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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 04:34:03 2010

Estes Industries
Python-4 ASRAAM
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SPECS: 24" x 1" - 4 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: B4-2, B4-4, B6-2, B6-4, C6-3, C6-5

(by Carl Tulanko)

Estes Python-4 ASRAAMBrief:
The Estes Python-4 ASRAAM Model Rocket Kit is the last of the four new models I had to build which were introduced recently by Estes. I have already completed the other three and have been working diligently on this one. Actually we've been building two of them; my son and I are working in parallel, although I tend to build a bit faster than him. The kit is one of four new Estes "Military" kits recently released and is by far the most unique of the group.

As with the other new kits, you can purchase either the bagged or Launchable version from many retailers. In the package you will find die-cut fins, body tube, tailcone, transition, plastic nosecone, clay for noseweight, parachute, and instructions. I was impressed with the quality of components.

I built it stock with only a few changes. I used dual Kevlar threads for shock cord and made one other minor change. A steel leader was connected directly to the nosecone loop and a longer shock cord was tied to he swivel end of the leader. Something important to note; there were major changes in the kit compared to the instructions. The front page of the instructions has templates for body wraps, but one is the BT55 sized and the forward tube is showing as BT20. This is wrong! Apparently they printed the instructions, then changed the forward bodytube to a BT55 before shipping the production kit. This also means that references to the included transition can be ignored, as it is not used for the model.

Estes Python-4 ASRAAMEstes Python-4 ASRAAM

Construction began with the motor mount assembly, which went together well. I did use Kevlar thread for the shock cord here and lengthened the elastic cord to 30 inches. Moreover, the parachute was up-sized to a purple Estes 18" chute. The new Estes tailcones are pretty sweet and allow you to use thru-the-wall fin mounting, which is a great method for building strong. The twelve fins were all dry rubbed with Elmer's Filler, then sanded to match and I put leading edges on each fin. All four canard fins were epoxied to the upper nosecone/bodytube assembly.

Estes Python-4 ASRAAMEstes Python-4 ASRAAM

The lower fins were a bit different...You have to install card stock templates that "raise" the area around the Strake Fins. At the time I built my kit, it didn't have these in the kit, so I built it without them. A few days later, however, I saw the paper raisers in my son's kit...they are pretty cool and I was a bit bummed I didn't add them. Once the fins were mounted, I installed the "Stab" fins in front of the lower ones and clamped them in place until the glue dried. Make sure you align them well; someone else showed up to our club and had these strake fins crooked, which made his model twirl and fishtail during powered flight.

Estes Python-4 ASRAAMEstes Python-4 ASRAAM

Next, I added epoxy fillets for strength. Once all twelve fins were done, I added fillets to the four upper fins on the nosecone. Finally, I used Alphaetic resin to attach the launch lugs. I used a piece of scrap balsa between the body tube and launch lug as a standoff to protect the finish from being scraped by the launch rod.

Estes Python-4 ASRAAM

I spent several days priming, sanding and painting the model. Krylon gray primer was used, followed by Krylon White for the lower body tube section and Krylon Medium Gray for the upper body tube. The upper fins were painted first in white, then masked a couple days later for the gray. The rocket flew without decals for it's first three flights, but I did eventually put them on and it looks like a new model. One item to note on the finishing...the lower bodytube is actually done in very light gray, almost a "dirty white" color. I did not notice this until I had already finished the lower BT. For this reason, I didn't use the supplied white stripes on the lower BT, as they would not have shown.

Construction Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

IT was time to launch. All of the other three new Estes Military kits had already gone up several times, so it was time to give the ASRAAM its chance. I prepped the Python-4 with a C6-5 for it's first flight, added tissue, and packed the chute. It was placed on the pad and the countdown was on. It has a very unique look sitting on the pad and those dual canard fins at the nose made it look pretty tough! It looked even better when the button was pressed and the ASRAAM rose off the pad under power. TheEstes Python-4 ASRAAM flight was straight and true, but late on the ejection.

