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REV 2.4 - Tue Aug 17 08:38:01 2010

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North Coast Rocketry (NCR)
Interceptor G
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SPECS: 43.8" x 2.5" - 16 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: MISSING - please submit here
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: Estes: F62-4, G70-5

[Picture](11/13/98) The Interceptor Gis futuristic manned space vehicle that looks very impressive in the catalog, on the box, and built. I found out recently that Jim Stuckman was going to fly his one weekend after me, so we decided to do this joint review. 

The kit is deemed by Estes in the instructions as a "carefully designed and tested" kit to be "realistic, challenging, and extremely high flying". They also indicate that they hope that we "spend many enjoyable hours constructing and flying" the kit.

The kit is made up of a variety of materials including plastic nose cones and accessories, 1/8" plywood centering rings and small wings and rudders, 1/8" basswood large wings and rudders and a vacu-formed tail cone. The 2.5" main body tube is kraft paper measuring 34" long and is 1/16" thick. The two booster tubes are BT-60A. The kit uses 1/4" launch lugs. The kit uses 1/4" launch lugs. It comes with the GOR-1 Gorilla Shock Cord Mount Kit which includes a 1/16" cable and a 1/2" wide, 72" long elastic shock cord and mounting hardware. Also for recovery, there is a red 36" rip-stop parachute. Lastly there are two sheets of decals which really give the kit its looks.

When finished the Interceptor G should stand 43.8" and weigh approximately 16 ounces without a motor.
 
 

[Rocket Pic]

Essence:
The Interceptor Gwas a rocket that I just had to have and I purchased it 10 months ago. Over the past 10 months my thoughts and feelings about this kit have been like a roller coaster as you will see throughout the review. It definitely offered me a "challenging" kit and it definitely took "hours" to build. Just the decals took over a hour!

My initial disappointment was that this kit didn't seem to have the North Coast's Gorilla-Lok motor mount. Estes confirmed that this is the only North Coast kit that doesn't!

[Featured Rating]Stuckman:
I've had this kit for 3 months and decided it was time to try something a little different from the typical 3FNC kits that are the norm for 29mm kits. This kit is definitely an attention getter at the field both on the ground and especially in the air!

My first impression was: nice wood & cool decals! The laser cutting was first quality. Upon reading through the instructions, I saw that they mentioned using the NCR plastic motor retainer to secure the motor in the flight prep. A quick call to Estes confirmed that this kit does not have one and that later versions of the instructions have already been updated.

[Rocket Pic]CONSTRUCTION:

The kit comes with a twelve page instruction set, with the first seven pages having something to do with construction. There are relatively few illustrations if comparing to an Estes kit. The instructions were in a logical order and if read carefully, and without skipping steps, one can successfully build the Interceptor G. The instructions do, however, largely contribute to this kit being challenging and may not support the statement in the NCR catalog about this kit being "perfect for all modelers to build".It is obvious that this is not an Estes kit and requires an experienced, patient rocketeer to build successfully and not get frustrated during the process.

The wings and rudders on this kit come in two pieces that are glued together before attaching to the body tube. They are fairly easy to work with and the instructions make a good point to sand, fill and round them before gluing to the body tube.

The Gorilla Shock Cord Mount requires a pair of crimpers (or needle nose). This consists of a cable that is looped-through the upper centering ring and the held together with a sleeve connector. The opposite end also has a loop that is held in place with another connector. The picture in the instructions did not represent the actual assembly, however, the textual instructions did.

The tail cone is made of vacu-formed plastic and requires cutting it out of the form. Take your time on this.

The fins (wings and rudders) are not through-the-wall mounting. The instructions indicate using a T-Pin to make holes on the fin line marks. These would then act like rivets to help secure the fins to the body tube.

For finishing detail, the Interceptor G comes with many, many colorful, self-adhesive decals and some plastic parts. The plastic parts are glued on in various places of the rocket to represent components like the turbine exhaust ducts, rate gyro fairings, stabilizer thrust motors, APU pressure elbows and antenna connectors.

Essence:
We have all heard and read information regarding NCR's use of a slightly smaller mount tube, however, I try very hard to build kits stock when reviewing them and therefore, I built this one stock. It's funny though, because I think the centering rings were cut for a standard 29mm tube. When installing them they were too loose on the motor mount tube. This actually got me very frustrated for two reasons. First, I didn't get them to be perfectly parallel so it was a tight fit into the main body tube, and secondly, this was the most expensive kit I had purchased (lists at $79.99), to date, and I expected them to fit.

