High Power Honest John Kits ???

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Dec 14, 2010
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Being a fan of military rockets, for my next project I would like to build an Honest John in the "H" - "J" class. The only kit out there that I'm aware of is the Public Enemy kit. Does anyone have any experience with this kit? I did a search on the forum and found several references to the kit, but not much detail. Did the same thing at EMRR, there was a review, but once again there was little detail. (For example, what's the airframe made of? How are the instructions? More info about the stock recovery system? Are the fin slots pre-cut? etc.)

Are there any other HJ kits out there in the "H" - "I" class?

Alternatively, if I wanted to scratch build one, does anyone know if there are any HJ nosecones out there?

As always, thanks in advance!!!

I'm building a Public Enemy Honest John right now. In fact, I was just down in the basement epoxying the faux spin motors to the nose cone. I think I put them on backwards. Anyways, the kit is made of reasonably good materials. This will be the first time I will have built a rocket with a shock cord that isn't elastic, so this will be a bit weird for me. The airframe is LOC-type cardboard with a nice finish. The fin slots are pre-cut, but you'll still need to finish them off with an Xacto knife. The fins are beefy 1/4" lightweight plywood as are the centering rings and bulkhead plates. The nose cone goes together as two halves connected by a 20 inch long coupler. Pretty much the only modification I may do to it is some kind of motor retention.
We just picked up his first 10" HJ kit at this past weekends ARG launch... My buddy Dan said he hadn't bought a kit in awhile... I told him if he bought that one that we would make it a joint project, and I'd make him the hardware and N-2200 load for it... We think we're going to do a 6" MMT in it and do a 6" 'O' motor at Balls... Andy said 'glassing the fins is unnecessary, even with such a motor, so we're going to test it! :D

The Estes Maxi Honest John with a little fiberglass should work for an L1 bird.

Replace the fins with something stronger.

Some guy from CTRA launched an Estes Honest John on a J180 at LDRS 15. The rocket was pretty much all motor with a deploying altimeter in the nose cone.
I am also building this rocket right now. Just about done too. I'm really pleased with the common sense design and quality parts. I decided to fiberglass the tubes and fins for durability and so that it can easily survive the occasional J flight. You might want to consider this also as the tubes are not the thickest in the world and zippers seem like a real possibility. The instructions are minimalist but I easily figured everything out having only built 1 other high powered rocket. The recovery system is good. The parachute is a bit on the small side but I think the kit will take the landings fine. The fins are pre-beveled at pretty sharp angles. For the leading edges I gave them a more gradual look.

I have documented just about every step with photographs and will post a review soon.

Here are some pictures that might help. 1. The parts and 2. A dry fit of the parts.


Love that kit. I built it with rail buttons instead of Launch lugs (used a wood standoff on the body tube). I really wish I would have fiberglassed it, the body tube seems a bit weak, but the fins are 1/4" plywood...not going to break. I haven't launched it, but I heard it gets some insane whistle on the way up (and down, if you have too long of a delay!)
Yeah he did a nice job. I actually emailed him about the kit and he said that if he were to build another he would fiberglass it.