Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 0.74 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Futuristic/Exotic
Estes Crossbow SST

Brief:
Estes labels the Crossbow has a basic builder series, simple to glue and paint, Intergalactic Cruiser, and flies up to 1600 feet. Overall it's a neat looking rocket when completed.

Construction:
The nose cone included is balsa which is a welcome change over the plastic cone. The body tubes are excellent quality, and the fins are laser cut. My laser cut sheet was very rough on one side and actually had to be filled to smooth out.

Typical Estes instructions were easy to follow with no real surprises. One area I changed was the motor hook. The design calls for the hook to be installed on the outside of the body tube with a retainer ring that wraps along the outside of the BT. Since this is a minimum diameter design, it's really the only way to install a motor hook. So I decided to not install the motor hook and go with friction fitting the motor. The external motor hook is just ugly and ruins the look for me. The shock cord install is typical Estes and it works fine. However, the included shock cord is a little on the short side.

Finishing:
I sealed the balsa nose cone and fins with two coats of Minwax Poly. I then brushed on a coat of thinned lightweight filler on the balsa and body spirals. After sanding, I sprayed two coats of primer sanding between coats. Next up was two sprayed coats of gray Krylon for the color. I decided to choose gray because I figured the majority would use white. Nice to be a little different.

Estes Crossbow SST The decals included with the kit worked great. However, some of the decals shown on the pictures were not included. No big deal really since the decals left off the included sheet are installed on the bottom.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
For the first flight I used a B4-4 and for the second flight a B6-4. The wind was 5mph or less and didn't bother the Crossbow at all. I friction fit the motors, and both times the motor stayed with the rocket. Both flights produced a very stable arrow straight boost with near perfect ejection. Both motors pushed the Crossbow to very impressive altitudes and did it in a hurry. The 12" chute included is really too big considering my Crossbow weighs under an ounce. I would recommend a smaller chute, cutting a spill hole, or using a streamer instead. If you decide to use a C motor, a streamer is the way to go if you want it back!

After two flights the Crossbow doesn't even have a mark on it. The Crossbow should hold up well to many flights.

Recovery:
The included shock cord is too short, and the parachute is too big. Really this design would work better with a streamer since the weight is low and the fin design would be hard to damage.

The chute included in the kit is all white. Must be a lead paint issue that Estes avoided by providing an all white chute. No big deal.

Flight Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:
I really like the Crossbow, and it performs well. It looks great when finished.

PROs:

  • The design is really cool and is perfect for upscaling.
  • Great looks, excellent flight performance.
  • Decals that actually work.
  • Balsa nose cone
  • Laser cut parts

CONs

  • Too small!
  • Some decals shown on design not included in kit.
  • Exposed motor hook has got to go.
  • Shock Cord to short, chute to big.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

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