SureFire Rockets - Explorer X-13 {Kit}

Contributed by Wallace Jones

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Published: 2011-08-10
Manufacturer: SureFire Rockets

Brief

Custom build and decorate your own 13" model rocket with the Explorer X-13 kit. SureFire Rockets has brought a new concept. The Explorer X-13 is the first in a line of rockets that gives the student control over both the look and design of his/her rocket. The Explorer does not include instructions or cut rocket fins. You create and cut out your own fin design, or you can download a fin template from their website. By eliminating many of the high cost associated with producing rockets, SureFire Rockets is able to offer this kit at a lower cost.

Components

  • Flies over 1200 feet (365 meters)!
  • Precision parts - easy to construct.
  • 3/32" Balsa sheet for fins.
  • Molded white plastic nose cone.
  • 9" Body Tube.
  • 18" Streamer for recovery.
  • Launch lug

Construction

This is a beginner's kit that lets the builder's imagination run wild. No instructions are provided. The builder is on his own. The novice can download a fin template off the manufacturer's website. Simple cardboard motor mount and hook, body tube, balsa sheet, plastic nosecone and elastic shock cord.

If you have never built a model rocket before, you may run into some trouble. You need to have built at least one rocket with instructions in order to know how to assemble the motor and shock cord mount.

My kit came with a blue streamer, but I ordered a replacement red streamer. Here is why: My wife is fan of the "Jaws" films, so I wanted to try and make a shark looking rocket for her to launch. The red streamer seemed logical. My inspiration came from the OOP "Arc Shark" rocket. From a picture I found online, I tried to reproduce the fin shape and placement. The provided balsa sheet provided more than enough wood for four fins, two flippers and a dorsal fin. The nose cone was a two piece type, which requires plastic glue.

Finishing

I finished this rocket with a quick coat of Krylon gloss white. After drying, I masked off the areas I did not want painted, and sprayed over the remaining areas with Krylon gloss grey. I then hand painted the gills, eyes, nostrils and jaws.

Construction Score: 4

Flight

Since there are no instructions, there are no manufacturer's recommended motors. However, since it has a 18mm motor mount, it will accept A, B, or C engines. I would suggest staying with A class engines if you do not want a lost model.  I have not flown this model yet. Will update after flight.

Recovery

18" streamer is provided and seems adequate. Probably room for a 6" optional parachute if so desired.

Flight Rating:

Summary

This is cheap and simple rocket, but ironically it isn't for the first time builder because there are no instructions. This is a great second rocket. For experienced builders, this kit provides a cheap way to experiment without having to buy bulk packs of body tubes, nose cones, etc. Since my "Sky Shark" was a success, I may try to scratch build a larger version.

Pros: Cheap and expendable. Perfect for experimentation. Good quality materials.

Cons: No instructions prohibit this kit for a first time modeler.

Suggestion would be to offer instructions for optional download as well as the fin template.

Overall Rating: 4

Flights

Comments:

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Dan Castle (August 10, 2011)

Nice job!  It looks amazingly like the Advanced Rocketry Corporation (ARC) Shark model.

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Joseph Olexa (August 12, 2011)

At the Hobbylinc website, you can download the instructions and various fin patterns to use for this rocket by clicking on the rocket to get more info.  The download links are somewhat at the bottom of the page, and include four fin designs as well as the instructions.  I haven't been to the manufacturer website to see if they have downloads, I downloaded mine from Hobbylinc where I bought it.  This same rocket is also available on Ebay, but the download links don't work  the last time I tried it on the auction page a few months ago, I had to go to Hobbylinc. 

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