Stuckman:
Here's where Nick & I differ a little. I'm a firm believer in building the kit to my satisfaction - especially when we are not talking about an entry level model. I made the following modifications/deviations from the plans:

1. Motor Mount Tube - replaced with PML 29mm. This was an easy modification that required a little time with some 120 grit sandpaper to open up the inner hole on the centering rings.

2. Added plywood ring to rear of MMT for 4-40 blind nuts. This allows the use of positive motor retention. I'm not a big fan of friction fitting RMS cases! I sized the rearward ring to mount inside the tail cone approx. 1/4" from the rear edge of the motor mount tube.

Essence:
I was somewhat disappointed, again, with the Gorilla Shock Cord Mount. The cable is designed to go through two holes in the upper centering ring. These holes were aligned in such a way that the loop would have run parallel with the grain of the centering ring. I saw this as a potential problem of putting undue stress on this centering ring. I took some of the excess wood and glued it to the bottom of the centering ring, in-between the two holes and so that the grain was perpendicular to the centering ring grain. This may not have been necessary, but I'd hate to have the cable break through the centering ring and then have to try to repair that.

Stuckman:
I built my kit's shock cord mount per the instructions. The Gorilla Mount is bullet proof! If built properly, I can see no way to have a zipper as some people have reported with other NCR kits. I use this basic setup on most of my larger rockets. Be sure the wire loop DOES NOT protrude past the end of the body tube!

Essence:
Another challenge with assembly was the vacu-formed tail cone. It comes with two pieces, the coupler and tail cone. After the motor mount is installed in the kit, the coupler is to be glued into place and then the tail cone. The fit was not great and when the instructions say to "fill the joint and sand flush", they mean this as a requirement.

Stuckman:
Fitting the tail cone is an exercise in precision. Take you time and test fit the parts often. It's not hard to do but needs to be done slowly to get a proper fit. I still needed to fill the tail cone/body tube joint but the result was fine.

Essence:
With respect to using the T-Pin to make holes for rivets, I deviated from this. I actually make slits using a hobby knife. I make the slits perpendicular to the fin line and about 1/4" long. I then wiggle my hobby knife back-and-forth to open the slit up slightly. When I glue the fins onto the body tube, I use plenty of glue to allow it to go into the slits. The fillets will fill the slits that are outside of the fin coverage. This has been a successful technique on 3 other kits that don't have through-the-wall fin attachment.

Stuckman:
I would have preferred TTW fins. I followed the instructions and used a T pin to poke holes in the BT all along the area where the fin mounts. I glued all the fins to the BT with 12 minute epoxy and then used 30 minute epoxy to form fillets. This method was put to the test - the chute fouled on the 1st flight and the Interceptor came in VERY fast! One rudder was cracked just above the fillet but stayed attached to the rocket.

[Rocket Pic]Essence:
Finishing the kit was challenging due to all of the component. I filled the spirals on the main body tube with light spackle. Also used this for areas around the tail cone. The remaining imperfections were filled with multiple coats of Plasti-Kote primer. Once I finished smoothing and priming, I painted the entire rocket with $0.98 Walmart White enamel. (additional comments about Walmart paint) The rocket then set for another two weeks before I did the decals. As stated earlier, I spent an hour on the decals. Finally, after painting the extra plastic parts silver, I glued them into place.

The instructions give clear direction as to the paint scheme for the Interceptor G, however, I did not follow it. I think using just the gloss white and silver components with the colorful decals still produced a very attractive kit.

Stuckman:
I used spackle to fill around the tail cone. I then gave the rocket 2 coats of Pactra Prep surfacer/primer, sanding between coats. I then sprayed 2 coats of Krylon white. I also added an 8" plastic RC airplane canopy from Sig. I cut it down until I felt it looked "right" and then sprayed the inside with Patra Outlaw Black RC car paint. I'm very pleased with the effect!

Essence:
Overall, for CONSTRUCTION I would rate this kit 3 points. It is challenging as stated, but that is not the issue. With the fit of the centering rings and the tail cone, it would be hard for me to rate the kit greater than average. Also adding to this rating was my unproved concern over the centering ring grain and the shock cord cable.

Stuckman:
I would rate this kit 3 1/2 points for overall construction. I would like to see North Coast show a means of positive motor retention. I think the tail cone construction could also be improved. It works but takes a fair amount of effort.

FLIGHT/RECOVERY:

The Interceptor G sits majestically on the launch pad. Its recommended motors are the Darkstar F62-4 and the G70-5 (currently not available). It uses two 1/4" launch lugs.

