Estes - Trident {Kit} (K-33) [?-?]

Contributed by Kevin Johnson

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Length: 31.63 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Style: Futuristic/Exotic

TridentBrief:
Classic exotic kit with unusual ejection gas porting.

Construction:

  • 1 BT-50 propulsion tube
  • 1 BT-50 passenger tube
  • 3 BT-5 ejection gas tubes
  • 6 BNC-5
  • 3 BNC-50
  • 3/32 balsa fin stock
  • 18 mm motor mount
  • several CR-20/50 centering rings

The instructions were typical for Estes at the time of the rocket's production. Good illustrations for the major steps and good descriptions of the construction tasks. You will need to find a way to convert the Estes part numbers for the various body tubes into the correct measurements. I ordered all 9 of my balsa nose cones from Balsa Machining Service, they are all standard sizes and the transaction was smooth.

The main feature of the kit is the unique way that the ejection gasses are passed from the motor through 3 outside tubes (hence the name Trident) to the parachute compartment. This is accomplished by cutting a series of slots in all 5 of the body tubes: 3 each for the motor section and parachute section, 2 a piece for the 3 out-riggers. These ports need to be aligned fairly accurately, then sealed completely airtight with thick glue fillets. This is by far the most exacting, as well as time consuming part of the construction. It could be sped up by using epoxy for the joints, but that may make the model too heavy. Other than that, the construction was fairly standard.

The fin planform is interesting, and they glue to the out-riggers instead of the main motor tube. The fins conform to the shape of the tail cones, so be careful when sizing the pattern. I thought about taking advantage of Balsa Machining Service in laser cutting the fins (you provide a RockSim file that includes the fin shape) but didn't feel like wrestling with the data points to make the curves smooth.

Finishing:
Wow, there's a lot of balsa nose cones to fill on this bird! I used 2 coats of sealer, sanding lightly between them and re-acquainted myself with the reason they call this stuff "dope". Please remember to use adequate ventilation when using this stuff.

The paint scheme is overall gloss white with nice red decals. I used the image file from JimZ to print out the stripes and logos, then cut them out and used white glue to attach them. I then gave the model a couple of coats of clear gloss to seal them in place.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
I have flown this model several times on B6-4's and B6-2's with the 4 second delay being better suited to the model. I have a nice mylar chute (about 18 inches) that has always returned the rocket safely, even once where it dropped right on top of a chain link fence, just chipped the paint a little.

Motor retention is a standard "new-style" Estes motor hook, with that annoying little tab cut off.

Recovery:
Recovery has been fine so far. No damage from falling too fast, and no excessive drifting.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
The design and complexity of this rocket is one that we will probably never see again from Estes. It is a challenging build, but the reward is the looks of envy on other flyer's face when you walk this beauty out to the pad.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

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