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REV 2.4 - Sat Feb 26 20:34:15 2011

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Centuri Engineering Co.
Nike Smoke
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SPECS: 23.7" x 1.64" - 2.3 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: A5-2, A8-3, B4-2, B6-4, C6-5


(Contributed - by Greg Deeter [Who's Who Page] - 07/15/04)

Brief:

This is the Centuri Nike Smoke (KS-15) that was offered from 1969 through 1981. It's a 1/10 scale model of the NASA weather rocket. It was called a large scale kit back then. There was a later Quest kit that had a three piece nose cone and plastic fins, yet this is the original with balsa fins, one piece nose cone and a cooling baffle.

Construction:

Original package contained :

  • ST-16 13" Body Tube
  • PNC-167 Nose Cone (Unique for this kit)
  • 18mm engine tube, hook and three piece baffle with cap
  • Plastic centuri chute, shroud lines with round stickers
  • Simple decals that just say "UNITED STATES"
  • 1/8" balsa fin stock (4 fins)
  • 1/8" launch lugs (off set to clear nose cone)
  • Very plain and clear instructions (C) 1971
  • Fin alignment guide
  • Rubber Band shock cord

This is a very easy to build kit and it's cooling baffle is unique. It takes a experienced Modroc builder about an hour while watching TV at the same time. Since it's a vintage kit I have retained the original shock cord, yet I have added a Kevlar mount and nylon cord with a 12" red cloth chute.

Finishing:

Very simple to finish. Just a coat of white and then two UNITED STATES text decals. Instructions suggest painting three of the fins yellow and one red, but I did not do that. A US Flag decal was added to make it unique.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

Flight:

First flight on a B6-3 was just fine but it popped a fin at landing (when I caught it). Better white glue fin fillets will be added. While the baffle should not required use of wadding, a piece of lettuce or two works fine as well. As this is an extremely rare vintage kit (imagine trying to find another nose cone?) I probably won't be flying it much. Stronger fillets will let it see some C6-5 flights soon.

Recovery:

Impossible to rate the original plastic chute as it was so old I did not use it. The original chute was fine I am sure as this is not a complicated rocket. The cloth chute works fine and the body tube is large enough for it. The original rubber band will ride in it every time but not be used. It's mounted with an Estes type fold over mount inside the body tube just above the end of the baffle. The kevlar mount I added is through the end of the baffle.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

This was a wonderful rocket kit, big for back then and it looks nice and will perform perfectly. A snap to build. If you can find one of these old kits, it's a great way to go back and revisit the early years of model rocketry.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

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GUEST's OPINION:
07/10 - "I had this same kit when I was about 13 or so. It was my all-time favorite kit of well over 100 Centuri and Estes kits that I built during a few year period back then. I did paint my fins as suggested, and the rocket was launched a couple times. One of the first times it was launched, I had a defective motor which suffered a "blowout" from the side of the engine close to the nozzle, which of course burnt through the side of my Nike Smoke and caused it to spin out of control after it left the pad. It was salvaged and reconditioned for a later flight. I'm not sure how many flights total my Nike Smoke made, but I do remember the last flight... It drifted to the top of a very tall pine tree where it stayed for a long time. It was close to the dirt road I had to walk home from the school bus stop every day and I'd always check. The body fell a month or so later after moisture loosened the shock cord mount...but the nose cone stayed in the top of that tree for years. Finally one day I noticed it wasn't in the tree anymore and I walked down there and actually found it. It was still in pretty good shape. By this point, I think the kit was discontinued, and I was interested in other things besides rockets, but it was pretty cool to have the nose cone back. I contemplated trying to find parts to build the body section, but never did. I don't know what happened to the nose. I am sure it probably laid around for a few years until I did a house cleaning. I'd kill to have it back now though, I'd love to get some parts and build it back. I've noticed all the N.S. models available today seem to have balsa cones except for that cheapo Quest model, which I passed on after I saw it's construction." (M.H.)

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