Quest - Striker AGM {Kit}

Contributed by Andy Berger

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Published: 2010-01-14
Diameter: 1.38 inches
Length: 27.75 inches
Manufacturer: Quest
Skill Level: 2
Style: Scale

Quest Striker AGM

Brief:
The new Striker AGM from Quest Aerospace is an impressive scale-like missile standing over 27 inches tall. This kit features a unique molded boat tail and 10 degree plastic nose cone. The laser-cut balsa fins make assembly easy and there's a big waterslide decal sheet with lots of visual details. Low cost + great performance makes it a great value to any rocketeer.

Construction:
18mm single stage with two sets of fins and 14" plastic parachute for recovery. The Striker AGM is designated a Skill Level 2 Kit for modelers with some experience however I consider it a moderately simple build with two sets of 4 fins and a nice boat tail back end. The larger main fins are located near the motor mount with the smaller set of fins set just forward of these. The nose cone is impressively long and sleek. The kit uses Quest-typical construction techniques with a 4-page instruction guide and can be built quite quickly. The rocket includes a long body tube, a two-piece plastic nose cone, 8 pre-cut balsa fins, a motor mount (18mm) tube with thrust ring and retainer hook, launch lug, a recovery system made up of a Kevlar shock tether, elastic shock cord, and a 14" plastic parachute. Decals are waterslide.

The instructions are typical of Quest and are well illustrated and clear. The four page document includes a nice ruler printed on the front. An electronic copy of the instructions is also available on the Quest Aerospace website as a PDF. This kit includes some plastic parts so you need to make sure you know when to use CA/Plastic cement and when to use white glue. The instructions spell it out but you need to pay attention and read them thoroughly.

PROs:

  • Everything goes together very nicely using proven techniques and components.
  • The Kevlar®/elastic recovery harness combo holds up well under normal wear and tear of launches.
  • The main fins require you to add a forward-extending "strake" section. This is easy to do and adds to overall good looks of the kit.
  • The fin guide is molded directly into the boat tail "reducer". This is a really nice feature and actually makes the kit look better.

CONs:

  • The two piece nosecone can be a challenge to get a smooth seam. Recommend you pre-sand and test fit these before gluing them together. When you do glue them, make sure to use some use some clamps or rubber bands to hold them together tightly while the glue dries.
  • The launch lug standoff is not precut so they give you a small template to cut out and transfer to the scrap balsa. Seems trivial but it would have been nice to have this precut from the balsa sheet
  • The balsa sheet I received seemed to be very flimsy compared to other Quest kits I've put together recently. This is particularly concerning due to the size of the rocket and the size/shape of the fins. I'm fairly certain this was just a one-time issue.

Modifications I made:

  • The thin balsa sheet was replaced with slightly thicker basswood. This added some weight to the rear of the rocket so I filled the nosecone with expanding foam to compensate for CG concerns. This added several ounces to the overall weight which will keep me from flying this on a B6 motor. On the flip side, I can now try to launch this rocket with a composite "D" RMS 18mm motor in the future.
  • Again, with the extra weight in mind, I replaced the plastic parachute with a nylon 14" chute. I also replaced the thin elastic thread with a longer (18") section of 3/16" elastic strip.

Finishing:
Finishing was very easy. The instructions for the colors made it very easy to reproduce the look from the front of the kit packaging.

The waterslide decals were simple effective and not overkill like some other kits.

I added two coats of clear coat over the stickers to help protect the finish. I will be launching this rocket quite a bit and want it to stay in great shape!

Adding the extra stripes on the tip and base of the nosecone added to the overall effect. This kit will definitely be sitting on the front part of my rocket display case at home (at least when I'm not flying it).

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
I've made 3 flights already on this kit with excellent results each time. The larger length and diameter of the rocket body in addition to the two sets of fins make for very stable flights with an excellent CG/CP.

With the added weight from the modifications I made, I wasn't able to test it using B6-4 motors. However, if you were to use stock fins, a B6-4 flight would be sufficient on low wind days. All of my flights were made using C6-3 or C6-5 motors.

All three flights have had solid, slow boosts, near vertical and with minimal spin. Apogees were always into the wind with a clean ejection while the rocket was nearly horizontal. Estimated altitude each time was ~950ft.

Recovery:
Recovery for each flight was within 350ft with no damage to the rocket. A simple reload of the wadding/parachute, replace the spent motor and we were back in business.

I'm not a big fan of the plastic sheet parachutes but I understand why they need to be included. The size is certainly sufficient to slow the descent for a safe landing. If you use the plastic parachute, make sure to secure the knots on the lanyards solidly. Even a little drop of glue on each knot would help.

I'd also recommend adding some additional length to the shock cords. This will help avoid any "hard ejection charge" damage. The Kevlar and elastic shock cords are anchored very well to the motor mount but the length is very minimal.

The motor mount is located very well. There is no evidence of burning/charring and the motors released easily after recovery.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
Again, I feel that this rocket is the best value, low-power rocket kit on the market. Newer rocketeers will be kept challenged without getting frustrated while experienced rocketeers will find the build to be quick and fun.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

avatar
George Beever (April 10, 2011)

The nose cone for this kit is from the old MPC/Quest Nike Smoke, and the tail cone slso has the same lineage. Hey, if it works, why not?

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Rich DeAngelis (July 11, 2012)

My Quest kit included very good quality balsa for the fins.  I would recommend you be careful sanding the root edges of the fins, and test fit them to the tailcone while doing so. I didn't, and as a result I had slight gaps that had to be filled with additional glue and putty.  Also, adjust the Kevlar to be just shorter than the length of the body tube. Mine was a little long and I didn't bother to tie it a little shorter. As a result of this, I had some zipper damage when I flew it with a motor with a long ejection delay.

This model proved to fly very well, when calm and also when windy and gusty. For that reason alone I like it a lot, as I haven't figured out how to control the wind just yet.  I also like it's large size and diameter which makes it easy to fit in the parachute without packing it too tightly.  I recommend the C6-3 motor for this, the -5 has too long of a delay. It will reach 300+ feet as measured by my altimeter.  I do not recommend the B motor for this, as it would only reach to maybe 150 feet which would not give the parachute much time to open.

As the review says, the plastic nose cone in two pieces is a bit of a challenge.  You absolutely have to clamp it tight when drying.  Afterwards, I used plastic putty to fill in the low spots and the seams.  Also true: it is very easy to change-out the motor with this kit.  Quest has made a very good model here.  I just wish I would have converted it to a 24mm mount because I expect it would fly great with a D12 in there.

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