Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.74 inches
Length: 15.37 inches
Manufacturer: Custom Rockets
Skill Level: 2
Style: Contest, Payload

Custom EliteBrief:

A lightweight, minimum diameter egg lofter with an efficient aerodynamic design.

Construction:

The kit comes in the typical "hanging bag" style package. As such, it doesn't protect the kit from any damage incurred in shipping, and this one was indeed damaged in shipment, though I couldn't tell until the package was open. The kit featured a length of 18mm tubing, a very unusual plastic nose cone, a very good mylar parachute, a laughably short shock cord, and a bit of grainy, flimsy balsa. Motor retention is simply friction fit, with a paper motor block inside the body tube. Hardly earth-shattering stuff here, but different enough to be interesting.

The kit comes with two sets of instructions, one for assembly, and one set for flight. Unfortunately, nothing is mentioned on the package that tells you the rocket will not fly without an egg or other similar weight payload. Regardless, the instructions are logical, and only feature a couple of typographical errors. The fins, while grainy and a bit flimsy, popped out of the die-cut sheet very easily, and featured good, straight lines. And the quality of the mylar parachute blew me away - far above what I expected. Like all of the other Custom rockets I've built, this one featured a loose nose cone. This one is a unique type of plastic that is really thin, flexible, and lightweight, but surprisingly durable. The shock cord and parachute attachment points are horribly small and look weak, yet so far they've held up. I used small snap swivels to attach the 'chute and shock cord, which I highly suggest doing on any kit you build. Things don't seem to get tangled as often. As I mentioned earlier, the body tube was crushed in the center, so I upgraded with some 18mm tubing I had left over from ASP. The ASP tubing was much sturdier, had less of a spiral, and took up the slack in the nose cone department, and thus, the nose cone fit perfectly. I'll use the Custom tubing as a basis for another project. Like I always do with Estes and Custom kits, I threw the supplied shock cord in the parts bin and used some elastic thread, in triple the rocket's length. The shock cord attaches with the old tried-and-true paper fold method, and works well in this case. But a word of caution - make sure it doesn't stick out too far! Not much room in there for a parachute.

Finishing:
Unlike my normal practice of coating the whole rocket in epoxy, I just painted this one as-is. The much higher quality ASP tube was already white, and only needed two light coats of enamel to cover. I painted the fins contrasting colors, in an attempt to make it more interesting. As a result, it bears a passing resemblance to the old Estes Camroc, which was intentional. The lone decal went on without a hitch. Overall, my finishing technique resulted in a lightweight, yet strong rocket that looks great. Unfortunately, the little ring that holds the two halves of nose cone together swelled up when I painted it, and it won't fit anymore. So I just use a piece of electrical tape cut into a 3mm strip. No problem.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
If launching an egg, don't try an "A" motor at all. In fact, skip right on up to a "C" right off the bat. The rocket isn't particularly heavy, even with an egg aboard, and flights will be great. The small fins impart a slight wobble with wind, but not enough to worry about. Just make sure the motor is friction fit well; otherwise, it'll kick out the motor and come in ballistic. Hasn't happened to me on this rocket, but it has happened before on another rocket. Care must be taken in packing the parachute. It won't pack as tight as a plastic 'chute, and will hang inside the body tube. This rocket's so light that no damage will occur if you get a "streamer" or a "hung" parachute, but it is messy!

Recovery:
The original shock cord is a pitiful joke. Throw it away or into a parts bin, but do not use it. I used elastic thread, and it takes up less room than the original, despite being about four times longer. Care in packing the 'chute is the key to success: fold it small, don't ball it up. Roll it only once, and use a good bit of cellulose insulation for wadding. It'll recover well, won't get damaged, and will drift a good distance in any sort of wind.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
I think Custom came up with a great little egg lofter for a good price. There are some things I'd change, like the pathetic shock cord and the wobbly nose cone, but I could overlook the coarse fins, since I fill and sand mine anyway. I would recommend this rocket for a first time egg lofter, but don't expect it to be an easy build for a beginner. Still, it's the best Custom kit I've built.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Other Reviews
  • Custom Rockets - Elite {Kit} (10025) [1999-] By Thomas Tweedel (September 24, 2009)

    Construction: Parts included: 1 18mm ID tube 2 part nose cone it splits in half along the horizontal axis and is held together with a mylar ring 3 Die cut fins elastic shock cord Engine stop ring (no hook) 12 inch parachute. First off the quality of the kit was mixed. The body tube was the same. The Fins were die cut out of a very lightweight but somewhat ...

  • Custom Rockets - Elite {Kit} (10025) [1999-] By Mark Fisher

    Now this is an egg lofter! Custom has trimmed the weight and size of its new Elite down to the bare essentials required to get an egg as high into the air as possible. The light-weight payload section with its power series nose cone (often mistakenly called "parabolic") is its most prominent feature and is reminiscent of the old Nova Egg Cone once found on Apogee's Hydra . The minimum diameter ...

Flights

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