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REV 2.4 - Mon Sep 20 00:04:12 2010

Giant Leap
Talon 2
6061 Hibiscus Drive
Baton Rouge, LA, 70808
(225) 954-0325
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SPECS: 48" x 2.1" - 33 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: AT 29mm Single use: F50-4, G80-4; RMS: F40-4, F52-5T, G64-4, H128, H238, H165, H210, H180, H220, H268, I200

(Contributed - by Geof Givens [Who's Who Page] - 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 downscale of their flagship design.

Giant Leap Talon 2

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") G10.

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 kit.

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 phenolic 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?)

FlisKits Cougar 440 No positive 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 matter much.

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

Construction Rating: 4 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

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

It just looks so darn cool and flies great.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

(Contributed - by James Turner - 10/06/08) Giant Leap Talon 2

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 fiberglass 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 vent hole 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.

Giant Leap Talon 2

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 the ground.

Will find CP, 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

[Submit your Opinion]

04/06 - "Update to my review. Flew again in less wind; another great flight. However, on landing one fin pulled away from motor mount and external fillet tore away. Fin is intact and can be re-glued. However, this confirms my concern about not having access to fin/motor can during assembly. With more epoxy inside, or with internal fillets, I think this damage would have been preventable. I would deduct 0.5 points from construction and from total score, now that this has happened." (G.H.G.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

02/07 - "Actually you CAN do internal fillets on the Talon 2 without much difficulty. Step 1: Decide what type motor retention you want to use. My motor tube was just long enough to accommodate an Aeropack retainer if the forward centering ring was glued flush with the end of the motor tube. If you decide to use a different type of retention the second step may be slightly different. Step 2: Epoxy the motor tube into the forward centering ring with the ring flush with the end of the tube. When this is dry, attach the recovery harness and sleeve as in the directions and secure the sleeve to the anchor on the ring. When dry, tuck the harness back through the motor tube so it is out of the way of epoxy in the next step. Step 3: Spread 5 minute epoxy around the inside of the body tube just forward of the forward fin slots. Slide the motor tube and forward ring into the body tube until the centering ring is just forward of the forward fin slots. Be sure the recovery harness attachment is not directly under any of the fin slots. Use the aft centering ring (without epoxying it) to center the aft end of the motor tube within the body tube. Be sure to only slide the ring in just a little bit so you can get it back out again for the next step. Step 4: Sand your fins to your desired shape (I just lightly rounded mine). Step 5: After the motor mount has thoroughly dried, remove the aft ring. Apply 5 minute epoxy to the root edge of one forward fin and place it in a forward fin slot. An Estes tube marking tool does a good job of making sure the fin is at a 90 degree angle to the tube. Allow the fin to dry, then repeat with the other 2 forward fins. Step 6: After all 3 forward fins are tacked into place with 5 minute epoxy, roll a piece of typing paper into a tube and slide it into the aft end of the body tube until it rests on the aft end of the fins. This paper is meant to keep epoxy from getting on the aftmost end of the inside of the body tube as you put internal fillets on the forward fins. After placing this "tube guard" inside cut the aft end of the "guard" almost flush with the aft end of the body tube, just to make pouring in the epoxy a little easier. Use 30 minute epoxy and a long dowel to apply a good internal fillet to all 3 forward fins. When the fillets have been applied, pull the typewriter paper "tube guard" out, and slide in the aft centering ring until it is forward of the aft fin slots. There should already be enough epoxy inside to secure this ring. Continue to rotate the body tube to assure an even distribution of the internal epoxy on the forward fins. Step 7: When the forward fins are fully dried, clamp a piece of aluminum angle stock to a forward fin to use as a guide for the corresponding aft fin. Place 5 minute epoxy on the root edge of an aft fin, slide it into the aft fin slot, and clamp it into correct alignment on the angle stock. When this fin has dried, remove the clamps and angle stock and repeat for the other two aft fins. Step 8: When all three aft fins have been tacked into place, use 30 minute epoxy to apply internal fillets to the fin/motor-tube joints and to the joints where the fins pass through the body tube aft fin slots. When an adequate amount of epoxy has been applied to the fin joints, spread epoxy on the aft end of the inside of the body tube and slide the tailcone into place. You need to do this as part of this step as letting the fillets dry will prevent inserting the tailcone later. Rotate the body tube to thoroughly spread the internal epoxy evenly. If the fin/tailcone joints on aft fins don't get much epoxy it is no big deal. Finish the rocket as per the instructions. With good external fillets in addition to these internal fillets, your Talon should be really strong." (S.K. )

