Texas Firefly (SemRoc)

The Semroc Texas Firefly is a 175% upscale of the Centuri Firefly released back in 1968. It was billed then as "the world's smallest two-stage rocket."

Length: 14.3" (36.3 cm)
Diameter: 1.34" (3.4 cm)
Fin Span:  7.2" (18.3 cm)
Weight: 2.1 oz (59.6 g)
Recovery: 12" Parachute
Fins: Laser cut balsa
Max. Altitude: 1650 ft. (500 m)
Recommended Engines: B6-0, B6-6, B6-4, C6-0, C6-7

CLICK ON ANY PICTURE below to see a larger image.


This is probably the most attractively packaged kit I've unpacked to date. The instructions are beautiful, and thought the decals were missing, but they're hiding in the BT.

Here we go.

Laser cut basswood fins. Very nice. Sanded both sides before removing.

Ok, here is where I start to stray away from the instructions. I've decided not to install the MMTs until after painting is complete. I noticed later on the nozzle is added and thought "why glue twice?" so I installed it now so it could glue into place at the same time as the centering rings.

I'll paint the nozzle assembly later prior to installation.

Note the kevlar tether on the sustainer MMT.
tf04-booster.jpg tf05-sustainer.jpg

Here is the booster with fins attached and filleted.

The same here for the sustainer.

Me and balsa nose cones aren't the best of friends. Trying another way to smooth this baby, coated the nose cone with a film of wood glue.

Later, I sanded most of it off. It didn't seem to do well when I primed it. I think I'll use a hammered paint on the nose anyway, so it shouldn't matter.

Here is she is dry fitted together. After assembly I rounded all the leading edges of the fins.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my new camera? Macro setting is so cool!

Here is two coats of Krylon white primer. I'll sand real well and put on one more light coat before moving on to painting.

I just noticed I forgot the launch lug. Ugh!
tf10-nosepnt.jpg tf11-bodypnt.jpg tf12-boostpnt.jpg

After much internal debate and too many weeks on the road, I've decided to go ahead and paint this puppy with the stock paint scheme from the cover art.

Nose - red

Body - silver

Sustainer - yellow

When I add the launch lug later, it will be all black. I'm going to add the laser turrets after painting as well, all painted black with black wrapovers for added detail.

Here you can see the booster all assembled. The prepainted nozzle-MMT glued firmly in, lots ofg wood glue since the MMT was a bit loose. I had to keep rotating and blowing out the vent holes to keep them clear.

Then added the coupler and couple of decals.

The finished nose cone is nearby.
tf14-laserwrap.jpg tf15-laserwrap2.jpg tf16-reardone.jpg

Here you can see the adhesive squares I've premeasured and the laser turrets I've already cut and sanded. Instead of paint, I'm going to use the black Sharpie to color the paper and paper edges.

I've dipped the ends of the turrets in BLACK and METALLIC RED Testor's paint and let dry. The wraps are colored now, too.

Sanded the fin tips clean, then attached the turrets with white glue, let set. The wraps went in place afterward nicely.

Well, the decals looked SWEET going on until I got the main fins. I'd opted for black fins, what I thought was a harmless diversion from the stock paint job. Masked and painted them perfectly, I was so proud.

The decals are transparent. UGH. So the red racing stripes disappeared completely when I tried to put them on the fins. I hand painted some red in the area the decal would go in hopes it would help, it did some, but the perfect rocket took on a little amateurish tone in this area.

If the decals aren't white-backed, or ALPS, the instructions should REALLY warn you about that.

Anyway, here she is all done. Now, it's vacation time! Off to Niagara Falls.