Estes latest egg lofting rocket - Eggscaliber 002123
20-inch rocket with a 34 mm BT-55 body, great looking transparent egg capsule, and two pre-assembled 12 and 18 inch 'chutes. Main body tube accomodates larger C11 and D size engines; comes with an adaptor for standard A, B, and C size engines.
Complete list available on Estes website:
The kit was standard Estes in terms of quality of components and instructions. Laser-cut fins were particularly good quality. However, the launch lug required assembly of two separate pieces. I thought that this detail was odd, because there was enough balsa left over for an additional 6 or 7 extra launch lugs. This required an extra step of gluing the pieces together, and a little extra sanding to remove the glue from this piece. It was a small detail, but would have saved a step if it has been included in one piece.
Two engine hooks were mounted externally on the main engine body, which required slipping an additional tube over the outside of the body to retain the two engine hooks. The fins were recessed to accomondate this extra tube.
Estes instructions are always very detailed and very good. Three engine hooks are provided, including two longer engine hooks for the main body, and one shorter engine hook for the adaptor provided for standard engine adaptor. While assemblying the engine adaptor, I inadvertently used one of the two longer engine hooks intended for the main body. I had to remove the longer engine hook, replace it with the shorter engine hook, and taped the hook to the adaptor, which worked fine. This was definitely a situation where the use of bold type and a bullet point would have provided enough additional direction to avoid an error in construction.
The kit includes two preassembled chutes - a 12 inch chute for flights without an egg payload, and an additional 18 chute for flights with the egg. Overall, the chute quality was adequate, but I plan to reassemble the chutes using better reinforcement rings, and smoother, stronger nylon thread to prevent tangled lines. I always use number 7 snap swivels for the shock cord and the chutes, and I added these to the kit as well.
The egg capsule is well-designed and visually striking, probably the best feature of the kit. I decided it looked better as provided, in it's unfinished and transparent state, and decided not to paint it. It's fairly easy to load the egg into the nosecone, but the clips are fairly small, and I'd be concerned about the small clips breaking if the rocket descended quickly, which could be the case if the chute didn't fully deploy. The newer Estes egg payload nosecone is smaller, lighter, and much better looking then the older egg payload nosecone.
I wasn't particularly happy with the overal appearance of the finished rocket. The externally mounted engine hooks created a less-than-polished final appearance. I personally found the cut of the fins and the provided decals to be aesthetically unappealing. "Eggscaliber" is kind of a silly name, and the graphic design of the decals similarly leaned towards a silly appearance, rather then a polished and graphically well-designed overal appearance. This rocket definitely would have benefitted from well-designed, graphically appealing decals and fins which were more visually attractive.
The rocket was constructed for use on Easter weekend, due to the easy availabliity of hard-boiled eggs. I headed to the field with a good friend, her son, and her son's friend for an egg-launching adventure. Neither my friend, or the two four-year old boys had ever launched a model rocket before, so we tried a few smaller rockets to test the wind before launching the Eggscalibler We were already getting towards the end of a typical four-year old attention span by the time we got to the egg rocket, so I didn't have time to test it without the egg payload.
I didn't feel that there was room for both chute's in the 34mm BT-55 body. It just seemed way too tight, and I was worried that the chutes would not deploy properly, which would have been kind of a disaster for an egg payload rocket, especially after having described to my friend and the two boys how exciting it was to launch egg rockets during the Easter weekend.
I used a B6-4 for the first flight, which worked perfectly, although the weight of the rocket combined with the 4 second delay led to a short flight and a rapid descent. The egg survived. For the next flight I tried a C6-3, which worked even better because of the higher altitude and the shorter delay.
The egg again survived, but despite the two engine hooks, the engine adaptor was jetisonned and I couldn't find it, which limited me to the larger C11-3 engines. Two lines on the pre-assembled chute also ripped out, so the rocket was inoperable after two flights.
Eggs are a fairly large payload for mid-power model rockets, and this model suggests the use of two parachutes for egg lofting. Why not use the larger body tube? The cut of fins and graphics were not as aesthetically appealling as I would have liked. The rocket flew very well, but the engine adaptor was lost and the chute ripped on the second flight. Fortunately, I had an extra kit-bashed egg-lofting rocket using Estes older egg payload nose cone, so we got to launch two eggs, and the day was not lost.