04/06 - "Sorry to hear 'bout the fin! But it's kinda the nature of the way you can have a molded boattail (that actually surrounds part of the rear fins!) and have fillet-access. And as to the instructions/motor retention...well, I really can't see where a diagram would be needed, other than for the motor mount...and if they clarify the written stuff a bit more (and I happen to know they're doing that!), that won't matter. And since this can handle everything from F-I (different hardware lengths!!)...I can see why they leave it to the buyer to choose the type of retention they prefer!! OF COURSE friction is a huge risk/gamble, but they wanted to keep the kit under $100, so they didn't want to work a Slimline retainer in...and some might prefer the threaded version, etc.. Buy an Estes E retainer for $2..cut off the fore part (that goes thru the motor tube) or do whatever you prefer!!! PML certainly doesn't include any positive retention device with their kits, nor do, I think, any other mid/high power kit companies! And the only reason Aerotech can/does is that they're all designed for JUST the 29-40/120 hobby motor..they can't handle the easy-access 180-240 29mm stuff! " (D.S. )

04/06 - "I believe the author candy coated the review. Though the model looks nice, if it had instructions with diagrams, the owner of Giant Leap wouldn't be spending so much time on the phone explaining things. Even crude diagrams help. My ASP 38mm WAC Corporal came with minimalist diagrams that go a long way explaining things so one gets an acceptable result. The instructions talk about "Steps 4 through 7" yet they are not numbered. Another thing, and this applies to all kits. When will they come up with positive motor retention? Tape is wholly unacceptable in this day and age of HPR and at LEAST admit it and provide instructions as to what product to use. A piece of spring steel is the bare minimum and I have modified many a 29mm model with this modality. Ever price spring steel? A 3 by 30-inch piece is close to $35.00. Have to have a shop with a heavy-duty shears cut it into 1/4" strips for you. I haven't had the fortune to lose an RMS casing to tape because many a L2 and L3 warned me to use some form of positive retention that didn't depend on tape. Even the reviewer used another form of retention. Lose an SU motor on ejection? Who CARES as long as the chute comes out. That is the problem. Spit your RMS casing and say bye-bye to the casing and possibly the model." (A.K.S. )

04/06 - "No, I beveled fins before attachment, of course. I wiped off the dirt after those three flights and she looks absolutely as good as new. Will report on a G33-5J flight soon, weather permitting." (G.H.G. )

03/06 - "Thanks for the tip on the Kevlar cord sleeve...I pulled mine over the knot & then glued it with a high temp flexible glue called 'Extreme' (not to the cord..I just connected the tube 'halves' together below the wire loop). Also, in this review it sounds like you bevel the fins AFTER you attached them. That sounds way too difficult..I did that beforehand, and I recommend that approach. It IS great to have Kent @ GL (the designer of this rocket!!) so readily available on the phone. I called him at least 3 times during my build, and I mentioned this review to him & suggested he clear up his motor assembly instructions & he was thrilled with the feedback! I agree with just about all you mention...the instructions can/should be more detailed. Otherwise, it looks like a real winnerů Now if it can just warm up enough for me to prime & paint it (don't wanna spray indoors)!!" (D.S. )

