(Contributed - by Bill Eichelberger - 01/21/07)
The Madcow Army Hawk is a mid-powered 1:5.4 scale version of the actual surface-to-air guided missile. The Hawk
features a balsa boat tail, Nomex
chute protector, vinyl decal, Kevlar shock cord, and 30" nylon parachute recovery. Skill level wasn't mentioned,
but I'd place this at a skill level 2 for its size and the need for epoxy in construction.
The parts list:
- Balsa nose cone
- Balsa tail cone
- Pre-slotted body tube
- 2 Centering rings
- 29mm motor tube
- 4 Laser cut fins
- Eyebolt, nut and washer
- Nose cone shoulder coupler
- Nose cone shoulder bulkhead
- Nose weight
- 30" nylon chute
- 1/4" launch lugs (2)
- Vinyl decal
I dry-fit all of the parts before I started the build, and was pleased to see that everything seemed to line up
just as it would when it was time for the actual construction. It was the actual construction part that had me nervous,
since I rarely venture into the realm of mid-power. My occasions to use epoxy are scarce, and when I do use it, I wind
up with a mess on my hands, feet, goatee, etc. (I don't even like to think about the etc. part.)
That said, almost everything about this build went smoothly. I didn't wind up with too much of an epoxy mess,
except for one occasion when a fillet refused to cure, causing me to have to go back and start over. The instructions
were well explained and adequately illustrated if one has previous building experience and I found myself finished with
the basic construction almost too quickly. With the exception of paint and nose weight, everything looked like the
illustration and all of the parts fit together seamlessly.
Finishing was as easy as the rest of the project. The body tube had only the slightest spiral, and there was very
little grain showing in the plywood fins. These were eliminated with the last of my thinned Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish.
The balsa nose and tail cones were treated to several coats of FnF and came out looking great after several sandings.
Once the rocket was smooth enough, I primed it with Valspar white primer, then sprayed the fins with Valspar Gloss
Black. I ran into a little trouble masking off the fins because of the monster fin fillets that I had created, but it
isn't easily noticed unless you're holding the rocket. After two coats of gloss black, the fins looked great and I
masked them off before painting the rest of the rocket with several coats of Valspar Gloss White. When this dried I
installed the vinyl decal as shown on the instruction sheet. This was the first vinyl decal I'd ever tried and I was
impressed with how well it held its place once it was applied. The finished product looks great: squat, bulky and
sturdy. My kind of rocket.
out of 5
Like many people, I found myself choosing my motor based on the what was available when I visited our on-field
vendor, Merlin Missiles. Not owning an RMS system and not willing to chance borrowing someone elses, I went with the
Aerotech G38FJ-7--a choice that I was assured would be great for this rocket. Once I got it home, I installed it in the
motor tube and figured out how much nose weight to install to bring the CG up to the proscribed 20.75" from the
tip of the nose. In the end, that wound up being almost all of it.
With Christmas season fast approaching and a personal health crisis on the
horizon, I managed only one flight with this bird before the end of my flying season. However, that flight definitely
won't be the last. Launch day was gray and overcast with a constant breeze. Since this was going to be only my third
flight using an Aerotech motor and my first since 2002, I was a little nervous about the impending flight. Luckily the
VOA field was crowded with people to whom a flight like this is almost as natural as drawing a breath. Fellow QUARKer
Mark "Loopy" VanLuvender helped out immensely and kept me from a full blown panic attack. I had an idea of
how to proceed but having someone to confirm that what I was doing was correct made all the difference in the world.
Once the motor was secured and the ignitor in place, things got rolling quickly, and after loading the rocket on the
pad and getting the obligatory pictures, the launch followed quickly. I managed to catch the whole process with the
burst mode on my camera, even though I've never had the slightest bit of luck timing Copperhead ignitions. The Hawk
rose fairly quickly and followed an almost arrow straight flight path up to the point of motor burnout. It
weathercocked some during the coast phase due to the large surface area of the fins, but for the most part, everything
occurred just over the flight line.
At ejection, the rocket had taken a nose-down , but even with a fairly violent jerk, there was no damage. The
30" nylon parachute brought the rocket down softly about 100 yards into the uncut overgrowth. It spread itself out
nicely over the vegetation, making for an easy recovery walk. The Kevlar
shock cord looked as fresh as when I installed it and the marks on the
sheet told me that it had done its job.
out of 5
PROs: High quality parts--especially the balsa nose and tail cones in a kit of this size. Ease of construction (aside
from a personal difficulty with epoxy that I have no one but myself to blame). Madcow now makes a Jayhawk kit. (Can you
say Father's Day present?)
CONs: The price seems hefty, but when you consider what you get with a kit of this size, it seems about right.
out of 5