The Corporal is one of Aerospace Speciality Products (ASP) scale rocket kits. I have built all of ASPs V-2s and found this kit to be just as enjoyable to build. This particular kit is the 24mm motor tube version and is a 1:22.5 scale version of the U.S. Armys Ballistic Missile that flew from the 1940s to the 1960s. ASP also offers the kit in an 18mm motor tube version.
ASP designs their kits with as much detail as possible from the detail in the fins to the stickers and decals that accompany many of their kits. This kit was no exception. ASP has very detailed instructions and actually gives you little check boxes in the instruction so that you know what as been done and what still needs to be done.
The first thing to do with this kit is to assemble the motor tube assembly. The instructions were for the 18mm version but since I ordered the 24mm motor tube version, ASP included an additional piece of paperwork to assemble the larger motor tube. The assembly instructions were easy to follow and if you have built at least one rocket in the past everything pretty much makes since.
Next, I had to cut out the fins. ASP gives you a template so that you can outline the fin pattern on the supplied basswood and then using a straight edge and an X-ACTO blade you can easily cut the four fins required for the Corporal. Once all the fins were cut out I then stacked them all together and sanded them so that each one was exactly the same.
The next thing to do was to mark the body tube for the placement of the fins, conduits and launch lugs. ASP gives a pretty detailed explanation of how to do this as well as a template on the instructions to make sure everything is lined up correctly.
After the lines were placed on the body tube I proceeded to attach the fins. This was relatively easy and ASP gives pretty detailed instructions on how to attach as well as line them up properly. I also made a fin alignment jig a while back that I like to use on projects like this. Estes also makes a similar type of tool that is made out of plastic and also aids in drawing the lines for the fin placement.
Once all the fins were attached I proceeded to form the conduits. ASP provides ¼" and 3/16" square balsa stock to cut down and form into the correct shape. This takes a little bit of sanding but actually goes quite quickly. Once again, ASP gives pretty detail instructions on what the shape should be and the lengths of the pieces.
Once all of the conduit pieces were formed I then proceeded to attach them to the body tube. This was pretty easy and with all of the lines that I placed on the body tube initially they all lined up pretty good.
Next, I attached the launch lugs. This was also simple since the lines were already marked.
I then moved on to the nose cone section. This section comprised a specially shaped balsa nose cone, a small section of body tube, a balsa coupler, two eye-bolts, and four washers for nose weight. Due to the design of this kit a substantial amount of nose weight needs to be added to insure a safe flight.
The first part that needed to be done was to attach the nose weight to the nosecone. This was done by screwing the eyebolt through the four washers and into the nose cone and securing it with some glue.
Finally, I glued the nosecone and coupler into the small piece of body tube and attached the second eye-bolt into the coupler.
The paint job only needs to be white since the decals add the needed black checkered design. I ended up using some automotive paint for the finish since it is more durable and comes out very shiny. I then added the black vinyl stickers that came with the kit. It is definitely a nice vehicle once its all finished.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
The first flight was on an Estes D12-7 and it was a really nice flight. The Corporal gets up to speed very quickly and flies very straight. This may be due to all the extra balsa conduit covers.
The recovery system works very well and with the Kevlar and elastic make for a gentle but strong recovery system. The mylar parachute really shines in the sky and for rockets that go really high it makes for a nice marker when the sun reflects off of it. The only thing I dont really like is the way the parachute is constructed. You need to use a bunch of stickers to attach the lines to the mylar and the lines extend over the top of the parachute. I used CA per the instructions to give the stickers a little better bond but after one flight a couple of them popped off and ended up getting tangled.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
I enjoyed building this kit. It takes a good weekend to put together but it results in a very good looking rocket. I also have some of the old NCR Corporal kits and I really like the design and am happy to see that ASP has two versions of this kit available.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5