Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 2.60 inches
Length: 38.50 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Style: Sport

Estes ExecutionerBrief:
New "E" motor rocket from Estes. This is a big rocket at 3 feet tall and 2.6 inches in diameter. It has a single 24mm motor mount and uses a 24 inch parachute for recovery. Flights to 600 feet are possible.

Construction:
The kit came in one of Estes' infamous plastic bags. The kit included the body tubes, motor mount tube, coupler, centering rings, spacer for D motors, launch lugs, retention hook, plywood (yes, plywood) fins, pathetically short shock cord, unassembled 24 inch parachute, NC-80A nose cone and decals. The instructions were complete with illustrations and text. Due to the pre-slotted body tube and shock cord attachment, no templates were needed.

I started with the motor mount. One problem was that the die-cutting on the rings was not complete. I ripped off some of the material and had to reglue it. I then attached the shock cord to the top centering ring. The shock cord was so short that I tied another shock cord that I had lying around to the existing one.

I installed the motor mount into the lower body tube. I then pre-fitted the fins into the slots. I had to open the slots slightly to get the fins to fit properly. Next, the fins were attached one at a time to the body tube. The two body tubes were then joined together. The launch lugs were attached next. Finally, the nose cone was sanded to prep it for finishing.

PROS: Easy construction

CONS: Weak centering rings, Minor part misfits.

Finishing:
I started by sanding the fins smooth. I then applied Bondo filler putty to the body tube spirals and the separation line of the two body tubes. The entire model was sprayed with gray automotive primer and sanded between coats. I then sprayed the model with silver spray enamel and let it dry for a full day. The next day, I masked off the silver areas of the stock paint scheme. I sprayed the model with gloss black spray enamel. The supplied decals were applied and yellow pin striping was used on the outlines.

I then assembled the parachute and attached it to the nose cone.

PROS: Finished model looks great.

CONS: Stock paint scheme is hard to accomplish. No pinstriping included.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Flight:
The recommended motors are the D12-3 (first flight), D12-5, E9-4, E9-6. The provided spacer is needed for the D12 motors. This rocket requires wadding to protect the parachute and is packed in the normal manner. The retention hook retains the motor in place.

For the first flight, I used a D12-3 with no changes to the parachute. The rocket flew nice and straight with a slow spin to an altitude of about 350 feet. The next flight was on a day with 5 to 10 mph winds. I reefed the parachute at the midpoint. I also cut out the spillhole. An E9-4 was loaded for this flight.

The rocket boosted very nicely under E9 power. It achieved an altitude of 650-700 feet. Love that 4 second burn. Although Estes recommends their new E rocket pad, I found that my standard porta pad with a 3/16 rod works very well too.

PROS: Flies great.

CONS: None

Recovery:
On the first flight, I had a slight tangle in the parachute. Luckily the rocket landed with no damage. On the second flight, the rocket came down nicely with the modified chute and landed fairly close with no damage.

PROS: Nice recovery.

CONS: Chute slightly too big.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
I really like this rocket. It is big and easy to see in flight. Some minor changes could be made. I also feel that the $32.99 price tag was a tad high.

Main PROS: Nice kit, Excellent flight performance, Awesome paint job.

Main CONS: Minor part misfits, too big a parachute, slightly high price.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Estes - Executioner {Kit} (1951) [2002-2012,2017-] By Frank Casey (September 30, 2009)

    This is a large 24mm through the wall fin rocket put out by Estes. It utilizes the standard elastic shock cord and plastic parachute system that Estes is well known for, which in this case isn't the best option for this particular rocket. More on that later. The components are of good quality. The instructions are well written and in logical order. I found the construction of this ...

  • Estes - Executioner {Kit} (1951) [2002-2012,2017-] By Hank Helmen (November 13, 2008)

    This is a single stage "E" engine, three fin rocket built for parachute recovery. The Executioner kit includes one 65mm body tube made of wrapped cardboard. There are three pre-cut plywood fins. A 24mm engine mount and centering rings are included, as well as an E engine spring clip motor retainer. The shock cord supplied is 1/4" rubber band material. The nose cone hollow molded plastic. A ...

