> Hmmm... square rockets from Stellar Dimensions...
> Their ad in Sport Rocketry says something like "They're different,
> they're weird, they're better!"
> My son is highly impressed with the ad and their web page
> (which is www.tx3.com/~netman). But before he spends his money,
> has anyone here had any experience with these kits?
> I'm sure they fly, but how well and how high? How are the kit
> instructions? The materials? The chutes? The colors?
I've got a Spinnaker (now retired) with over a dozen flights on it.
I recommend white or yellow glue; I built mine with medium CA and found
that in a couple cases I didn't get things perfectly fitted due to
too-rapid setting; in at least one other case, the joint wasn't properly
filled with glue, leading to trouble later. In addition, the pre-tack
lubricity of a glue like Elmer's helps in getting pieces together.
The parts are laser cut basswood, and >very< accurately fitted; sever of
the subassemblies can be dry-fitted and will stay together until you pull
them apart. I did note that the grain direction in the fins was less
than optimal; it's perpendicular to the root, which is okay, but there
are unsupported projections fore and aft of the ends of the root on the
Spinnaker and a couple other designs that might be prone to break off. I
glued a piece of balsa strip onto the "back" surface of each fin to
forestall that outcome. Also, the tabs that hold the motor lock (in
itself a nifty bit of laser cut teflon sheet) to the body are prone to
splitting off, and could stand to be reinforced with small sections of
1/64" ply or cross-grain basswood s***from the kit wood.
These models don't want any filling or priming; they have laser engraved
details on most of the exposed flat surfaces. I'd suggest careful (but
not excessive) sanding, followed by two or three base coats, a
contrasting overcoat, gently sanding through the overcoat to enhance the
engraving, and a clear coat to restore the gloss. Alternately, for the
"natural" look, you could just sand and clear coat or that "carpenter's
rocket" appearance. (BTW, if you don't like the engraving, you could
assemble the model with it on the inside, except for the fins, and a
little Fill n' Finish would get rid of it there, giving a more
traditional smooth surface.)
The Spinnaker and one other 18mm motor design suffer from lack of space
for the parachute, and I don't feel the 1/64" ply parachute tabs are
necessary or a major improvement over the current Estes method for
keeping suspension lines attached to the canopy; in fact, though, the
smaller SD rockets recover without damage on nose-blow tumble, and don't
really require a parachute. The shock cord in mine was >much< too short,
but that's relatively easy to rectify by a number of means.
These rockets are relatively heavy for their size, but that's not a huge
disadvantage; I found my Spinnaker to fly well enough with A8-3, B6-4,
and C6-5 motors, and later (after some mods to get around damage) on
A10-3T and A3-4T mini motors. The fins are canted to give spin in flight
(more for looks than stability, according to the designer), and the spin
tends to lead to parachute tangles, but contributes to the gentleness of
In all, these kits can be assembled by anyone who's built a couple
models, and are not excessively priced at $10 for the 18mm models. I'm
thinking I should get the 8-sided, D-motor one to see how they do in
larger sizes... B)
A confidence man knows he's lying; that limits his scope. But a
successful shaman believes what he says -- and belief is contagious;
there is no limit to >his< scope. -- Jubal Harshaw, M.D, J.D.
Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer NAR # 70141-SR Insured
Rocket Pages http://www.FoundCollection.com/
Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
and don't expect them to be perfect.