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
10-14-2006 William Beggs AT RMS H180-Altim Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Rio Rancho, NM
- Perfect flight and recovery. Did not recover rocket until three days later. No altitude reading.
05-12-2007 William Beggs AT RMS H165-Altim Apogee - Perfect
(1537 ft)
0-5 mph winds Event: Rio Rancho, NM
- Great flight. Launched off of a 5 ft rail but should have gone off of a longer one.
02-09-2008 William Beggs RATT Hybrid H70-Altim Apogee - Perfect
(935 ft)
0-5 mph winds Event: Rio Rancho
- Perfect flight and recovery. Rocket was a little under powered and did more of a ballistic flight.
07-12-2008 William Beggs AT RMS G77-Altim Apogee - Perfect
(820 ft)
Calm Event: Rio Rancho, NM
- Great flight and recovery
04-15-2006 Stephen Bukowsky AT RMS H128-10 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: SRA club launch
- perfect flight- altitude much higher then expected, somewhere between 2000 and 3000 feet. recovery was perfect- the paint isn't even scratched. Landed almost a mile away
02-21-2009 Lloyd Chumbley RoadR SU G80-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: Pueblo HPR
- 30 Chute from Aerocon brought safely down about 100ft from the pad.
08-01-2009 Lloyd Chumbley AT RMS H180-M Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: Hellfire 14
Missile - PFND
24-08-2006 Dave Couzens AT RMS G33-5 Just Past (1-2sec) Calm - Left ok off rod, slight arc down range.Flew to approx 800ft, arced over @ apogee,popped chute. Nice descenr,landed 200ft downrange.G33 a little U/P. On a calm day doesn't seem to be an issue. Would NOT recommend flying on a day with even light breezes.
09-13-2009 Matt Gillard AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds Event: TWYCROSS 1
- great maiden flight
09-19-2010 Matt Gillard AT SU G40-7 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds Event: Midland Sky
- Great flight.
02-25-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-7 Very Late 10+ mph winds - Arcs and tears off 1/2 mile downwind. 7-sec delay way too long.
02-25-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - A bit wobbly off the rail before ripping upward in a gentle arc. Nice ejection with 4-sec delay and a perfect recovery; love that chute!
02-25-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Winds diminished. Another good flight. Slightly wobbly off rail. Gently arcing flight in breeze. Another flawless ejection & recovery. Unblemished after 3 flights. Anxious to try in calm air.
04-09-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-4 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Thunderous straight boost out of sight (1200ft?). Flawless chute. Fin separated from MMT and fillet pulled away on landing. Repairable.
05-06-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-4 Just Before 0-5 mph winds Event: Mile High Mayhem
- Best flight ever. Straight, high, loud. Just gorgeous. Another great descent on that chute, without a scratch. Landed 30ft from pad.
10-07-2006 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-4 Very Early Calm Event: NCR Octoberfest
- Wavered off rail then straight boost. Faulty ejection delay was way early, maybe 2sec. Recovery otherwise perfect, landing lengthwise between two cars when crosswise would have damaged both!
08-25-2007 Geof Givens AT RMS G64-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Straight, high, and loud. About 2 sec past apogee, but clean chute deployment gives landing unscathed.
03-05-2008 Geof Givens AT RMS G71-7 Apogee - NC Down Gusty RIPEvent: Mile High Mayhem
- Best flight ever; great motor for it. Perfect boost, coast, ejection. Looked like a soft landing just out of sight. When recovered, the entire phenolic tube was shattered in 3 parts. Either a very strange landing, or blown apart at ejection. Status: Not Repairable
04-09-2006 Dean Smith AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - First Talon Flight, pretty perfect, despite fair winds (and warning from designer that winds aren't good due to large fin area). Landed about 200 yds away, GREAT, considering the wind!!
04-09-2006 Dean Smith AT RMS G64-7 Just Before 5-10 mph winds - 2nd flight. Not as lucky as 1st; wind was gusting harder at launch, went up maybe 300' then screamed horiz. directly INTO the wind. Averted lawn-dart w/last sec. ejection; quite a hike to retrieve, but was unscathed!
09-20-2008 James Turner AT RMS G64-4 None - Unstable
(100 ft)
Calm Flight PictureEvent: monthly
- Ripped off rail 100ft, cartwheeled 3-4 times, hit hard, ejected chute while on the ground. Will find CP, add NC weight and will fly again. Not even any scratches on the paint!

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