Cosmodrome Rocketry - Black Brant II {Kit}

Contributed by Todd Moore

Manufacturer: Cosmodrome Rocketry

Brief:
I bought a Black Brant II from Cosmodrome because I loved the Estes Brant kit when it was available, and I got tired of waiting for the Estes re-issue.... besides, the Cosmodrome kit is 50" tall... A bit cooler than it's counterpart.

Cosmodrome Black Brant II Construction:
The rocket went together smoothly and quickly (3.5 Hrs) with 5min. epoxy used for the entire build. I replaced the steel shock cord that was included in the kit with aircraft cable of the same diameter after it was almost severed by crimping (with a hammer) the ferrule onto it. The instructions called for heavy sanding of the 3/16" plywood fins to a knife edge (about 75% of the fin area!). I deviated from this, and only sanded a 1/4" knife edge on the leading edge. (It's not to scale, but it was easy). The inclusion of motor retention is a much appreciated bonus.

Cosmodrome Black Brant II Finishing:
I decided to paint the rocket true to scale, so I put several coats of primer on, then several coats of gloss white, and then spent 3 hours masking the white areas off. The included detail sheet for painting was very helpful, but it's still took a while to mask such an intricate pattern. After 3 coats of black paint the rocket was unmasked. Simply stunning. The included decals were nicely done, and made the completed rocket very authentic looking.

After reading some comments about the balsa NC of the Brant not being heavy enough to reliably pull the chute out of the rocket, I decided to give it some extra pull by adding a 12" chute to the NC eyelet. This would also help in recovery, as the only other complaint I've read about this rocket it that the included chute is just a little too small.

Cosmodrome Black Brant II Flight:
I selected a F52-5T for the maiden flight. wRASP simulation showed an 1170 ft. flight with maximum altitude at 6.1 seconds, and a maximum velocity of 314.6 ft/sec. True to the simulation, the rocket zoomed off the pad straight as an arrow to an estimated 800 or 900 ft., and deployed perfectly at max altitude.

Recovery:
The rocket drifted on for ever.... right into a rocket eating tree. The extra 12" chute was a little too much. The kit chute alone would have done just fine. (My friend scaled the tree and removed the rocket for me... if you're wondering).

Summary:
Overall, I'll give the Cosmodrome Black Brant II a 5 of 5 rating. The balsa NC is prone to damage (I knocked the pointy tip off (1/8") while transporting it), but that is the only negative comment I can think of. Super Kit!


 

Flights

Comments:

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C.S. (April 1, 2001)
Excellent craftsmanship easy to get replies from the manufacturer if you have questions. These kits are true to mid/high power kits, kits you get to build! These kits come out great, look great, and fly even better. I love my Black Brandt, just wish I was a better painter. The parachute attached to the nose is a definite bonus. I actually wrapped my nose in glass to protect the balsa. This rocket+H220M=Instant L1+ whiplash!
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L.N. (April 1, 2001)
I agree completely with the review. The kit is easy to build, the parts are high quality and the final result is impressive. This rocket looks aerodynamic and flies straight & high in my experience - superb on an Aerotech G40-7 White Lightning. One hint, I split the BT into 30" & 4" sections and glued the 4" section and a coupler permanently to the NC - this gives a bit of extra weight. It's also about the same size of the payload bay on the real thing! Also, put lots of coats of either thin CA or balsa dope on the NC to ward off the dents.
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J.B. (April 1, 2001)
I found this a very good building and flying kit. Sanding the bevels on the fins can be challenge. I glassed the fins, boattail and nose cone on mine to help reduce rash and damage on landing. I recently modified mine to carry an RRC2 altimeter as payload only. The rocket recovers two sections, each with a 24" chute. This helps soften the landing stress. I will say the unique roll pattern is the most challenging part of this kit. If you take your time and study the diagram provided there should be no problems. I used an Aeropack motor retainer rather than the supplied threaded rod and nut. For this you have to allow about a 1/4" of the motor tube to stick out past the boattail so you can install Aeropack's retainer. I, however, did away with the furnished elastic and used 1/4" Kevlar® (15' length). I don't trust elastic that much any more. For a picture of mine you can go to my web page. The review was very accurate. It's great sport scale model. Construction is very straight forward and the turned balsa parts are outstanding. Mike at Cosmodrome does all the shaping and the workmanship shows. Mike and Janine also make all their own parachutes for all the kits they produce. This would be a great second or third sport scale kit for someone.
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J.M.E.S. (November 6, 2001)
I, too, love the Estes Black Brant II and bought this kit to complement it from Magnum who provided excellent service. I think the NC and tailcone are great. I spent several hours with sandpaper and finally a belt sander trying to shape the fins before giving up after ruining one on the belt sander. I went to Plan B, which was to buy some 3/16" balsa for the fins. I sanded it to the spec and then covered them with 2.3 oz glass. The rocket is lighter this way, and still very tough. I have flown it on an F52T-M and a G75J-M. The first flight could have used a shorter delay. The G75 flight was fantastic. The nose cone dings on recovery, but I am not too fanatic about that. I also added a coupler/altimeter pay using an Aerotech coupler. If you study the pattern, you can cut the tube at the bottom of the first roll pattern and have a decent size payload section. I highly recommend this kit. Construction 4 (fins too difficult) and flight 5.
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N.O. (June 19, 2005)
I've seen one of these kits that someone is building at present, I noticed that the nosecone now seems to be made of fibreglass or plastic filled with expanding foam. This looks a lot stronger than balsa, it also seems to be one of the few 2.5/2.6" conical NC's around.
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J.R. (October 28, 2005)
I am thinking about getting one of these cones for a carbon fiber mach buster then I am working on, it is a two stager. How long is the cone? Anybody know for sure if it is glass now or still balsa? What is a good dealer to get it from? (they are not selling stuff for a while, moving...). The rocket will hit the ground pretty hard and get some serious speed, to reinforce it I plan on using some thin resin like you would use for glassing, and soak it into the cone. On my nike cone I used a gel epoxy and it worked well but with a thin resin that soaks in the cone should be good for super high speed and rough handling flights.

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