Estes - Star Wars X-Wing Fighter

Contributed by Jeff Howard

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

Brief:
This kit is easy to build but, due to the amount of detail, takes a great deal of time to build. It is a "scale" model of a Star Wars X-Wing fighter.

Construction:
The body consists of several plastic parts that must be fit and clued, along with a center body tube. It also has elaborate wing assemblies with many parts that must be fit together and carefully aligned. Fortunately the pieces are well cut and fit together well with little or no trimming required.

The instructions are well written and easy to understand. However, don't expect to throw it together and go flying. There are numerous steps and a lot of glue-drying breaks. I spent a couple hours a weekend for over a month to make sure it would do the job. The included alignment guides made construction very easy and trouble free. After the first flight I reconstructed half the model to keep it together as it took only 1 hard landing to separate the model from its numerous goodies/detail pieces. More on that in the flight reviews. My recommendation is to use CA for the 'small' parts as white glue and plastic glue will not hold this thing together over the long-haul. Naturally, as has been said here many times about Estes, double the length of the shock cord unless YOU want to get a shock. In my case, the shock was when the shock cord ripped a pieces of the center body tube out at ejection!

Finishing:
Finishing involved shooting a coat of flat-white on the entire model and a little bit of hand-painting on the cockpit and the engines- easy enough. The decals are a different matter altogether. They are water-based, but really appeared to have little or no glue on them. A clear coat is usually recommended, here it is really required. The decals are not terribly hard to position but they do not stay well once set.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
The first flight was on a C6-3 and was straight and surprisingly fast. The model, for all of its surface area and weight, flew higher than I expected. Ejection was far too early and the speed was sufficient to rip the shock cord out, complete with a piece of the center body tube. The nose cone came down quite gently with the 9" parachute attached. The body came down in several pieces. Fortunately the surface area of it made it float a bit. otherwise the damage would have been substantial. As it was, no pieces were actually broken. The pieces that came off were those that I glued according to the instructions (the weapons and the thrusters). I repaired the damage, this time using CA and doubling the shock cord length, and launched again the next day. This tine I used a C6-5 and lift-off was the same, as was the flight. Ejection was perfect, at apogee, and it floated down within 40' of the pad. No new damage. Read this flight account twice again and that will cover the 3rd and 4th flights. What a crowd pleaser! If I had not run out of C6-5's I'm not sure I would have been allowed to fly anything else!

Recovery:
As noted, double the shock cord length. Of all of the Estes models I have flown over the years, this is the first one that has needed this for me, and it really needs it! Recovery, since the noted changes, has been excellent. Just be careful packing the 'chute as there is just enough space for it.

Flight Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:
Involved but easy construction, good detail, flies well. Once you get around the decals and the seemingly standard Estes gotcha, this is a nice one to have around.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

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