Quest - Harpoon {Kit} (3008)

Contributed by Chan Stevens

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.58 inches
Length: 20.50 inches
Manufacturer: Quest
Skill Level: 3
Style: Scale

Quest Harpoon AGMBrief:
This is a semi-scale kit (inspired by the Navy anti-ship missile) that looks pretty cool with very nice waterslide decals and all the fins you could possibly want.

Construction:
I picked up this kit at a half-off special at a chain store and found the contents survived the multiple shipments through distribution centers and stock handlers just fine. Parts were of average quality and included:

  • Plastic nose cone
  • White glassine body tube (very pronounced spirals)
  • 3 sets of 4 Laser cut balsa fins
  • 18mm motor mount assembly (including centering rings, metal clip, block)
  • Kevlar/elastic shock cord combo
  • 14" plastic chute (kit that you assemble)
  • Waterslide decals

This kit is listed as a skill level 3 kit, which I think is somewhat overrated. This requires no more skill or special knowledge than a typical 3FNC project although there are 3 sets of fins, so there's a slight challenge on alignment. Even the paint scheme is monochrome. This could easily be built in a couple of hours plus finishing.

The instructions are fine with plenty of illustrations. I rate Quest instructions slightly ahead of Estes, simply because they are presented in a more logical and organized format.

Construction begins with a fairly ordinary motor mount, consisting of an 18mm tube, a pair of cardstock centering rings, a 13/18 block, and a metal clip. Kudos to Quest for continuing to use Kevlar shock cord anchored to the motor mount. This is good practice and teaches the youngsters proper habits for durability and reliability of deployment.

Next, the body tube is marked for 4 fin lines and the lug using a cut-out wraparound guide. There are 3 sets of laser cut fins, so you'll have a lot of balsa to sand for this one. I tacked on the fins with medium CA then applied two coats of yellow glue fillets. I used a metal angle for alignment of the 3 fins on each line, anchoring each fin to the angle with clothes pins. The result was great alignment. After attaching the fins, the lug can be mounted about halfway up the tube.

All that is left of construction is making and attaching the chute lines, which is a minor nuisance for mature fingers.

Finishing:
I skipped out on a bit of finishing work, choosing not to fill the spirals. I regretted that decision, as after two coats of primer thoroughly sanded, and two coats of Rustoleum glossy white, I could spot the seams from 10 feet away. This is too nice looking a kit to leave such glaring spirals.

The instructions clearly indicate this is a single-color (white) finish, although the illustration beneath the paint notes shows a gray nose, as does the picture on the header card. I thought the gray added a nice contrast to the otherwise dull white, so went with that on the nose.

There is a sheet of very nice waterslide decals for this rocket. I had expected the peel 'n' stick kind, which is part of why I didn't spend much time on the spirals. The waterslides add a deep blue color and were easy to work with. There are some tiny details though, so you'll need a pair of tweezers to place these just right.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
Since the B6-4 is only estimated to go to 280 feet and I had a great low wind day, I went straight to the C6-5 for the maiden flight. It flew fairly straight with a slight weathercock. I think I had the alignment straight, as it didn't spin any, but heard a distinct whistle on the way up. I later found out one other flyer in our club had the same issue on his earlier that day.

Recovery:
Deployment was slightly late but no worse than a slightly early 3. The chute got a bit caught up with twisting lines, so it came down fast but landed in soft grass with no damage.

I'm not sure whether the whistle would be a pro or con, but I'm scoring it a con. I don't think the real missiles announce their presence by whistling.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
This is a little pricey at $13 retail but at half off ($6.50), this kit is a fantastic bargain, especially with the great decals. Heck, I may even buy another one and fill in the spirals, figuring that wind whipping through the canyon-like grooves might be what caused the whistle.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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R.D. (June 16, 2003)
I think the problem with the second flight is that you angled it into the wind, nout away from it which I believe is what you're supposed to do, otherwise you just gave the weather-cocking a helping hand.
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J.R. (October 23, 2006)
This rocket has a tendency to tangle the chute with the fins.
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R.W.L. (February 15, 2007)
I'm kit-bashing rather than building this one stock, but I must say that I was decidedly less than impressed with the quality of some of the materials. The laser-cut balsa fins were very nice, and I like the quest shock-cords better than Estes, but I was disappointed with the body tube, motor-mount tube, and centering rings. Both the body tube and motor mount tube seemed rather flimsy, the centering rings were warped, and the body tube had seams that were way deeper than I would consider acceptable. While I'm glad there are more kit manufacturers out there, Quest failed to impress me with this kit.
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C.C.N. (January 22, 2009)
After I built this rocket, I set her aside for a few months. Then one day while I was arranging my rockets I noticed that the fins where not as square as I had thought they were so I removed them all, sanded the tube, and remarked them. It was during reattaching the fins that I noticed that the motor mount centering rings are not round--they are shaped strangely, thus making the fins line up wrong. I am going to test fly it and then decide whether or not to spend the time to detail the rocket.
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Bill Eichelberger (June 24, 2015)

The whistle isn't a negative.  If you're close enough to hear the real one you're pretty well screwed anyway.

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