Ejection happened on it's way down, but the parachute deployed and the rocket landed safely. Upgrading the parachute was a good choice as the model appeared to be a bit heavier than it should, probably due to the extra paint I used to get a good finish. I prepped the model and launched it once more, this time on the C6-3. It was a perfect flight, with ejection happening right at apogee and it landed without a scratch. I had flown all four new models several times in one day and wound up putting three more flights on this bird. The model flies great on C6-3s, but this is one I would build again on 24mm power, just so I could use a variety of motors and get a bit more altitude. I may try an 18mm should do well there!

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

The Estes Python-4 ASRAAM Model Rocket is a challenging, yet fun kit to build. With it's swept back fins and long bodytube, it has a graceful yet meant-for-business look about it. A few items needed upgraded during construction, otherwise the kit was built stock. Be careful of the instruction cut-out bodytube wraps and don't follow the directions for those, but rather use the lower BT wrap for marking the upper tube. You also may consider upgrading it to a 24mm motor, as it weighs nearly 4oz dry. Still, it is a good flier right out of the box, designed very strong with good quality parts. Moreover, it has a real clean look that's an eye catcher at the field. I recommend the kit to anyone interested in trying one of the most unique models I have built to date, the ASRAAM Python-4.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

(Contributed - by Alex Rothchild - 08/02/05)

This is a low power, single stage military style rocket. It flies on B and C power and uses a 1/8 inch lug. It includes a tail cone and uses a 12 inch chute for recovery.

I received the kit as a gift when I was first getting into rocketry, so it probably wasn't a great second or third kit for me. It came in a "Launchable" box and included many components. They were all of high quality and were all easily accounted for. The parts were:

  • 1 forward BT-55 tube
  • 1 aft BT-55 tube
  • 2 BT-55-20 centering rings
  • 1 very long motor tube
  • 1 tube coupler
  • 1 round nose cone
  • 1 tail cone
  • 1 mylar retaining ring
  • 1 engine block ring
  • 1 engine hook
  • shock cord
  • 12" parachute
  • 1 1" x 1/8" lug
  • 12 fins

Since this was the third kit I had ever built, I didn't know anything other than plastic cement. Now I realize that building the entire model with plastic cement was a bad idea. Somehow though, it still flies and is in good condition. Anyway, this kit is a skill level two kit because it has numerous fins that have to be glued on.

Construction begins with assembling the motor mount typical Estes style. Make a slot for the hook, slide the mylar ring down, glue, and then put on the centering rings. Once dry, the tail cone assembly needs to be cut off a reducer piece and the slots need to be opened up to allow the fins to pass through. It is recommended to use a razor saw, but I did it with scissors. The motor mount is installed into the lower body tube and then the tail cone goes over it so the engine tube is lined up with the base of the tail cone. A template is used to mark the rest of the tube for the middle fins and the upper tube for the canards. While the bottom section is drying, the upper part can be assembled. This requires gluing in the tube coupler and the nose. The upper section can be used as a payload bay. Just don't glue in the nose and make a bulkhead out of two sheets of balsa with a screw eye. The four canard fins are glued on directly beneath the nosecone. Putting the fins on with plastic cement was not fun. I set this assembly to dry then went back to work on the bottom section. I glued the four bottom fins on. They go through the tail cone to the motor tube. And of course the fillets were made with yes, plastic cement. Then pieces of cardstock were glued to the sides for a more scale look and long thin pieces of balsa were glued to these. Finally the launch lug was cut in half and glued to the side. The shock cord is mounted to the top and bottom airframe, and the chute is tied to the top part of the shock cord.

At the time, the only colors I had were black, white, and brown. So I primed it once and painted it black and white (with many many runs).

Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

First flight was on a B4-2. It lifted off the pad very slowly to maybe a little more than 100 feet. This rocket needs a bigger kick from an engine so I tried a B6-4 next. This engine lifts it off slowly to around 150 feet. The rocket's third and final flight was on a C6-5 and it lifted off at a faster but still very slow speed to around 300 feet. About a few months later I began reading reviews on EMRR and realized that my construction techniques were completely wrong. I decided not to fly this rocket as well as the two I built before it anymore.

