|Manufacturer:||The Launch Pad|
However, Being a bit of a construction rebel, I am never happy with a Plain Jane construction process. The Actual Nike Ajax flew as a staged missile, and I wanted mine to mimic the actual vehicle as close as possible. Therefore, mine will be a staging project with a three motor booster and a single motor sustainer. The sustainer ignition will be accomplished with a PerfectFlite Mini Timer, and all chute deployments will be accomplished by motor ejection.
Finally, I would have to add that one should not expect to be able to contact the manufacturer for any assistance on this or any Launch Pad kit. Conversation amongst various rocketry communities and retailers often begin with; Is The Launch Pad still in business? Several attempts to contact the manufacturer concerning construction questions always resulted in no response.
Packaging is typical Launch Pad: soft plastic bag. I have no complaints. All parts were present and in good shape.
A part inventory is not included so I will try to provide my best recollection of what is included. Plus parts needed for my staging modification.
Manufacturer included parts are:
|Looking into the Interstage Coupler. Sustainer Motor Mount and Baffle is on its left.|
Making and sanding the wiring tunnels is a tedious task. I decided the best approach was to cement the tunnel ends together and sand them as a assembled unit. That way the 45 degree chamfered edge is uniform.
I finished my rocket with three coats of Blitz primer. This sealed remaining wood grains and tube spirals. I then followed the booster up with three coats of Krylon Satin Green, the interstage received three coats of Gloss Gray, and sustainer received three coats of Gloss White. No taping was required since I painted each section as a separate unit. Since mine was staged this is easy to do. If you choose not to stage, I think you could still paint in this method by holding off on gluing the interstage in place till after the painting is finished.
No Decals are included in any Launch Pad Kit that I am aware of. This did not impose any problem. For the less ambitious assembly, one can make the minimum decal markings with relatively inexpensive press-on adhesive lettering. This is actually mentioned in the instructions. Since I was after realism I visited Jim Balls Scale Data web site and downloaded the drawings illustrating the actual markings. I then purchased some water-slide ink-jet decal paper and printed my own decals. For those interested in the actual markings I used, see Jim Balls Scale data web site.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
|Moments after liftoff on a three motor cluster of Estes E9-4 motors.|
Preparation of the stock kit requires wadding in the sustainer to protect your Mylar chutes. Since my staged version incorporated a baffle in the sustainer, I only required wadding in the booster (see pictures).
I used the included Estes style motor clips and then wrapped one winding of masking tape around the motor and clip for security.
|Moments after staging is completed. Booster is the other light smoke trail to left of sustainer's smoke trail.|
I thought with all that lumber hanging off the sustainer and booster something would certainly break off. I believe the Mylar supplied chutes barely meet the recovery demands of such a big rocket with so much fin area. Since I recovered in stages with big Nylon chutes, everything came back pristine.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
Overall, this rocket is pricey, (sorry Launch Pad). I dont believe the parts should command a $53.99 retail price. However, this is probably my favorite kit to date. I also believe that it is a fairly easy kit to scratch build. In the survival durability area, I cant stress enough the importance to follow the instructions on applying CA to the fin material. The payoffs are big when you have that much lumber hanging from such a tall rocket.
A Strong 4+
I like this kit and would give it a 5 except for three areas I believe it cries for change in. First, this kit needs to be staged! Second, at this price a decal package should be included. Finally, Manufacturer support of some sort would be nice.
|PerfectFlite Mini Timer Assembly and six cell, AAA, NiMH battery pack. Complete assembly is mounted in the nose cone area and serves as ballast. Thus no further ballast is needed.|
The following excerpt is
from "Sport Rocketry". The intention is to allow guests to get a
basic feeling about a kit. We strongly suggest that you get a copy of the
referenced Sport Rocketry and read the entire article. Inside you will find
many helpful hints in construction as well as other useful information. For
more information, use the two links above.
"Top notch computer generated instructions, laser cut discs,
pre-cut tubing, engine clips, Mylar parachutes, fabric shock cord, fin
templates, and first rate balsa combine to make a detailed, challenging, and
"Fin installation is critical on all model rockets, but this Ajax, having fifteen fins to install and align, requires extra patience and care."
"My biggest problem was making the wiring tunnels."
"The Ajax kit uses three 18 inch diameter metallized Mylar parachutes that are complete with color-coordinated shroud lines and snap and barrel swivels."
"Using two D12-5's and one D12-0 in the booster and one D12-5 in the missile . . ."
". . . the Missile/booster combination flew dead straight, and the staging, parachute ejection, and recovery were perfect."
". . . it is great fun to build, the instructions are excellent, and the final product is well worth the time spent."
The entire article gives the impression is that it is a nice scale model for the experienced, patient modeler.
* SPECIAL NOTE off of RMR from Chuck Barndt, President of The Launch Pad