Build: Estes D-Region Tomahawk

Hey all.  Today I wanted to mention some steps done for my Estes D-Region Tomahawk and its build which started in January 2017.  This has been my favorite fleet flier and I would like to share its life up till now!

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#2037 Estes D-Region Tomahawk.  Out of Production, but available on Amazon HERE!

The parts laid out below show the plastic and paper parts used to assemble this kit.  I like this kit, because as a model car builder (hence my original moniker being “comodelbuiler”), I used to LOVE to build plastic kits.  This makes a transition to model rocketry pretty easy.  This kit is also rated a Skill Level 2 by Estes.  Anyone having any experience with builds can create this as a masterpiece!

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Parts laid out from the bag.  Simple and sweet!

One of the things I did not do during this build was detail the construction of the plastic components with the cardboard.  I apologize for this.  During those steps I used a combination of white Elmer’s Craft Glue and Testor’s Model Cement.  The stinky one!!

You’ll see that some of the first details as pictured above are relative to the flash card.  Body Tube was painted Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover WHITE primer.  Yes… White Primer.  I think it gives the model a good flat finish.  I would also recommend making any type of military or sounding rocket a flat finish for the aesthetic, however, its a model and build it how you want it.  The following other colors with links to them are below:

Of course, get paint where you can.  The Chrome can be purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s if that’s available to you.  The other colors can be purchased at WalMart.

Here is more detail of the nose cone.  This is done before the color in on the rivets

D-Region Tomahawk Nose Cone - Pre Detail
D-Region Tomahawk Nose Cone – Pre Detail

I’m pretty proud of the lining up of the paint.  This can be done with painters masking tape for all intents and purposes.  I like to use Tamiya #87031 10mm Masking Tape.  Tamiya tape is a little thinner than normal size tape.  Think of a size mix of masking tape vs Scotch Tape.  You can get this in a various amount of sizes however, I use this size specifically.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think! You can also usually purchase this at your local Hobby Lobby or HobbyTown stores.

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Next part of this build was the detail for the “rivets”.  This became important because of the small details and potential chance to get paint everywhere.  I used the following products to create the silver painted attributes.

Paint:
Silver Testors Enamel Plastic Model Paint

Swab Applicator:
Testors Micro Sponge Set #287993

The small blue sponges make it easy to dab in the silver Testor’s paint and twirl the paint on the rivet location.  In this next pic is the detail of my nose cone!

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I know there is a regular Q-tip in the picture.  Thing about this is, you can use some paint thinner to quickly clean off your paint mistakes as long as the base spray paint is clean.  A trick I’ve adapted in a ton of builds.

Next thing on the list is the TIP of the nose cone.  For whatever reason, this is a solo triangular piece that has to be put on this nose cone mold with Model Cement.

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The easiest way to go about this, in order to NOT paint any of the areas where glue needed to be applied, was to attach it to some double stick tape.  In this case, just rolled-over blue tape, which stuck to a piece of paper, allowed me to spray paint it with the same brown I used on the Nose Cone.

This was glued with the stinky Testors Model Glue that I had mentioned before.  This rocket has been launched over 8 times since the date of this posting, and this part has NOT come off.

One of the final steps that I do is mount the shock cord after the model is painted.

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You can see on the inside of the tube, where the Estes Tri-Fold Shock Cord Mount is attached, there is a glossy glue.  This is better known to everyone as 30 minute BSI Epoxy.  I like to coat the tri-fold tab with this as now it won’t tear off with normal glue as its “sealed” around the edges.  This CAN be removed if pried off, but not as it currently sits. If a motor’s ejection charge would be strong enough to rip that off, I’d be surprised, however, I can bet the rubber elastic would have issues first.  Using a tri-fold with some Kevlar sounds like a pretty good plan! Maybe next time!

As we near the end of the build, I have a few things to say about his kit… In Review.

  • The kit is a model builder’s easy transition into Model Rocketry, which is exactly why I chose to build it as one of my first kits back into the hobby.
  • The kit is now Out of Production, so only a few vendors have it.  Search your local Hobby Shop, Amazon, eBay or even your local clubs as persons still have these for sale!
  • The quality of the parts is unmatched.  Estes outdid themselves with the detail of the plastic parts, the normal pieces and the decals.  Even for as small as they are, they are super detailed.
  • Do yourself a favor and reinforce the fin joints with a good setting epoxy.  The normal model cement will eventually break down as well as CA (super glue) and won’t hold into a few launches.  I have reinforces three of the four fins with epoxy, and on the last launch, the damn last fin I didn’t reinforce broke off.

The final result.  This was completed on February 13th, 2017.  

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This unit has been launched a number of times.
Enjoy the videos below of this same rocket in action!

The first launch was done 3 days after it was built on 2/16/17.  I first tried to launch it with a C11-7 which resulted badly.  It simply wasn’t enough power.  I then put a D12-3 in which gave it some go in the Cherry Knolls Park in Centennial CO where I usually launch smaller birds!

On August 11, 2017, I met a friend from the Facebook Model Rocket Fanatics page.  Rick Needham and I met in Thornton CO for the first “Mile High Air Assault” meet, with just him and I because we are cool like that.  This was the first time that I used an Mate 808 keychain cam on one of my rockets.  Rick was kind enough to let me use his to record the following UNCUT video.  Its long, so hopefully you have some time!  Rick’s son in law was nice enough to grab the fin that popped off on this video.  You’ll see that this happens alot in other vids posted.

The following launch was at the Local C.R.A.S.H. group’s launch at Bear Creek Park in Lakewood CO on 11/05/17.  This kit gets fantastic performance from an E9 series Estes Black Powder motor.  If you have the space, don’t be afraid to launch this with a E30 composite motor!

The latest launch was in January of 2018.  The following footage has normal view and another Mate 808 keychain view in the same video.  This one was done by me as I have purchased a camera to use on my launches.

 

Thanks everyone for checking out my post for my Estes D-Region Tomahawk.  Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  If you have any questions, please feel free to message me through the site or follow me on social media @modelrocketguy

— You must build them to fly them, so have fun doing so! —

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