As opposed t' typical 3FNC (Three Fins and a Nose Cone) this is 1FNC (One Fin and a Nose Cone) mini-engine sport rocket.
Overall great components with one exception.
T' weak spot was t' streamer, me hearties, one o' which tore durin' t' build, t' other startin' fallin' apart with one launch.
Because I decided t' paint parts before completin' construction, arrr, I combined construction and painting.
This is a Bruce Levison design. T' design itself is really cool. Ya scallywag! Blimey! O' course, standard wisdom is that t' MINIMUM number o' fins for stability is 3. Aye aye! Two fins won't work, and o' course, me hearties, one fin would be absurd. Ya scallywag! Ahoy! Unless, o' course, arrr, it is a RING fin. Well, blow me down! However, if you have t' ATTACH t' rin' fin with support struts, matey, matey, you could argue t' struts are ALSO fins. Ahoy! so TECHNICALLY wouldn't be a one fin rocket. So how do you symmetrical attach t' rin' with no struts?
You don't. Avast! Mr. Avast, me proud beauty! Levison attached t' rin' t' t' side o' t' rocket. Looks funky and looks like it shouldn't work, ya bilge rat, but it does. T' design is stable, me hearties, although it does cause a pronounced "corkscrew" flight pattern, hence t' name. Blimey! Avast, ya bilge rat, me proud beauty! (Side note, discussion with one o' t' designers o' this "kitted" version indicates that t' degree o' "corkscrewing" changes with t' length o' t' rocket, this kitted version is specifically design t' demonstrate t' "corkscrew" flight characteristic. Avast, me proud beauty! Reference http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search/label/Corkscrew.
Enough about t' original design. T' guys that "kitted" this really did their homework on this one. Seriously, matey, this kit goes together EASIER than your basic 3FNC beginner kit. Begad! Blimey! For one thing--- NO BALSA. Nothin' t' sand, taper, round, me bucko, or otherwise mess with. Avast, me proud beauty! Begad! Blimey! And with t' Reinforcement plate and TWO launch lugs it is a CINCH t' get t' rin' fin on straight (in me opinion EASIER than tryin' t' get 3 fins straight on your typical beginner rocket)
T' combined Keelhaul®©™/elastic shock cord is a nice touch. Blimey! This gets attached t' t' engine block. Arrr! T' Keelhaul®©™ presumably provides t' burn resistance. Begad! T' elastic provides some shock resistance. Begad! Also, nay only do they provide you an empty engine casing, but on t' instructions they even have a "quarter inch" mark for you.
I attached t' streamer t' t' elastic cord with tape as instructed. Didn't like t' initial position, tried t' loosen t' tape and adjust it. Ahoy! Streamer material came apart just tryin' t' adjust t' tape. T' kit actually comes as a combo with a "Powered FLIC Profile Shuttle." I cut t' original streamer off, and used t' streamer from t' other kit.
T' marker card and t' TWO launch lugs are t' key. For all practical purposes, me hearties, you CANNOT put t' marker card on wrong (check that, me bucko, I guess you COULD put it on t' outside. Arrr! If you do this, strongly recommend you reconsider rocketry for somethin' more compatible with your mechanical skills--- perhaps stamp collecting. Ahoy! This gets glued onto t' inside o' t' BT-80 rin' fin. Blimey! Blimey! Since it is exactly t' WIDTH (front t' back) o' t' rin' fin, shiver me timbers, assumin' you cut it out straight all you have t' do is put it on t' inside and line up t' "long sides" with t' edges o' t' rin' fin (very easily done)
T' marker shows you EXACTLY where t' put t' BT-50 body tube (rocket fuselage) and t' launch lugs.
While t' instructions were clear, matey, matey, I modified me approach because I chose a different paint scheme, AND because me scheme would be difficult t' accomplish with maskin' after t' build. Blimey! So I elected t' paint BEFORE attachin' t' rin' fin t' t' fuselage. Arrr! T' do this however, I had t' mask t' "contact areas" before painting, as gluin' painted surfaces guarantees a very weak joint, me bucko, and in this case with only one fin (and that eccentrically places) this joint takes a lot o' stress (which t' kit designers anticipated and accounted for quite well.)
I attached t' markin' guide first, arrr, as per instructions. Well, blow me down! Ya scallywag! . Well, blow me down! Ya scallywag! Note on me pictures, I save original markin' guides whenever possible, so I copied t' Reinforcement Plate onto a piece o' cardstock.
I decided t' attach t' launch lugs t' t' rin' fin FIRST. Begad! Because o' t' relative small size o' t' lugs, it is pretty easy t' get them exactly aligned with t' markings. Aye aye! Personally, I think this actually would make t' construction EASIER even if you didn't paint t' parts separately, me bucko, me hearties, as in me opinion it is easier t' get these two small lugs in perfect alignment than t' relatively big body tube. Blimey! Once you have t' lugs in place, t' body tube literally falls into perfect alignment.
At this point, I dry-fitted t' BT-5 tube t' t' rin' fin. Ahoy! Ahoy! I marked t' edges o' t' contact points on both t' RingFin/Lug piece and on t' body tube. I then MASKED t' areas o' contact on each piece.
