(Contributed - by Kevin Johnson)
Futuristic transport design for 18mm motors and parachute recovery.
The kit includes 1 body tube, 1 motor mount, 4 die cut balsa pieces, a plastic
nose cone and a 12 inch parachute kit. It also had a 1/8" launch lug and
elastic shock cord.
I bought this kit to have something to build while the glue dried on one of
my other projects. As I put it together though, I couldn't wait to get it
finished and fly it!
The instructions are typical for Custom kits, well laid out and with good
illustrations for each step. One of the things I like about the Custom
instructions is they provide a template for fin alignment in the instructions
that you don't have to cut out and tape around the BT like in Estes kits. You
drop the tube onto the drawing and mark the fin locations from that. Then run
the line down the length you need with a door jamb. Easy and quick.
Take care when cutting the die cut fins from the balsa blank.. there are
some small 90 degree cuts that you want to make sure stay together. The balsa
in my kit was a little dry and the die cutting wasn't as sharp as I've seen in
other models. You will most likely need to fill the joint of the wings and the
tips to get a nice smooth, flat surface. I kinda cheated here and used the
decals to cover up the joint.
The suggested paint scheme is pretty slick. The water-slide decals included
with the kit are great and add a lot to the design.
½ out of 5
I can only give you the info from one flight due to the efforts of one large,
rocket-eating tree. For the first flight I used an A8-3 because the flying
field was kinda small. I folded the plastic chute, used three squares of
wadding and loaded it all up. The boost was straight and much higher than I
thought it would be. Nothing like a small light rocket on an A engine. The
recommended motors go up to a C6-5, but if you use one, you better have some
sharp-eyed folks and a charge of tracking powder to help you find it.
The 'chute came out fine and the rocket started to drift downrange.. right into
the top of a 75' tall tree. DRAT! I would have liked to have gotten this one
back because it is such a neat looking and high flying rocket.
out of 5
PRO's: Slick looks and ease of construction. A great flyer. CON's: The die
cutting was a little rough in my kit. Since I'll have to get another one.. I'll
compare and post a follow up.
out of 5
(Contributed - by Bill Eichelberger )
The TriStar is a single stage rocket with a futuristic passenger rocket design
using parachute recovery. I built this rocket for my nephew to fly at a recent
family launch, but my nephew crushed it before it got the chance to see it's
first flight. I repaired it as well as I could, didn't care for the results,
and set it aside for two months. I found it sitting looking dejected today and
decided to put it up. Judging from the flight performance, I'm glad I did.
TriStar building components include a length of BT-50 equivalent body tube, a
plastic nose cone, an 18mm engine mount and a 12" parachute. Fin stock is
of average quality. Custom has unfortunately seen fit to go the Estes route
with the shock cord. Cheap elastic and not much of it.
This would be a great first rocket for a beginner. The instructions were
clear and easy to follow. The die cut fins needed a little sanding, but that's
to be expected. The only thing that remotely resembles a "gotcha" is
the fit of the nose cone. It was a little loose in my kit, but a little bit of
masking tape corrected this problem.
Once construction was finished, I used three coats of thinned Elmer's
Fill'n'Finish as a sanding sealer, sanding between each coat. I then primed the
rocket with Krylon Primer, sanded it once more and then put on a coat of Krylon
Gloss White. This is as far as I got in the finishing because my nephew killed
it before I could get the blue paint and decals on. The decals are water slide,
a nice surprise considering that Estes seems to have gone to
"sticker" type decals almost exclusively. I can't say for sure, but
it might wind up being a bit of a problem matching the blue in the decal with
blue paint. If anyone has built one and figured out a match, I'd appreciate a
½ out of 5
Two months after what appeared to be it's tragic demise, I finally flew the
TriStar. Turns out it was well worth the wait. I used three sheets of Estes
wadding, just because I have a box full and wanted to get rid of some. I used
an Estes A8-3 as recommended and was rewarded with a straight, fairly high
flight for a comparatively low powered engine. I agree with the other reviewer.
A's and B's will put this one up to more than respectable heights. If you want
to go with C's, have some friends with strong vision and the will to walk,
because this rocket will go places.
Slight problem here. The parachute is on par with Estes quality-wise (making it
light years ahead of the more expensive Quest products) and looks great to
boot. The only problem was with the shock cord. Too short and of marginal
quality. Because I stuck with the stock cord the rocket received a Custom Dent
upon ejection. Replace the shock cord with one at least twice as long or more
and you should be in business.
½ out of 5
Pro's: Great styling, flight performance and price make this one a must for
beginners. Con's: Shock cord too short. Nose cone a little loose. These are
both very minor concerns and easily corrected.
½ out of 5