosecone photos.

I've got a business trip to Huntsville coming up, and hopefully I'll be able to find a colleague to get me into the new missile integration facility at Redstone for a nice tall frosty mug of rocket Kool Aid. I'll be sure to pass along your compliments, Mr. Scott.

Edit: I broke down and bought a basic airbrush kit this morning from Paul, since the general consensus seems to be that it's the only decent way to apply Liquid Mask.
« Last Edit: 08/16/2014 08:05 PM by mvpel »
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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As an aside, here's where I'm planning a visit on my trip down there, looking like mid-September now:

VIDEO: Inside Raytheonís SM-3, SM-6 Missile Interceptor Factory

It's an SM-6 in the video and photos, but it's still cool.
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #7 on: 09/02/2014 12:09 AM »
Rosetta and other information is suggesting that if you can overcome vanderwaals forces the thing would fly apart on its own.

http://tntoday.utk.edu/2014/08/13/ut-research-uncovers-forces-hold-gravitydefying-nearearth-asteroid/

I applied the liquid mask this evening to prep for the upper end of the body's coat of black paint. Should be dry enough to cut and peel tomorrow.
« Last Edit: 09/02/2014 01:57 AM by mvpel »
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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The forums were down, so I decided I'd paint the upper end of the SM-3 model instead. I did the masking with Dively Liquid Mask. It worked reasonably well but I waited a bit too long to peel it off and the black paint was starting to form a skin, and stretched little filaments out onto the white as I peeled the mask away. I was able to use masking tape and the Xacto to quickly pluck most of them off before they set up, though. Not bad for a first try, and you can't even see the issue from two feet away. The next and final paint job is the black "caulking" which goes at the fin roots, which will really make it pop - although it looks pretty spiffy as it stands already - and at the exhaust nozzle. Then I can install the parachutes.
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline Ronpur50

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This will look so amazing in flight!  Can't wait to see it!

Offline mvpel

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Re: Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #10 on: 09/03/2014 03:32 PM »
I think caulking the fin roots is going to be a very long, meticulous, tedious job.  :-\  I'm considering how and whether to mask it. I was thinking about using the thinnest black pinstripe I could find instead of painting it, but without brush marks and a bit of unevenness in the paint line it won't look correct, based on this photo with a bit of slathering showing at the second/third stage interstage.



I have to say that while the SM-6 is pretty hot technology, without the strakes it just doesn't look as good as the SM-3.
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #11 on: 09/05/2014 11:26 PM »
The fin "caulk" will be about twelve feet worth... Maybe a fine-tip enamel pen...

Edit: looked at the Testors enamel markers an the tip was way too big. I'm hesitant to use a fine-tip ink pen for fear that it would run when I put on the clearcoat. We'll see what they have at the local Michael's.
« Last Edit: 09/07/2014 09:40 PM by mvpel »
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline mvpel

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Re: Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #12 on: 10/02/2014 04:06 PM »
I just visited our Missile Integration Facility at the Redstone Arsenal, and got to see some live SM-3 and SM-6 rounds in person. Not up-close and personal, due to the FOD restrictions, but it was still fun. :). Since it's the 2nd of the month, most folks were taking comp time after a big end-of-quarter push.

http://www.raytheon.com/newsroom/feature/rms13_hsv_first.html

We just delivered our 100th recently.

It turns out that the nozzle end of the SM-3 is unpainted stainless, so I'll need to get some silver paint.
"Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they're much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity. A language that makes it hard to write elegant code makes it hard to write good code." - Eric S. Raymond

Offline sghill

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Re: Raytheon Standard Missile 3 Block IA/IB flying model rocket
« Reply #13 on: 01/31/2015 11:31 PM »
I just visited our Missile Integration Facility at the Redstone Arsenal, and got to see some live SM-3 and SM-6 rounds in person. Not up-close and personal, due to the FOD restrictions, but it was still fun. :).

I visited in the 80's several times,  and clearly remember seeing Phoenix missiles being integrated there too!

They had them on saw horses!!!
« Last Edit: 02/01/2015 01:36 AM by sghill »
Bring the thunder Elon!

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