Estes - Polaris {Kit} (2174) [2001-2002]

Contributed by Donald Besaw Jr

Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Manufacturer: Estes

Rocket PicBrief:
This is one of Estes 2001 new release kits. It is a skill level 2 sport rocket with parachute recovery.

The kit comes with a body tube, upper body tube, adaptor, launch lug, nose cone, motor mount, die cut fin sheets, shock cord, assembled 12 inch parachute and decals.

PROS: Easy and rapid construction.

CONS: Beginners could run into problems with fin alignment.

This kit is easy to build but should be built by individuals with some modeling experience.

Like most Estes kits, the assembly starts with with the motor mount. I built this according to the instructions.

I then cut out the lower and upper tube marking guides and marked the fin and and launch lug aligning lines.

I now glued the tube adaptor into one end of the upper tube. After the glue dried on the nose cone insert, I glued it into the remaining open end of the tube.

After sanding the sheets smooth, I then carefully cut out each set of fins. You should have three lower and three upper fins for a total of six. After stack sanding, I then sanded the trailing and leading edges round.

This is where beginners could run into trouble. This rocket does not have a slotted tube and through the wall fins and the lower and upper fins have to be attached correctly for stable flights.

I then attached the fins one at a time. Estes recommends applying a thin layer of glue to the root edge of each fin, let it dry for one minute and then apply another film of glue then attach. I did this and it really does work. The fins grabbed quickly and tightly each time. After all the lower and upper fins were applied, I used a plastic 12 inch ruler to make sure that all the fins were in line.

I now cut out the shock cord mount from the instructions and assembled it. When the glue dried, I then mounted it about one inch from the top of the body tube.

I then applied the launch lug at this time. After that, I applied two glue fillets to each fin and the launch lug.

The instructions call for the parachute to be installed at this time but I prefer to do it when the rocket is finished.

PROS: Finished product looks sharp.

CONS: The trim schemes shown on the front panel should be decals instead of having to be painted. This could be another problem for beginners.

For finishing, I used Ace hardware brand white primer with Krylon Shortcuts Ocean Blue for the trim and NOW brand Royal Blue for the body and Gloss white for the fins. For those not familiar with this brand of paint, it can usually be purchased from Ace hardware stores for about $1.69 a can. It works very well and dries quickly.

I started by spraying the whole rocket with white primer. I then applied gloss white to the fins and let it dry. After that dried, I masked off the white areas of the fins for the Ocean Blue trim. I also painted the upper fins this color. I then masked off the upper fins and light blue trim areas and painted the remainder of the rocket Royal Blue. I then removed all masking tape. I then applied the white name decal. After that, I applied Krylon Gloss Clear enamel to protect the finish.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

PROS: Easy prep, excellent flight performance.

CONS: None found.

Recommended motors for this rocket are the A8-3 B4-4 B6-4 (first flight) C6-5.

This rocket does require recovery wadding and is packed in the normal fashion. The clip holds the motor in place. Make sure to align the top fins with the bottom fins.

I have flown this rocket twice. I decided to use an A8-3 and was not very impressed. I estimated an altitude of about 150 feet. The rocket did go straight however.

The next flight on a B6-4 was much better. The rocket flew straight to an estimated altitude of about 350 feet. I have yet to fly this rocket on a C6-5. I may use a C6-7 instead.

PROS: Rocket comes down nice on the provided chute.

CONS: Shock cord is too short.

The first unimpressive flight actually had a perfect recovery.

The next recovery did not go as well. When the ejection charge fired, it burnt a few shroud lines in half and ripped the canopy in a few places. The rocket came down a little fast but sustained no damage. I will install a new parachute as soon as possible. I am starting to hate plastic chutes.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Main PROS: Easy construction, distinctive appearance, excellent flight performance.

Main CONS: Fin alignment issues, shock cord too short, no trim decals provided.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5


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