Custom Rockets TriStar

Custom Rockets - TriStar {Kit} (10027)

Contributed by Bill Eichelberger

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Length: 9.65 inches
Manufacturer: Custom Rockets
Skill Level: 1
Style: Futuristic/Exotic


The TriStar is a single stage rocket with a futuristic passenger rocket design using parachute recovery. I built this rocket for my nephew to fly at a recent family launch, but my nephew crushed it before it got the chance to see it's first flight. I repaired it as well as I could, didn't care for the results, and set it aside for two months. I found it sitting looking dejected today and decided to put it up. Judging from the flight performance, I'm glad I did.

TriStar building components include a length of BT-50 equivalent body tube, a plastic nose cone, an 18mm engine mount and a 12" parachute. Fin stock is of average quality. Custom has unfortunately seen fit to go the Estes route with the shock cord. Cheap elastic and not much of it.

This would be a great first rocket for a beginner. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. The die cut fins needed a little sanding, but that's to be expected. The only thing that remotely resembles a "gotcha" is the fit of the nose cone. It was a little loose in my kit, but a little bit of masking tape corrected this problem.

Once construction was finished, I used three coats of thinned Elmer's Fill'n'Finish as a sanding sealer, sanding between each coat. I then primed the rocket with Krylon Primer, sanded it once more and then put on a coat of Krylon Gloss White. This is as far as I got in the finishing because my nephew killed it before I could get the blue paint and decals on. The decals are water slide, a nice surprise considering that Estes seems to have gone to "sticker" type decals almost exclusively. I can't say for sure, but it might wind up being a bit of a problem matching the blue in the decal with blue paint. If anyone has built one and figured out a match, I'd appreciate a heads up.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Two months after what appeared to be it's tragic demise, I finally flew the TriStar. Turns out it was well worth the wait. I used three sheets of Estes wadding, just because I have a box full and wanted to get rid of some. I used an Estes A8-3 as recommended and was rewarded with a straight, fairly high flight for a comparatively low powered engine. I agree with the other reviewer. A's and B's will put this one up to more than respectable heights. If you want to go with C's, have some friends with strong vision and the will to walk, because this rocket will go places.

Slight problem here. The parachute is on par with Estes quality-wise (making it light years ahead of the more expensive Quest products) and looks great to boot. The only problem was with the shock cord. Too short and of marginal quality. Because I stuck with the stock cord the rocket received a Custom Dent upon ejection. Replace the shock cord with one at least twice as long or more and you should be in business.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Pro's: Great styling, flight performance and price make this one a must for beginners. Con's: Shock cord too short. Nose cone a little loose. These are both very minor concerns and easily corrected.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Custom Rockets TriStar By Kevin Johnson

    ( Contributed - by Kevin Johnson) Brief: Futuristic transport design for 18mm motors and parachute recovery. Construction: The kit includes 1 body tube, 1 motor mount, 4 die cut balsa pieces, a plastic nose cone and a 12 inch parachute kit. It also had a 1/8" launch lug and elastic shock cord. I bought this kit to have something to build while the glue dried on one of my ...



K.R.J. (July 1, 2001)
I agree with this reviewer. The nose cones are a horrible fit, and the shock cord was taken straight from Estes' play book. This was the second rocket my son had ever built, and the fins sheared off at apogee. Don't know why. This rocket will really boogie on a B motor, but he is afraid to fly it again because of the fin problem. So, I'll just have to get one for myself, strengthen the fins and fatten the nose cone, and see what a D21 will do!
J.W. (September 25, 2002)
The review is about what I had encountered. I built the kit per the instructions, and used Dupli-Color acrylic primer as a filler. I then sprayed the entire rocket Testors #2943 Bright White. I sprayed the nose cone a Testors Acryl Engine Blue and it did not match the decals. I later found that Testors #1211 matches the blue decals. My first flight was with an A8-3. The rocket looked great in flight, and ejected the parachute at apogee. The 2nd flight was with a B6-4 and went about 400 ft. At apogee, the nose cone and parachute came apart from the body. The body came down first and actually glides! I caught it and also was lucky to recover the nose cone a little later.
J.B. (May 24, 2008)
I think the review was accurate. The fins/wings are die cut balsa and require a little cutting to free them from the sheet. However, this is not a big deal and takes no longer than a few minutes. The nose cone fits way to loose. To fix that I just primed and painted the entire nose cone to build up the shoulder. Overall it's a nice kit, nice price, and well worth your time. Makes a very sharp rocket that?s more than a normal fin nose cone look.
P.L. (June 19, 2009)
My fins required a lot of blade work to free them from the sheet and a bit of sanding to get both fins of each set the same size. The nosecone was very loose but a couple of wraps of masking tape fixed that. It is a good tip to test fit the motor mount as I had to sand the centering rings down to get a nice fit. Apart from these setbacks, the model built up well, and at the end of the day it looks pretty good. It would have been good if the fins were laser cut, but all in all I like this kit.

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