Little Joe-II Pages


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Little Joe II  Kits

The Little Joe-II was mostly unknown to the general public, whose attention was on Saturns. Most model rocketeers only knew of the Little Joe-II due to the Scale Models that were available. Being a relatively short but very interesting rocket, with Apollo CM and SM, it was an attactive model to build and fly.

George's sixth model rocket was a Centuri 1/100 Little Joe-II, his first Scale model.

For Tom Beach, Tom was introduced to it by his brother John's models (Cox's 1/125 then the Centuri 1/45). What really got Tom hooked was the Centuri Historical Brochure.

For kits listed below, those with two * indicates still in production (as of December 2008)

 Catalog page scans courtesy of   Sven Knudsen's Ninfinger Rocketry Website


Centuri Little Joe-II kits in the1969 Catalog

Estes 1/70 Scale Kit  K-30 (1968)


Based on BT-70. Semroc has a Reproduction of this kit.

Corrugations were embossed paper, glued to the BT-70. The simulated capsule was mostly thin cardboard, with a balsa tip and balsa base. The Escape Tower was built from dowels. The Escape Rocket was a BT-3 tube, with balsa for the tip and aft skirt. This is the same capsule as used for the 1/70 scale Estes Saturn-IB Kit.

Here is a link for the Kit Instructions.



Centuri Little Joe-II Kits

The Centuri Little Joe-II kits were legendary.

They were easy to build, and looked really nice. The 1/100 kit was among my first 10 rockets in Spring, 1970. I did not get the 1/45 kit until 1975. I still have that model, but it is in bad shape. I also have a kit stored away. Tom Beach's introduction to the Little Joe-II was by his brother's models, first the Cox 1/125 model, then the 1/45 Centuri model which Tom built for his brother. Tom got hooked by the Historical Brochure, as I was as well.


Centuri 1/100 Scale Kit - KS-9 (1969)

Based on a custom tube, 1.54" diameter. The body came pre-wrapped with a printed embossed adhesive chrome mylar wrap for the Little Joe Main Body portion, and a white adhesive mylar wrap for the Service Module. The wedge-shaped balsa fins had an adhesive paper foil covering so the fins would be about as shiny as the main body.

The Apollo BPC was a smooth cone with no surface detail. The entire Escape Tower was made out of plastic, except for a tube used for the Escape Rocket. This was the same capsule and tower as used for the Centuri Saturn-IB and Saturn-V kits. A pre-printed white mylar wrap was applied for the Capsule and the Escape Motor.




At right, a spare Apollo Capsule kit. As was used for the Centuri 1/100 scale Little Joe-II, Saturn-IB, and Saturn-V kits. (Thanks to Jim Z's site)

Below, the 4-page instructions for the 1/100 kit. These are very large in screen size (about 1.2-.5 megs), you may want to DL each as a file. (Thanks to Mike Dorffler).

Centuri 1/45 Scale Kit - KS-8 (1969)
A-003 or A-004

Based on a custom tube, 3.6" diameter.

The 1/45 kit was much like the 1/100 kit, with the body wraps, plastic parts, and so forth. The kit could be built as A-003 or A-004.

Extra parts were injecition molded thrusters and quads, and vac-formed parts for the Fin Root Fairings and Fin Elevon actuator fairings. There were also some "T" cross section pieces of wood suppllied, to trim to shape for the Longerons. The fairings and longerons had to be painted silver separately tne glued on. The kit also had a dummy set of display nozzles, assembled from cardboard.

Click here to get a PDF file of the Instructions from the 1/45 kit (3.3 MB).




Tom Beach & 1/45 Kit


Centuri Little Joe II
Historical Brochure

Centuri provided an excellent 12-page Historical Brochure with both kits. It had lots of great information on what the Little Joe-II was about, what it was testing, drawings, photos, and information on each flight.

Click here to get the Historical Brochure, as a PDF file (8.8 MB), thanks to JimZ.

This brochure helped Tom Beach and myself both to get "hooked" on the Little Joe-II.

Centuri American Rocketeer
Volume 4, #1

16 page magazine from around 1970 or so.

The first pages talk about the various Centuri Scale kits, includingthe Little Joe-II.

The link at right goes to Sven Knudsen's Model Rocket Site, where you can view the issue page by page.

Cox 1/125 Scale Kit (1970)

A-003 or A-004?

This was an all-plastic RTF model that was reased around 1970. The Main Joe Plastic body was chromed, while the Apollo portions were natural white plastic. There were minimal markings.

Thanks go to Wayne Hendricks for the photos he took of the model he has.

