(Contributed - by Geof Givens - 02/27/06)
Who am I to resist the "sexiest kit alive"? Giant Leap's Talon 2 is a
48" tall, 2.1" diameter, 29mm mid/high power of their
Ordering was a breeze and the kit arrived undamaged despite severe damage to
the shipping box. During the ordering and early construction phase, I exchanged
several emails with Kent at Giant Leap and found him to be extremely helpful
regarding the shipping, kit components, motor retention, and flight/motor
performances. The kit components all seem top quality, and include great extras
like a 30" nylon parachute, Kevlar
shock cord sleeve, Kevlar
chute protector, and conformal lugs. The body tube and boat tail are
pre-slotted. The fins are 1/16" (0.062") .
Construction was generally straightforward, but I did deal with a number of
issues that are worth mentioning. I don't want my focus on these issues to
detract from what overall is a good kit. This is only my second mid-power kit,
so perhaps some of my construction gripes should be taken with a grain of salt.
Nevertheless, construction was considerably more challenging than what I
experienced with my Binder Design Thug. After all, GL presumably wants to
attract relative newcomers like me with this downscaled, lower-priced Talon
The instructions are in paragraph form, but I prefer numbered steps. You
are explicitly invited to call GL if you have any questions whatsoever during
assembly--a very nice touch.
The body tube had the deepest spirals I had ever seen plus dimpled
irregularities that were only revealed when the first round of filling and
priming revealed low spots. On the positive side, the tube was exceptionally
thick and strong.
The second CR is to be glued flush "on the end of the motor
tube"--but which end? Someone not visualizing the big picture might glue
it on the wrong end, leading to a major problem. (Even the first CR is slightly
vague: 9.75 inches from one end of the tube to which side of the CR?)
motor retention is included. Kent says GL considered adding a Slimline retainer
to the kit, but balked at the $20 price hike. I balked too and opted for the
assembly shown in the photo here, which mostly retains the "sexy"
boat tail profile.
My biggest concern related to assembling the rear of the rocket, especially
the fins. Note that the rear fins span the seam between the boat tail and the
body tube, so the slots are half in each piece.
Now in one single step, you are supposed to glue the motor mount in the
body, glue the boat tail to the body, and glue the end of the motor mount to
the end of the boat tail. (GL gives a clear, highlighted warning to use 30-min
epoxy and be sure to fully understand the 3/4 page of instructions about what
must be accomplished during the cure time.) This leaves a totally enclosed
rocket. Then you are supposed to apply epoxy to the ends of the 0.062 G10 fins,
squeeze them through the fin slots to smear a little epoxy on the motor tube,
pull them out and repeat this procedure until sufficient epoxy has been applied
to glue the fin permanently.
The fin slots are so thin and epoxy is so gooey this seemed rather
unrealistic to me--it's tough enough with bigger slots! Couldn't there be a way
to retain access to the interior of the rocket, so we could put internal
fillets on the fins, or at least see inside to confirm that we got
enough glue at the root? I thought long and hard about this before diving in.
In the end, the fin and CR placements just didn't seem to allow any choice that
would clearly be better, so I forged ahead as instructed. However, to ensure a
secure bond for my motor retention brackets, I glued the MMT to the boat tail
first, separately, using the dry body tube to ensure alignment. I then glued
this assembly in to the body tube in a second step.
Gluing the fins through the slots turned out to be not nearly as messy and
frustrating as I had anticipated. The G10 fins are so straight and the slots
are so precise that the task went quickly with not too much slop. With solid
external fillets, maybe uncertainty about the fin-to-motor-tube bond won't
My final concern related to the Kevlar
shock cord sleeve. (What a luxury to be worrying about that!) I followed the
instructions and did not slide the sleeve on the cord until the very end.
However, inside the rocket, the cord ties on to a steel cable looped through
the upper CR. I had used a bowline knot and some CA drops. But the knot so big
and the steel cable loop was so big and inflexible that I doubt I got the
sleeve down all the way to protect the very bottom of the nylon shock cord. I
think it would have been better to tell users to place the sleeve over the
nylon cable (and maybe even anchor it there with a couple of Kevlar
thread stitches) before gluing the motor mount into the body. This way,
complete protection of the very bottom of the cord could be ensured.
Those were the issues I encountered. The rest was trouble free.
I beveled the fins to 15-degree edge using a homemade jig and a vibrating
floor sander. I used rail buttons instead of the lugs.
