FlisKits - TOG {Kit} (MX006)

Contributed by Chan Stevens

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.45 inches
Length: 10.03 inches
Manufacturer: FlisKits
Style: MicroMaxx
FlisKits TOG MMX

Brief:
Rounding out the initial wave of FlisKits micro kits, the TOG has got to be the coolest design of the fleet. It's a miniature spacecraft with sleek, futuristic styling. Even though it looks big and heavy for an MMX, it flies very well.

Construction:
At first I thought the $9.45 price was a bit intimidating (the other micro kits run $5-6), but when I opened up this kit, I saw lots of parts and all of them are excellent quality. The only difference between this and a "regular" modroc kit that I drop $10-15 into is that this one is smaller. It's every bit as complex as a full-sized kit and should be considered a skill level 3.

Inside the little baggie, you'll find 6 different body tubes, laser-cut fins, balsa transition and nose cone, Kevlar® shock cord, mylar streamer, and even a little centering ring to use as a motor block. The original release kits included plastic straws, but the newer kits have been upgraded to include a very impressively rolled paper lug. The quality of the tubes and balsa parts was pretty amazing.

The instructions have are a compressed 13 steps, all shrunk to fit on one side of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. Those used to the thorough FlisKits instructions might be a bit disappointed with these, but they are perfectly fine and still well illustrated.

I noticed a neat little revision to the FlisKits motto ("Aim for the sky and try not to miss") for the micro line, the instructions note "Aim for the ceiling and try not to miss".

Construction starts by gluing in a centering ring motor block in the main body/motor tube. Good luck with that--a toothpick is almost too large for the job. Once done, be sure to mark which end has the block, as that's now the aft end of the rocket.

Next, you need to cut a number of tubes. Each of these has at least one tapered cut, all marked using a wraparound template. Given the small size of the tubes, this really wasn't as time consuming as you would think but does take careful work and a very steady hand. A sharp blade doesn't hurt either. Once cut, use a sanding block to straighten out any rough edges.

The motor tube/main body tube is bonded inside one of the tapered tubes similar to the Just Past Due ring fins. This larger tube serves as the main tube around which the other pods are attached.

Next, there are 3 different wing pod assemblies. Each of these is built from a combination of a laser cut (plywood?) wing, which is attached to the central body tube then a pod (one of the tapered cut tubes) followed by a wing tip. The wings and pods are aligned in a standard 120-degree orientation but have very asymmetrical angles. It looks very funky and definitely has a starship shape to it with two lower pods and an upper "command module" pod.

The lower body assembly is completed by attaching a pair of launch lugs using a laser cut standoff.

The upper body is a basic payload type of assembly consisting of a balsa transition, a larger body tube, and a balsa nose cone. The cone was terrific quality--very long, sharp taper, and smooth.

The shock cord is anchored to the main body tube (inside the larger central tube) and attached to the transition by gluing a knotted end of the Kevlar® into a hole you poke in the base of the transition.

Using CA to bond the fins and with some kicker to make sure it cured quickly, I managed to complete the construction on this in about 2 hours, but I skipped my normal seam and grain filling routine.

Finishing:
After completing the construction, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with this in the paint department. If I'd had some decals, I might have been inclined to go with some type of gray/silver scheme. The smaller components make masking a real challenge so I was not sure how to pull off a multi-color scheme.

I eventually decided to go with a couple light primer coats, sanded down with 240 grit, followed by a deep, dark red metallic paint (Krylon X-treme metallic). Wanting to mix in a second color, I hand painted the wings and wing tips a gloss black. The finished product is a fairly intimidating ship, albeit small enough to blow off the workbench with a good sneeze.

The photo doesn't really do this one justice. Of the micros I hauled out to the field that day, this one was by far the one that had the most eye appeal and drew the most attention.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
Well, you're pretty much limited to MMX motors for this rocket so motor selection was pretty easy. Flight prep is a little tricky as it does require wadding and the wadding needs to be compressed into itty bitty balls to fit in the tube.

Ignitor prep is also a bit of work as this does not sit properly on a standard Quest UFO hanger launch pad (it might fit the tripod although I didn't take that one out). I wound up using a neat little pad I picked up from Micro Classics, which meant I couldn't use the regular Quest plug-in style ignitor.

The back side of the instructions show a number of steps/tips for modifying plug-in igniters, and I wound up following these to salvage the nichrome wire for a better ignitor approach.

The modified ignitor worked great--I had 6 launches that day on various micros and zero misfires (two of them did take 2-3 seconds to light).

If you're used to the typical RTF Micromaxx flights that vanish until the ejection puff, you'll love this. It was a very low and slow flight, peaking under 75 feet. The 1-second delay actually wound up being a hair late as it ejected nose down.

Recovery:
The streamer is mostly for visual effect, not really slowing the descent rate much. Landing in soft grass, the nearly tumble recovery was fine and this rocket will definitely be getting many more flights in the future.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
About a year ago, I scored a couple hundred MMX motors from various dealers dumping them at $2-3 per 6-pack. Ever since then, I've been looking for decent kits and designs to build and have generally been disappointed with the quality of kits available and components on the market. This one, along with the other FlisKits micros, are a huge improvement to the Micromaxx market. This is a wild design, great quality, and flies much better than just about anything else widely available (other than ASP's nice MMX scale kits and many of Micro Classics downscales).

I really enjoyed this kit and highly recommend it. The only con I can offer is the slightly high price, but frankly you do get plenty of parts for that money. It just seems weird paying $9+ for such a small rocket.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

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