Estes - Stormcaster {Kit} (1301) [2002-2008]

Contributed by Michael Doherty

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.64 inches
Length: 30.25 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

Rocket PicBrief:
This is a new Skill Level 1 kit from Estes designed to fly on the new C11 motors. It is a tall, BT-60 based 3FNC design with through-the-wall fins, and a 24mm motor mount.

Construction:
The kits parts were all in excellent condition. The BT-60 has 3 slots on one end of the tube for the TTW fins. Die cut fins were high quality, as were all the other parts. Elastic shock cord was longer than expected, but still a bit short. Nose cone was excellent w/o any flashing. Bonus: A BT-60 to BT-55 plastic transition piece comes attached to the nose cone, but is not needed in the kit. 18" parachute is pre-assembled.

The instructions & assembly were very straightforward and clear. Construction was easy, and took little time. It is a cool looking kit which was fun to build with my 2 year old daughter (who picked the kit out at the store). The TTW fins fit extremely well, and went on w/o a hitch. No special tools or techniques were needed. I did a mod on the shock cord using Kevlar string around the motor mount, and running it up the body, finally tying it together with the elastic shock cord. The motor block instructions are intended to accommodate the standard 24x70mm "D" motor casing, and can be easily modified to accept the larger (94mm) "E" engines, which is how I did it.

Finishing:
Finishing was standard stuff, although I let my chief construction assistant be the director of finishing. I primed the kit (after filling a couple tube grooves), then painted it gloss white. The remainder was done w/ markers by my daughter in whatever color she chose. Its quite a sight! :). The 'normal' fill/prime/paint would be straightforward for this kit.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:
It flies nicely on C11-5's. I used that twice as I was using a small field. Straight boost to about 400 feet, with deployment just past apogee. The 18" chute is probably a bit big if you're using a D or E engine. A D12 would do nicely. An "E" would send this out of sight. (much like it does to a modified Blue Ninja).

Recovery:
Pros: C11's make for fun flying on smaller fields. 18 chute is good for that. Kevlar® mod should keep cord burnout away for a while.

Cons: Use 12" chute for bigger motors.

Overall, the kit flies nicely and recovers easily.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
A fun to build, sturdy, big rocket (for skill level 1) that can be a great afternoon project. Also can be modified for the more adventurous. Another outstanding point: Its fairly inexpensive. List is about $12. With my Michael's 40% coupon, this only cost be $7. Its worth every penny. Let the kids paint it! Its a nice big canvas for it!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Estes - Stormcaster {Kit} (1301) [2002-2008] By Brian Guzek

    Your basic rocket design: body tube, nose cone, three fins, engine mount, and parachute. It is basically and upscaled version of the Alpha. The kit consists of: 2 12" BT-60 body tubes with one pre-cut for TTW fin mounts 1 Tube connector for BT-60 1 5" BT-60 nose cone 1 1/8" thick balsa sheet w/ die cut fins 2 1" long x 3/16" diameter launch lugs 2 cardboard centering ...

Flights

Comments:

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A. (November 13, 2002)
This is a well built kit suitable for anyone who has built at least one other rocket. The TTW fins make this rocket sturdy and very durable. I have had my burn through the shroud lines while flying on a D12-5 motor and free fall into snow without a scratch. Defiantly use epoxy fillets and I suggest using 5min epoxy for all construction in this kit. The parachute is way to big so I cut an X into the spill hole area(works great). Definitely worth the money to buy it.
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R.H. (November 19, 2002)
I have built two Stormcaster's. The first one I flew twice on C11-3s. It got damaged because I did not use the right amount of wadding and the second one I just got and finished painting today. This time I modified it, so now I'm gonna be using C11-3,D12-5, E9, and maybe an Aerotech F21-6W. I'm gonna be flying it next month at a public launching. This is a great rocket and I can't wait to fly it again.
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L.E.S. (June 19, 2003)
I bought one of these as a quick entry for a NAR contest where the event was E Streamer Duration. Built it stock, except for pulling the motor mount back about an inch and adding a paper boat tail and leaving off the launch lug. I flew it off a piston in a tower on an E9-8. Got very good altitude, didn't strip the streamer and managed to place first in the event. I really like this kit and can't wait to fly it on one of the Aerotech 24 mm F motors ...
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J.V. (June 26, 2004)
This was the second kit I purchased (the first being the ALPHA III, what else!). The kit was complete with all parts. I built it according to the instructions with no modifications except for a custom paint job, and no decals. I flew it a couple of times with the 18" chute on C motors, but was disappointed with the drifting I was getting in the unpredictable NW Indiana winds so I made some streamers from a vinyl tablecloth and now she falls a lot closer with no damage as of yet, even on the D motors. It still drifts a bit if the streamer is too long or wide, but not like it does with the big chute on it. This seems to be a very sturdy little bird and when I get out she always goes up.
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B.M. (November 19, 2005)
Great rocket! Was looking for something to use with the pile of E9 and F21 motors I have, and didn't have time to scratch-build. Went together in a few hours with five minute epoxy (used 1/4 ounce nose weight). First flight, nose cone was a little lose and popped off when the F21-8 stopped burning. Happy to Report after putting on a new launch lug, tossing a little CA into a stress crack on one fin, and CAing zippered body tube, flew great on F21-6 and E9-6. http://www.stinkyteapot.com/stormcasterf21.jpg

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