Estes - Gemini DC {Kit} (2136) [1997-2005]

Contributed by George Pluck

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Published: 2013-07-08
Diameter: 0.98 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Sport

Brief

The Estes Gemini DC features twin 'chute deployment from the rear of two attached side pods.  Though much maligned, it's a very cool kit

Components

  • Three tubes, one main and two for the side pods
  • Balsa fins mount through the main tube
  • Plastic nose cones

My kit came with an extra engine clip as well as the usual Estes components.

Construction

The instructions were easy to follow. The balsa fin tabs swelled up when glue was applied making it a bit of a struggle to slot them in the main tube. I made more of a glue mess than I would have liked. Also, I veered off path a bit. Instead of gluing the side pods on and then painting, I painted the components first up to the finish coat then I glued them on the main tube. I used a slow cure epoxy to fillet the lug and the fins. Masking off the body made for some neat pro-quality fillets.

Finishing

The nose cones needed a fair bit of dressing down. Tqp coats of sanding sealer went on the fins and I used two or three coats of sandable primer on top of that and over the body parts. On top of that, I sprayed four coats of Testors medium blue, sanding with 600 between the first two, I used 0000 steel wool after the 3rd coat. The decals are stickers which went on easy enough. After the decals went on I sprayed two coats of clear gloss lacquer. It has a stunning finish, I'm very pleased.

Flight

It made its maiden voyage today on a B6-2 motor. She flew straight and was still in a vertical position when the engine popped the 'chutes. That's right, both parachutes came out with no issues and the rocket landed about 100 feet from the launch pad. It was very exciting to see it all work.

Recovery

After purchasing this kit, I started reading the reviews. Since the 'chute deployment or, lack thereof, seems Ito be the issue, I focused on 'chute protection. I wrapped the center section of the motor mount with some fireproofing before gluing it in. Also, I added additional wadding fore and aft in the side pods vent tube and, once the 'chutes were in, more wadding over the tube ends covering the 'chutes. I even stuffed wadding in the gap between the main tube and the motor mount where it exits out the back. Adding a dusting of talcum powder to the 'chutes surfaces seems to help unfurl them quickly.

Summary

The twin 'chutes worked perfectly and the rocket came down nose first. No damage to rocket whatsoever. Next launch will be with a C6-5.

Overall Rating: 4

Flights

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