I do a first round of filling and priming before major assembly because it's
easier, but you need to sand clear any spot where glue will bond. See the photo
of my final paint scheme. I like the Rustoleum yellow because it produces a
finish that seems almost plasticky. The sticker provided by GL was high quality
and using their detailed "hinge" instructions, I got a very pleasing
result. Two light coats of Wal-Mart clear coat went over the top of everything.
The final result was spectacular.
PROs: outstanding component quality and extras
CONs: some issues worth noting during assembly
out of 5
The kids and I set out early Saturday morning to a great new site in northern
Colorado, despite the cold, low clouds, and breeze. Fearful of conditions
worsening, I launched the Talon 2 early in a very stiff breeze. Little did I
know that by the end of the day it would be calm, clear, and 20 degrees warmer.
Darn! The winds were 10-15mph for the first two flights and 5-10 for the last
one. We used AT G64-7W for the first flight, and AT G64-4W for the last two
flights. All three flights were somewhat wobbly off the 6 foot rail in the
stiff wind, and (surprisingly) arced cross-wind or downwind. The first flight
was the most severe, and the delay way too long. The bird was 2/3 of the way
back down before the chute opened. We walked at least 1/2 mile downrange in a
strong cold wind. The 4-second delay on the next two flights was fine.
I think the G64 is just enough motor for launching in these conditions. The
fin profile is rather large, and the big fins are quite a ways up the body.
Thus, in the wind the Talon 2 struggled a bit to orient itself off the rail,
but once it established a direction, it was straight on its arc. With a more
powerful boost or less wind, I believe the rocket would fly straight and true.
The chute is a bit snug in its Kevlar
protector, but is perfectly sized for recovery. It opened fully and quickly
each time. Despite the wind, all three descents were swift but gentle. The
rocket is almost totally unblemished after three landings. This is a testament
to the chute and to the quality of the materials.
I'm looking forward to more flights on a calm day, and I must admit I
wonder what she'd do with an H in her!
PROs: stable flight, perfect recovery
CONs: not fond of stiff wind, tempts you to certify
out of 5
It just looks so darn cool and flies great.
½ out of 5
(Contributed - by James Turner - 10/06/08)
The Giant Leap Talon 2 flies on MPR and HPR motors.
This is a high quality kit that arrived very quickly and in good shape. The kit contains phenolic body tube
(pre-slotted), 6 G10 fins, 2 ACME 1/4" conformal launch lugs, plastic nose cone and boat tail, 29mm MMT
and centering rings, 1/2" nylon shock cord, Kevlar
shock cord sleeve, Kevlar
blanket, 30" high quality rip-stop nylon parachute, and 1/4" eye bolt. No engine retianer is supplied, but
this is stated on the website and they wanted to keep this kit under $100.00. I purchased the 29mm Slimline threaded
engine retainer (~$23.00) separately to keep the boat tail appearance clean. This is an awesome retention system that
is very high quality. I also exchanged the launch lugs for the linear rail guides, which GLR did for no extra charge.
If ordering the Slim Line retainer, call Kent before ordering and he will bore out the boat tail for the proper fit.
They have awesome customer service. Kent's cell phone number is included in the instructions and recommends to call
with any questions
The construction of this rocket is very straightforward. If you have constructed MPR or HPR rockets before, this
one is no problem. Since I opted for the Slimline motor retainer, be sure to adjust the measurement for the location of
the centering rings by 1/2". I deviated from the assembly a bit for the MMT construction. It is recommended to use
JB Weld for the engine retainer into the boat tail, so I did this first to allow for the long set up time. When doing
this, you now have no access for internal fillets. I marked on the outside of the bodytube the locations of the
centering rings. Once the completed MMT and boat tail assembly are epoxied into the body tube and the fins attached, I
then drilled a fill and for the upper and lower fins. Just simply fill with expandable adhesive foam. Be sure
to use coarse sand paper for the fins and inside of body tube for good adhesion of the foam. All other assembly used 30
minute epoxy except for the linear rail guides, for these I also used JB Weld.
The finishing is fairly standard for this kit. Fill the spirals in the body tube, epoxy fillets on all the fins. I
then primed, sanded, primed, sanded etc., until I had a smooth finish. I personally spend way too much time on this
step since I want the finish to be perfect.
The rocket flew on a G64-4. It ripped off the rail to 100ft, cartwheeled 3-4 times, hit hard, ejected chute while on
Will find , add NC weight and will fly again. Not even any scratches on the paint!
I have no cons to report on this kit. The product is composed of very high quality parts and I haven't come across
any better customer service yet. I think it would be difficult to find this level of customer service anywhere else.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5