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REV 2.4 - Sun Nov 21 00:02:37 2010

North Coast Rocketry (NCR)
Big Brute
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SPECS: 33.3" x 4" - 16 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: Estes: F62-4, G70-5; Pre-Estes: F20-4, F25-6, F30-6, F41-6, F60-6, G25-10, G40-10, G50-7, G60-10, G80-10

[Picture] (10/02/00) My third 4" "stubby" rocket this year became the NCR Big Brute™ which was built after the BSD Diablo and Yank Bullet. The Big Brute™ is much closer in size to the Diablo being 33.3" in length and 4" in diameter.

See my 4" Stubby Rocket Comparison Page

The Big Brute™ is a nice looking rocket with it's decals, black nose cone (as pictured in the catalog), four fins, and stubby design. Then the rocket touted features like laser cut plywood fins, pre-slotted airframe, interlocking through the wall fin construction and the Gorilla™ steel cable shock cord mount and the Gorilla-Lok™ motor mount. I was pleased to get a look at this Gorilla-Lok™ motor retainer considering I didn't get it when I purchased my Interceptor G™. I'll talk about my disappointment later.

Rocket PicThe Big Brute™ includes a 17" long paper, pre-slotted airframe. The plastic nose cone makes up the remaining length. There are four (4) 1/8" thick plywood fins that are pre-cut. There are also three (3) 1/4" thick plastic centering rings (slotted to accept the fins). The motor mount tube is NCR's just-smaller-than-a-29mm and it included the Gorilla-Lok™ retainer that slides into the lower centering ring and then turns to lock. The recovery system includes a steel cable with loop/sleeve connectors, 6' of 1/2" flat elastic and a 24" red, nylon parachute. There are two (2) 1/4" launch lugs and a decal sheet to make up the remainder of the kit. All of this is nicely protected in a box.


There is a 7-page instruction booklet of which 3 pages are the actual construction steps. The are clear illustrations to assist in building the rocket. There was also an extra loose piece of paper in my box explaining that the fins will hang below the body tube by 1/4" and if I do not want that to cut the fin slots a 1/4" so that the fins align with the bottom of the body tube. I choose not to do that.

There are two other 1/4" plastic centering rings that each are slotted for the four fins. I had to wrap a piece of tape in place in the middle of the motor tube because the centering rings fit loosely. I then slide the middle centering ring to rest on the tape while gluing. When gluing on the the bottom centering ring, I used two of the fins by sliding them into the slots to ensure the two rings were aligned properly. This is really the most critical part of construction.

Building the Gorilla™ recovery system including sliding the steel cable through two holes in the upper centering ring and then crimping a sleeve into place to hold it. Then making a small 1" loop at the other end using the second sleeve and then the elastic shock cord is tied to that. This connection to the centering ring appears to be very strong as the centering ring is made of 1/4" plastic.

After the motor mount is assembled and glued into the body tube, everything else goes together very quickly. The fins slide right into there slots. The slots are not sloppy so the fins actually are held in place. This is a nice set up and allowed to have perfectly aligned fins (as long as they were aligned when building the motor mount).

The two launch lugs are glued in place. The elastic shock-cord is attached to the nose cone and she's ready for finishing.

For finishing, I didn't need to use anything to fill the spirals as they were very shallow. I simple used several coats of Plasti-Kote Sandable Primer. I had to spend a little more time on the nose cone seam but still only used primer for filling. I then painted the entire rocket red (instructions suggest grey). I followed up by painting the nose cone black. Then came the decals.

The decal sheet consisted of three (3) strips, the words Big Brute and eight (8) fin decals. All were black and self-adhesive. I used the strips that go around the top of the body tube and the Big Brute name. I did not use the fin decals. I would have if they looked like the ones in the pictures on the front of the box. The decals supplied with my kit had the same shape but were much smaller. The picture on the box shows them evenly covering the fin with about a 1/4" space all the way around. The ones I had seems to leave at least a 1/2" space and not evenly around. My guess is that something changed, either the decals or the fin size. They just didn't give the look I wanted so I didn't use them.

Interestingly, my finished rocket weighed in at just under 27 ounces. The specs on this rocket says 16 ounces. I'm sure I didn't use 11 ounces of extra epoxy. I again wonder if the fins were enlarged thereby increasing the weight and making the decals not fit the same way.

Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate this kit 4 points. Instructions are not the best in town, but are adequate for building this relatively easy rocket. The centering ring and fin alignment are excellent. The smaller than normal motor mount must be changed by NCR and someone should look into the weight and decals.


Here are the altitudes that Apogee's RockSim says it will get.

RockSim PicThe Big Brute™ was designed to fly on NCR DarkStar motors but . . . since you can't get them any more you must fly on alternatives. Since the motor mount is slightly smaller than the standard 29mm, normal single-use motors do not fit. However, AeroTech RMS motors do. Therefore, the first flight on my Big Brute™ was on an F22-5J(4)*. Note the (4)* indicates that this was the delay that NAR certified.

I added a Large Pratt Hobbies Nomex Heat Shield which fits great in 4" diameter kits.

Rocket PicThe Gorilla-Lok™ retainer ring is designed for handling NCR motors. I tried and tried to get it on over my AT RMS casing but could not. Finally I took a wood screw and drove it into the plastic and used a washer as a motor retainer. The plastic actually gives an easy surface to screw into and it is secure.

I had prepped everything, so I thought, so that once I was at the site I could just pop the rocket on the pad and go. Well, I loaded an ignitor at the site and popped it on the pad. After a countdown and the push of a button, the Big Brute™ lifted off the pad. I had angled the rod slightly to compensate for wind. The rocket took off in a slow arc and was heading down when the ejection charge popped. Upon ejection the red parachute seemed to go one way while the rest of the rocket fell. It continued that way, falling, until it landed in the tall grass. The parachute landed a good distance away. Frantically searching to see if the ejection blew the shroud lines apart or something I was only to discover that I never tied the parachute on!

No damage to the rocket as it fell horizontally and landed in tall grass. So the flight was successful, but sure would have been nice to see the descent on a parachute.

The second flight was a couple of weeks later and this time I had attached the parachute. I loaded another F22-5J(4)* and off she went. This time with no angle on the launch rod, she went straight up, arced over and started back down. It dropped about 1/3 of the way and I had started to write it off in my mind when it finally popped the ejection. Under full parachute the rocket still fell too fast. ONCLICK="'../../cgi-bin/resources/recoverybox.cgi','NewWin','width=500,height=325,history=yes,resizable=yes,status=no,scrollbars=yes,menubar=no'); ">Parachute Size Calculators suggest between a 36" and 38" chute for minimum on this weight of my Big Brute™.

For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this kit 3 ½ points. The short rocket looks nice coming off the pad. Due to it's motor limitations and the fact the provided retainer doesn't work except with NCR motors and you can't get these motors the rating for this rocket is only average. This kits parachute is under-rated for the weight of the kit.

Overall, the Big Brute™ is another nice looking "stubby" rocket. The parts are good quality and the through the wall fins set up is great! The instructions are adequate with illustrations. Too bad the rocket is designed to fly only on the NCR DarkStars. It forces people to modify, which kind of defeats the purpose of a kit for less experienced rocketeers. I give the kit an OVERALL rating of 4 points.

(by Nick Hills)  

Specifications: Length: 33" Diameter: 4" Motor Mount: 29MM 

[Rocket Pic]The instructions for the Big Brute were fairly easy to follow. But one of the diagrams are wrong! The diagram for putting the launch lugs on, DO NOT use the diagram for this step. Do what it says in the instructions! The tools needed for the construction of this rocket are: 5 minute epoxy, CA, sanding sealer, 3/4" masking tape, X-acto knife, ruler, pliers, sanding block and sandpaper. 

All parts fit well. You will want to replace the NCR motor tube with a LOC 29MM motor tube so you can use Aerotech motors in the rocket! Also you will want to put some blind nuts in with Kaplow clips so you can retain the Aerotech motors easily. And make sure NOT to get ANY epoxy were the Gorilla motor lock goes, if you do then you can not use there lock. 

The decals they give you are nice, I would recommend putting water a drop of soap in a bowl to apply them sense they are so big! The finished rocket looks great! 

For the first flight I used a NCR F62-4 Dark Star. Rocket had a good flight and recovery! This is a great rocket if you don't have allot of room! 