The delays were perfect but the chute never came out. This was because I tied it to the bottom of the shock cord and not to the top. I'm sure it would work if it was right though. Even when built with plastic cement, it held up from tumble recovery three times.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

I know my review may make this rocket look like a terrible product, but it really isn't. I plan on buying another one to build with CA clue and maybe epoxy.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

[Submit your Opinion]

"" (x.x.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

08/04 - "Here's a link to a great picture of a real Python-5, which is essentially the same as the Python-4. I found it very helpful as a guide to an alternate paint scheme. " (G.F. )

07/04 - "Both guys here know what they're talking about. It's a cool kit, great looking on the shelf and pad, and looks great flying. However, I had a problem with it weather cocking and this caused problems under C impulse. I flew it on a C6-3 and when it cocked over it was going at about a 65 degree angle and was apparently going still too fast when it ejected. The shock coord snapped right at the mount and sent the main portion to the ground like a 50 mph javelin. Surprisingly it didn't sustaing too much damage, just had to saw off about 3/4 an inch, but the re-entry was a little discouraging considering it landed 15 feet to the left of my kids. Not safe. In my case I recommend flying on C6-5's and B6-4's and maybe even a B4-2. Don't even think about a B4-4! Tried that and almost lawndarted, again. Parchute opened about 15 feet from the ground. Upper fins were delicate to sand, would have glued the body portions together and set the parachute out the NC, also an upgrade to a bigger chute is a must! 12in doesn't cut it." (K.L.H. )

03/04 - "Instead of having the airframe separate in the middle, between the upper and lower BT, I went with separation at the NC. The two BT's were glued at the coupler and a 1/4" section of elastic (twice the length of the rocket)was epoxied to the inside of the upper BT, just far enough in so the NC shoulder would clear it. Because the parachute and shock cord are farther up in the airframe during launch, the clay weight was not needed in the NC." (S.T. )

02/04 - "I think the reviewer is right on. I also changed the shockcord from elastic to Kevlar. Another change I made was to glue the tubes together at the midsection and have the chute come out at the nose because I don't like to have the tubes separate in the middle. It usually causes zipppering, or the two pieces slap into each other if the cord is not long enough, and you do not tie the chute closer to the top half. The only problem I had was separating the small fins that mount to the top of the rocket from the balsa without breaking them in half in the middle section. They are very thin at that point and (on mine at least) the grain was running the same way. If you cut them out slowly with an Xacto knife, (I did not take my time to do this) they would probably be able to be removed without breaking. Overall, a very nice kit!" (G.S. )