[Rocket Pic]Flight preparation includes, according to the instructions, "placing . . . recovery wadding into the top of the main body tube. Fill the tube loosely with wading to a distance about 1.5 times the diameter of the tube. Gently press the wadding down until there is adequate room for the parachute. DO NOT JAM!" The instructions are also clear in parachute preparation and then mention checking the nose cone for a snug fit.

Recovery is via a 38" rip-stop nylon parachute.

If built stock, the Interceptor G requires that the motor be friction fit, even though the instructions mention putting a motor retainer in place . . . no doubt the Gorilla-Lok motor mount which is not on this kit!

[Rocket Pic]Essence:
My Interceptor G flew three times in the same day all on F62-4's. The first flight was off the pad at a slight angle. It was parallel to the ground and arcing back before ejection. It then had a very nice, slow descent on its red 38" 'chute. By comparison, the Interceptor G weighs about the same as my PML Callisto which uses a 24" parachute with a spill hole, so it came down much slower. It is a good thing since there are many more fins, rudders and plastic parts to protect from a speedy landing. First recovery showed no damage.

Second flight was straight up off the pad and another successful recovery, except, a dent in the nose cone opening where the cone obviously kicked back and hit it. Longer shock cord?

Last flight was again, picture perfect (see picture).

Stuckman:
The first flight was on a cool and windy (10 mph+) day. I used an Aerotech F20-4 Econojet. The rocket flew great! Lift-off was smooth and the rocket flew much more stable than I would have thought in the wind. The silhouette is very distinctive in flight. The 4 second delay was right on but the chute did not fully deploy and resulted in a very fast landing. The right rudder took the shock and cracked but has already been repaired and is awaiting paint.

Essence:
For FLIGHT/RECOVERY, I would rate this kit 3 1/2 points.It looks great and will draw attention, but without a positive motor retention, only 1 motor (to date) to fly the stock kit on, and the requirement for wadding keeps the kit in the average level.

Stuckman:
I would rate this kit 4 points for flight (I reserve recovery rating for later!). It's a fantastic flyer. I do not attribute the chute fouling to the kit's design - it deployed from the BT fine but tangled with the shock cord.

Essence:
Overall, this kit is very challenging, however, it looks great! It is a good flyer but needs some changes to make it versatile for other motors. I give the kit an OVERALL rating of 3 1/2 points.

Stuckman:
Overall, I would rate this kit a solid 4 points. If you are looking for a change of pace give the NCR Interceptor G a look!

[Submit your Opinion]

GUEST's OPINION:
12/04 - "This was my first mid-power kit--not the best choice I could have made, but I'm a very experienced rocketeer with plenty of other modeling hobby background and made a fairly good go of it. Added a few details after its first flight--gave it a positive motor retention system (got rid of the vacuformed tailcone, put in plywood centering ring with blind nuts, rebuilt tailcone out of 1/8" basswood around brass tubing to clear blind nuts) and added underwing "laser pods" made from Estes BT-50 and nosecones with amber LED laser emitters (makes the wing-bodytube joints stronger, too). It was flown at a DARS launch in McGregor,TX as a conspiracy--one guy loaned me an RMS case, somebody else bought the reload, several people who knew how prepped it, I pushed the launch button...I'm hooked!" (J.R.B.III)

GUEST's OPINION:
10/01 - "Good reviews; my experience with construction was similar. I picked mine up over the Winter on sale for half price from Hobby Lobby. I took my time with the fins/wings and cut jigs from a cardboard box to hold them while gluing. The finished product came out very nice and it flies well on F52-5s. My only complaint with this kit is the press on decals. Never have got the hang of those." (T.E.B.)

GUEST's OPINION:
09/00 - "I thought the rocket looked good and it sounds like it will fly well but the assembly was a disaster! the picture conflicts with the text when it says to glue the "wing" and "wing filler". together(the two parts of the larger fin) I later figured out that the picture was correct after I was already done! Overall I would have to agree with the rating of a 3 1/2." (S.H.)

GUEST's OPINION:
07/99 - "I also had problems with the centering rings, They were not even close to round. The three ply wood that Estes uses tends to warp, and on my kit had voids and patches. I had to replace the MMT, cut new fins w/TTW tabs, cut new centering rings w/tab slots, and add a forth ring to hold T-nuts under the tail cone. This kit wasn't cheap, it's too bad most of the parts were." (S.P.)