I would give this kit 4 points. If it had a "real" 29MM motor tube I would give it 5 points! 

[NAR][Sport Rocketry]

The following excerpt is from "Sport Rocketry". The intention is to allow guests to get a basic feeling about a kit. We strongly suggest that you get a copy of the referenced Sport Rocketry and read the entire article. Inside you will find many helpful hints in construction as well as other useful information. For more information, use the two links above.

(Sport Rocketry - Jan/Feb 1998 - page 38 - by Thomas Beach) 

[Picture]"The new incarnation of the NCR Big Brute from Estes features a plastic nose, plywood fins, steel cable Gorilla shock cord mount, 24" parachute, and self-adhesive decals." 
"The most interesting feature of the new Brute . . . are the centering rings and through-the-wall fin mounting system." 
"The centering rings are molded plastic with slots to engage the fins . . . adding strength to the fin and motor mount structure." 
"Several of the diagrams in the instruction do not exactly match the appearance of the actual kit assembly (which disturbs a visually-oriented guy like me) but if you follow the text of the instructions you will do fine." 
"The self-adhesive decals work well." 
". . . the instructions say the model should weigh 454 grams, and mine tipped the scales at 673 grams . . ." 
"The motor is held in place by a twist-on motor retainer ring (a thrust ring is molded into their base of every Dark Star motor)." 

The entire article gives the impression is that this model is good choice for beginner/intermediate mid-power modelers.

[Submit your Opinion]

03/01 - "A short, stubby 4" mid-power kit. I have flown mine on an F22(lawn dart) and a G64. The F22 is a terribly weak motor for the Brute. You need to use higher impulse F's and G's to get it to safe altitudes. The parachute is way too small and should be replaced. Other than that the kit is flyable and cool looking. I give it a 4." (D.P.)

02/01 - "The NCR Big Brute is my favorite rocket. This was the first mid powered rocket I built. The parts were of excellent quality. The kit went together great and easily. It has flown MANY times on E28's, F52's, F62's, G33's, and G64's. The only bad things about this kit is the airframe thickness, and motor tube diameter. Also, the "Gorrila Lock" motor retainer only works with NCR Dark Star motors. I simply used tape to retain motors that are not Dark Stars. Later I added two screws with washers over them to hold in the motor (that saved a lot of tape!). The main 4" airframe could be thicker, and you can replace the 28.5mm motor tube (which will not fit AT SU motors) with a standard 29mm tube. I didn't replace mine. I just fly mine on 24mm composites with an adapter, RMS 29mm motors, and NCR F62s (when I can find them). Aerotech RMS motors fit perfectly in this motor tube, unlike SU's. Mine is built like a tank and flies great. It has even survived a hard crash landing with a stripped 'chute. I now have two chutes in mine for softer landings. I love this kit." (M.H.)

11/00 - "This comment is made for 'historical' purposes - akin to an OOP review. My Big Brute predates the Estes takeover and differs slightly. Back then, it came with plywood CRs and a real 29mm motor mount. It was rated up to and including the G80. I have flown mine on F/G EconoJets and G80s with good success. However, it had a tendency to weathercock quite a bit. As a result, I added a bit of nose weight. It is now arrow straight and you really can't notice any degradation in performance. One other difference is not so positive. It had surface mounted fins and despite drilling holes along the body-tube and generous epoxy fillets, it tends to strip fins (mine tries to find a rock, paved walkway, or whatever). This is easily fixed but annoying. So, the big question is: is the newer version better or worse than the old version? (the answer is left to the reader)" (D.S.)

05/00 - "This is an excellent kit to introduce you to larger rockets since many of the techniques that are used in the smaller rocket are applied to the Big Brute. I have found that you need to be more ingenious in applying the canards on the other North Coast Rocketry Rockets. This model finishes well and is very impressive. If built according to the plans the rocket flies perfectly. I found the same problem with the plans that was mentioned in a previous review. Also as stated in another review keep the epoxy away from the motor lock area or you will regret it as it takes a lot of time and frustration to get it cleaned out enough to insert the engines." (R.S.)

"I replaced the centering rings and motor tube with standard 29MM components with no trouble at all. The rocket has flown on an H180 with spectacular results." (B.H)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

"" (x.x.)

