14, 2016 Update: Yay, my Estes Mercury Redstone is finally complete! The kit was purchased on eBay sometime
around 2011 and sat around until, according to the date I wrote on the instruction sheet, I began building
it on January 12, 2014. The final coat of clear was sprayed on today, and that finishes the job.
The rocket would have been done a year ago except that for some reason I had a really bad experience
when spraying the Rustoleum black paint. It wrinkled at the first attempt, so I painstakingly sanded
it off, taped everything off again, and re-sprayed. The same thing happened again! At that point I blamed
the paint because as always, I wiped the model's surfaces with Windex and alcohol just prior to spraying
and was careful not to touch the cleaned areas. All the paint used had been purchased at Lowes within
the previous month or so, and the date codes indicated well within the shelf life. I've painted many,
many models of all sorts with enamel, lacquer, and dope, and never had anything like this occur. I sanded
the black off for a second time, and then put the Mercury Redstone away until I could muster up the
nerve to try again.
Fortunately, the third time was a charm. Using a new can of black paint (the other can was discarded),
the black fin patterns were freshly taped off and sprayed. It turned out perfect - one of the cleanest
set of lines I've ever produced.
Self-adhesive plastic black fins decals were provided, but I wanted it to look more authentic. I
was originally going to paint the upper body checkerboard black and white patterns, but detailing the
panel lines and lettering would have been more work that I was willing to put into it. The decals were
used there and for the United States lettering. I did, however, hand-paint the white 'crack' in the
Liberty Bell capsule. Two coats of semi-gloss clear were sprayed over everything both for protection
and to seal the edges of the decals.
For now, it sits atop the antique oak
secretary cabinet that I refinished many moons ago. Once the Saturn 1B
rocket model is complete, I plane to build a display platform for all three to stand together.
Original Page Content: Somewhere along the line, I owned an
Estes Mercury Redstone model rocket. I distinctly remember building that red egress tower out of 1/16"
wooden dowels. There was a lot of work involved; not as much, however, as the Estes Saturn V model required. I cannot recall what happened to my Estes Mercury Redstone,
but I do not think I ever actually launched it. It probably got lost after I went into the U.S. Air
the left are pages 44 and 45 out of the 1971 edition of the
1971 Estes Model Rocketry Catalog
that featured the Saturn V and Saturn 1B models.
Price = $3.95 | Length = 23.5" (59.7 cm)
Body Diameter = 1.637" (41.6 mm)
Weight = 2.1 oz (60
On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard piloted a 15-minute suborbital flight in the Freedom 7 spacecraft,
which was launched atop the Mercury Redstone booster, to become the first American in space.
Here is the Estes Mercury Redstone model rocket that I purchased on eBay. As you can see in the picture
to the right, this version of the kit has a lot of plastic parts, which surely will make it much simpler
to build than the original one mentioned above.
Mercury Redstone Lifting off from Cape Canaveral Mercury Redstone
Rocket in Flight
Here is a list of my other rocket models.