Estes - AIM-120 AMRAAM {Kit} (2153)

Contributed by Jay Finigan

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.33 inches
Length: 27.50 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Scale

[Picture]The AMRAAM from Estes is one of the many rockets that take after various weaponry used around the world by fighter jets, and ground based anti-aircraft launchers. The popularity of these types of rockets make it one to be a sure seller in the future. 


It comes in a box, not in one of those cheap bags which can easily be damaged during shipping, and contains 18 parts. It is a level 1 rocket,  and a sophisticated one at that, including features found in many of the multi-staged rockets. It comes with a pre-assembled parachute which makes it easier for those not used to tying those strings to a parachute. The instructions are easy to follow and contain detailed instructions for assembly, as well as illustrations which help to guide the novice along in its construction. 

As with most Estes rocket kits, all that is required is, scissors, a pencil, a ruler, a hobby knife, white or yellow glue, some masking tape, a 1/8" launch rod (for alignment purposes), and sand paper. 

Assembly was pretty much a snap, as all parts fitted as required. I always make sure I pre fit my parts before gluing. The parts were in good shape, with no damage to any of the parts. The balsa wood separated quite easily when taking out the fins. The only difficult part was cutting the hole in the nose cone wider to allow the clay weights to be pushed in by a pencil. One thing about this kit, it sure has a lot of decals, 34 to be exact. Once assembled it had a very realistic look to it. The kit even contains a piece of balsa wood to simulate the launch connection for a fighter jet. 

If assembled correctly, this is one smooth flyer. If not, you'll probably get a twirling effect to it. Its not a high flyer, mine reaching only 400 feet. Recovery of the rocket was a standard parachute, and came down at a nice slow decent. Because it doesn't go so high, you probably won't need to cut out the center of the parachute, but if space is limited to fly, you should as at 400 feet it still can carry pretty far. 

All in all this is a very well designed rocket. I'd give it a 4 out of 5 points though as there is a part in the instruction sheets that are hard to follow and thus making it difficult to line up the two body tubes properly using their methods. Also I would have used water transfer decals, as when removing the decals of the peel and stick type, you run the risk of tearing into other decals depending on the method you use for removal. I don't recommend a hobby knife for removing the decals on this model.



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