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
08-07-2005 George Beever AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Great flight on this old bird.
06-10-2007 George Beever AT RMS G64-7 Didn't See Calm - Very good flight, appeared that dealy was just right.
07-05-2008 George Beever AT RMS G64-4 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Great flight on a 17-year old rocket!
06-23-2002 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F40-4 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Took multiple attempts to light an old motor. When the motor finally lit, it was a great flight.
04-26-2003 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F40-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Nominal flight.
03-20-2005 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F40-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds -
12-17-2005 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G64-4 Just Before 0-5 mph winds - Might consider using a 7 second delay for next time.
04-29-2006 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Great flight!!
11-19-2006 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Great flight. Cracked fin upon landing.
12-17-2006 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G64-4 Very Early 0-5 mph winds - Delay was closer to a 2 than a 4. Ripped one shroud line off of the parachute.
01-20-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds -
02-17-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds -
03-18-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Good flight.
04-22-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G64-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Weak ejection charge didn't push out the parachute. Cracked one fin at impact.
09-01-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G71-4 Very Early 10+ mph winds Event: Freedom Launch 2007
- Delay was closer to a 2 than a 4. No Damage to model.
09-02-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS H128-10 Didn't See 10+ mph winds Event: Freedom Launch 2007
- A very high flight for the Big Brute! Too high for these aging eyes.
11-17-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G71-7 Just Before 5-10 mph winds - Cut 1 second off of the delay, but should have left it alone. Great flight.
12-22-2007 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Great flight.
01-20-2008 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G71-4 Very Early 5-10 mph winds - No way that was 4 seconds. Lost one fin in flight, but found it. Should be easy to repair.
03-22-2008 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G71-7 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds - Model may still have been going up at ejection. recovered after a long walk.
07-19-2008 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Great flight.
01-17-2009 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Broke 2 fins at landing. Curious, given the perfect chute deployment.
11-20-2010 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS F40-4 Very Early 5-10 mph winds - Bit early on the delay, but no damage.
09-18-2005 Paul Bethel AT SU F50-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Event: VRS09_18_05
- Added 10 grams clay to nose and flew straight up. Hit the gravel road at touch down and broke a fin. Great launch!
06-20-2004 Tim Doll AT RMS G64-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Very Nice Flight - love those G64 White Lightning motors
09-09-2000 EMRR AT RMS F22-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - This went off in a large arc, at about apogee the ejection charge went off. The parachute went one way, the rocket and nose cone fell together. I wonder who didn't tie that parachute on?
09-25-2000 EMRR AT RMS F22-4 Very Late Calm - Whoa! This thing was 1/3 of the way back down before ejection occurred. Falls fast with provided parachute. No damage.
09-30-2000 EMRR AT RMS G64-10 None - Electronics Fail 5-10 mph winds - Well, I was testing my G-Whiz Altimeter with this launch and the motor ejection was to be bad up. Upon ignition the rocket came off the pad, the nose cone popped and it then proceeded to dance around in the air at about 30 feet up then come crashing down
07-18-2001 EMRR AT RMS F40-Altim None - Electronics Fail Calm RIP - Lawn dart and destroyed. The G-Wiz was still doing its single blink! Status: Lawn Dart
10-11-2009 Matt Gillard AT RMS F40-4 None - CATO 10+ mph winds RIPEvent: October Sky/ Twycross 2
- got 10 meters of the pad, and then flames were everywhere.will use the nosecone for my level 2 project. Might be able to strip the fins etc for a rebuild Status: Scavenged
08-20-2000 Marcus Harmon AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - This was my Big Brutes best flight. Probably #5 or 6. The boost was loud with lots of white flame and smoke. Great recovery.
