The FlisKits ACME Spitfire was a long awaited item from their line of models and was recently introduced at NARAM 45 in Evansville, Indiana. Well, I just had to be first in line to get a couple of these kits, one to save and one to build. I had seen this model debut at NSL 2003 earlier this year as a prototype and it’s a real head-turner. The kit resembles something you would see in a Farside comic or Warner Bros Roadrunner/Coyote cartoon.. As bent up as it is, this 24mm beauty, if you can call it that, is a real stable flier and I see a large following for this model down the road.
The kit comes in the standard, colorful FlisKits package and includes a BT70 outer body tube and an inner 24mm body tube, which also is used as the motor mount and nosecone mount. In addition, it comes with a large assortment of templates (four of which are used for cutting the body tubes) along with nosecone, launch spacer, and tail skirt templates. Clay for nose weight and a guide pin are also included, along with the infamous FlisKits very high quality laser-cut black fiber Centering rings — seven rings in all! This is listed as a Level 3 kit, and with the quantity of parts and templates, it is listed appropriately. High quality balsa and heavy duty 3/8-inch shock cord is also included and a website is given that contains down-loadable colored “Skins” for the model. Finally, a very detailed and comprehensive set of instructions, complete with illustrations, compliments the kit.
Construction, although complex, is actually very simple and goes very fast! A motor block is used for 24mm motors, however, I would not recommend using the E9 in this kit nor is it listed by the manufacturer—the model is way too heavy and wind resistant. For you higher power guys, I am willing to bet it would fly great on D15 or E18 RMS and will test it. Back to building; once the motor stop and hook are in place, you start by adding Centering Rings and body tube sections.
A separate cutting template wrap is supplied for each of the body tube sections and FlisKits method of keeping the tubes in alignment is both simple and effective. A centering ring is used at each body tube joint, giving additional support to the model. Note that if you wish to use the “Skins” provided on the website, you print the colored lower tail template wrap and nosecone on card stock using the PDF file from their website. Otherwise, the kit contains a plain white nosecone and tail-cone wrap. What I decided to do was to use the provided wrap, then print the tail and nose on label paper as a Skin and use them as such to cover the two templates with color on both ends. I also printed each of the stock Skins found on the site on Avery label paper. The kits, for cost reasons, do not include colored Skins and that is fine by me. I see many people getting innovative with their own ideas and I even have a few of my own for another Spitfire down the road.
Most of the time during construction was spent building the body tube. You need to cut them out using templates, easy enough, and then they need to be assembled one at a time, using alignment marks you drew earlier. This method works great and the main body tube was done in no time. Cutting the templates, then cutting the tubes took more time than building. Once completed, you can build the nosecone and add weight to the model. Clay is provided for nose weight, but is added to the body tube top instead of the nosecone—this keeps the nosecone light and prevents that separation a heavy nosecone can suffer from after a few launches. The design keeps the stress low and components light.
If you decide to use the Skins, you apply them to the fins and tail before gluing on the fins. I used Epoxy to insure the fins were attached well to the tail. Also, I opted to use Epoxy when coating the inside of the nosecone, which adds strength. Follow the directions and assembly is a breeze. One thing to note, I did fit the nosecone guide pin, then cut it a bit longer, 5/8-inches, to make sure it would engage in the slot on the nosecone. Also, take note to cut and install your upper launch lug in the correct direction on the lug spacer. They tell you twice to do it with the grain on the leading edge and they even provide drawings and notes on the template. Still, I got it wrong and had to cut another spacer from the plentiful supply of balsa.
Finishing for me was a breeze—I printed the “Skins” from the website and applied them like labels. The model was clear coated to waterproof it, then some final touches were made. I edged each fin, then built the standard 16-inch parachute supplied with the kit. I also wound up using the stock 3-fold paper mount for the shock cord as it had worked well and is still holding up fine in my Deuces Wild!. One thing to note—you get a 3/8-inch wide, very stout shock cord for this model—plenty strong and wide enough to prevent zippers. The other end was tied to the “eye” hook on the nosecone and the “Spitfire” was ready for the field.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
Launch time was here and I decided to use a C11-3 for the first flight. The model was prepped and tissue added to the bay. Once all packed, I headed for the field, at a local school and set up my pad for a launch. After everything was ready, I thought, it was a shame no one was around to see this as I had seen the Spitfire demo launched many times by the manufacturer and the looks he always got from the crowd were amazing. Well, The good thing was this one was mine, all mine and I got to push the button. The Acme Spitfire left the rod in a hurry, straight up with no wiggles—what a ride!
The model slowed vertically to a hover, then the parachute deployed right at apogee. It never nosed over, just up…stop…pop…and down for a landing, very cool! I cannot wait to try it at our club launch this weekend and am glad I finally had the chance to own one. I packed up the car and headed home to prep for the weekend and will update my flight logs then.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
The FlisKits ACME Spitfire is an amazingly stable, absolutely cool model that is a MUST-HAVE for everyone’s silo. The looks on peoples’ face when you approach the launch line will be priceless and now that it’s a real “FlisKits” model, the LCO will say, “oh, I see they’ve been at it again—yea, you can launch it.” And FlisKits has been at it again, burning the midnight oil to bring you probably the most unique model rocket kit ever to be mass produced—The FlisKits “ACME Spitfire!”
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
Brief: This is one bizarre rocket that looks like it should not fly. Construction: The rocket is made from a BT-50 inside pieces of BT-70 with 6 centering rings, balsa nose cone, and 4 fins (all are a different shape) mounted to a paper transition piece. The instructions were very precise and easy to follow with lots of useful illustrations. It is my opinion that the ...
This is yet another review of this unique, crooked rocket. Hopefully, this provides another perspective on its construction, finishing/decoration, and flight. The FlisKits kits are professionally packaged and this is no exception. The printed face includes is in full color, includes photos and specs, and a serial number--mine is #87. The small parts are contained in a small Zip-loc bag. My ...
Absolutely the most INNOVATIVE commercial kit I've ever seen in rocketry, this rocket looks like Wyle E. Coyote has built and flown it a few too many times. You won't believe it flies nor will anyone else at the pad, yet you'll all be laughing your fannies off when you witness its perfect flight path. I witnessed the prototype of this kit in action at NSL this May and have been chomping at the ...