Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Published: 2011-04-01
Manufacturer: Modification


My clone of the very popular Este's K-47 Cherokee-D that was available from 1971 until 1983. Its 3FNC design and D power really packs a wollop off the launch pad. My review is very similar to the other Cherokee-D with the exception I used a E engine hook to allow either a E or with a spacer, a D engine.


I constructed this kit from the CC Express that is still readily available. Most of the parts from the kit are used.

Parts list from kit:

  • BT-55 body tube 18.25"
  • NC 55 nose cone
  • Main engine mount tube
  • Green centering rings AR-5055
  • Green engine block AR-2050

Additional parts required to complete are:

  • E engine hook 
  • Decals from Excelsior rocketry
  • 1/8 balsa wood stock
  • 46" 1/8 braided eleastic shock cord.
  • 96" 1.75" wide crepe paper streamer material


This was a fairly straight-forward build with no glitches or "gotchas".

I printed the fins from plans provided on JIMZ's web site and carefully cut the fins from the 1/8 balsa stock from the local Hobby Lobby.

I used the longer main engine tube in the CC Express kit and, by using the supplied D engine case, I followed the directions in the kit and made a mark 3/8 inch from the end and inserted that into the engine mount tube up to the mark.  I then placed my Estes E engine hook that i had in my parts box along side the tube matching the end with the end of the engine casing and made a small pencil mark on the engine tube where i would be making the 1/8" cut to insert the engine hook.

I wrapped three turns of masking tape around the center of the engine tube holding down the engine hook. Then I glued on the AR-5055 green centering rings - first one 1/4 " from the front of the tube.  For the second, I made a cut into the ring to allow the engine hook more flexibility on the nozzle side of the mount. I mounted that ring even with the rear of the engine tube. When all was dry i sanded the green rings to fit smoothly into the main body tube and glued the engine mount in place leaving the centering ring even with the body tube.

I cut the launch lug from the kit in half and glued each piece on opposite ends of the tube. I used Titebond II wood glue in all its construction. I mixed up in small batches of five-minute epoxy mixed with micro balloons to make a fillet along the fin roots to add strenght and make for a smooth fillet.

Instead of the Estes rubber shock cord, I chose 1/8" braided elastic found at my local Walmart measured about twice the length of the rocket (about 46") and mounted it using the Estes tri-fold method. 


After the fin fillets were dry I used Elmer's wood filler and a single-edge razor to squee-gee on the filler. Once dry, I used 320 grit sandpaper to sand smooth and 400 paper over the body tube. Then I applied a white primer. I used Rustoleum primer and gloss white then gloss red for the nose. Finally I appleied the decals and I was done! 

The original Estes instructions call for a 18" parachute. Don't do that... Laughing 

I have lost many awesome D-powered birds that literally floated away on 18" chutes. Down here in coastal south Texas it's very windy. So instead of a chute I chose to make a 96-inch long streamer using 1.75" wide bright orange crepe paper. Simply take the streamer, fold in half, and, using masking tape, place the center of the streamer about 4 inches from the nose cone. 

Construction Score: 5


As of this writing I haven't flown it yet. By using the E engine hook I now have the option of either a E9 or, with a spacer, a C11 or D12 engine. This thing should be a real beast on a E9 engine. With the windy conditions down here on the coast, I chose to use a streamer recovery instead of a 'chute. 


As mentioned before, unless you don't plan of getting your rocket back, don't use an 18" parachute. You can either use the 12" chute that came with the CC Express kit or you can make a streamer for it. 

Flight Rating: unrated


I think everyone should try to clone this rocket. It's easy to build using the now available CC Express. It's a heck of a performer. I just hope I get mine back if I decide to use a E9 engine!

Overall Rating: 5

comment Post a Comment