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

Brief:

Your basic rocket design: body tube, nose cone, three fins, engine mount, and parachute. It is basically and upscaled version of the Alpha.

Construction:
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 rings
  • 1 24mm motor mount tube
  • 1 standard engine hook
  • 1 18" plastic parachute
  • 1 30" nylon shock cord
  • 1 set of decals

The instructions were pretty straightforward. It is a basic rocket and the through-the-wall fin mounts certainly make it a lot easier to attach the fins. The slots for the fins are a little long, but I filled the holes with some CA. This isn't necessary though. The simple parts and large design also make it easy to assemble. The only problem is that the instructions tell you to attach the paper shock cord mount too close to the nose cone. I just tore it out and made another one. No big deal.

Finishing:

There were no special requirements to paint the rocket, it is an easy rocket to do a wild, intricate paint job on. The kit comes with stick on decals, which are OK but if want a seriously good looking rocket, don't use them. Also, if you do decide to use them, make sure you don't wrinkle them while you are putting them on as once they are on, you can't get them off.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:

Estes recommends that you use a C11-3, C11-5, or D12-5. These are good motors to use if you have a larger field to launch it in, but a B6-2 or a C6-3 will take it up to a lower altitude with just as much glory without the increased possibility of losing the rocket. All you need to do is create a little adapter to go from a 24mm to an 18mm motor mount. The rocket is straight as an arrow in flight even with the smaller motors, and the TTW fin mounts certainly help on that aspect. Wadding is required to protect the parachute, but again, the size of the rocket makes it easy to use. The rocket is very high performing and has all around beautiful flight characteristics.

Recovery:

The rocket has a great recovery system, with the exception of one thing: the parachute is overly large. Even though the rocket is fairly large, it is so simple that it is still relatively light. An 18" parachute brings the rocket down far too slowly and if you intend to use a C11 or a D12, this definitely is a downside even in the slightest wind. I would suggest either making your own smaller parachute or buying a pre-made Estes 12" plastic one.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

I think that Estes did a great job with the Stormcaster. While it does have its few downsides, it is a great rocket and definitely a crowd pleaser. It is a fun rocket to build too.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

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

    Brief: 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. 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, ...

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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