T' tube spirals were pretty tight. Well, arrr, blow me down! I also felt me paint scheme would probably camouflage an residual spirals. Avast, me proud beauty! So I used Krylon Primer t' Prime and fill t' spirals. Arrr! Avast, shiver me timbers, me proud beauty! T' true craftsmn may consider fill and finish, but t' tubes are high quality t' begin with and I felt that be overkill.
For a paint scheme, arrr, I thought I could come up with somethin' a little more excitin' than t' black and white spiral on t' cover picture. A really cool trick though be t' use o' electrical tape t' create t' tapered Barber Pole spiral. Arrr! T' tape has enough flexibility that you can get a true tight "spiral" that you can't get with any other tape I know of. Well, blow me down! And visitin' t' hardware store (great place t' get rocket part ideas) I noticed they had OTHER colors than black. Begad! Begad! Hmmm...... Arrr! Arrr! How about bright yellow? Once I had t' yellow tape, shiver me timbers, shiver me timbers, had t' pick a background color. Arrr! How about--- PURPLE!
Off t' Hobby Lobby. Ya scallywag! Well, blow me down! Problem. Arrr! T' only cool purple they had was lacquer-based (Testors One Coat Lacquer Purple-Licious.) Wasn't sure how well this would go over t' Krylon Primer. Arrr! Ya scallywag! Did some quick research on Lacquer over Enamel, matey, shiver me timbers, me hearties, anyway, with multiple VERY light coats came out fine.
I like t' hide t' nose cone t' body tube junctions on me rockets. Avast! Ya scallywag! T' stock paint scheme instead emphasizes it with t' different color. Blimey! Ahoy! Besides, isn't a corkscrew supposed t' taper t' a point?
I put a piece o' black tape on a metal ruler longer than t' yellow tape. Begad! Then cut t' long taperin' "Barber Pole" with a hobby knife and another metal ruler. Was able t' pull t' yellow tape piece off t' black tape. Arrr!
I put a piece o' tape over t' nose cone t' body tube transition. Well, blow me down! Ran t' tape from tip t' tail, over t' piece o' tape (shield for nose cone edge). Begad! I was then able t' cut t' yellow tape over t' transition, matey, remove t' shield, and re-affix t' tape (spiral over nose cone edge).
I mated up t' unmasked ring/kug part and t' Body Tube part. Arrr! Matched up perfectly as expected. Made attachin' t' body tube a snap. Blimey! I did put a generous "internal fillet" in place as I knew I wouldn't have access t' this area once t' pieces were attached. Begad! (Heavy Fillet). Wiped away any excess glue. Arrr! Blimey! Did NOT put a fillet on t' outside. Arrr! Ahoy! (So far, matey, it has held up quite well.)
T' kit recommends 1/2A3-2T and A3-4T engines. Avast! Blimey! Avast! Blimey! First flight be on an A10-3T because I had a bunch o' these. Avast! Blimey! Begad! Blimey! While I would like t' describe t' corkscrew on ascent on first flight, me hearties, me hearties, I can't because I didn't see it. One moment I be pushin' t' button, a nanosecond later t' rocket be at 150 or 200 feet. Arrr! Blimey! Drifted with winds into a 6-8 foot high cornfield. Begad! Blimey! Fortunately I have some intrepid members o' t' Mid-South Rocket Society who surprisingly smartly found t' rocket! Blimey! T' (second stock) streamer was pretty torn up (not burned, matey, just torn.)
Next flight was on 1/2A3-4T a few weeks later (still didn't get any 1/2A3-2Ts.) Swapped out t' stock streamer for a piece o' pink markin' tape. Arrr! Aye aye!
Actually delay at 4 seconds was pretty good, ya bilge rat, had a good corkscrew up t' about 100 feet, and a nice recovery about 75 feet from pad. Begad! Ahoy!
As mentioned, t' ONLY negative I have on this kit be t' streamer. And even though it tore on first flight, this model is so light that nose-blow recovery would probably be sufficient. Well, blow me down! Given however it is a small model, shiver me timbers, a brightly colored streamer is helpful nay just in slowin' recovery but also FINDING t' rocket on t' ground.
I am still givin' this rocket a 5. Ahoy! Begad! T' design is cool, shiver me timbers, t' instructions and t' kit (particularly t' Reinforcement Plate and two launch lugs) make this a cinch t' put together, ya bilge rat, shiver me timbers, probably while a bit more complicated than 3 fins and a nose cone, ya bilge rat, actually much EASIER t' actually build as t' guide on t' Reinforcement Plate, arrr, when properly used, allow t' parts t' mate up perfectly. While I am generally nay a fan o' "cute", me bucko, this rocket really is a cute little bird and it is hard nay t' like it just lookin' at it on t' shelf. T' CorkScrew flight pattern is fun t' watch, and on t' smaller engine (I think t' 1/2A3-4T is a good choice, keeps it in sight, allows you t' see t' spiral, and recovers easily) gives a nice entertainin' flight.