Black Vulcan Rocket
Order: Newest First
Second Flight, Much Better
September 3, 2007

Monday September 3rd (Labor Day) I launched the Black Vulcan again. This was a MUCH better flight than the first; my retrofitted internal launch lug worked marvelously.

Flight Tested and Found Wanting
May 25, 2007

Sunday May 20th I launched my Black Vulcan for the first time, on a C6-3 engine. It was not the flight I was hoping for, though, with the butt of the rocket swirling in a helical pattern all the way to engine burnout. I have read about Vulcans "tailwagging" on the way up, but I don't remember that my original Centuri Vulcan did that.

Looking at the rocket, I notice that the angle of the body during the tailwagging incident is about the same as the angle of the launch lug on the body. So I have retrofitted my rocket with a launch lug near the nose cone, embedded in the body, and a hole in the aft bulkhead that aligns with that lug. This way, the rocket can track straight up the rod rather than proceeding at an angle.

Project Update
April 23, 2007

Well, I decided I should update this page... it's about time. I did, in fact, use epoxy and BBs to weight the nose cone; I embedded a safety pin (headfirst) into the nosecone and then added a few BBs and a little epoxy at a time until the cone was nearly full. A shock cord was installed, as noted below, with a snap swivel on the end allowing me to exchange the nose cone. I did cut off the excess part of the engine hook; that was harder to do than I expected. Finally, I clear-coated the whole thing. No pictures this time (it doesn't look much different).

Also, I built a second Black Vulcan using parts from the Fliskits Midnight Express. I will post pictures of it soon...

It Looks Better With Nose Cone
March 28, 2007

I painted the nose cone last night, and this morning took this picture with the rocket assembled. It's an empty shell at this point, with no nose weights or recovery system.

You can't see it in this picture, but in the aft-end picture below you can see that the engine hook sticks out pretty far in the back. I may cut it down with tin snips, removing the extra bit that isn't needed, to get a more classic look. Evidently I should have cut the body tube a bit shorter (or used the Sizzler's shorter tube). If I ever build another Vulcanoid I'll have to think about that.

Major Build Progress
March 25, 2007

I picked up a Star Dart/Sizzler combo package at Wal-Mart, and with the Star Dart supplying the missing pieces (except for the nose cone), I got busy building.

Too busy... note that I forgot the Kevlar leader. So, an Estes-style folded paper anchor will be going into this rocket, along with the standard Estes 12" parachute.

Also, here is a picture of my old Vulcan, sans nose cone (which I am going to use for my new Black Vulcan). Note the discoloration caused by the modeling clay. I'm going to use a thimble full of BB's and a little 30 minute epoxy this time. Hopefully it will go better.

Missing Parts Roundup
March 19, 2007

Besides the paper shroud and fin parts provided below, any Vulcan model needs 9" of 18mm body tube (BT-20 in Estes parlance) as well as the usual supporting cast of parts. The Estes Hi-Flier kit has a 9" BT-20, and most of the other parts can be used as well. The original Centuri kit used a 3" and 6" #7 tube (equivalent to a BT-20) with a coupler doubling as the thrust ring, but I see no reason not to just assemble the Hi-Flier's tube in the standard way for that model. I'll be replacing the rubber shock cord and streamer with a parachute (probably homemade), kevlar leader to the thrust ring, and elastic cord connected to the nose cone.

And there's the rub. The nose cone. The original Vulcan used a Centuri PNC-70 nose cone, a hollow unit with no attachment point for the shock cord. The cone had to be filled completely with modeling clay to provide adequate noseweight for the relatively short and heavy rocket.

Trouble is, nobody seems to make a nose cone like that anymore. The Semroc BNC-20B nose cone is a match shapewise, which is really what is needed; but the nose cone will need to be weighted. I have no idea what the weight of the clay from the original kit was, but I'll need to find out in order to substitute enough metal noseweights.

Considering that Estes and Centuri merged years ago, why don't they produce this model? They're just a nosecone shy of the whole kit.

Project Started
March 18, 2007

I'm creating a "clone" of the old Centuri Vulcan rocket. I call my version the "Black Vulcan." At present, I'm still working out some of the details... in particular, with Moldin' Oldies currently unavailable, I'm not sure what I'm going to do for a nosecone. The best "fit" I've found so far is the plastic cone that comes with the Estes Yankee; it's not a match, but it's about the right size and shouldn't look stupid attached to that rocket.

I have created a PDF of the shroud and fins, which can be downloaded below. The font used on the side of the rocket is from:

The font is copyright Tyler Montbriand, and is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license. Please visit the site above for more details.

Click here to download the Black Vulcan PDF.

Anyone wishing to build this model should read the plans, which are available here:


Contents Copyright © 2006 Chris Gonnerman. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated 10/08/2015