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
10-02-2003 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Great flight. Went up straight and fast with a slight spiral to about 500 feet. Moderate walk for recovery and I recovered the rocket without a single scratch on it. Doesn't get much better than that.
11-16-2003 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-3 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Nice flight. The chute was blown up into the upper section and didn't open. Came in fast but there was no damage.
01-01-2004 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-3 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Very nice flight to about 500 feet and better yet, I got the chute to deploy this time. I had a moderate walk to get this one back. No damage.
07-25-2004 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Very nice flight up to about 500 feet. Nice close recovery. No damage.
05-04-2005 Donald Besaw Est SU C6-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Very nice flight, probably reached about 500 feet. Moderate walk for recovery. No damage.
03-08-2006 Richie Brunjes Est SU C6-3 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds -
03-08-2006 Richie Brunjes Est SU C6-3 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds -
03-30-2006 Richie Brunjes Est SU C6-3 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Separated , no damage to either section !!
03-30-2006 Richie Brunjes Est SU C6-3 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Separated , no damage to either section !!
04-09-2006 Richie Brunjes Est SU C6-3 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Chute tangeled .. no damage
12-26-2003 Cee Gee Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect
(500 ft)
0-5 mph winds - Straight flight to about 500 feet.
12-26-2003 Cee Gee Est SU B6-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - My first rocket flight!! Easy to rig chute due to large diameter tube. Nice Thwonnggg!! from tube when chute popped. Flew straight; reached about 300 feet.
10-29-2005 Chris Guidry Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds -
05-27-2006 Chris Guidry Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds Event: May Launch
06-24-2006 Chris Guidry Est SU C6-5 Just Past (1-2sec) Calm Event: June Launch
02-14-2004 Kyle Hancock Est SU B4-2 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds - Maiden flight.
09-19-2004 Kyle Hancock Est SU B4-4 Just Past (1-2sec) Gusty Event: Viking Sport Launch
- NARTREK Mercury
09-19-2004 Kyle Hancock Est SU B4-4 Just Past (1-2sec) Gusty Event: Viking Sport Launch
- NARTREK Mercury
04-15-2004 Kris Henderson Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Flew good, weather cocked slightly, 'chute was far to small and when the roc hit it broke one fin off and cracked another one at the fillets.
04-25-2004 Kris Henderson Est SU C6-3 Very Early 5-10 mph winds - Flew fast but weatehr cocked a lot, was going too fast sideways and didn't slow down at all before ejection. result: broken shock coord at the mount and lawndarted hard. had to saw a half inch off body to smooth out mushroom.
04-25-2004 Kris Henderson Est SU B4-4 Very Late 0-5 mph winds - Flew straight but the delay was waaay too long. almost wanted to lawndart but ejected 15 feet above ground.
04-25-2004 Kris Henderson Est SU B4-2 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Flew straight again but with the correct time delay it ejected perfectly and floated down nioce and slow on an 18 in. 'chute.
06-25-2004 Kris Henderson Est SU B4-2 None - Parachute Fail 0-5 mph winds - Flew just like the last one except the 'chute got jammed and didn't eject, landed tail first and broke fins at the fillets again.
10-18-2004 Alex Jordan Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Up
(400 ft)
Calm - Fun rocket to fly! Slow boost ejection at apogee...
05-15-2004 Mike Kiss Est SU C6-3 Apogee - NC Up 10+ mph winds - Good maiden flight to about 600ft, a little weather cocking in high wind, chute ripped off of 4 shroud lines, no damage, another estes rocket will get nylon chute
07-17-2004 Mike Kiss Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Good straight flight in high wind, ejection at apogee, landed about 100yds from pad using 9 inch nylon chute, no damage
11-13-2004 Mike Kiss Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds Event: Bunnell Blast
- Another good flight, ejection at apogee, landed about 100 feet from pad, no damage
12-17-2005 Mike Kiss Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Good flight in wind to about 700 ft, ejection just past apogee, landed about 150 ft from pad, no damage
05-20-2006 Mike Kiss Est SU B6-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Good easy flight, good deploy at apogee, landed about 100 ft from pad, no damage
04-09-2007 Mal McClenaghan Est SU C6-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Shakedown flight. Slow liftoff. Nice flier, smooth and straight.
06-17-2007 Mal McClenaghan Apo SU C6-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds Event: Dandenong Wetlands
- Nice flight. Recovered on 30cm Hartle chute.
06-08-2008 Mal McClenaghan Est SU C6-5 Didn't See Calm Event: Dandenong Wetlands
- Another beautiful flight from this rocket.
07-11-2005 Reid Smith Est SU B6-4 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Curved in an arc straight off the pad, appeared to do a loop before ejecting NC down. Caught the whole thing on tape, chute opened but she still came down fast. Strange markings on outer edge of both BT's, engine mount all torn up. May fly again.
03-18-2006 Aaron Stanley Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - A perfect flight and perfect parachute deployment.
01-12-2004 Jason Vennard Est SU C6-3 Very Early 10+ mph winds - Ours came in at 2.9oz. Nice arrow straight flight even in wind, ejection a bit early even with very long shock cord pieces came back and hit eachother, minor cosmetic damage, recovery fine under 15 nylon chute.
04-04-2004 Jason Vennard Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Nice straight flight and recovery on this one. Recovery fine under 12 nylon chute.

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