The Semroc Lil' Hercules is part of Semroc's Retro-Repro line of kits based on the Centuri Lil' Hercules, shortened to Lil' Herc in 1972.
The kit contains a body tube and balsa nose cone, 4 laser cut fins, a launch lug, and 4 washers used to add tail weight for tumble recovery. The instructions are straightforward, and the kit goes together like a typical minimum diameter 3FNC rocket. The instructions have you glue the washers to the fin tips. I decided to take my X-Acto knife and hollow out the tips of the fins in order to hide the washers. The result was a slick looking Lil' Hercules. Since this model is designed after the original Centuri kit, I still give it full marks even though I made this one small modification.
I used Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish to slick up the nose cone and fins, then added a couple of coats of fast drying lacquer primer and sanded after each coat. I decided to use the paint scheme of the original Centuri model from the 1972 catalog. Here is a link to the paint scheme I was looking for on Ninfinger's website.
A white base coat was applied, then the red on the nose cone, and blue on the fins. I didn't have any trim Monokote for the two silver bands, so I dug out some scrap body wrap material from my Estes Mercury Atlas kit. The final touch was to add the small Centuri decal that I made using Bel waterslide decal material. The results turned out pretty decent. Note that you can't see the weights at the fin tips.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
First flight was on an A8-3. The launch was whiplash fast. With the shutter lag on my digital camera, all I got was a smoke trail. That's unfortunate because it was launched from a vintage Centuri Powr Pad, and I'm told by my kids who were not behind the camera lens that it looked really good.
Since I was behind the camera and didn't see the ascent, it took me a while to locate the Lil' Hercules. It was almost at treetop level when I saw it, but the kids tracked it the whole way. It landed about 100 feet from the pad. The tumble recovery worked well and the bird was in excellent condition upon recovery with only ejection gas soot as evidence it had been flown.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a great little Retro-Repro kit. Semroc is doing a great job helping us old folks remember the good old days.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
The Semroc version of the Centuri Lil' Hercules, a "pee-wee" rocket offered by Centuri from 1965 when it was the Lil' Hercules, to 1983, by which time it was the Lil' Herc and had a spiffy new paint job just in time for Centuri's end. Basically a nose cone with fins, the Semroc version comes without a recovery system, but with a series of washers that are supposed to cause a ...
Picture courtesy of SemRoc Brief: The Semroc Lil' Hercules is a Semroc "retro-repro" of an earlier model. It is comparable to an Estes Mosquito or Quark. Just a little bit bigger. Construction: Kit contained 1 body tube, 1 balsa nose cone, 4 laser cut fins, 4 metal washers and 1 paper launch lug. ...