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REV 2.4 - Mon Aug 16 11:51:21 2010

Custom Rockets
P.O. Box 1865
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405
(800) 394-4114
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SPECS: 29.5" x 0.97" - 1.6 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: A8-3, B4-4, C6-5

Rating(12/31/04) I haven't build a Custom kit in a very long time. However, BRS Hobbies asked me to build this one and review it for EMRR. So, I did.

The Sport is a straightforward four-fins-and-a-nosecone rocket. It barely qualifies to be considered a "longneck" on EMRR. The Sport is a "longneck" because it has a 0.976" diameter and is 29.5" long, giving it a 30.2:1 length to diameter ratio.

Click to see my 18mm Longneck comparison article

Rocket PicThe rocket includes three 9" long, 0.976" diameter, light brown paper body tube for the main body and a 2 1/2" hollow plastic nosecone. The kits includes die-cut 1/16" balsa fins. The motor mount consists of one 18mm motor tube, a thrust ring, two centering rings and a motor hook. The recovery system made up of a 15" long, 1/8" wide, white elastic shock cord, a 3-fold paper mount, and a 12" plastic parachute that the builder assembles. Lastly the kit includes two tube couplers, two 1/8" diameter launch lugs, and a pressure sensitive decal sheet.


The instructions are printed on both sides of a single page of 8½ x 14" paper (folded into a nice 8-page instruction sheet). The instructions include illustrations to ensure success.

Custom calls this a Skill Level 1 kit. We agree.

The motor mount is built first. Very standard. It includes a motor hook that is secured with the lower centering ring. This is then glued into the body tube.

Next, the body tube is marked using a 2D marking guide that is right in the instructions. I used the door jam method to extend the lines.

The fins are next. Die-cut make it easy. They are glued in place on the body tube, leaving 1" from the aft. The instructions guide you to apply fillets and then to seal them.

The body tubes are coupled together and then the launch lugs are added.

The last steps are to attached the elastic shock cord to the plastic nose cone and to 3-fold paper mount it to the inside of the upper body tube. The parachute is then assemble.

Custom gives a number of basic finishing guidance including suggested painting colors and masking technique.

I have been surprised with several days just at 50 degrees F, so I have been able to use my typical multiple coats of Plastic-Kote Primer and sanding in-between. Then amazingly, on the last day of November, it was warm enough to paint. I used Walmart Fire Red paint on the whole body. I waited 2 hours, masked off the top, and used Walmart Gloss Black paint to finish it off (additional comments about Walmart paint).

After drying over-night, I applied the peel-n-stick decal. It is not the easiest to get aligned properly, so take your time.


Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate this kit 5 points. Custom makes some nice kits. Instructions, die-cut balsa, motor retention and a plastic nose cone help to make this one a very nice starters model. Then add a decal for looks.


Custom recommends the A8-3, B6-4, and C6-5 motors.

Custom indicates that the rocket should weigh 1.48 ounces.

My finished rocket weighed in at 1.6 ounces.

On December 29th, my son and I went sledding and I was noticing that there was absolutely no wind. Since I was fortunate enough to get the rocket painted on the last day of November, I decided I should try to fly it as well.

So we packed up a couple of rockets and went for a few quick launches.

I used 3 sheets of Estes wadding and then loaded an A8-3. The flight was short, stable and ejected at apogee. Good motor match. Upon inspection I found that the upper tube had a dent in it from the nose cone kick back (short elastic shock cord). I straightened that out with my finger and got it ready again.

Caught UpThis time on a B6-4. Another successful launch and straight up flight. Not too high. Ejection was at apogee again, but there was a hang up. This time, the parachute hooked on the rear fin. It was then pulled tight enough by the elastic to stay there. It fell and landed in this position. That landing cause a fin to nearly detach from the body. Repairable.

For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this rocket 3 points. Average to the industry flights (and the size of rocket). I'd sure like to see Custom listen to the same advice that many, many have given to Estes... longer shock cords please. At least double them for your kits.

I give the rocket an OVERALL rating of 4 points. For a quick build, with a neat look due to the paint scheme and decal, this rocket is a nice 18mm longneck. The plastic nose cone is also a nice change from all the balsa ones I've been finishing lately.

