Semroc - Golden Scout {Kit} (KV-4)

Contributed by Dick Stafford

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Diameter: 0.77 inches
Length: 7.10 inches
Manufacturer: Semroc
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport
Semroc Golden Scout

While buying some parts and supplies, I decided to go ahead and grab a Golden Scout to commemorate the Vern and Gleda's 50 years of contributions to this educational and fun hobby. Without their efforts, sport rocketry might not even exist today.

There are already several good reviews here on EMRR, so I'll assume you've read them. There's no reason to repeat everything.

The parts list:

  • 1 balsa nose cone (BNC-30DE)
  • 1 body tube (BT-30AP)
  • 3 laser-cut fins
  • 1 engine catch hook
  • 1 retaining wire
  • 1 Tyvek reinforcing strip
  • 1 launch lug

This is about as easy a kit as you will find. I built mine leisurely in one afternoon, less finishing. The parts are the typical quality you get from Semroc. The fins are perfect, balsa cone's grain is shallow, and the tube is precision marked and pre-punched. The fins are relatively thick for this size kit, which made them really easy to attach (I did all 3 of mine in one step) and should help with recovery. I don't know if the fins on the original were this thick?

The one step that may have proved slightly challenging was the attachment of the Tyvek strip over the motor catch hook. Nope, I found that was simple also.

After hearing the model's flight history (charred fins, broken fins, etc.), I decided not to spend a lot of time on finishing. (I'm sure anyone who knows me is shocked--NOT.) I filled the balsa with one coat of Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish and shot a couple of coats of primer, sanding in between. The Tyvek kept fuzzing up, but I eventually got it smooth. I painted it gold as specified using Testor's Gold. It came with a serialized decal, mine is #0869. That's a lot of gold in this July's skies!

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

I see the deadline for the Super Hit List will come and go before it flies, so this will have to be added later. Here are some preflight observations:

  • For a rocket that should be a no-brainer, this kit has generated a surprising amount of discussion. I thought maybe it was just me, but recent discussions on The Rocketry Forum say I'm not alone.
  • The BT-30 tube is a little bigger than the standard BT-20 so the motor is quite loose. The instructions recommend that you shim the motor on the side opposite the motor catch hook with 1/32" balsa. This will ensure that the ejected motor will firmly catch on the hook and also not bounce back into the tube. I don't have any thin balsa so I tried a strip of 1/64" ply. This seemed too tight so I tried a strip of thin cardboard. This seemed to work and there should be an ample supply. Whatever is used, the engine needs to slide easily back and forth. This also needs to be checked prior to each flight as residue can build up in the tube.
  • Another issue is the length of the body tube. It's longer than an 18mm motor so the motor is recessed into the body by 3/8" during the boost phase. I've heard reports that this can toast the end of the rocket a bit. I understand wanting to be true to the original, but it made me wonder what a thin tape thrust ring wasn't specified on this re-release. It seemed it should be stable given the swept fins. Also, an examination of the RockSim file here on EMRR seemed to confirm that it would.
  • I plan on flying mine on an A10-3 using a spent 18mm casing as an adapter. I'm also going to try an A8-3 using a shim and another with a tape thrust ring.
For the interim flight rating, I'm assigning a score based on the flight reports I've read to date.

Flight Rating: 2 out of 5

I applaud Vern, Gleda for their contributions, the folks a Semroc for releasing the kit, and everyone else involved in the event. As for the kit itself, I say the build is a '5' and the flight rating is probably lower. My final rating is a '5' since I hardly care, I'm just happy to add to the Sky of Gold!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Semroc - Golden Scout {Kit} (KV-4) By Mike McFadden (June 1, 2008)

    ( Contributed - by Mike McFadden - 06/01/08) Brief: This is Semroc's commemorative release for the 50 years of contributions to rocketry from Vernon and Gleda Estes, the founders of Estes model rockets. This was one of the first kits released by Estes. It is a unique design as it tumbles back to earth after flight. Each kit is assigned a unique number and can be registered at ...

  • Semroc - Golden Scout {Kit} (KV-4) By Frank Casey (March 29, 2008)

    ( Contributed - by Frank Casey - 03/29/08) Brief: This is a reproduction of the original Scout introduced by Vern Estes back in the 1960s. Back in the day, it sold for a mere 70 cents and introduced millions of people to model rocketry. Construction: Parts list: 1 balsa nose cone (BNC-30DE) 1 body tube (BT-30AP) 1 laser-cut fin set 1 engine catch hook ...

  • Semroc - Golden Scout {Kit} (KV-4) By Chan Stevens (March 6, 2008)

    Brief: The original Scout was designed by Vern Estes, and was awarded a patent in 1960 for achieving tumble recovery via a shifting CG. The motor slides back via the ejection charge. This became catalog # K-1 and is among the most beloved nostalgic designs. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Model Rocketry, the "rocket doctor" Ken Montanye teamed up with Vern ...



S.N. (June 7, 2008)
Mike McFadden, Did you deliberately attach the fins to your Golden Scout in the wrong manner? I see no mention of why you did this in your review. I would have thought in appreciation of the way Vern designed this model most builders would show appreciation him by building the Scout as he originally intended.
O.B. (June 17, 2008)
I wonder why Mike McFadden glued his fins on by the trailing edge. He makes no mention in his article of a choice to be different--it looks pretty good with a really retro flair. I hope he'll let us know how it flies come July.
J.R.B.III (June 23, 2008)
Mr. McFadden....You messed up! You glued the trailing edges of the fins to the tube instead of the root edges. I recommend not flying it that way. Although remembering the God-awful ruggedness of the Scout, it MIGHT fly and survive...

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