Jim Flis is up to his usual shenanigans again with this one. This "Big Honkin' Rocket" is a mere 3.25 inches tall, and weighs 1.3 grams (after heavy painting). The punchline comes when, at a club launch, you call for the heads up flight (so everyone can help you recover it) and announce that you're flying a Big Honkin' Rocket that in fact, can't likely be seen from more than about 50 feet away. Ever recovered an Estes Mosquito? Then step up to the challenge of flying and recovering a Big Honkin' Rocket!
Knowing how challenging it will be to recover these, you at least get materials to build a total of 3 of these for your $10.95, so the first two are for practice.
Kit comes packed in a tiny self-closing baggy and includes:
Instructions are printed on one side of an 8.5" x 11" sheet, clearly written, and with decent computer-drawn illustrations. This is probably a skill level 2 kit, simply because of the small scale of the materials you're working with.
I began by sanding down the body tubes for improved bond surface and ease in marking. Fin lines are marked using a template on the instruction sheet, which is tricky to get precisely right with such a tiny tube. I would recommend using the online template widget (linked under EMRR's tools section) to print out a 3-fin wraparound pattern for 0.281" OD tubing. I used a small piece of angle (molding) to mark the fin lines.
Fins need to be cut by hand, and the pattern is cut from the instruction sheet. Pay careful attention to the suggested layout and leave as slight a gap between fins as possible. Otherwise, you'll never fit 6 fins to a sheet. There is plenty of extra fin material (covers 12 fins/4 rockets), but if you're not efficient with the layout, you'll find yourself short of even covering the 3 rockets.
I tacked the fins on with CA then used yellow glue for fillets. I put the launch lug in the fin/tube joint.
The nose cone is permanently attached, as this is designed to spit the motor for recovery. At 3.25" long, there's simply no room for a recovery device anyway.
I normally am anal retentive and even on Micromaxx models take the time to fill grains and spirals, but looking at these, I decided there really was no point to that, as they likely would never return to the fleet anyway.
I shot everything with a light coat of gray primer then tried hitting them with either of two fluorescent colors--yellow or orange. The Krylon fluorescent wasn't very opaque and there was still plenty of gray showing after two coats, so I went back to a white primer coat then two more coats of yellow/orange. That was much better.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
Motor choice is limited on this one to just the Quest MMX (1/8A). I tried out one of the new non-dipped Q2 igniters also purchased through FlisKits. These igniters are very nice--straight nichrome wire without Pyrogen so they fit inside the tiny MMX nozzle, and they also feature a small plastic bead that keeps the wires separated. They don't come with a plug, but a tiny bit of wadding inserted with a toothpick works fine.
The first flight was on a somewhat breezy day, 8-10 mph winds. I made sure to fly on a baseball field (short grass) to aid in recovery.
The motor lit right away, and the rocket simply vanished. No chance of actually watching it in action, though I did catch a trace of it because the wind knocked it around a little and it looped during the boost. I heard the ejection, but had no idea where the rocket was headed other than a general direction.
This is tiny enough that the tumble recovery is sufficient, but you'll either need a good eye, good luck, or fishing line to retrieve it. In my case, I must have packed luck, as after ony a brief search of the field I was able to spot the bright orange model. No damage at all.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
While this is a cute little rocket, and an amusing name, I think it's too small and overpowered as a result, making this almost always a one-and-gone flyer unless flying on something like a soccer field with a good sized landing zone of cut grass. I'm also a little worried about the stability, though in my case it was probably due to the wind and relatively long fins. Since I did manage to recover it, plus have the other two spares, I will certainly have to fly this again, though I prefer the bigger and more visually interesting micros from Fliskits over this.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5