(Contributed - by Matthew Bond [Who's Who Page] - 09/05/05) Pic

The Sport is a basic 4 Fin & Nose Cone (4FNC) model from Custom Rocket Company. The Sport is a long rocket, at just under 30" of BT-50 airframe that flies on 18mm motors, and comes home under a 12" plastic parachute. This rocket has a simple sleek look, highlighted by a large eye catching decal. The Sport is a skill level one build, good for beginners, and someone who wants to add a bigger bird to their fleet.

I purchased this kit at a local hobby store. Custom is an Arizona based company and although I don't know what their distribution is nationally; their kits are fairly common in Southern California. One interesting thing I've noticed with Custom's kits over the last few years is that they have built their fleet around a rather small set of standard components. All of their current kits are skill level 1 or 2, and a very high percentage of them are based on the same BT-50 tubing, with the same nose cone, same motor mount, same recovery system, and fins that are die cut out of the same sized balsa blanks. It's a strategy that obviously allows them to stay in the business, and hopefully they will get to a point where they can expand back into some of the more exotic kits of their earlier years. The following items are included in this kit.

  • BT-50 Main Body Tubes (3x9")
  • BT-50 Tube Couplers (2)
  • 18mm Motor Mount Tube
  • Engine Hook
  • BT-20/50 Centering Rings (2)
  • BT-20 Engine Block
  • Plastic Nose Cone
  • Die Cut Balsa Fins
  • Launch Lug
  • Elastic Shock Cord
  • Plastic Parachute (12")
  • Shroud Line
  • Tape Discs
  • Decal

All tubes are standard brown spiral wound paper, and the centering rings are the heavy paper type. The balsa sheet stock was above average quality. The parachute came unassembled in its own packaging. The elastic shock cord measured out at 15 inches and the instructions include a standard paper tri-fold shock cord mount.

This is actually the second Sport to grace my lineup. The first one was purchased a year or so ago when I was looking to build something other than Estes kits, and quite frankly, I needed some bigger rockets that I could keep track of. My original Sport was a great flyer, and had about 10 flights before the nose cone separated and it core sampled in a parking lot (darn paper shock cord mounts). I was looking forward to having this back in the lineup, and managed to find a spot on the counter to put it together between all my other works in progress.

The instructions are printed on both sides of a single piece of legal sized paper, and every single step is accompanied by simple, effective drawing to explain what's involved. I have built enough skill level 1 kits that I do not really need the instructions, but they are complete and well written. I believe that a first time builder would have no trouble putting this rocket together.

The motor mount is assembled first and set aside to dry. Instead of using a wraparound guide to mark the fin placement, Custom's instructions include a drawing of the tube diameter (a circle) with the fin positions projecting out from it. The view is like looking up the tail end of a finished rocket. All you do is stand the body tube up over the circle on the instructions and mark the fin locations (per the instructions, you should mark the tube before installing the engine mount since the hook will get in the way later). I use a length of aluminum angle stock to mark the fin lines on my rockets. This is a great investment, the smaller sizes will fit on any mod roc tubing, and your lines will be perfectly straight. Next the motor mount is installed in the body tube. While the motor mount glue was drying I separated the fins from the balsa sheet. These were match sanded, and then airfoiled. The fins are attached 1 inch up from the aft end of the rocket. My standard routine for attaching fins is to tack them on with wood glue (Titebond), add a second wood glue fillet, and then a final fillet of Elmers Wood Filler. Next the other two sections of body tube are added. At this point I decided to upgrade the recovery system. I will never again use the old paper tri-fold shock cord mount, and have a large spool of Kevlar cord on hand to make sure I never have to. I decided to use the forward tube coupler as my anchor point. I tied a bulky knot in the end of the Kevlar, laid it in the tube and installed the coupler (picture the Kevlar in between the coupler and the BT). Before the glue sets, pull the cord gently until the knot is resting up against the coupler, and then put a hefty drop of glue on the knot. The upper section of BT is installed the same way, first thread the Kevlar through the new section of tubing, then apply the glue to the inside of the BT and slide it onto the coupler, keeping the Kevlar cord taut. The launch lug is cut into two pieces and attached in the same fashion as the fins.

