Semroc Tau Zero

Semroc - Tau Zero {Kit} (KN-2)

Contributed by Chan Stevens

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.76 inches
Length: 16.00 inches
Manufacturer: Semroc
Skill Level: 2
Style: Futuristic/Exotic

Semroc has released a futuristic kit by guest designer Jay "Centuri Guy" Goemmer. The design was inspired by the Paul Anderson novel of the same name. It features both fin and ring stability, sharp-looking details, and a set of decals in alien language.

Parts are the usual excellent Semroc quality:

  • Balsa nose cone
  • ST-7100 body tube (basically a thick-walled 18mm ID tube)
  • ST-1622 ring fin/tube
  • Laser-cut balsa fins
  • Launch lugs, dowels for trim
  • Crepe paper streamer
  • Waterslide decals
  • Laser-cut cardboard tool sheet

The instructions are well written and illustrated, consisting of about 30 steps spanning 15 half-pages.


Before beginning, give some serious thought to how you want to handle the paint/color scheme. The cover art and recommended colors look great, but would be a huge pain to mask, so major parts would need to be pre-painted before assembly. I went that route, painting the tube ring, body tube and nose cone silver metallic, the fins a bright orange, and the trim lugs black. I had marked bond lines and applied a tiny strip of masking tape first to give a good bond surface later.

The body tube is minimum diameter, so just gets a motor block (centering ring). There is a motor hook provided, which is held in place by an exterior tube coupler section. The motor block also serves as an anchor for the Kevlar portion of the Kevlar/elastic shock cord.

Fin AlignmentThere are 6 total fins--3 interior fins that support the ring tube, and three exterior fins. Marking is done via a template on the instruction sheet. There is a neat little fixture included on the tool sheet that slides over the fins and holds them in alignment. The exterior fins have a similar tool, though in this case it's a piece that rests against the outside of the ring tube and serves as a spacer between two adjacent fins.

There is a set of "guns" on the outer edge of the fins that consists of a section of launch lug and a piece of dowel.

Attaching the streamer to the shock cord wraps up construction.

As noted earlier, finishing can be a real pain if you don't pre-paint as I did. The only post-construction painting I wound up doing was masking off the lower section of the nose cone (transition section) and painting white.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

For first flight, I went middle of the power curve with a B6-4. I flew in light winds, puffing between 6 and 8 MPH. The flight was straight up with a couple rotations of spin, but no weathercock. It was just tirning over when the ejection charge kicked.

Earlier reviews noted the undersized streamer issue. In my case, I had also bought a low numbered edition directly from Jay, and he kindly sent me a few larger streamers to use in his plus my from-Semroc kit. It still came down a bit fast, but not too fast for the snow and tall grass field I was flying on.

When I got to my rocket, I noticed some damage related to the shock cord snap-back. The nose cone was deeply gouged, but apparently not from the body tube. It had instead knocked out one of the three main fins, which I could not locate anywhere nearby.

The nose cone touch-up won't be too bad, but the fin repair is probably going to offer a good excuse to place another order with Semroc.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a very cool design, flies well, and I especially like that Semroc is opening things up to "guest designers" like this.

The only con I'll offer up is the wimpy streamer. Even with the larger streamer, I think I'll upgrade to a regular 12" chute once I get the repairs done.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Semroc Tau Zero By Dick Stafford (March 28, 2010)

    ( Contributed - by Dick Stafford - 03/28/10) Brief: This is third and final kit that I received from the last 2009 Quarterly Rocket Give-Away so, once again, many thanks to Nick! The Tau Zero, as you all know, is a futuristic rocket from Semroc that flies on 18mm motors and recovers via a streamer. As of this writing, there are no less than seven great reviews on this kit. As a ...

  • Semroc Tau Zero By Peter Stanley (May 25, 2009)

    Brief: The Tau Zero is a Semroc original kit, which was designed by Jay Goemmer. It has an unusually shaped nosecone and forward swept fins that attach to a tube ring with additional fins underneath. It is designed for 18mm motors and uses streamer recovery. Construction: As with every Semroc kit I've built, the quality of components was excellent. The kit contained laser cut ...

  • Semroc Tau Zero By Tyler Jones (April 1, 2009)

    Brief: This rocket was designed by Jay Goemmer from Twin Falls, Idaho. I live in the same city (and know him) so I decided it would fun to try it out. The Tau Zero is of a really cool design and it has all the quality that Semroc is known for. Construction: The components that this kit came with are: 1 Rolled Balsa Nose Cone 1 Body tube ST-7100 (BT-20) 1 Body ...

  • Semroc Tau Zero By Jamie Martin (March 23, 2009)

    Brief: This is a futuristic kit with an unusually-shaped nose cone, forward-swept outer fins, and a ring fin. Construction: The kit contains: -Balsa nose cone -body tube -ring fin -laser cut fins -empty casing -thrust ring -engine hook -retaining ring -1/8" launch lug -launch lugs for ion cannons -wooden dowels for ion cannons ...

  • Semroc Tau Zero By Robert Gustin (March 22, 2009)

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  • Semroc Tau Zero By Howard Smart (January 31, 2009)

    Brief: This is a small Sci-Fi looking model with forward swept fins, a ring fin and a bulging nose cone. Construction: The kit contains: Balsa Nose Cone Body tube (also serves as 18mm motor mount) Ring fin (body tube material) Sheet of laser cut 3/32 in. balsa fins - 6 all together, 3 inside and 3 outside ring fin Empty motor casing (spacer) Thrust ring ...

  • Semroc Tau Zero By Jewel B. Butler Jr. (January 11, 2009)

    Brief: This is a single stage combo ring fin and forward swept fin design. You don't get a lot of altitude, but you get style and stability. Construction: Semroc Parts-basically a BT-20 body tube and a BT-60 ring-fin and three forward swept fins with dowels on the ends of the wings.There is an engine hook that is attached out side the body tube but it is hidden by the ring ...


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