Estes - Interceptor {Kit} (001250) [2008-2011,2019-]

Contributed by John R. Brandon III

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.30 inches
Length: 26.00 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Futuristic/Exotic

estes_interceptorBrief:
This is a single_stage futuristic "aerospace fighter" with 18" parachute recovery.

Construction:
The kit consists of:

  • 33mm Estes BT-55 body tube
  • 18mm Estes motor mount tube
  • 2 cardstock centering rings
  • A cardstock thrust ring
  • A metal motor-retainer hook
  • 2 laser-cut fin sheets to make six fins
  • 2 large wings
  • 2 vertical stabilizers
  • 2 ventral fins
  • An injection-molded plastic nose cone
  • An injection-molded plastic tailcone
  • 2 plastic wingtip pods
  • 2 plastic rudder-tip pods
  • 18" length of quarter-inch rubber for a shock cord
  • A printed paper shock cord anchor
  • A preassembled 18" plastic parachute
  • 2" length of launch lug
  • Two pages of instructions
  • 2 HUGE sheets of gorgeous waterslide decals
I had traveled to New Mexico for Christmas with my wife's family. We visited the Hobby Lobby in Clovis, and there it was....ESTES HAD REISSUED THE INTERCEPTOR! I would have bought one right there on the spot, but we had to travel home on my money. I resisted temptation until my local Hobby Lobby got one then grabbed it.

Estes has a real winner here. The old K-50 Interceptor had a less-than-perfect design for the wingtip pods and the plastic tail attached to a balsa nose cone. The new one has all-plastic pods with very nice recessed panel lines and slots for the wingtips. The nose cone and tailcone look identical to the old one. There is also a pair of plastic pieces for the two rudder fins that look like ECM antennas or something.

This kit went together very quickly and easily. The big wings and upper vertical fins are made as two pieces each. I tacked everything together with thin CA and filleted with white glue. The nose cone was loose, requiring a couple of wraps of slick cellophane tape to get it snug.

PROs: It's an Interceptor! The new plastic parts. Laser-cut fins.
CONs: Better shock cords could be provided.

Finishing:
At my wife's suggestion, I deviated from the "White with black tail and orange pods" color scheme. After sealing my fins with tube-type plastic cement, rubbed in with a finger, I sprayed the whole model primer gray then applied Testor's Acryl gloss blue to the wing pods and tailcone with a brush.

The decals really make this kit. There are two four-color sheets, one of them nearly as long as the main body tube! One nice feature is that the recommended engine list is printed as part of one of the body decals and looks like part of the decor from a distance.

It turned out very classy and looks quite "tactical" in the gray scheme.

PROs: Acres of waterslide decals really add a lot.
CONs: Acres of surface to paint (a very minor issue).

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
I flew my new Interceptor at my friend Darrell's farm. It needed six squares of Estes tissue wadding and has the new-style Estes motor hook (much easier to get the motor in and out). My first flight was on a B6-4. Nice straight boost to 400 feet or so (not tracking, estimate) and a nice deployment just after apogee and a low drift to landing. No damage at all.

Flight two was on a C6-5. Repeat of the first one, except about 750 feet apogee and a bit more drift.

Flight three was also on a C6-5. Again a picture-perfect launch, apogee about 750 feet, nice recovery.

This rocket is a nice flyer for its type. A fair lot of futuristic rockets are draggy and don't fly as well as they might. It might be good to upgrade this one to Estes 24mm "D" motors but then it'd be a bat out of hell!

Recovery:
Uses the typical Estes rubber band shock cord and plastic parachute. It would be nicer with a baffle system added (may get one for my wife to build and put a baffle in it).

No burning, damage, or serious wear so far on the recovery harness. Another possible nice touch might be a horizontal recovery harness with a shroud line rigged so she recovers as if flying.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
Again a serious winner from Estes, based on a reissue of a grand oldie. A favorite is back, Rethinking well done on plastic parts, laser-cut fins, and those MARVELOUS decals!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

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