Pic The 12" Plastic parachute comes unassembled, and I decided to beef up this assembly as well. Custom directs you to simply lay a small loop of shroud line on each corner of the chute material, and seal it down with one of the included tape disks. I have had lines pop out from under the discs on several Custom chutes, and the tape discs they provide do not adhere well in cold weather. I put reinforcement discs on both sides of the chute corners, punched a hole through them and tied the shroud lines through the holes. Finally the shroud lines are girth hitched to a brass fishing swivel (not included) which allows removal of the chute for storage, and cuts down on tangled deployments.

One of the things I like about this rocket is the flexibility of the final finish. The basic paint scheme calls for black on the aft end of the rocket, and pretty much any color you want for the rest of the body tube. The decal that comes with this kit is a simple black and clear layout, which allows the color of the finished rocket to show through for a cool block affect. I filled the fins with Elmer's Wood Filler, and sanded them smooth. Next came two coats of primer (Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Sandable Primer), followed by two coats of spray enamel (Krylon). By the time I got to the second coat of primer I had worked my way down to 400 grit for the in between sanding. Even though you can choose any color you want for the front of this bird, I liked the look of the black & yellow scheme shown on the header card, so I stuck with it.

Take care when applying the sticker to the rocket (It's not really a decal). Getting it perfectly straight is not critical, but the sticky backing will pick up fingerprints and any stray dust bunnies that float by, and since the sticker material is very heavy, getting wrinkles out of it is virtually impossible. Take your time! I finished up the recovery system by attaching the elastic shock cord to the Kevlar cord, and then to the nose cone, and putting a drop of CA glue on all the knots.

Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

The initial flights of my Sport V2.0 were conducted on a couple of hot and windy Ohio summer days at Voice of America Park (Site of NARAM 47). The recommended motors are A8-3, B4-4 or C6-5, and the header card also lists the A8-5, which would definitely be long on the delay. My finished rocket weighed in at 1.7 oz. Flight preparation is standard, just insert the motor under the hook in the motor mount, and install the igniter. The recovery system is simple as well, 2-3 sheets of recovery wadding, followed by the dusted and folded parachute. There is plenty of room in this rocket so loading everything up is easy. The sport left the pad straight and true on all flights, and put up a reasonable altitude with a B6-4. I think it would fly fine (if low) on an A8-3 as well, but the best motor for this bird is the C6-5. It jumps off the pad and tops 1000 ft in a hurry. The long airframe makes it look sleek and smooth, but the best part about flying the Sport is that you can see the rocket the whole way! Nothing against little rockets, but if you can't see them, what's the point?

Recovery on both flights was perfect with ejection happening just at or slightly past apogee. The 12 inch chute brings the rocket down at a reasonable rate, but is small enough to avoid serious drift. One of the bonuses of a long rocket is that the recovery system has some room, and isn't jammed up against the end of the motor. After 2 flights there was no visible heat damage to either the chute or shock cord. One of the nice things about flying at VOA Park is that almost the whole thing is a nice soft grass landing zone, and unless you are unlucky enough to hit one of the paved access roads, pretty much every landing is damage free and paint job friendly. So far my Sport looks like is did the day I finished it.

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

The Sport is a great addition to anyone's "level one" fleet. Its sleek look will add some style to your collection, and there is just something cool about a long lean rocket screaming off the pad. It doesn't hurt that this bird is easy to see and track through the whole flight profile. My only complaints with this kit are the heavy sticker that they try and pass off as a "decal" and the paper tri-fold shock cord mount, and in reality, these are more general gripes than actual complaints against this kit.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

