Contributed by Barry Harmon
The Estes STM 012 is a tall, slim sport rocket designed for E impulse motors. It stands an impressive 44.4" tall whan completed.
Kit contents include:
Pros - As always, an easy build resulting in an attractive model. The two sets of fins really make this look sharp.
Cons - Came in a package that was almost too small for kit. Everything was packed in with no room to spare. The tension of the outer package caused both body tubes to receive damage in the form of dents and small creases where the were forced to bend around the nose cone.
Building the kit was pretty straightforward, with no special skills required. One body tube needs to be marked full length for aligning the upper and lowerkind and for the two launch lugs. The lower tube uses full TTW fins which can be a bit tough to install once you apply the double glue beads. My fins also neede minor sanding to fit properly. The upper fins use the slots in the upper tube simply for alignment and protrude only far enough to provide a stop for the coupler. Joining the body tubes needs to be done in one smooth, deliberate motion one the glue is applied otherwise you won't get them fully seated before it grabs. You also need to align the upper fins with the lines made on the lower tube at the same time. I would say that this is the single hardest step of the entire build. The shock cord is Estes typical rubber elastic band installed using their three-fold paper mount. Both the shock cord and the 18" plastic chute are tied to the nose cone.
Painting is a bit tougher than normal simply due to the length of the rocket. You have to be careful to maintain an even speed and distance for each pass of the spray can or airbrush to achieve even coverage. Estes stock color scheme is a tan body with orange and brown fins, a very fall-ish scheme. Since I didn't have gloss tan or brown on hand I substituted yellow and green respectively. No special prep was done other than a single filler coat on the fins and a light white primer coat.
Decal application was easy. Placement was guided by the face card photo. There are two "STM 012" decals that are applied to the sides of the lower body tube. Three wrap-around decals are applied above the lower fins, below the upper fins and just below the nose cone. There is no guide for how these are supposed to align so it is up to the builder to decide. The decals are printed in brown and orange to match the stock paint scheme. There is also an orange "Estes" decal that I chose not to use.
Construction Score: 3
I have not had a chance to fly his rocket yet. First flight will be on a D12 motor.
The STM 012 builds into a sleek, tall rocket that looks like it's going fast while sitting still. There aresome quirks to the build so I would not recommend this kit to a beginner. Someone HO has several builds under their belt should have no trouble.
Estes needs to work with their supplier to make sure proper packaging is used. This is not the only kit where too-tight packaging has resulted in damaged parts, something that seems to be a common issue with their newer kits. A call or email to Estes is all that's required to get a replacement but they really need to work on making it so that those calls and mails aren't necessary to begin with.
Overall Rating: 4
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