Estes - Patriot {Kit} (2056) [2003-]

Contributed by Joseph Michel

Manufacturer: Estes

Estes Enduring Freedom M-104 Patriot Missile. Modified recovery system and motor mount.

I modified the stock kit to accept a 24MM motor tube. This was accomplished using a rotary tool and 50-grit sanding drum to open up the stock centering ring to accept the 24MM tube. Once the centering rings were fitted to the motor tube, I also modified the motor hook. I never much cared for the 'new-style' Estes motor hook. I cut the extra hook part off with a cutting disk, and mounted the cut end in the forward position. This modification is not necessary, but I think it just makes for a cleaner-looking finished model.

The stock shock cord supplied by Estes is too short and too thin. I replaced the stock shock cord with 30" of 3/8" elastic mounted through the front centering ring. To mount it through the centering ring, a small slot needs to cut; pull the shock cord through the slot, and tie it in a knot.

The basic components of the kit include:

  • Three (3) body tube sections
  • Two (2) BT-60 couplers
  • One (1) plastic nose cone
  • One (1) 18MM motor mount includes paper centering rings and motor hook
  • Die cut fin sheet
  • Two (2) decal sheets
  • One (1) 12" parachute and shock cord
  • One (1) Instruction sheet

Other than the few modifications that I made to the kit, it is pretty much stock. The body tubes were joined with the supplied couplers and 30-minute epoxy. The motor mount was also epoxied in. Once the tubes were joined, but before the fins or lugs went on, I skim-coated the entire bodytube with thinned Elmers fill 'n' finish. This step fills all the tube spirals and junctions between tubes.

After sanding smooth, the rocket was ready to receive fins. This is where I ran into a problem. After carefully cutting the fins out of the die-cut sheet, I discovered that one of the fins was .100" shorter than the other three. Not having any 3/32" balsa on hand to make a new fin, I had to shorten the other three fins to match the short one. The grain on the fins was filled using Fill 'n' Finish. The fins were glued to the body tube using woodglue. I do three fillets per fin. Last, the launch lug was cut in to two 1" long sections, and mounted to the bodytube using gel superglue.

Finishing this rocket takes some skill. First, two coats of sanding primer were applied. After sanding the primer smooth with 400-grit sandpaper, the entire rocket received two coats of Krylon white. Once dry, the bodytube was masked off so that the fin section could be painted with 2 coats of Krylon Banner Red gloss. After that was dry, the bodytube and fins were masked off so the yellow section around the top could be painted. Last, the red 1" ring around the top was masked and painted. To finish, 2 coats of high-gloss clear were sprayed on. The decals were applied once the clear coat was dry. Estes self-adhesive decals can be a real pain to work with, so take your time with these. The finished rocket looks excellent!

I prepped the Patriot for her maiden flight on a D12-5. The stock 12" chute was packed in with six squares of recovery wadding. My daughter was with me, and did the honors of sending it up. The Patriot leaped off the pad so quick, that we did not see much of it. Much to my dismay, the motor failed to eject, so it was R.I.P. for the Patriot. What a bummer, such a pretty rocket.



  • Low cost
  • Finished rocket looks very cool


  • Three-piece body tube adds complication and weight shock cord is VERY wimpy 
  • The fins on my kit were not cut right
  • Decals are hard to work with
Other Reviews
  • Estes - Patriot {Kit} (2056) [2003-] By Dave Stout

    This is a single-staged, standoff-scale model of a Patriot test round. Other reviewers have done excellent breakdowns on the kit contents, so I will not repeat them here. However, one change is that my Patriot came with the new, cheap rubber band shock cord. This was immediately canned! The Patriot is a decent model in stock form. The majority of the components are good quality stuff and ...

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  • Estes - Patriot {Kit} (2056) [2003-] By Jon Revelle

    A beautiful remake of the M-104 Patriot missile from Estes. This pup was re-released because of our recent victory over seas. This kit is un-assembled and comes with: 2 white body tubes 1 short yellow tube 1 nose cone 4 balsa fins 1 motor mount tube 1 mylar ring 2 engine tube holder rings 1 shockcord, parachute and shockcord mount 2 decal sheets PROS: ...


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