What is it about the Fat Boy, Onyx, Minie Magg, etc, that makes grown men's knees weak? I don't know, but the Big Daddy has it - and lots of it.
I swung by Commonwealth Displays a couple of times, but they were out of the kit. The second time I was beat out by a telephone order by an hour or so. I was ordering a few things from A to Z hobbies, and they had them in stock, so.....Two days later a box arrived. Inside were all sorts of goodies, but best of all, TWO BIG DADDIES!
I opened one up immediately, and test fit the fins, nose cone, etc. together. 3" diameter isn't all that much larger than 2.6" until you put it side by side with a Fat Boy. I was planning to make it stock, but after some thought, I sliced off about 1.75" of the BT to use on a scratch built Aries - which needed a 3" bit on the bottom. After looking at it again, I decided to slice off some more - by this time I had taken off 3.5" - and it looked even better than before! I decided not to push my luck, as I was already looking at some nose cone mods.
I've come to the conclusion that sanding and filling fins is MUCH easier before they're on the rocket - especially with TTW fins like this. Die-cut balsa quality is typical, the balsa was nice and sturdy. Typical prep - sand BT, CA the end of the BT and the MMT, build per instructions. I had to do a little trimming on the fins so they would fit properly - the slots in the BT were a little tight.
The NC modification was straight forward - cut off the back 1", epoxy and tape the shock cord onto the inside of the NC and extended the MMT up into the nose - this will eliminate the need for any wadding, since the ejection will never hit the chute, etc directly - it will bounce off the inside of the nose cone first. I think.
Prime, paint, and finish. The stock decals were no longer going to fit. Hmm. In the same spirit as Andy Waddell's "YO BATF" I tried to come up with an anagram for "Big Daddy" which made sense. Bad Giddy? Biddy Gab? No luck. " Big Baddy" lost out to "Dig Baddy." Five minutes and a sharp Exacto later, the "Dig Baddy" was born.
Stable? I haven't tested it. My gut feeling is that the large swept fins will be more than enough to keep it stable. I'm still thinking I should swing test it to be sure. It has the original 24 mm mmt - I was thinking 29 mm, but in the end I figure a 24 mm RMS will be more than enough power - I left the fins balsa and everything else is stock, so it's very light. An F12-J should be ideal, given the size and weight.
What's the verdict? For sheer flying fun, a short fat rocket like this can't be beat. It's very visible, and the mods I made make it almost improbably stubby. For $20 or so, it seems a little expensive for Estes stuff, but it's a lot cheaper than HPR kits, and would be more than adequate for G-range engines with no mods (except the 29mm MMT, of course)