Custom Rockets - SAM-X {Kit} (10029)

Contributed by Royce Clay, Jr.

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Length: 14.38 inches
Manufacturer: Custom Rockets
Skill Level: 2
Style: Military, Multi-Stage

Brief:
Two-stage, 12" parachute, missile-like styling. Skill level two.

Construction:
The kits components include:

  • Sustainer:
    • One body tube 9" long x 0.976 Dia.
    • One motor tube (for 18mm motor) 2.75" long
    • Two centering rings
    • Four die-cut balsa fins and eight decorative fins
    • Estes-type (approx. 12" 1/8" elastic, and three fold paper mount) parachute attachment
  • Plastic nose cone
  • Booster:
    • One body tube 2.75" long x 0.976 Dia
    • Centered inside another body tube 2.5" long x 1.325" Dia. with two centering rings
    • One motor tube (for 18mm motor) 2.75" long
    • Two centering rings
    • Four die-cut balsa fins
    • One tube coupler
    • A 1.5" .125" Dia. launch lug.

Instructions: Very easy to follow. Illustrations: Simple and clear. Assembly Order: Logical and straight forward. Templates: N/A. Very easy to construct, no "gotchas". Every thing fit together very nice, and the model as a whole is very sturdy. Special Tools: N/A. The kit and supplies came from Hobbytown U.S.A. Redmond, WA.

Finishing:
No special requirements for finishing. There were no instructions regarding decal placement, although there is included "Launch Instructions" that briefly describe sanding sealer, how to apply water slide decals, and prepping the model for flight. I think the model looks great when finished. The decals really add that "finished look".

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Rocket Pic

Flight:
The PROs and CONs of flight: The only con is the motor retention is cheap and dirty. If you don't get the right amount of paper tape on the motor, well...you know the recovery system will not deploy...and the model might end up in the brambles. Good thing the model is sturdy, not a scratch. I have flown the model only on B6-0 and B6-6, due to the size of the field, and the amount of use by R/C glider enthusiast. The model flies straight, uses wadding and besides the taping together of the engines the prep is straight forward.

Recovery:
The shock cord is the three-fold-paper mount and some white glue inside the body tube. Pretty easy construction, the recovery was just like it should be, fast enough to keep the model in the field.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
I like the Custom Rocket Kits. The models are robust and fly great. The models themselves look great with paint and decals. The only CON I have is the staging.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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R.V. (May 1, 2000)
I am in the process of building this rocket. I ran it thru Rocsim to confirm the altitude predictions. I was shocked to find it was unstable. I quick got a piece of string and did a spin test. Ssure enough, flew backwards. I will be adding at least .2 oz to the nose which will knock off at least 200 ft. It may be a plus, in that the it will slow down the rocket enough to see it go up. I agree that the design is robust. I used CA to seal the fins and it is turning out very rigid. I want to know if the reviewer had the same stability issues I have?
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R.V. (June 1, 2000)
When I finally flew this rocket, I didn't get second stage ignition (suspect the tape sheared) the rocket augured in from about 300 feet, and landed in a freshly plowed field, and buried the nose cone to the shoulder. The CA filled fins and body tube showed nary a scratch.
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D.J. (June 1, 2001)
I lost this kit on its maiden 2-stage flight. Turned almost horizontal right off the pad - second stage was straight as an arrow across a corn field and out of sight. I saw someone else's do the exact same thing. We thought it was tip-off, but maybe it was too unstable. We both used the B6-0/B6-6 combo. Kit is easy, solid, looks nice. I still have the first stage, will probably scratch build the main rocket. Very accurate review. This was my first Custom kit, probably not the last.
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M.S. (March 26, 2002)
I purchased the Sam-X. Oh trust me I put time into this rocket, (because this was my first 2 stage rocket) So I built it good nice detailed work, ya know. Well on it first flight it took off, 30 feet in the air it was back flipping and stuff. Then it aimed down for a lawn dart but went horizontally extremely fast. I retrieved the rocket and threw it away after trying it one more time. Both times it was a failure. It was the most horrible rocket I had ever owned!
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R.V. (April 1, 2002)
In my opinion most all of the Custom Rocket Kits are marginally stable. Differences in finishing and chute loading are enough to put it over the edge of stability. What it needs is extra nose weight to assure positive stability. I urge the last opinion giver to fish his Sam-X out of the trash, weight the nose, and give it another try.
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J.M.D. (April 3, 2002)
I spent a lot of time on this kit and was rather proud of the result. My first and only flight was with a C6-0 booster and a C6-4 in the sustainer. The flight was awesome, liftoff straight and true, the sustainer lit perfectly and went completely out of sight! I reluctantly wrote the rocket off only to have a motorcyclist ride up a while later with the sustainer. Now I have the top half of the rocket and no booster (which couldn't find either). Suggestion: Use B motors!
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A.H. (December 18, 2002)
I built my Sam-X completely stock and used fill n finish, yellow glue and paint (no CA, no extras). I flew it on the C to C combo with a few pieces of wadding and the stock chute and had no problems with stability. Flight is straight and fast. The decorative balsa strips under the nose should not be omitted they do add necessary weight.
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A.S. (February 21, 2003)
This is my favorite rocket. I painted mine white also. I did have a few problems with it. The first problem is the fins. I guess they gave me a pretty crappy fin-sheet. The tips of three fins snapped off while taking them out, due to a split in the wood. I had to glue the fins back together. Now they look perfect. The only other problem I had was with the thin decals. Every time, and I mean ?every?, I tried to stick them on they ripped in half. I wound up using decals from the Estes bull-pup and hornet-remember the hornet? Well anyway now it looks like an arctic camouflaged SAM
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C.G. (October 1, 2007)
I purchased a SAM-X kit on Saturday, and can attest that it now comes with a small hunk of clay for nose weight. An additional slip of paper warns that you must install it, and gives directions, telling you to roll it real thin and stick it in the hole at the bottom of the nose cone. Well, that "hole" is full of plastic "flash" on my kit... they might have mentioned drilling it out first. I suspect, as clay rarely works well for me, that I will weight it with a similar amount of epoxy and computer screws.
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J.R.G. (October 9, 2007)
Hmm. Reading the comments, I was surprised. My grandson built one of these and flew it twice without problems, except the 2nd time it floated into a cornfield and was lost. First flight was on a B6-0/B6-6 and the 2nd was on a C6-0/C6-7. He followed the directions exactly, though. I loved the flight of it, so I built one also building it specifically according to the directions. The flight was awesome on a B6-0/B6-6, except the 2nd stage didn't light. The ground was pretty soft, though, and it just crimped the upper part of the tube a little. I fixed that with epoxy. I now know to rough up the inside of the upper stage motor a little with sandpaper to better assure ignition. I haven't flown it again since the repairs, but I expect it to fly perfectly. It is one of my favorite rockets! James.

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