Flights

Comments:

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J.M. (May 21, 2002)
I also really like this kit. I found the construction to be a breeze as stated. I did make some minor modifications to mine though. I replaced the elastic band with about 7 feet of 1/8" nylon rope for the shock cord. I also tried an 18x30" mylar parachute from another kit instead of the plastic Estes chute. I removed the forward piece of metal on the motor hook so I could use 24mm RMS motors rather than limit myself to the Estes E's. The adapter provided works great for a spacer for AT's 24mm casings.:-) First flight was with an AT single use E-15, 4. Flight was straight up and very high. Estimated around 1000 ft. Ejection was perfect at apogee and it floated downward. I realized the 18x30" chute was way too big for this light rocket. The second flight, I used another E-15 but a 7 sec. delay. 7 sec. was too long and the shroud lines on the mylar chute ripped through 3 of the 8 holes. The chute didn't open properly and it came down hard. Suffered 2 cracked epoxy fillets and about an 1/8" zipper. Repairable. I fixed the cracks with CyA and also switched to a 24" nylon parachute. The last launch I went to, The Executioner flew on an AT RMS F-12, 5. Thick black smoke and she was gone! Estimated altitude was around 1300 ft. Once again, perfectly straight flight. ejection was just after apogee and it floated down nicely with the new chute. This time, I also used a piece of 9x9 Kevlar® for flame protection as the 2.56" body tube is a wadding hog. I do feel the $32.00 price tag is a bit high for this bird although it is a great flier and could be radically modified for larger, more powerful motors. I'd put this right up there with the Big Daddy as an Estes favorite for mods!
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J.S. (February 18, 2003)
The Executioner is a well-designed rocket that gives stable, predictable flights every time. The AeroTech E15-4 is a perfect motor for it. Some day when there is no wind I will try it on an F21. I almost never build an Estes kit stock, and the Executioner was no exception. I built it so that it separates in the middle rather than at the nose cone, a configuration similar to the anti-zipper design invented by Stu Barrett. I put generous epoxy fillets on the fins, and I threw away the Estes shock cord and used an 8-foot piece of elastic instead. With these modifications, the Executioner will be able to withstand E and F flights with ease. As other reviewers have noted, the flimsy plastic Estes parachute is not very appropriate for this rocket. Instead, I use a 16-inch or 18-inch nylon chute, depending on how much wind there is. If you have some basic rocket-building experience and you want to get started using composite motors, the Executioner would be a good choice, provided that you fillet the fins with epoxy and upgrade the parachute and shock cord.
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J.A. (June 28, 2003)
The main review for this kit is pretty accurate. This kit looks great with the suggested paint job. It just requires a high level of patience and skill to achieve it! Since I opted out of commercial pin striping, I had to rely on brush paints. My rocket ended up looking real nice. The paint job and size of the rocket definitely gets attention at the launch site. I didn't discover any problems with my fin slots. The plywood fins on this model are real nice. Kind of reminded me of the North Coast kit line quality. My only disappointment in the kit is that the rest of the kit falls short in the durability department. I would like to see Estes provide a thicker walled air frame to go along with the nice fins. For about $35 you should expect a little bit better body tube than the standard BT-80 which is what you get. I made several modifications on this bird that beefed it up a little. I did this knowing that I would probably be flying this kit mainly on Aerotech Reloads. First, I replaced the BT-50 motor tube with a length of Loc/Precision 24mm body tube. I have had problems with the Estes tubes as far as holding up to the heat of the motors. Second, I added some wire to the foreward centering ring similar to what North Coast use to call a "Gorilla Mount." This is simply some wire that you make fishing leaders with. After looping it through the centering ring and epoxying it in place, I made another loop at the other end several inches below the top of the rocket. At this loop I attached a generous amount of 1/4" elastic shockcord (roughly 3 times the length of the rocket). I use this mount quite often on larger rockets and it works great. There was another modification that I made to this rocket. I used two (2) 1"x1/4" launch lugs. Finally, I substituted an 18" nylon chute for the 24" plastic Estes chute that comes with the kit. I flew my Executioner today for the first time at our monthly South Louisiana Rocketry (SOLAR)launch. First, I flew it on the recommended E9-4 Estes engine. There was no wind