From Cox 1972 Catalog
Photo by Wayne Hendricks
Photo by Wayne Hendricks
Photo by Wayne Hendricks

Micro Joe - 1/200 Scale Plan (1971)


Marc McReynolds built a 1/200 model using a BT-20, using parts from the AMT 1/200 Apollo Plastic Model parts (50 cents back then). Plans for it ran in the September, 1971 issue of Model Rocketry Magazine. Download a PDF file of that issue from Sven Knudsen's site  (48 MB!)

Estes 1/100 Scale Kit #0892 (1991)


Based on a custom 1.54" Tube

Estes briefly had a 1/100 kit, using the new Plastic Apollo parts from the overhauled Saturn-V kit of 1989. It had plastic parts for the Capsule and BPC. However, the molded details on the BPC had to be sanded away. The Escape Motor's molded cable tunnels also had to be sanded off, for the decal wrap to fit. And the whole LES tower was klunky. The body used the same type of embossed corrugations as the old 1/70 kit used. There was an adhesive paper printed roll pattern wrap for the SM, and decals for the Capsule and Escape motor. It definitely was better than the old 1/70 kit as far as building and appearance. But it was nowhere near the quality and ease of building as the old Centuri 1/100 kit. Some contest fliers used this kit for raw parts to upgrade for Peanut Scale models

Terry Kosel 1/39.5 scale kit (2000)
(Limited run kit)

A-003 or A-004

4" diameter kit

In 2000, Terry Kosel made a limited run of kits.

They included some resin cast parts.

A search in the RMR archives brought up the info at right. I have no other information about it.

Pre-printed SM wrap

Corrugated styrene booster wrap

Cast urethane CM tip and fin shrouds, resin RCS and LES parts

24mm engine mount - minimum engine E15-4

Laser cut centering rings

Waterslide decals


Neubauer 1/38.5 scale kit (2000?)

* A-004 *

Based on 4" tube

"This 1/38.5 scale kit features tapered balsa fins, resin capsule, laser cut hardwood/resin escape tower, corrugated wrap, Quad thruster jets, heavey duty engine tubes, laser cut centering rings, a Parachute, and vinyl decals."

Quest 1/285 scale model (2002)

A-003 or A-004

.540" diameter, 3.67" tall

Quest came out with this kit in late 2002 or in 2003. It was all-plastic, ready to fly, and only available in a Starter Set with pad, controller, and engines. Natural white plastic for the Apollo portions, and natural gray-silver plastic for the Joe main body. The UNITED STATES lettering was applied to one side, not quite in the right place vertically but not bad for the size. No roll pattern markings on the CM/SM, or LES motor.

This model was so tiny that there could not be much in the way of expectations for details. The tower was all solid, but as tiny as it was, a realistic tower would have been exceedingly hard to mold and probably fragile. The Service Module had the Thruster quads too far down. However they look like they are in the right spot if the SM was flipped 180 degrees, so perhaps some of the models like the one in the photos one had the SM glued on backwards.

18mm engine (left) with Micro-Maxx motor (center)
and Quest Little Joe-II

Roachwerks 1/39.5 scale kit (2004?)
(Limited run kit - OOP)

A-003 or A-004

4" diameter kit

Had resin cast details. Tower was built-up dowels. LES rocekt and BPC/Capsule were pre-printed cardstock.

See R.S. Barker's review of the Roachwerks kit.

Right and below: Chan Stevens used a Roachwerks kit to take 2nd place in C Division at NARAM-47. In the background is one of my drawings.

It was a very nice model. Photos below by Chan Strevens

Future Little Joe-II modelers, take note that the red panel door seen on his model was not right. That was a remove before flight item seen in pre-launch photos, but not flown that way. I have even heard a longtime highly experienced scale judge get that wrong.

Semroc 1/70 scale kit (2006)

* QTV *

REPRODUCTION of the old Estes Kit K-30.

Based on BT-70.

Corrugations were embossed paper, glued to the BT-70. The simulated capsule was mostly thin cardboard, with a balsa tip and balsa base. The Escape Tower was built from dowels. The Escape Rocket was a BT-3 tube, with balsa for the tip and aft skirt. This is the same capsule as used for the 1/70 scale Estes Saturn-IB Kit.

Here is a link for the original Estes K-30 kit Instructions.

Link to Semroc's Little Joe-II Reproduction

Sheri's Hot Rockets - 1/30 Scale (2006?)

* QTV *

5.5" diameter thick-walled tube

This is a somewhat challenging build. Check out the kit reviews on EMRR.


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