01-21-2001 Marcus Harmon AT RMS E28-4 Just Before 5-10 mph winds - An E motor actually can lift this rocket! Good low and slow liftoff trailing gray smoke. B/c of the rockets size,and the motors size, I shortened the delay a bit. Ejection was right before apogee at 100-200ft. Good twin chute recovery.
05-16-1999 Bob Kaplow AT RMS F40-4 Didn't Record Didn't Record - slow liftoff
05-29-1999 Bob Kaplow AT RMS G64-4 Didn't Record Didn't Record -
06-19-1999 Bob Kaplow NCR SU F62-4 Didn't Record Didn't Record - zippered???
01-07-2000 MikeyR AT RMS F52-5 didn't record 10+ mph wind - 36 parachute Nice and stately. Wind just right. Cracked fin on landing.
04-21-2000 MikeyR AT SU F50-6 not recorded fairly calm - 36 parachute Nice and loud. Straight boost and recovery.
05-28-2000 MikeyR AT RMS F52-5 not recorded slight breeze - 36 parachute Perfect on the full F. Nice deployment. Flex crack on the fin.
06-03-2000 MikeyR AT EconoJet G38-4 not recorded 5-10 mph wind - 36 parachute Nice boost with darker smoke. Good deployment at about apogee. Fast descent, no damage.
02-03-2001 MikeyR AT EconoJet G35-4 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Punched a hole in the airframe. No idea how.
03-24-2001 MikeyR AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Nice flight, good deployment.
05-24-2001 MikeyR AT RMS G75-S Apogee - Perfect Calm - Excellent flght. 61.5 second duration.
04-25-2002 MikeyR AT EconoJet G38-4 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Again really nice.
04-25-2002 MikeyR AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Really nice flight.
11-07-2009 Todd Mullin Ces RLD G83 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds Event: Plaster Blaster 8
07-21-2000 Dan Patell AT RMS F22-5 None - Nose Cone Stuck 0-5 mph winds - LAWN DART! Not enough power. Tore up body tube, but fins survived. Rebuilt.
07-21-2000 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-4 Very Early Calm - Great flight. Delay went while still going pretty fast resulting in the nose banging into the end of the tube. No real damage.
03-04-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Perfect flight. Fast recovery on stock 24 chute.
08-04-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds Event: NARAM-43
Brute - Another great flight at NARAM. The Brute really moves out on the G64.
08-04-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds Event: NARAM-43
Brute - Some weather cocking, but a great flight for the Brute at NARAM.
08-05-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS H128-10 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Event: NARAM-43
Brute - My Dad's perfect lvl.1 certification flight. Free motor from Magnum at Naram 43, worked great. High boost, but started tumbling before chute popped. No damage, and lvl.1 is had!
08-05-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: NARAM-43
Brute - Beutiful day at NARAM. Perfect motor for the Brute. Nice follow up of the cert. flight.
11-03-2001 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Perfect flight at NARCONN in Cobleskill, N.Y. Rocket flies well on this motor.
04-21-2002 Dan Patell AT RMS H165-M Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Perfect flight. Fast liftoff with a great red flame. Recovered in the next field over, about 500 ft. away.
06-23-2002 Dan Patell AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Perfect test flight for the altimeter. Went to 893'.
07-12-2000 Dan Patell AT RMS F22-5 Very Late 0-5 mph winds RIP - Way underpowered! Stuck it's nose into a hill about a thousand feet away. The nose shoulder shattered, and the first seven inches of the body was destroyed. Repaired into a longer Brute! Status: Lawn Dart
09-03-2000 Steve Smith AT RMS F40-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - First flight and it was textbook perfect with a nice slow noisy liftoff. . . Excellent! A great rocket and motor for smaller fields-the geese were impressed too!
05-05-2002 Fred Ziegler AT RMS F40-7 Very Late 5-10 mph winds Brutus - This motor is way too small. Barely flew to 300 ft. Lawn dart BIG TIME. Ejection charge went off when it hit. Only damage was a split BT to middle of rocket.
05-05-2002 Fred Ziegler AT SU F50-6 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Brutus - Another nice flight. Landed on a truck about 100 ft. from pad, only damage was a stress crack in the paint on one fin.
05-05-2002 Fred Ziegler AT SU F50-6 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds Brutus - Nice flight. Slight roll during acceleration. This is the smallest motor I would put in this rocket. Recovered within 100 ft. of pad.
05-26-2002 Fred Ziegler AT RMS F40-7 Very Late Calm Brutus - Rebuilt as a rear deploy, tried the F-40 again. Like I said, it's WAY too small, 300 ft. flight. Lawn dart w/ejection at impact. Destroyed body tubes. Will rebuild w/ leftover 4 in. tube from last crash...

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