My newphew's first mid-power kit

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Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2003
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My nephew's 12th birthday is coming up later this month. I've been
banging my head against the wall the past few weeks trying to think
of a really nice present. It finally dawned on me that I could get him
his first mid-power kit. I have an unbuilt Aerotech Strong Arm kit
that I purchased some time ago on eBay that I think I'll give him.
I think this will be a good choice because the Aerotech kits are
easy to assemble and very tough. Naturally, I will be there to assist
him with the construction of this bird. My primary concern is that
he has never used CA glue before. While I have never used latex
gloves while working with CA glue, I think I may insist that he does
so. Do you guys use latex gloves while working with CA glue? Do
they get in the way and stick together too easily making it impossible
to do any work? Any other tips or suggestions?

I've never had any problems with my gloves while using CA, just be sure that if you get any on them, ditch them and put on a fresh pair. It won't set for awhile, and anything you touch will have the CA on them.

The Strong Arm is a great kit, just make sure you're prepared to help getting the fins locked in, and also in cutting the strakes. The strakes need to be shaped into the form you see on the box. Not too difficult to someone who's built a few kits, but maybe a bit much for a 12 year old, as each cut takes several passes with a blade.

Greg, I am more concerned about breathing CA vapors than skin contact. Epoxy on skin is definitely a problem but I am not convinced CA on skin is a problem. Remember, CA was invented for closing skin wounds & sutures!

can your nephew finish his rocket in time for the next LUNAR?!!?
Nah, don't worry. I frequently get CA on my hands, once i got some on there it burned for about 10 minutes but other than that it's fine. Just don't get too much, I did not study this in the SOHK but my friend and I did an experiment spraying accelerator in a bottle with no usuable CA (so we thought) but it got really hot. Beware of burns!
Rockets make great presents:)
AT makes good kits
CA does have a funky smell, is epoxy fumes bad?

Normally, I would recommend an Initiator as a good introductory mid-power kit but, since my name is on the Strong ARM instructions, also, it's a fine kit. :D

Besides cutting the plastic strakes to the correct shape, note that the body tube comes in two 15" lengths, one is slotted for the fins. The assembly is a little different than the other AeroTech kits so be sure to read the instructions and test fit everything before gluing.
Another recomendation I can make with the Strong Arm is that CA will hold it together fine, but epoxy fillets make the fin/strake to body joints look really smooth and nice, plus add extra insurance in the bond, especially since the strakes are very long and surface mounted. I love my Strong Arm - just launched it for the first time a few months ago on an F52-5, and it was absolutely perfect. Ejection right at Apogee!

I'm with Initiator001 - the Initiator would be my first recommendation as well. It was my first mid power, and I was hooked. Love that kit!

Originally posted by gerbs4me
CA does have a funky smell, is epoxy fumes bad?

Yep. I don't know what it does, but I heard a story of it vaporizing and being inhaled. I'd imagine that if the resin was giving off fumes you might be more reactive to the epoxy... just my thoughts.
Thanks for the tips on the Strong Arm.

No, it won't be ready in time for the next LUNAR at Snow Ranch. My
newphew is on vacation at Dismal World in Orlando. So, he won't be
back in time to build it. If I'm lucky, we might have it build before the
Memorial Day launch. He still hasn't built the Edmonds boostgliders
I gave him as a present last year.

Well, I was concerned about getting CA on his fingers because he might
panic when he sees his fingers get stuck together. I once spilled a bottle
of CA on my fingers. Not pretty. I am aware that the fumes are
bad. We'll be careful with that.

We'll probably put epoxy fillets on the joints. I even do that with
low power birds.

I chose the Strong Arm for a couple of reasons. (1) I already have
the Initiator, Mirage, and ARCAS builts. (2) It was a bargain on eBay.
I think he'll like the military stying anyway.