(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
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
The 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
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
Custom calls this a Skill Level 1 kit. We
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
After drying over-night, I applied the
peel-n-stick decal. It is not the easiest to get aligned properly, so take your
Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I
would rate this kit
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
Custom indicates that the rocket should weigh
My finished rocket weighed in at 1.6
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.
This 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
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
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 - 09/05/05)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
½ out of 5