This is a very small, futuristic looking rocket. Overall the kit is pretty good, it is just tiny.
The kit comes with two body tubes, one of which is the motor mount, a tube coupler, engine block, engine hook, balsa fins and nose cone, water slide decals, rubber shock cord, and an eye hook for the nose cone.
When I first bought this model it was in a cardboard box instead of the regular plastic bag the kits usually come in. When I opened the kit up at home I was surprised to find a balsa nose cone and water slide decals (thank you for listening to us Estes). The instructions were pretty good besides the fact that the main wing placement measurements are not given. I mounted mine too far back but it was no real problem.
The balsa in this kit is very thin and flimsy due to the size of the model, which is very small. The engine hook is actually on the outside of the body, but with some wood filler and sand paper I managed to cover it up rather nicely.
Most of the kit was just a straight forward, Estes build. There was nothing special or very hard about this kit at all. One thing I did do, that I do to ALL of my Estes kits is to not use the tri fold method to attach the shock cord, instead I used a steel fishing leader. I filed a groove into the tube coupler and secured the leader around that.
The parachute was a plain white plastic chute. The body tube being so small the parachute really has to be folded up good for it to fit inside and I was worried about it being able to deploy.
Finishing this kit was rather easy, even though I did a lot of filling on it. Getting between the lower fins to sand where I moulded around the motor hook was the most difficult part. After filling the balsa and spirals and moulding everything smooth I painted the rocket with a couple coats of primer and then three coats of white paint.
The decals included in the kit are great. I am glad to see water slide decals included with the model. There is no direction really given on placing the decals other than a very small picture of the top and bottom of the display model. There are plenty of decals included, in fact I did not even use them all and I felt the model came out rather nice looking.
After applying the decals and allowing them to set over night I coated the entire rocket with Krylon crystal clear gloss. I let the rocket set up in my hobby room for a few days waiting on it to dry and the winds to die down so I could launch the rocket.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
I flew this rocket on a B6-4 for its first flight. The winds were up above 10 MPH and there was a light snow falling. Temperatures at the time were below freezing. The flight was picture perfect. I did have to aim the launch pad into the wind, but the rocket flew very nicely. At apogee the nose cone blew just fine, dragging the parachute out with it, however the parachute did NOT open, in fact the shroud lines did not even unwrap from the chute. Not sure if it was the cold or the chute was packed too tight or both, but the model came down and stuck the tail fin about 2 inches into the dirt. Lucky for me there was absolutely no damage, not even a chip in the finish, which surprised me seeing as the ground was pretty cold and frozen.
I replaced the Estes tri-fold with a steel fishing leader to secure the shock cord and replaced the shock cord with a piece of elastic 2.5X longer than the one included. Recovery could have gone better for me, but if proper care is taken in packing the parachute and maybe adding some talc I am sure it would come down fine. Seeing as the model is very light weight as long as proper build techniques are used you should be able to recover it on the supplied parachute with no damage at all.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
In closing I would like to say that this is one very good looking model rocket. It may be small, but it is a great flyer and a very satisfying rocket to build.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Brief: Estes labels the Crossbow has a basic builder series, simple to glue and paint, Intergalactic Cruiser, and flies up to 1600 feet. Overall it's a neat looking rocket when completed. Construction: The nose cone included is balsa which is a welcome change over the plastic cone. The body tubes are excellent quality, and the fins are laser cut. My laser cut sheet was very ...