Contributed by Drake "Doc" Damerau
Stop! Before you build this kit, read the directions. OK, you've been told that on many occasions, but this time, you actually need to do that. This is because there are 3 ways to build it, depending on how you want the deployment. I went with "Option 3". This is the way I built my 4.16 upscale, and although I'm sure the other two deployment options work just fine, I have confidence in this method.
The quality of the components is unparalleled. Every component in this kit is the highest quality available. Even the wooden dowels are poplar. (That's why they have a green tint to them.) Poplar is a strong, moisture resistant wood that warps less than others. The tubes are all the heavy, white, "no-seam" type. The coupler tube is extra long and very thick.
The design of this kit goes way beyond most kits out there. This kit was engineered, not just created. The creativity in the design and construction is tremendous.
The jig is unlike anything I've ever seen. It is made from laser cut pressed wood. The engineering that went into it made building this rocket much easier. Without it, the skill level on this kit would be two steps higher. This is something I guarantee you won't be able to bring yourself to throw in the trash when you are done with it.
I only slightly beveled the fins. I do this on many of my rockets to give them a "beefier" look when streamlining is not a concern. Besides, a rocket in space doesn't care about drag.
The paper transition was no trouble, but I've never liked them. I always prefer a balsa transition because they always look nicer and take no time. I don't think a balsa transition would work here if one chose to use the "ejection through transition" option. Regardless, it's not a "con" it's just a preference.
The only modification I made to the kit was in the "antenna mast" area. The build left a notch-like gap here. I just took a 3/16" wide scrap of balsa, glued it in place, and sanded it to match. See the picture for the before and after.
Little else needs to be said about the build. It went relatively fast with no problems because of the easy-to-understand instructions.
The decals went on without trouble. These are the high quality type that don't need to be cut out to the edge of the color, like the single sheet type.
The finished weight of my build was 14.4 oz. Not too far from the listed 14.0 oz. But, I chose not to use the 9" x 9" chute protector to save weight and packing ease. I used dog-barf instead. If I had chose option 1 or 2, I may have used the chute protector.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
Her first flight was at NERRF 4 on the F21-6W. The flight was slightly into the wind and the ejection was very close to apogee. This is a perfect motor for this bird. Too bad AeroTech stopped making them. Unfortunately, I was unable to get any pictures of the flight.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
None of these nit-picky details are worthy of taking from the review points. I sure I'm the only one that would even notice, and this is an upscale sport flier and not supposed to be an exact replica.
Finally, I wrote this review before I noticed that someone had already done one. I thought about changing my review to complement the review that Geoff Givens wrote, but I ended up leaving them as they were and just adding this note. To that I'll add: I received my kit after the instructions had been revised. I found no problems with them in any way. The only thing that I disagree with Geoff's review is that this kit is just barely a 4 skill level. Definitely not a 5. The long motor hook was long to accommodate AeroTech F and Estes E9 motors.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
What You Can Do