We ordered the Public Missiles Intruder for several reasons. The body is Quantum Tube, and the five asymmetrical G-10 fins contribute to its sleek lines and good looks. Never having used anything beyond cardboard and plywood, we looked forward to the chance to work with these new materials.
Arriving in a plastic bag, the kit components were all there and very good quality. The 3" diameter Quantum Tube was pre-slotted, the actual material unlike anything wed seen before no spirals to fill! The fins were cut perfectly and the fit within the slots was precise. The included instructions are excellent, although the type face is on the small side. In all, there are a dozen pages of notes and diagrams, including a page showing how to pack the parachute, another on securely tying tubular nylon shock cords (supplied), and one thats a list of "Dos and Donts" for Quantum Tube. PML puts the location of the center of pressure (CP) on the very first page of documentation, which is something all manufacturers should do.
Construction steps are logical and easy to follow. As with any kit, you should dry fit parts first and make sure you completely understand before applying adhesives.
Quantum Tube is known to contract significantly in cold weather, so PML suggests sanding the piston during the winter (when the fit is tightest) so that everything slides smoothly all year round. Since we fly year-round, we opted to leave out the piston altogether and go with standard ejection. Many people swear by the PML piston system, and some people swear at it, so just do what you feel comfortable with.
We installed a set of rail buttons in addition to the supplied launch lug. Motor retention is supplied by brass clips held in place with cap screws threaded into blind T-nuts in the rear centering ring.
I really like the PML orange and white paint job, but we seldom paint a rocket to match the catalogs. Since this is Robyns rocket, she picked the concept for our original look.
Early on, she decided that the rocket would be named the Tinkerbelle. I make decals for a lot of our rockets, so we needed pictures of the pixie. Some searching on the web gave us several nice clip art graphics to choose from, and I had an idea in mind for final finishing. If I could pull it off, Robyn would get a pleasant surprise.
After lightly sanding everything, a couple of coats of Rustoleum sandable primer was applied and allowed to dry for several days. More sanding, followed by wiping with a tack cloth, left a smooth surface ready for paint. The paint scheme is simple straight gloss white from nose to tail. Once again, we put Tink aside for several days while we did the decals.
Many different samples were printed on regular paper, cut out and test-fit onto the airframe, until we were satisfied. Using MS Power Point, the decals were printed out onto decal paper using a laser printer, then lightly sprayed with glossy clear coat.
If you make your own decals, dont forget to create one that has your name, phone number, and NAR or TRA number. Put that on a fin or the body tube, and if your rocket gets lost, anyone finding it can contact you. I speak from experience, it works!
Once the decals were applied and set, it was time for Dads surprise. I managed to find pixie dust at the craft store. Actually, its a very fine pearlescent glitter, similar to the artificial snow you can find around Christmas time. The brand name is Art Deco, and the product is called Glamour Glitter.
We sprayed a very light misting of gloss clear coat on the rocket, then sprinkled the pixie dust on by tapping it through a kitchen wire-mesh strainer held over the rocket. Heaviest at the aft end, the effect faded as we moved up the body, ending completely about 2/3 of the way towards the nose. Alternating clear coat and pixie dust, we continued until we were happy with the results. A final coat of gloss sealed the finish.
This worked better than Id hoped, because in the sun the rocket sparkles beautifully. Definitely not for the altitude crowd though, because it leaves a finish almost like fine sandpaper.
Heres a shot of Tinkerbelle, taken before her maiden flight at Battlepark 2001. The day was overcast, so the picture doesnt do the finish justice.
Future plans for this rocket include dual-deployment recovery using electronics, but so far weve just used motor ejection for the parachute.
Full up loaded weight, including motor is 4.5 lbs.
The maiden flight was on an Aerotech H180 White Lightning with a medium delay. The flight was beautiful and there was no damage on recovery. The PML-supplied parachute seemed to be perfectly sized, and the bright colors (orange and blue panels) made it easy to track against the sky.
The second flight was made with an Aerotech H165 Redline, again with a medium delay. Another arrow-straight boost and fine recovery.
On soft, grassy fields, you could possibly go down a size on the chute to cut drift. I believe PML also offers the option to go up a size on the chute in the kit for flyers who recover on less-forgiving surfaces.
This is a quality kit, getting 5s straight across the board. We highly recommend it, and wont hesitate to try PML kits and components in the future.
For those who might snicker at a rocket named Tinkerbelle,