(Contributed - by John Bergsmith - 06/08/09)
Estes labels the Crossbow has a basic builder series, simple to glue and paint, Intergalactic Cruiser, and flies up
to 1600 feet. Overall it's a neat looking rocket when completed.
The nose cone included is which is a welcome change over the plastic cone. The body tubes are excellent
quality, and the fins are laser cut. My laser cut sheet was very rough on one side and actually had to be filled to
Typical Estes instructions were easy to follow with no real surprises. One area I changed was the . The
design calls for the hook to be installed on the outside of the with a retainer ring that wraps along the
outside of the BT. Since this is a design, it's really the only way to install a motor hook. So I
decided to not install the motor hook and go with friction fitting the motor. The external motor hook is just ugly and
ruins the look for me. The install is typical Estes and it works fine. However, the included shock cord is a
little on the short side.
I sealed the balsa and fins with two coats of Minwax Poly. I then brushed on a coat of thinned lightweight
on the balsa and body spirals. After sanding, I sprayed two coats of primer sanding between coats. Next up was
two sprayed coats of gray Krylon for the color. I decided to choose gray because I figured the majority would use
white. Nice to be a little different.
The decals included with the kit worked great. However, some of the decals shown on the
pictures were not included. No big deal really since the decals left off the included sheet are installed on the
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
For the first flight I used a B4-4 and for the second flight a B6-4. The wind was 5mph or less and didn't bother the
Crossbow at all. I the motors, and both times the motor stayed with the rocket. Both flights produced a
very stable arrow straight boost with near perfect ejection. Both motors pushed the Crossbow to very impressive
altitudes and did it in a hurry. The 12" included is really too big considering my Crossbow weighs under an
ounce. I would recommend a smaller chute, cutting a , or using a streamer instead. If you decide to use a C
motor, a is the way to go if you want it back!
After two flights the Crossbow doesn't even have a mark on it. The Crossbow should hold up well to many flights.
The included shock cord is too short, and the parachute is too big. Really this design would work better with a
streamer since the weight is low and the fin design would be hard to damage.
The chute included in the kit is all white. Must be a lead paint issue that Estes avoided by providing an all
white chute. No big deal.
Flight Rating: 3 out of 5
I really like the Crossbow, and it performs well. It looks great when finished.
- The design is really cool and is perfect for upscaling.
- Great looks, excellent flight performance.
- Decals that actually work.
- Balsa nose cone
- Laser cut parts
- Too small!
- Some decals shown on design not included in kit.
- Exposed motor hook has got to go.
- Shock Cord to short, chute to big.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
(Contributed - by Stephen Morrow - 02/21/10)
This is a very small, futuristic looking rocket. Overall the kit is pretty good, it is just
The kit comes with two body tubes, one of which is the motor mount, a tube , engine
block, engine hook, balsa fins and nose cone, water slide decals, rubber shock cord, and an eye hook for the nose cone.
When I first bought this model it was in a cardboard box instead of the regular plastic bag the kits usually come
in. When I opened the kit up at home I was surprised to find a balsa nose cone and water slide decals (thank you for
listening to us Estes). The instructions were pretty good besides the fact that the main placement measurements
are not given. I mounted mine too far back but it was no real problem.
The balsa in this kit is very thin and flimsy due to the size of the model, which is very small. The engine hook
is actually on the outside of the body, but with some and sand paper I managed to cover it up rather
Most of the kit was just a straight forward, Estes build. There was nothing special or very hard about this kit
at all. One thing I did do, that I do to ALL of my Estes kits is to not use the tri fold method to attach the shock
cord, instead I used a steel fishing leader. I filed a groove into the tube coupler and secured the leader around that.
The parachute was a plain white plastic chute. The body tube being so small the parachute really has to be folded
up good for it to fit inside and I was worried about it being able to deploy.
Finishing this kit was rather easy, even though I did a lot of filling on it. Getting
between the lower fins to sand where I moulded around the motor hook was the most difficult part. After filling the
balsa and spirals and moulding everything smooth I painted the rocket with a couple coats of and then three
coats of white paint.
The decals included in the kit are great. I am glad to see water slide decals included with the model. There is
no direction really given on placing the decals other than a very small picture of the top and bottom of the display
model. There are plenty of decals included, in fact I did not even use them all and I felt the model came out rather
After applying the decals and allowing them to set over night I coated the entire rocket with Krylon crystal
clear gloss. I let the rocket set up in my hobby room for a few days waiting on it to dry and the winds to die down so
I could launch the rocket.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
I flew this rocket on a B6-4 for its first flight. The winds were up above 10 MPH and there was
a light snow falling. Temperatures at the time were below freezing. The flight was picture perfect. I did have to aim
the launch pad into the wind, but the rocket flew very nicely. At the nose cone blew just fine, dragging the
parachute out with it, however the parachute did NOT open, in fact the did not even unwrap from the chute.
Not sure if it was the cold or the chute was packed too tight or both, but the model came down and stuck the tail fin
about 2 inches into the dirt. Lucky for me there was absolutely no damage, not even a chip in the finish, which
surprised me seeing as the ground was pretty cold and frozen.
I replaced the Estes tri-fold with a steel fishing leader to secure the shock cord and
replaced the shock cord with a piece of elastic 2.5X longer than the one included. Recovery could have gone better for
me, but if proper care is taken in packing the parachute and maybe adding some talc I am sure it would come down fine.
Seeing as the model is very light weight as long as proper build techniques are used you should be able to recover it
on the supplied parachute with no damage at all.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
In closing I would like to say that this is one very good looking model rocket. It may be
small, but it is a great flyer and a very satisfying rocket to build.
Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5