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Aim for the sky and try not to miss!
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P61 - Black Widow
By: David Bauer

Parts list:

BT 60, Baby Bertha nose cone, Renegade nose cone, Scrap balsa blocks or nose cones for spinners, turret, windscreens, 3/16 balsa sheet for wings and heavier stock (5/8”) for booms, plenty of card stock from kit face cards for shrouds, Canted 18 mm motor mount, 2 chutes, Kevlar, lots of nose weight material, carbon fiber tube for guns.

A SU D21-4 T forward mounted cluster will give true 18mm mid power to this old war bird. With luck and hope both motors will light to kick the Black Widow and all that nose weight up into the air. The build is finished and she is now ready for beauty school. Built out of a Baby B kit and scrap parts she fits the budget and is guaranteed to provide upwards of five seconds of pure model rocketry entertainment. With ample drag I have invested the time to actually round the edges and no label paper will be used, just smelly old school finishing materials like sanding sealer and green Squadron putty. To avoid the hibachi ejection charges the inside tube is reinforced in front of the centering ring with another glued layer of mighty paper tube and soaked with thin CA for poor boy phenolic. Hopefully some packed dog barf along with the color paper squares they use on parade floats will keep my high end plastic chutes from melting in the tightly packed tube. Why do these scale jobs never have enough room to pack in chutes, wadding and nose weight?

This is a special super- secret P-61. Not the B or F-15 Reporter model, but the virtually unknown RENEGADE model. It is so secret I can’t find any documentation so it has to stay in the Sporty Scale category. Rumor has it that a model rocket company later copied the rear fuselage for a nose cone design but that is still unconfirmed. The P 61 Renegade had a built in JATO cluster and on demand rocket boost, finally making it faster than that darn RAF Mosquito!

Knowing that I need sick amounts of nose weight for my silly designs one of the guys at the club has given me some “Heftonium” to cram into the Baby B nose cone. It is the same stuff used by the Krauts in anti-tank rounds that went through Allied tanks like a hot knife through butter until they ran out of the stuff. Wolfram is what he called it, the main ingredient in old style light bulbs. Boy it is sure dense! And being really dense is a good thing when flying rockets like this. The P 61 scored the last kill of the Second World War on the night of August 14, 1945, hopefully I will not score my first unstable model rocket kill with this one.

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After the Black Window gets home from the beauty shop she just might steal your heart, and you have no chance if she turns in a good flight performance. At first I am just going to put the guns in the turret and leave it clean, no prop blades or hard point attachments. Hopefully the TTW construction and the reinforced paper will hold up as it is hard to keep the weight and drag down and strength up. Every little bit of added weight has to be made up for in the nose which quickly leads to a lot of double trouble. Hopefully it will be a good compromise and have many successful flights. My original plan was to have the air flow through the twin booms but it now looks like I will just make them drag as the required holes would just not look good, and looking good is the most important aspect for any widow.


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Launched the P 61 clustered on 2 SU D21-4s using the trusty copperheads supplied with the motors. Ripped off the pad on awesome E-42 composite power - forget the canting, this P 61 is a speedy 18mm powered bird. The delay was a tad short as it was just arcing over, but 7 seconds might have been a tad long. The heat from the ejection charge melted the shroud lines just enough to stick to the nylon parachute and it did not pop on the body section. The Estes plastic chute on the heavy nose cone was just fine. Darn, the light body section would have glided somewhat if not attached to a chute and long piece of Kevlar! No damage except for some first layer paper blistering in the interior of the CA soaked tube. Darn hot ejection charges into a very confined area with thin walled tubes. Maybe it is time to cut out some beer can liner to help out with the float tissue paper and dog barf wadding, Nomex would be a last ditch and high end solution. Nice straight flier, just like a traditional 3FNC park flier for the kids. In thrust we trust. In canted flame fins we trust. In massive stinking nose weight we trust. In copperheads with 12V we trust. . .well maybe that is going a trust too far.


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My trusty assistant questions the use of copperheads. I fiddle to get the copperheads just right. P 61 rips of the pad in a blur of composite motor thrust!
More pics of the slow, flat spin recovery of the body section.
Thanks again to Roland Halpern for the pictures!

rockets! ROCKETS! lookit all the rockets!
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