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Aim for the sky and try not to miss!
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Dornier 217 N2 with Schrage (JAZZ) Musik
By: David Bauer

For my 9th scratch build I decided for some reason to build a sporty scale Dornier 217 N2 night fighter with 4 motors, 2 D12-3’s and 2 C6-0’s. With a gift card to Hobby Lobby from Santa and multiple trips with the coupon I was able to afford 2 mini DRM’s a Baby B, a Patriot and 2 packs of motors with $0.21 left over. I used the last of my grey paint and old decals, along with the powdered tungsten (Heftonium) given to me by a great guy at the club. Even more nose weight was required so plasticine with more Copperhead BB’s shoved in made the plug. Shoved into the plug was the capped 18mm canted motor tubes whose exhaust would act as real flame fins. I was tired of putting the motors in the back of the rocket, or even mid-way, I wanted them up front like the Chinese had done in the first place. The motors needed to act as nose weight because the mind simmed CP was just so darn forward on this air plane I was flying as a rocket.

The 2 plastic mini DRM nose cones turned out to not to be to my liking, so I confiscated two Custom nose cones from an Ion Pulsar and Sam X that fit the DB 601 engine profile better. I crammed in 2 plastic chutes and some underwear elastic and attached it to the last of my precious Kevlar cord that I glued to the outside of the motor tube. Fearing tail burn I lifted the tail up slightly, but not enough to make it look bad in my opinion. The last of my hardware store epoxy clay made up the windscreen because weightiness up front is a good thing. All tolled she weighed about 20 oz. on the Weight Watchers food scale. 8.5 oz. of stinking nose weight, not including the motors or epoxy glob windscreen.

With the installation of the Jazz Music cannons in the fuselage I was ready to down some British night bombers. Would they play “When the Saints Go Marching In” after the launch? Would there be another Happy Time for the U-Boat service? Happy Dixie Land Jazz Music played in my mind but as I sat and mind simmed what would happen if all four motors did not light I began to hear nothing but Wagnerian Funeral Musik. Happy Dixie Land was replaced by Teutonic Ring Opera. Gotterdammerung – Siegfried’s Tod und Trauermarsch. No Hope Simms were left, nor was there a Colonel Harry Potter to shout at Major Winchester to turn off that Blasted Luftwaffe serenade.

So much fear built up I gave it only a 40% chance of success. Surely the unequal thrust from one motors would send it into a crashing death spiral. The Pad Fuehrer on the other hand, gave it a 98% chance of success, I think he was just trying to bolster my sagging confidence. Our certified Level 3 member called it a glorified Pop Bottle rocket. Well, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings!

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Happy Times today. Play that Jazz Music! All four lit and it flew like a champ. Deployed both chutes and came down nose first as expected. Beautiful weather to launch, 51 degrees F and little to no wind. Some damage to the weak low power tubes on landing but nothing serious, and now I know where to reinforce more on the fuselage and from the hot D ejection charges on the tightly packed recovery system.
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Some may think canting the motors above CG, using them for nose weight and flame fins at the very front of a WWII bomber rocket is a bit unnatural. But by encompassing a broader view of the Force one can begin to realize the power of the Dark Side. Only by using the power of the Dark Side will you be able to powerfully fly the rockets you love. Once started down the path of the Dark Side forever will it rule your destiny.

Repairs are done and the DO 217 N2 is again serviceable to defend the night skies over the Reich. Some reinforcement plates arrived from Dornier Werke in Friedrichshafen as Prof-Dr. Claudius Dornier determined the second version needed some structural strengthening. The inside of the tubes received a coat of thin CA and the sleeve plates covered up any tube repair sin. Hauptmann Kitty will make me repaint the camouflage as he fears ground attack from roving Allied fighters and is a real stickler for proper camouflage. He really got on my case for taking photos before all painting had been completed, not wanting the release of such photos showing that he was running a second rate outfit. Fortunately there is still some RLM Grauviolett for a quick repaint.
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Thanks to Roland Halpern we did get some good combat footage of the second DO 217 sortie.
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