and it was somewhat overcast. The rocket lifted off the pad slowly and gracefully. The 4 second delay was perfect as the rocket arched over and deployed right at apogee. Because of the slow liftoff, even with a 5' rod and no wind, I wouldn't recommend this motor with any brisk winds. On the second launch I used an E18-4 White Lightning. This was an incredible launch! This time it jumped off the pad and went much higher, I am guesstimating somewhere around 1,000', although I might be wrong. However, I built it pretty light so I might not be too far off. The 4 second delay was again perfect and I recovered the rocket down range in great shape. Two perfect flights and deployments and not even a scratch! The 18" chute works well with this rocket. This bird is extremely stable and flies majestically. I really like it and can't wait to fly it again at our next month's launch. J. A.
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R.B. (October 5, 2005)
This was my first experience with a larger rocket and decided to assemble it completely stock. The instructions were easy to follow and I didn't have any trouble putting this rocket together. All of the parts fit really good with each other. For my first 2 launches, I used the Estes E9-4 engines. There was about 5 mph wind present. Both flights went up smoothly, but tended to drift quite a distance. I was able to recover the rocket unharmed each time. On another day, with no wind, I loaded the rocket up with an Aerotech F21W-4 engine. The flight up was absolutely beautiful. It went about 1150 ft straight up. Unfortunately, it suffered some damage to the rocket during recovery. The end of the tube was zippered about an inch and the tube looked to be squished down at a few of the spiral seams at the upper end of the tube.. I was a little disappointed because of the time I had spent filling in the spirals, but I still can't complain too much as the motor was a little more powerful that what was recommended. Overall, this has become my favorite rocket to date and I can't wait to build another one, which I plan to reinforce in order to hold up to the F21W motor.
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A.P. (December 19, 2006)
I purchased this and a Dyna Star Rising Star at the same time and was far more impressed with the quality of the Dyna Star product. However, this still makes a great addition to any collection. Some of the parts needed triming, but it went together fairly easy. The suggested paint scheme seemed too challenging for my limited talents so I just painted the entire body a light grey with a hot red nose cone that matched the decal and it looks great. So far three launches and no mishaps other than the stock parachute became so tangled that I replaced the parachute with an Top Flight parachute, longer shock cord, and a swivel from Discount Rocketry.
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C.S. (December 27, 2007)
I would not have rated the construction such a generous 3.5 out of 5. The materials are just not up to expected MPR quality level: - the 7/64" plywood is 3-ply; soft, thin (but clear) veneer over very crumbly middle. The veneer dents too easily, the leading edges don't hold an edge well, and the tips break too easily. - the BT80 tubing is just a little too thin. Although, this helps save weight so the rocket can fly well on E9s. - the slots in the airframe tubing are slightly under 7/64" and so require widening. - the 24" plastic parachute is not right: too big, not enough drag, too thin. Again, the compromise of plastic vs. nylon is saving weight to be able to fly on E9s. - other similar kits include a baffle. You can add some stainless steel scrubbie to the long motor mount stuffer tube. As others noted, heavier BT50 would have been nice here. For the price, get a similar sized LOC kit with nylon parachute and good 5-ply plywood and sturdy tubing, and you can fly up to H motors. Or, get a Dynastar kit with good quality light parts and stay with D, E, and F motors. Or, clone the kit yourself for less than half price.
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Mason Hazzard (February 5, 2011)

This rocket would be a good candidate for a Nylamesh 18" or 24" parachute.  I'm tired of hearing stories of how parachute shrud lines tangled and the 'chute didn't open completely. They should use a nylamesh parachute because there are no lines to tangle. The 'chutes come in many common sizes-and yes, they are nylon. The difference is that instead of shroudlines, the parachute uses a mesh that winds down into a single, durable line. Each package comes with two or three parachutes, snap swivels, and for sizes that are 24" in diameter, a parachute deployment bag. The devices are also very compact and a 48" parachute, with the the deployment bag and snap swivel, fits into a single BT-80 size tube. They are reliable, durable, and compact. If this isn't the best parachute ever, then I don't know what is...

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