Dragon Rocketry 4" Exocet MM38 Unboxing & (Eventual) Build

KenECoyote

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Dragon Rocketry kits are new to me and this was my first time ordering from the site. The two dd kits I ordered were advertised as "All you need to finish this kit is your recovery system, electronics and an aeropack retainer", which was pretty cool since I find it a chore to hunt down little bits of the dd from several different sites.

Spoiler: The kit was VERY nice and imo very high quality...I love it so far!
 

KenECoyote

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Before the unboxing...the box(es)!

Here's the shipment as it arrived at my door...HOLY COW!

IMG_20221115_103226964_HDR.jpg

Inside of that "Mother-of-all-boxes" (which had the distinction of being the first to pose a fire hazard for actually fully blocking an exit! :p ) were three kits...the 4" Exocet, a 4" Raven 5 and a 3" Ram jet upscale. There were also two empty boxes to keep things from shifting or crushing. I used to be an Ebay PowerSeller and I prided myself in packing collectibles well, so the extra care, time and cost Scott took in doing these extra steps is greatly appreciated.

My neighbors:
Screenshot_20221115-105719-642.png

Babushkas Nesting boxes!
IMG_20221115_103418493.jpg


Finally, here's the Exocet box!
20221128_225011.jpg
Feels like Christmas already! :D
 
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KenECoyote

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Some background...

I'm a big fan of the Exocet missile and have a few in my collection. One of the ones high on my build pile included a TLP Exocet that I got as far as opening and test fitting the two body tubes and coupler (just feels good!). I never got back to start it, but it was in my plans to eventually finish it (until now).

Besides the missile's design, one of the things I loved about the TLP Exocet was the cool paint job on the model card. Even though the TLP is the 40 version while this one is the 38, I plan to copy that paint.

Screenshot_20221129-001358-392.png
 

KenECoyote

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Actual unboxing!

(Note: I'll be updating and editing as I go...just my style and late night/rush posting is like drunk texting to me.)


20221128_225233.jpg

What's impressive to me here is the care and attention taken with packing. If you look closely, you'll see several types of packing paper used and small notes on the inner box flaps to keep track of things ("Exocet mm38" on one flap and "Tube Needs Slotted" was crossed out on the other.) Small things like this are the secrets to a good operation and help to avoid errors.

All the paper used for packing (three types!):
20221128_230101.jpg
 
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KenECoyote

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Finally some good content...

Here are all of the parts laid out.
20221128_230455.jpg
Really nice quality! Everything is mint and "crisp" (if you've ever gotten beat up, old or crushed items in a rocket kit, you know what the opposite of that is).

Wood is laser cut and neatly bundled and should please even the most OCD person.

The nose cone is 3D printed and a bit on the rough/bumpy side, but honestly no big deal since that is usually the norm from what I've seen and I plan to fill and sand as a usual step.


Tubes are well marked and slotted. In fact, the handwork on them is impressive.

20221128_230635.jpg
 
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KenECoyote

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Good things come in little packages!

Remember when it was noted "All you need to finish this kit is your recovery system, electronics and an aeropack retainer"? Well I've heard something like this before with plenty of single deploy kits, but this is a dual deploy kit, so what does that mean?

It means a lot!
20221128_230922.jpg

I was dumbstruck by how much was included. Embarrassingly I've always wanted to get some of the Schurter switches, but just never got around to it since the ordering was a pain.

While I have my own switches, terminals and battery connectors, the inclusion was a big bonus and should save others from pausing the build to collect all the small odds and ends.

The sled was also very nice and the bay is pretty much built, saving me the time of designing, custom cutting and building it myself.

This kit would be a dream as a first dd build in my opinion.
 

KenECoyote

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:popcorn:


I'll be following this, and wishing I could be making my Binder Design 4" Exocet... KenE, I've got variations of the Binder Design .ork files over in my thread that might be useful to you to mod for your build.

Hey there K'Tesh!
Actually now that you bring that up, I had actually forgotten that I also have a Binder Exocet as well. :p
Do you still have yours? From what I recall yours had the rarer nose cone while mine had the ACME.
Thanks for the Ork offer; however I already got the Rocksim from Scott at Dragon (I emailed him for it).
 

K'Tesh

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Hey there K'Tesh!
Actually now that you bring that up, I had actually forgotten that I also have a Binder Exocet as well. :p
Do you still have yours? From what I recall yours had the rarer nose cone while mine had the ACME.
Thanks for the Ork offer; however I already got the Rocksim from Scott at Dragon (I emailed him for it).
Mine was picked up by my mom, and resides (unbuilt) under her house until I return stateside, either permanently, or on a visit.

1669958522388.png

Mine has the fiberglass NC (the rarer version).
 
