(Contributed - by Craig Cline - 05/01/01)
This is a very cool mid and high power scale kit of the Nike Smoke that is a
lot of fun to build and fly. It can make a good second mid-power rocket with
scale looks and can be used to transition to level 1 high power.
The kit came in a bag with all parts in good condition. The first thing that
stands out is the awesome balsa nose cone which at 16" long is almost half
the length of the rocket. All parts are very good quality and included are some
items that add scale realism to the kit.
The 3 page instructions were very good with detailed text and diagrams I
have not seen in most mid and high power kits. There were templates for the
fins, the nose cone, and the nose cone hatch covers. The build was fairly
straight-forward with everything fitting well. I understand that Cosmodrome now
includes motor retainers with all their kits but I purchased mine before they
did so I drilled holes in the aft centering ring and added blind nuts with
custom clips for motor retention before assembly.
In my opinion, the hardest part for someone new to high power kits was to
cut the fin openings in the body tube. The fins are thru-the-wall so you epoxy
the fins to the motor mount tube and epoxy internal fin fillets on the inside
of the body tube. Therefore you cut the fin openings so the fins will fit tight
and no external fin fillets preserve a scale look. The kit has instructions to
sand the fins with scale like razor edges but I chose to leave them with square
edges. I did use the thin plywood and the pins to make the scale nose cone
hatches and they looked pretty good.
The main body and fins were an easy finish - I just primed with several coats
of Krylon white sandable primer and then Krylon gloss white. Then the fins were
masked and painted gloss red and one fin gloss yellow.
The nose cone was another matter. My normal lazy method is to wait for a
warm weather and prime balsa or wood fins with 2 or 3 thick coats of Krylon
sandable primer, sanding between coats and finishing with gloss paint. This
usually covers most wood grain to my satisfaction without the trouble of using
sanding sealer or wood filler. But the solid balsa nose cone kept soaking up
the primer and after maybe four coats of primer and several gloss coats, the
grain was still too visible for my liking. So I kept adding coats of primer and
gloss. I guess there may be up to 20 coats of paint on the nose. Learn from my
mistake and seal the nose cone first with sanding sealer, wood filler, or CA.
Of course the paint added extra weight and most of my rockets come out a little
heavier with thick epoxy fillets. The kit weight is stated on the package as 17
oz, but mine came out about 23 oz.
The final look of the rocket is very good, sport scale and I would give the
construction and finishing a 5/5 since you get a very solid rocket that looks
impressive. The only glitch was my mistake on sealing the nose.
out of 5
The recommended motors range from E30 to H97. Because mine came out on the
heavy side and I had recently certified level 1 high power, I elected to try it
on an H97-J10 Aerotech reloadable motor at ROCStock 10. I attached a Pratt
Hobbies Nomex chute protector but also threw in some cellulose fiber wadding
The rocket has a wire shock cord mounted firmly to the forward centering
ring. I chose to scrap the 7.5' elastic shock cord and replace it with a 15'
length of 1/2" flat Kevlar strap. I have seen so many experienced sources
that recommend trashing the elastic that comes with mid & high power kits,
I wonder why kit makers keep including them.
Flight conditions were very warm with light to zero wind. The flight was
very fast, stable and high. The chute came out perfectly and the rocket came
down about 150 yards from the pad for a perfect flight. No damage was observed
on the rocket body, nose cone or fins.
The next day, I decided to try it on an H180-14 Aerotech reloadable motor.
Again the flight was very fast, stable and very high. The chute deployed
without a problem and I watched it until it touched down and then pulled a diet
coke out of the cooler and started across the to get it. This time it was
about 500 yards from the pads. After this flight I noted that the bottom of the
rocket around the motor mount and retention clips was very charred and the
cardboard peeling. I don't know if this occurred on just the 2nd flight but I
will try to clean it off and seal this area with epoxy and or CA. There was no
After the launch I modeled the rocket dimensions on Apogee Components'
RocSim4 program and determined that on the H97-10 the rocket could reach 3136
feet and on the H180-14, 3680 feet. A G64-10 could lift it about 2120 feet. I
will try to upload my file to the RocSim Design library soon.
For the first flight I hooked up the 24" nylon parachute that came with
the kit, but due to the rocket coming out heavier than what the package
indicated, I decided to add a second 18" chute made of ripstop nylon. They
both deployed fine with no tangles. The descent rate seemed safe and as stated
the rocket touched down with no damage.
On the second flight I switched out the two chutes and tried a new RocketMan
standard R4C chute made of ripstop nylon. This chute also deployed perfectly
with no tangles and the descent and touchdown was without problems.
½ out of 5
This would make a great 2nd rocket for someone starting in mid-power or high
power with good scale looks and great flight performance. It would also be a
lot of fun for the experienced flier. The instructions are very good and the
materials high quality. I would only replace the shock cord and recommend some
heat proofing on the aft end of the rocket.
½ out of 5
(Contributed - by Jordan Raice - 09/24/04)
The Nike Smoke is a great rocket with a lot of extra parts for an awesome scale
look. If bought directly from Cosmodrome, you get motor retention and a better
shock cord system. It flies great on everything from F to H.
One body tube and a very impressive 16" nose cone made of balsa. The nose
cone comes with a plastic anchor for the nose eyebolt. The shock cord is 12
feet of 5/32" cord. The shock cord mount is preassembled and it is
made of 1/16" metal wire that connects to the centering ring.
The construction is straightforward but you have to cut your own fin slots.
One thing that may be hard to do is shaping the knife edge fins, however, I
decided not to do this. I used couplers to increase the tube strength.
PROs: Strong to the motor mount fin assembly, pretty good instructions.
CONs: You have to cut your own fin slots
Comes with one decal and is pretty easy to finish. The nose cone will need
extra sanding sealer unless you use finishing epoxy to coat it, which is
something I recommend because balsa dents easily.
½ out of 5
I have not flown it yet but reviews say it flies great. Motor retention is a
threaded rod sticking out of the back with a washer and a nut holding the motor
in place. All it needs is a little wadding for the cord and I used a Kevlar
pad to protect the chute. I will be flying it soon on an H180 and I will but an
update on how it flies.
The kit comes with a 24" chute very similar to the Top Flight 24"
chutes. I added a lot of extra weight so I need to use a 30" parachute. If
you plan to fly high, stay with the 24" because of drift. Even if the kit
is built stock though, the 24" chute will still have it come down a little
fast. I would use a 28" chute if you plan on using something that won't go
high or if there is little wind.
½ out of 5
This is a great rocket. The tubes though, are thin so if you are planning on
using a big motor you should consider using coupler reinforcement. Great for
small flights to 750' or neck snapping acceleration on a H180 or H220. It won't
break Mach though. I recommend buying direct from Cosmodrome so you get all the
extras that some of the dealers don't have yet. I bought mine from Discount
Rocketry because Cosmodrome ran out of nose cones. My kit had the old recovery
system and shock cord mount. Luckily, Mike at Cosmodrome was nice enough to
send me one at no extra charge.
½ out of 5