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[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
05-01-2004 Matthew Bond Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Quick off the pad. Straight boost, fairly high. Good chute, no drift. Caught it on the fly, no damage.
05-01-2004 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Straight, fast and high. Easily over 1000 ft. Good chute, landed in the brush about 50 ft from the pad. No damage.
05-01-2004 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Another straight fast and high boost, I like that you can see this rocket the whole way up. Good chute, caught it on the fly next to the pad. no damage.
10-02-2004 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Nice high straight boost. One shroud line got hooked on the engine hook, chute still inflated. Caught it on the fly, no damage to rocket, Paper shock cord mount getting charred.
06-24-2005 Matthew Bond Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds V2.0 - First Flight of V2.0. Straight and fast off the pad. Good chute, grass landing, no damage.
08-20-2005 Matthew Bond Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds V2.0 - Straight, fast boost in 15 knot winds. Arcing over at ejection. Good chute, grass landing, no damage.
09-11-2005 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Up Light winds Event: QUARK Section Launch
V2.0 - Straight, fast and high. Ejection at apogee, chute looked to be fouled, but still partially inflated. Short walk, tall grass landing, no damage. Chute had a line-over.
07-08-2009 Matthew Bond Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds Flight Picture V3.0 - First flight of the latest Sport. Straight fast boost, decent altitude. Nose up, arcing into the wind at ejection. Good chute, lots of drift, grass landing, no damage.
07-17-2009 Matthew Bond Est SU A8-3 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds V3.0 - Cub Scout Demo Launch. Short quick boost. Nose up, holding into the wind at ejection. Used a short mylar streamer due to small field size. Good deployment, hard landing on the grass, small wrinkle in the BT just fwd of the fins, still flyable?
08-01-2009 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Flight Picture V3.0 - Angled the rod into the wind. Fast high boost, arcing over, heading down at ejection. Good chute, wind brought it back close. Grass landing, no damage. Body tube wrinkle held up fine.
10-11-2004 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds RIP - High straight boost. Noseone sep at ejection. Body came in stable and tried to core sample the sun baked earth. Rocket destroyed. Shock cord and shroud lines burned through. Status: Core Sample
01-28-2006 Matthew Bond Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Up 10+ mph winds RIPEvent: QUARK Section launch
V2.0 - Fast, straight and high. Just stalling out at ejection. Good streamer, landed on soccer field near the pads. Body tube buckled just above the fins, one fin popped off. Didn't look like it hit that hard? Status: Not Repairable
12-29-2004 EMRR Est SU A8-3 Apogee - Perfect Calm - First flight. Stable and low. Got a dented tube where the nose cone appears to come back and smacked it.
12-29-2004 EMRR Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Much higher flight. Stable. Parachute stuck on fin causing a horizontal fall. Fin nearly detached upon hitting the ground.
05-29-2005 EMRR Qst SU A6-4 Just Past (1-2sec) Calm - Neat front yard flight! Can you believe this is my first flight for 2005!? Like the Quest motor in this kit. Fin cracked again.
06-05-2005 EMRR Qst SU A6-4 Just Past (1-2sec) Calm - After fixing fin with Quick Grab glue, which is holding very well now, the Sport turned in other nice flight on the Quest motor.
04-29-2007 EMRR Qst SU A6-4 Just Before Calm - Fast and lots-o-smoke from these Quest motors.
04-29-2007 EMRR Qst SU A6-4 Apogee - NC Down Calm - Another nice, smokey flight on Quest motor.
09-14-2008 EMRR Est SU A8-3 Apogee - Perfect Calm RIP - Good flight for the front yard. Almost went into the trees and son almost caught it. Status: Retired
09-12-2009 Mark Grisco Est SU C6-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - first flight
09-14-2009 Mark Grisco Est SU B4-4 Just Before 0-5 mph winds - seemed like it ejected a little b4 apogee, but still cool
09-14-2009 Mark Grisco Est SU C6-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - this rocks on a C6-7. 10 inch chute works nice
03-27-2010 Joseph Olexa Est SU B4-4 Didn't Record 5-10 mph winds Flight PictureEvent: Desert Heat 2010
- First flight for the Sport. Good altitude, smooth flight with parachute eject and soft landing. Rocket is on pad 9 in the photo.
05-15-2010 Joseph Olexa Est SU B6-4 Didn't Record 0-5 mph winds Flight Picture - Another good flight for the Sport. Parachute ejection and soft landing - Great flight! On pad 8 in the photo
07-24-2010 Joseph Olexa Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Flight PictureEvent: Monthly Launch
- Another good flight for the Sport. Smooth straight flight with parachure eject and soft landing about 100' from launch pad.
03-09-2003 Chan Stevens Est SU C6-3 Apogee - NC Up Gusty -
05-27-2006 Chan Stevens Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: section launch

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