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KenECoyote

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On a side note, some may have noticed that I didn't show any instructions. I wasn't sure if they were mistakenly omitted or if it's available online, etc., so I went to the Dragon Rocketry site and reached out via their "Contact Us" form late one night. Scott emailed me back at 2:02AM! The email also showed that he got the notification at 2:01AM. Incredible and it's cool to have vendors who are so responsive.
 

KenECoyote

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Personally, I feel that I've built enough hp kits that instructions aren't necessary (in my experience most hp fg kits don't come with them). However if you're newer and would like more guidance, you can just look up other similar build threads here or reach out to Scott.
 

DragonRocketry

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On a side note, some may have noticed that I didn't show any instructions. I wasn't sure if they were mistakenly omitted or if it's available online, etc., so I went to the Dragon Rocketry site and reached out via their "Contact Us" form late one night. Scott emailed me back at 2:02AM! The email also showed that he got the notification at 2:01AM. Incredible and it's cool to have vendors who are so responsive.
Ken you just got lucky as I was still in the shop cutting some items for a client, normally I am in bed by that time...LOL I try to respond back in the same day but sometimes it may take a day or two till I get back to them.
 

KenECoyote

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Ken you just got lucky as I was still in the shop cutting some items for a client, normally I am in bed by that time...LOL I try to respond back in the same day but sometimes it may take a day or two till I get back to them.
What? You're not available 24/7 to answer Scott?!? :p

Haha, no worries and I definitely understood it to be an unusual response time and I would hope others do too.

I wanted to note it since to me, it is an example of how someone goes above and beyond...and cares.

My background and past work had me doing some pretty crazy things and I like to tell battle stories of how I used to work full speed from sun up until past midnight...twice a week...for 3 years.

I've also pulled all-nighters back when I was an eBay PowerSeller.

So I think I'm pretty good at being able to tell when someone cares about customers...and it isn't easy to impress me the way you have so far. ;)

:cheers:
 

KenECoyote

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Bird (fish?) on the table!

One of the funnest and more satisfying things for me as a rocketeer is to mock assemble the rocket. The kits aren't really as impressive as a collection of parts, but putting a few of them together gives a great picture of how nice it looks.

20221130_230641.jpg 20221130_230746.jpg

What a beauty! :wos_love:
 
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KenECoyote

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AH? ...Ha!

Taking a closer look at the parts, you'll see the markings noted earlier.

20221130_224904.jpg

Initially I didn't know what "AH" meant, but later realized it was marked "Aft". :p

"RB" is for "Rail Buttons", which are included. Good thing since I likely spend over an hour just trying to decide on the "RB" vs. "RG" (Rail Guide) debate for every HP rocket I'm left to decide that on.

Here's a pic of the rear section parts:
20221130_224923.jpg NOTES:
  • Mmt is marked for each of the 3 CRs
  • Forward CR has a hole for the recovery anchor eyebolt.
  • Fins will go between the CRs
  • Motor Retainer will extend a bit beyond the rear
  • The metal tail cone in the pics is NOT included!
20221130_225111.jpg

I've always installed RBs & RGs as a last step (one screwed into the Aft CR & other I drill a hole, drip in epoxy and add epoxied screw) and have never had any issues. However, I keep thinking that for future builds I should use blind nuts or supporting wood pieces behind. In this case with 2 sets of fins and 3 CRs, it would be tricky (I do have some ideas though), so I'll think about it.
 
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KenECoyote

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Dragons are cool!

This was a very cool surprise...the Dragon Rocketry logo (a Chinese dragon) is laser etched into one of the fins!

20221130_224402.jpg
Now this was especially cool for me since I'm Chinese* (born in Hong Kong, but my family came to the U.S. when I was a baby) and I grew up in Chinatown NYC where there were lots of dragon decorations and themes. So cool!

*I think rockets are in my blood as well as that of my ancestors! lol
 
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KenECoyote

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Look before you leap glue!

Here's a good reminder why it's good to try dry fitting and to check (twice or more) before you glue...
20221130_225509.jpg

20221130_225523.jpg

And to mark things up so you don't forget! (I've marked the root since that isn't visible after assembly.)
20221130_225631.jpg

BTW - Again, the metal tail cone in the pics is NOT included! I had this for a while and was considering using it here, but I would need a longer motor tube and it would change the CP/CG, so maybe on the next build.

That's it for now. I hope you guys found this as cool and interesting as I did! :)
 
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bad_idea

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Funny, I learned this recently myself when my brother asked me what Exocet meant, for I lived in France for many years. I realized it was a word I'd never learned outside of the missile, but I remarked that it might be a meteorological term since the French often name aerospace weapons systems for winds (e.g., Mistral, Rafale, etc., though the latter is cheating the point a bit since in the age of artillery rafale had already come to mean a burst of munitions fire). I then proceeded to look it up and find that my guess was entirely wrong.

