1st June 2012, 07:40 PM
2.6" Nike Smoke from ModelRockets.us
Cross-posted in Midpower Forum:
I'd been trying to find a midpower-sized Nike Smoke kit for under $100, and discovered that Discount Rocketry (ModelRockets.us) had an in-house kit made of the famous sounding rocket, characterized by its unique red-and-yellow fin pattern, short, squat body, and conical nosecone, which housed a liquid titanium-chromate mixture designed to emit smoke for meteorological purposes.
The kit came nicely packed in a clear plastic envelope. Instructions were well-written and easy to comprehend. Materials were of high grade - nice, hard, flat 1/8" ply which is laser cut, a pre-cut centering ring set which snapped together beneath the tube to form a rigid TTW, fin-can-style of construction, and a polyurethane nose cone which looked a little sad, but cleaned up really well. Recovery materials are top grade - the chute is a thick type of nylon which seems to naturally open up. The generous 2.64" body tube gives the chute plenty of room for loose packing and easy body-tube-evacuation. The kit comes with two "United States" decals; they look like they're on slide paper but they're "peel n' stick;" I had dunked one in water only to discover that it wasn't the way to go (LOL).
I've flown the bird on an Aerotech motor - a G-76-8W. It went up straight as a ruler and deployed at apogee. The chute is large at 24" for the rocket's low weight (advertised at 12 oz; mine weighs in at 14.3 with an Aeropac retainer, and the requisite, copious amounts of glues and paints us BAR-types like to slather upon our rockets) so performance is striking.
Support from the team at ModelRockets.us is top shelf. Ruby and Jim take care of their customers like nobody's business. After my initial flight, I snapped the photos below and sent them to the team. You'll notice I have a launch lug missing; I don't know when that came off the bird (probably during takeoff or at ejection, when lots of "bad things" start to happen to models) and Jim and Ruby noticed it too - they're sending me another lug, free of charge. It's that sort of "small-business attention" that makes retailers in this industry stand out, and Discount Rocketry certainly does good on that count.
The only cons I'd have to say about the kit would be some of the prep on the rocket tube was a little "off," which I corrected easily enough. The "locked tight" structure of the snap-in fin cuts on the centering rings really served to get everything square. The fins are laser-straight on the body. The nose cone wasn't perfectly molded. Looking back, this is such a nice-looking scale bird, I wish I'd built up the fins to have the "double-diamond" shape which is characteristic of sounding rockets. It would have required a little extra time invested in prepping the fins but I suspect that for "scale hounds" like me, it would have made this kit even more convincing.
Pros? Almost too numerous to list. The fin can is a joy. I LOVE the parachute; I think it might just outlast the airframe (that's only if my engines hang together). The ply was beautiful. I love the light weight, although I expect to get my exercise in during the club launches. The build was a little frustrating but also lots of fun.
You're probably waiting for the pics:
I have no pics of the flight or launch. I wasn't prepared this weekend to shoot as much footage as I should have taken. I will get some pics and vid an post them here later.
5th June 2012, 07:56 PM
Thanks for the report and pics. I've been looking at that one for a while now.
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