Concept Sport Scale is a variation of Sport Scale. The purpose of this competition is to produce a flying replica of either a fictional or aseriously proposed but unflown rocket vehicle. Fiction sources include television, movies, science fiction illustrations, and other media. Seriously proposed but unflown vehicles are from government, industry, and academic programs and studies. Subjects excluded from this event include:
- Vehicles from unpublished fiction and amateur films
- Science fiction or futuristic designs published by model rocketry manufacturers, publications, or organizations specifically for flying model construction
- Science fiction themed rocket kits that do not appear in actual works of science fiction or rockets in generic science fiction illustrations
- Generic illustrations of a class of proposed vehicle rather than a specific program
- Real prototypes that appeared in science fiction, unless so modified that they could not be flown in Sport Scale
- Amateur rockets and missiles, except when the prototype is of obvious historical significance
- Entries that qualify for Plastic Model Conversion Competition under Rule 55 are specifically excluded from this event
For the full rules for this event, please see the Concept Scale rules in the Pink Book.
The score is the total of the Static Judging score and the Flight score. In summary:
- Similarity of Outline: 200 points
- Finish, Color, and Markings: 200 points
- Degree of Difficulty: 100 points
- Craftsmanship: 300 points
- Flight and Mission Points: 300 points
Highest score wins.
by Chris Flanigan, NAR 17540
photos by Chris Taylor (NaramLive.com)
Concept Scale is a great event to celebrate the incredibly creative designs that have appeared in science fiction media and advanced space studies. It also provides major challenges for prototype selection, data sourcing, and design for flight characteristics.
Science Fiction Vehicles. One of the main sources of prototypes for Concept scale are science fiction media including print, television, movies, and internet. Popular SF series including Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Thunderbirds are frequently used. Note that the data source must be from a widely recognized source. Sorry, making your own computer video and posting it on YouTube does not qualify!
Advanced Space Concepts. NASA, USAF, ESA, and other government, industry, and academic agencies perform studies of advanced space vehicles and systems. Some of these eventually turn into manufactured systems. However, most remain as paper studies with no hardware constructed or flown. These studies are great sources of advanced rocket vehicles. For example, NASA initially proposed the Constellation system, including the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles, as the follow-on system to replace the retired Space Shuttles. However, NASA cancelled the Consteallation program, so both the Ares I and Ares V vehicles (and derivatives) are legal prototypes for Concept Scale. [Note that three test vehicles (Ares I-X, MLAS, and Orion Pad Abort) were completed and flown during the Constellation program. Since these three vehicle flew, they are “flown” systems and are not eligible for Concept Scale.]
Data Sources. There are a variety of sources for acquiring data for a Concept Scale prototype. Some are listed below. Surfing the internet can provide many more.
- Spaceship Handbook: Rocket and Spacecraft Designs of the 20th Century by Jack Hagerty and Jon Rogers. This is a great book and is very highly recommended. This is the “Rockets of the World” equivalent for Concept Scale. Available from ARA Press and other sources including Amazon.com
- Ansari X Prize. The original X Prize provided an award for the first commercially developed reusable spaceship. This prize provided the motivation for a large number of creative designs which are great prototypes for Concept Scale. The prize was won by SpaceShipOne, developed by Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites. Since SSO flew, it is not eligible for Concept Scale. The other X Prize teams did not complete and fly any final vehicles, so all other X Prize entries are legal for Concept Scale. [Note: the Rubicon team built and flew a prototype test vehicle. However, this test vehicle was different than the final design. Therefore, the Estes kit of the Rubicon vehicle is legal for Concept Scale.]
- Up-Ship.com. This is a great source for drawings and documents for real rockets and aircraft. They also carry information for some advanced concepts including the proposed uprated Saturn IB that had four large solid rocket motor strap-ons.
- Direct Launcher. While NASA was executing the Constellation program, a team of NASA retirees and aerospace experts performed anindependent study to develop a launch vehicle family directly evolved from proven Space Shuttle hardware. The Jupiter launch vehicle family included cargo and manned configurations. NASA eventually cancelled the Constellation program and switched to the Space Launch System, which resembles but is not identical to the Jupiter vehicles. All of the Jupiter designs are valid prototypes for Concept Scale. In addition, all of the SLS vehicle are valid prototypes until a vehicle is built and launched.
- Starships.com. This web site has extensive information on a huge variety of fictional spacecraft. Highly recommended.
Scale Model Issues. A Concept Scale model is similar to other scale categories (Scale, Classic Model, etc.). Craftsmanship should be good including filling body tube seams and wood grain. Special attention should be applied to match the colors and paint patterns shown in your documentation. A model with a high Degree of Difficulty may improve your score, but only if you can execute a difficult model well. Flight and Mission points can be very important. Many Concept Scale models provide interesting opportunities for Mission points including clustering, jettisoned strap-ons, and more.
Estes produces several kits based on X Prize concepts including SpaceShipOne, Rubicon, Gauchito, Starchaser, and Cosmos Mariner. These kits are out of production, but you can probably locate some on eBay or other sources.