As it happens, it's a word taken directly from Latin, but I never learned it in my sporadic attempts at studying Latin either.

So you have two things in common with the Romans: your latest rocket being named for one of their fish, and also having grown up in one of the few cities in the New World that has a proper, unambiguous Latin name, Novum Eboracum (for the Romans had a word for "new" and a name for York).
 
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KenECoyote

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Funny, I learned this recently myself when my brother asked me what Exocet meant, for I lived in France for many years. I realized it was a word I'd never learned outside of the missile, but I remarked that it might be a meteorological term since the French often name aerospace weapons systems for winds (e.g., Mistral, Rafale, etc., though the latter is cheating the point a bit since in the age of artillery rafale had already come to mean a burst of munitions fire). I then proceeded to look it up and find that my guess was entirely wrong.

As it happens, it's a word taken directly from Latin, but I never learned it in my sporadic attempts at studying Latin either.

So you have two things in common with the Romans: your latest rocket being named for one of their fish, and also having grown up in one of the few cities in the New World that has a proper, unambiguous Latin name, Novum Eboracum (for the Romans had a word for "new" and a name for York).
Ooh, very interesting! Thanks for that information. Look at us...people come here to look at cool rockets and we have them actually learn something novum! 😄
 

bad_idea

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Ooh, very interesting! Thanks for that information. Look at us...people come here to look at cool rockets and we have them actually learn something novum! 😄
I learn so much on this forum - and from talking to rocket people when I see them in person too - it amazes me. I suppose if you're going to have a hobby, picking one that's chock full of intelligent people with lively minds is a pro tip. :cool:
 

KenECoyote

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So, I may have lied after I got tempted and tried...

Should I?

1669958077695.png

Tail cones rule! This is what happens when I'm allowed free reign on a build LOL!

However, I'll need to get a longer motor tube and up the nose weight mass object from the provided 10oz to 15+oz... is it worth it? :p

20221130_230601.jpg
 

K'Tesh

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I learn so much on this forum - and from talking to rocket people when I see them in person too - it amazes me. I suppose if you're going to have a hobby, picking one that's chock full of intelligent people with lively minds is a pro tip. :cool:
What do you think you'd find in a group filled with rocket surgeons? ;)

FWIW, I found the thread that I had started that eventually ended with me announcing my getting one of the rare FG NC versions...
 

K'Tesh

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In looking at images of Exocets, I didn't see any with tail cones... As much as I like them, my vote would be to not do it. But then again, it's not my kit to decide what to do with.
 

KenECoyote

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In looking at images of Exocets, I didn't see any with tail cones... As much as I like them, my vote would be to not do it. But then again, it's not my kit to decide what to do with.
Yeah, I know the real missle doesn't have a tailcone, but I've been aching to use it lol.
However, I actually decided already NOT to use it. It's not ideal to extend out the rear on a rocket that has large midfins and small rear fins. To get it stable then requires about a pound of nose weight. Also I'm hesitant to do this change in case I screw it up...better to do it stock(ish) first. :)
 

KenECoyote

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Can we build it (already)? Yes we can!

So I was in a "I feel a need to glue" mood and started on the motor mount assembly.

The first step here is to attach the eyebolt to the forward CR (the one with the hole...the littler hole) and epoxy or thread lock the back nut so it doesn't come loose.

However even a simple operation may be fraught with peril!

Can you see the possible issue here?

20221205_224222.jpg

Yup, the littler bolt hole is close to the bigger motor tube hole along with a washer with some play and it can end up blocking the motor tube from fitting.

Solution is to loosen and push everything over as much as possible (if it still isn't clear, you can try a smaller washer, file/grind the edge of the current washer or even carefully elongate the littler hole). In this case, pushing it over was fine.

20221205_224257.jpg

Then I tightened everything and decided to epoxy the back nut later while gluing this onto the motor tube.
 
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KenECoyote

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Next I laid out the parts to glue. This is good practice since "Think and check twice, glue once" is better'n "Build, Tear, Rebuild" (shameless Phoenix post plug lol).

So I plan to leave off the rear/"aft" CR for now so that I can add internal fillets to the rear fins. Hence I checked that both remaining CRs are identical (you never know, worth a check) and put aside one of the CRs.

Here are the parts to glue and I also added an "Dummy Mark" of "UP" to avoid possible confusion after twirling or dropping the tube (don't judge me!).
20221205_224615.jpg

Next I put the CRs on to the markings on the motor tube and then laid out the bt and fins to ensure everything lines up before gluing.

20221205_225512.jpg
Looks good to me!
 
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