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REV 2.4 - Mon Mar 17 04:58:23 2014

Estes
Crossbow SST
P.O. Box 227, 1295 H Street
Penrose, CO 81240
(719) 372-6565
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SPECS: 14.4" x .74" - 1.1 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: A8-3, B6-4, C6-5

Rating
(Contributed - by John Bergsmith - 06/08/09) Estes Crossbow SST

Brief:
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.

Construction:
The nose cone included is balsa 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 smooth out.

Typical Estes instructions were easy to follow with no real surprises. One area I changed was the motor hook. The design calls for the hook to be installed on the outside of the body tube with a retainer ring that wraps along the outside of the BT. Since this is a minimum diameter 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 shock cord install is typical Estes and it works fine. However, the included shock cord is a little on the short side.

Finishing:
I sealed the balsa nose cone and fins with two coats of Minwax Poly. I then brushed on a coat of thinned lightweight filler 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.

Estes Crossbow SST 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 bottom.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight:
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 friction fit 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" chute included is really too big considering my Crossbow weighs under an ounce. I would recommend a smaller chute, cutting a spill hole, or using a streamer instead. If you decide to use a C motor, a streamer 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.

Recovery:
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

Summary:
I really like the Crossbow, and it performs well. It looks great when finished.

PROs:

  • 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

CONs

  • 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


Rating
(Contributed - by Stephen Morrow [Who's Who Page] - 02/21/10)

Brief:
This is a very small, futuristic looking rocket. Overall the kit is pretty good, it is just tiny.

Construction:
The kit comes with two body tubes, one of which is the motor mount, a tube coupler, 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 wing 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 wood filler and sand paper I managed to cover it up rather nicely.

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:
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 primer 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 nice looking.

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

Flight:
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 apogee the nose cone blew just fine, dragging the parachute out with it, however the parachute did NOT open, in fact the shroud lines 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.

Recovery:
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

Summary:
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

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GUEST's OPINION:
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SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
11/10 - "The Crossbow SST instructions do not state the location of the mark for the back of the wings. The mark for the back edge of the wings is 2 inches from the back of the body tube assembly. I tried this and the dimension appears to be correct with respect to the kit cover. The Crossbow SST (Estes kit # 3207) is a slightly redesigned scale-down of the Satellite Interceptor (Estes kit # 3027). The fin locations are specified for that kit and can be scaled down to get the fin locations for the Crossbow SST." (D.S.M. )

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
11-14-2009 Jim Bassham Est SU A8-3 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Flight PictureEvent: 4H Club
- Chute hung up a bit and took a while to open, but rocket landed safely. Lots of comments from the kids on the design.
03-13-2010 Jim Bassham Est SU A8-3 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds Event: Snow Ranch
- Extreem wind over 20 mph. chute parawadded which worked perfect for conditions. Performed well, considering.
03-28-2010 Jim Bassham Est SU A8-3 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: Plumas Lake
- Very high flight. This rocket really has some pep.
04-17-2010 Jim Bassham Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Plumas Lake
- Drag race against Breck's Crossbow. He won. Insanely high flight...
03-07-2010 John Bergsmith Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds Event: Field Q
- Leaves the pad in a hurry. Nice straight boost, recovered with no damage.
03-21-2010 Noel Follrich Est SU C6-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Quick off the pad to just out of sight. Recoved 150' from pad.
02-20-2010 Stephen Morrow Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds Flight Picture - Perfect flight however the chute did not open, it came out, but did not unfurl. No damage sustained.
03-07-2010 Stephen Morrow Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm RIP - Shock cord melted inside of body tube. Parachute opened, but the tube is so small that the shock cord wouldn't come out. Status: Retired

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