Bertha’s Breech Baby – Part 4

Build Complete

Breech Baby in paint

I completed the Breech Baby build late last week and got it filled, primed and painted over Friday and Saturday. I’m very satisfied with the final outcome of this build. The lack of a nose cone seam is a nice look. The only disappointment I had in the finish is that I had tried to have three red stripes just forward of the fins, but a paint reaction with the clear coat forced me to abort that idea. I may pick up some red pin-striping tape to reconstruct that design element.

I used 2 coats of red Krylon Fusion, with an 800 grit wet-sand between coats. After masking the fins and stripes, I followed with a light coat and then a heavier coat of Rustoleum “black night metallic” before stripping the masking and another light 800 grit wet-sand. The rings looked pretty good, but not quite as crisp a line as I had hoped. Still, for an “experimental” model that may end its days on the first flight I was happy.

However, when I shot a coat of Rustoleum “crystal clear enamel” the wheels came off. The red paint in the rings wrinkled badly, and the wrinkling continued up under the black. No problem on the fins though, so there’s that I guess.

This is actually the second time I’ve had a paint reaction with this particular red paint. The first was on an Estes Sterling Silver I built earlier this summer. In that case I had let it sit for about 24 hours before shooting the clear, and I had thought that was the issue. Since I had applied all of the coats in one afternoon/evening, I thought I’d be OK. Maybe it’s bad juju for mixing brands, or perhaps the formulation of this red paint is particularly sensitive. I also have a can of the Krylon Fusion in orange that has never given me issues with mixing brands.

Fortunately, I successfully sanded the wrinkles smooth, and then shot another coat of the Rustoleum black, followed by another coat of clear.

Maiden flight

Sunday evening presented just perfect conditions for Breech Baby to have its first flight. Temps in the mid-70’s, scattered clouds, and virtually no wind to speak of.

I loaded in a B6-4, hit the “go” button and the rocket went straight off the pad, arcing slightly to the North during the coast phase. Ejection appears to have been just a bit before apogee at I guess 400-500′. I’ll have to see how it does on a B6-6. The motor pod ejected and and the canopy deployed perfectly and it floated down for an in-field landing maybe 100′ from the pad.

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