Assembly: Athena and the Mean Machine

I put together the two new rockets I bought – the Athena and the Mean Machine, both kits from Estes. The Athena is small (about 12 inches high) and uses A, B, or C motors; it should go about 1100 feet using a C motor. The Mean Machine is significantly larger and heavier. At 79 inches in height, it’s taller than I am.

I primarily bought the Athena just to have a small model rocket for fun, replacing the two that I built and promptly lost. I took a few pictures of it, but there wasn’t much to assemble. It’s as straightforward as a model rocket can be, with plastic fins and nose cone, and a cardboard tube body.

Athena - small rocket
Athena – small but mighty rocket

The Mean Machine wasn’t complicated to assemble, either, but it had a few more steps. Its body tube is extremely long, and it was designed to be able to come apart at the middle for easy transport. To reconnect the two halves, you just push them together and twist. The fins are balsa wood, and the whole rocket required painting. Below are a few pictures during the assembly.

Pre-assembly Mean Machine parts
Pre-assembly Mean Machine parts
During assembly - body tube, fins, motor mount and glue
During assembly – body tube, fins, motor mount, and glue
Spraying primer and paint
Spraying primer and paint
Paint completed
Paint completed

I’m definitely looking forward to flying both of these. As I mentioned above, the largest motor that the Athena can handle is a C. The Mean Machine, however, takes a D or E motor, and so I bought a few of each. It won’t reach quite the same maximum height as the smaller rocket because it weighs so much more – but it should look awesome and mildly terrifying when it blasts off!

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