Semroc - Lune R-1 {Kit} (KB-8) [1970-1971]

Contributed by Chan Stevens

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Manufacturer: Semroc
Style: Sport
Semroc Lune-R1

Brief:
This kit was originally produced by Semroc in 1969 as competition to the Centuri Arcon and has been faithfully reproduced today. It's a simple 4-fin construction and with the payload bay, it could be a nice means of venturing out of the basic intro rocket kits.

Construction:
Ben's review covered the parts fairly well. I'll add that the body tubes are the original dimensions, not approximated BT-50 equivalents and the balsa quality on the nose cone was superb.

This is a very simple construction project, certainly no higher than a skill level 2 and arguably is a decent cub scout den project. The instructions are clearly written with good notes on techniques.

The motor mount is standard 18mm tube with a couple of centering rings and a motor block. The kit also includes a metal engine hook, although the introduction made reference to a version of the original that had a paper shroud instead, which did not use a metal hook. Being a sucker for a nice boat tail, I am intrigued by how this design would look with an aft shroud...

The motor mount also anchors the Kevlar® shock cord attachment, which is a great technique to be sharing with inexperienced builders.

Tube marking is done using a marking guide in the instructions. I prefer a wraparound guide but to each his own.

To keep the construction pace brisk, I tacked my fins on using CA then let wood glue fillets cure overnight.

I cheated on the lug placement. The instructions say mount 2" from the aft end, but I generally prefer to stick closer to the CG so I went a bit more forward.

The payload bay consists of a body tube and a balsa bulkhead capped off by the nose cone. I went ahead and glued on the nose cone, as I'm not interested in flying payloads although I did confirm I could fit my Perfect Flite altimeter inside if needed.

Finishing:
I used my normal technique of diluted Elmer's Wood Filler on the grains and spirals, which were minimal. Then I followed the standard paint scheme, going with gloss white and trimming the fins in an alternating red and blue.

I also wound up using the waterslide decal, which fit very nicely with just a bit of overlap. The stripe pattern was very nice, but I'd also have liked to see something else to break up the long white body. At least a Lune R-1 name tag or a little spaceship on the way to the moon?

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
For the first flight, I decided to burn up some of my less popular motors and went with an A8-3. I expected a very low flight but this actually took it up a few hundred feet. Ejection was perfectly timed and it recovered without damage. Nothing wrong with that.

I'll probably prefer B6-4s for a little more altitude, switching occasionally to the C6 for more "show off" flights for the kids.

Recovery:
The plastic chute held performed fine on this and it came down in soft grass without any damage.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
Very nice and easy to build payloader. Heck, with a slightly bigger diameter, this kit could serve as an NAR competition payloader.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Semroc - Lune R-1 {Kit} (KB-8) [1970-1971] By Ben Shetler

    Brief: Single stage 18mm payloader. Single 12" parachute recovery. 6" long payload section. Construction: The kit contains two sections of body tube: one for the booster and one for the payload section, four laser cut balsa fins, balsa nose cone, balsa tube coupler, motor tube, two centering rings, thrust ring, motor retaining hook, launch lug, screw eye, Kevlar ® ...

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