The Semroc V-2 model rocket kit was modeled after the original
Estes V-2. The V-2 is one of the Estes models that I always planned on building as a kid, but for some
reason - most likely budgetary - I never got around to it. What I liked about the Semroc kit was that
it kept with the original all balsa components rather than substituting molded plastic parts for the
nose cone and tail section.
German engineers, headed by Wernher von Braun, designed the
V-2(Vergeltungswaffe 2; i.e., Retribution Weapon 2) during World War II to deliver warheads to London and other European cities. They wanted
to be able to launch from within Germany, and doing so required an active guidance system to assure
accurate delivery over spans of hundreds of miles. The V-2's inertially stabilized guidance platform
did the job. After being captured by Allied forces, Wernher von Braun eventually headed the
Mercury and Apollo projects for NASA.
This page was originally created in 2012, shortly after ordering the V-2.
Now, about 4½ years later, I finally have it built.
The building process was pretty straight-forward. The
Estes Fin Alignment Guide was used for attaching the fins. It was the first time
I ever used the jig. Because of the way the bottom of the Semroc V-2's body curved inward, I needed
to add a spacer to the blank engine tube used to hold the body in place on the jig
(see photo). After marking the locations for the four fins on the body
tube, I placed the body tube on the jig and then used thin strips of masking tape to hold it rigidly
perpendicular to the base while using a plastic architect's triangle for alignment. Next, the four plastic
fin plates were slid into the base of the jig and were also set perpendicular and taped for rigidity.
Estes does not say to do so, but the Estes Fin Alignment Guide is not rigid enough on its own to guarantee
perpendicularity. Finally, the fins were glued to the body tube using Duco cement.
To back up a little bit, before gluing the fins to the body
tube, I used home-made balsa filler (clear dope + talcum powder) to seal the grain on the balsa fins,
and then pre-primed both the fins and the body tube. Sanding the fins after attachment would have been
a real pain in the posterior. Both the fin edges and attachment points on the body tube were carefully
sanded clear of primer prior to gluing. A few layers of Duco cement were used to build up a fillet between
the fins and body. I did not bother trying to get the scale-like increased fillet near the bottoms of
Oh, I forgot to mention that the balsa provided for fashioning
the servo pods on the fins was way too soft for use, and appeared to be a tad undersized per photographs
of the full-size V-2 rocket. I substituted hard balsa.
To the right is a photo of my Estes Saturn V, Estes Mercury
Redstone, and Semroc V-2 together.
The paint job I used for the Semroc V-2 model rocket is the one shown on the packaging cover. However,
after looking back at the photo I took of the real V-2 on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space
Museum sometime back in the early 1980s, I wish I had painted it that way instead. Oh well, maybe someday
I'll get bored and re-paint it that way.
of the V-2 Program (NOVA)
This documentary film produced by the NOVA staff has previously unseen footage of Germany's rocket
program, focusing primarily on the V-2 rocket development. Interestingly for people like us, it shows
how model rocketry was a major sport in Germany during the period between World War I and World
War II. There is some great footage of laymen's attempts at launching model rockets.