GUEST's OPINION:
"The centering rings were too tight in the body tube. Had to sand them down a bit, to keep the rings from bowing out the body tube. The instructions on how to attach the plastic "motor rim" on the aft end were very, very poor. The review is accurate about the loose engine mount tube fitting into the centering rings. Annoying. The plastic nozzles were too tight. Had to sand them down. This is my 1st high powered rocket and was confused when there was no motor retention parts." (K.H.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

SPECIFIC ROCKET TIP:
"" (x.x.)

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Altitude
Wind Notes
07-14-2001 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Just Before 0-5 mph winds - Nice first flight with a nice gentle recovery.
10-13-2001 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds - Heart stopping late 'chute deployment - ejection happened normally but the 'chute hung up inside the rocket. It finally deployed and opened about 10' above the ground. No damage.
11-03-2001 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Another good flight.
11-03-2001 Tim Burger AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Wow! What a nice boost, good arc over, and . . no 'chute. Post crunch analysis is that the gorilla cable looped over the 'chute preventing deployment. Broke off the top fins, it will fly again.
04-06-2002 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - SLRA launch. Nice flight. Some spin on ascent, and gentle recovery.
06-01-2002 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - Another nice flight. The 'chute has a bad habit of catching half in and half out but so far the nose cone has pulled it out in time.
08-10-2002 Tim Burger AT SU F50-4 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds - Good flight. Some drift. Everyone loves to see this one fly.
08-10-2002 Tim Burger AT SU G80-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Nice!
12-16-2002 Tim Burger AT SU F50-4 Just Before 10+ mph winds - Good boost and recovery - a tad early on the delay.
03-15-2003 Tim Burger AT SU F50-4 Apogee - NC Up Gusty - Very nice flight; lots of drift.
03-22-2003 Tim Burger AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Nice! Some drift.
04-12-2003 Tim Burger AT RMS G64-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 0-5 mph winds - Long arcing flight causing a late ejection. Shock cord tangled in the shrouds causing a hard landing on hard ground in a ravine. Minor damage to fin tips and detail work.
06-30-2003 Tim Burger AT SU F50-6 Just Past (1-2sec) Didn't Record - Nice.
07-19-2003 Tim Burger AT RMS G64-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: LDRS-22
- LDRS XXII! Beautiful flight.
05-02-2004 Tim Doll AT RMS F40-4 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Very nice flight aside from a bit of a bonus delay. This is a neat rocket, always attracts lots of attention.
05-24-2009 Tim Doll AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds Event: FITS 2009/Mansfield, WA
- Beautiful flight
05-24-2009 Tim Doll AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds Event: FITS 2009/Mansfield, WA
- Beautiful flight
07-03-2009 Tim Doll AT RMS G64-4 Apogee - NC Up 5-10 mph winds Event: LDRS 28
- Very nice flight
10-24-1998 EMRR NCR SU F62-4 at apogee 5-10 mph winds - Set straight up. Great flight and another successful recovery. Upon inspection found that the nose cone must have kicked back and put a nice dent in the top of the body.
10-24-1998 EMRR NCR SU F62-4 at apogee 5-10 mph winds - Straight up and beautiful ejection and recovery. Snapped the pictures on this flight!
10-24-1998 EMRR NCR SU F62-4 just after 5-10 mph winds - Set up with about 15 degree angle and launch carried it a bit further so that it made a big arch. Just past apogee. . . ejection and then a beautiful, soft descent and landing.
08-07-2001 EMRR AT RMS F52-5 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds RIP - Excellent to see this bird fly again until.... elastic shock cord snapped sending the nose cone and parachute to college (way out of recovery range). Body sustained only minor damage which was very surprising to me Status: Retired
11-04-2000 Casey Smith AT SU G40-7 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Good flight up into the low ceiling. Short walk for recovery, landed on the driveway, about 100 yards away.
11-04-2000 Casey Smith AT SU G40-7 Very Late 5-10 mph winds - Great flight on with this workhorse. Goes good on windy days with the big fins. G-40 is a great long engine for this. Will try on H motors.
12-30-2000 Casey Smith AT RMS G104-M Very Early Calm - Great boost on this little motor, nose cone too loose, drag seperation, crash. Will repair.
05-05-2001 Casey Smith AT EconoJet G35-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Great boost, fairly straight, a little weathercocking. Good deploy. did not drift too far.
05-06-2006 Chan Stevens AT RMS G64-4 Just Before 5-10 mph winds -
09-06-2008 Chan Stevens AT RMS G77-4 Very Early 5-10 mph winds - Delay failure--went at -1, not -4. Note--this is an AWESOME motor for this rocket! Very fast off the rod, nice altitude!
   

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