(by John Rowan-Stern - 10/23/04)
[Editor's Note: John's Saturn 1B is the paper wrap-around version that Roachworks produced, verses the all-tube version]
This a semi-scale Saturn 1B based on a BT-60 airframe and 18mm motor mount. It
uses standard parachute recovery.
The kit comprised of a number of parts including:
- Body tube
- Upper LM tube
- Printed body wraps and shrouds
- Custom ring set
- Engine tube
- Capsule set with escape tower dowel
- 2 1/4" Launch lug
- Instruction booklet
and elastic shock cord
If you never had the pleasure of building one of Gordon's kits, you are
really in for something of a treat. He has this habit of coming up with an idea
for a new and fresh approach to a kit every once and a while. Through The
Rocketry Forum (TRF), he captivates all who read to the point of us wanting to
send him money before his idea is even kitted! Having said that, it was no
surprise to find my kit come in it's own special box with a great label on the
outside and plenty of quality on the inside. The instructions are pretty
straightforward and even if you have never tackled a kit like this before and
as long as you take your time, you will find it quite rewarding. I think the
kit hovers around a skill level 2 or 3. The order of assembly is logical and
all pieces fit perfectly. Before you begin using those big household scissors,
go to your local drug store and get a small pair of cuticle scissors. They cost
about 3-5 bucks, but they'll make cutting out the smaller paper pieces a snap.
A special note here: Please use his recommendations regarding adhesives. In
particular, the Elmer's rubber cement that he talks about is just about the
only glue you want to use on the special body wraps to insure perfect adhesion.
The wraps are made from high quality gloss heavy bond paper. The detail is
awesome. Now there are no actual fuel tanks, but once the wrap is installed,
you can't tell from 10 feet away. The illusion is pretty sweet!
Be sure to dry fit everything so you know how much curl to put into the
wrap before you start applying glue. If you have any seams, you can touch them
up with a little white out or a Sharpie marker.
The fins are real simple. You just fold the pre-printed fins over the
enclosed fin stock and cut them out. They are all in order according to
installation so it makes gluing them on a snap.
The only change I made was using a Kevlar
thread type recovery section but if you use the tri-fold system, there is
nothing wrong with it. Kevlar
is just my choice.
The only finishing you really have to do is paint the escape tower. I used
White Out. Dab on some color to the fins too with more White Out and a black
Sharpie pen. After everything has dried, you can (as recommended) clear coat
the entire model with either Krylon Fixative #1306 or Testors Dull Coat. Light
coats of either one please. I made the mistake of using a heavy coat of Krylon
Crystal Clear. Don't use Krylon Crystal Clear, at least not in rocketry,
because some of the colors mottled a bit. Nothing too serious though and you
can't even tell if you are a few feet away.
out of 5
We talked a bit on TRF about types of parachutes and sizes. With my first
flight, I chose an A8-3 and a 12" Thrustline Rip-Stop Nylon chute. (I
would have photos but I still have not mastered launching and taking the
picture when I'm flying alone.) The boost was straight and not that fast which
was perfect for those of us that like that scale look. The second flight was on
a B6-4 and was plenty high enough with a nice straight boost. Gordon does not
recommend any thing larger than a B6-4 and I agree. The boost would be too high
and way too fast to fully enjoy.
The chute popped right at apogee on the both flights and I saw something
separate on the first flight but I wasn't sure what it was until later noticed
the little escape tower had popped off. It was just my luck it landed close to
the pad along with the rocket, so I put it in my field box and have since glued
it back on. After some contemplation, I might not ever have glued it on in
first place! The rocket landed without damage and after watching the descent, I
think a 10" chute might be better.
out of 5
PROs: One of my mental blocks when it comes to rocketry is scale. I think it's
a great way for someone who is a little apprehensive about spending lots of
money and time buying and building only to it. Great scale looks, great
price, and you can build it easily in one weekend.
out of 5
Roachwerks is not a "Boiler Plate" type vendor. All of the kits that
I have seen are produced in small batches with lots of quality parts and
attention to detail. If you are interested purchasing one, visit The Rocketry
Forum and click on the either the "Yard Sale" or "Vendor"
sections. Sandman is always spinning out something cool from his shop!
(by Martin Vrstal )
[Editor's Note: Martin's Saturn 1B is the all-tube version that Roachworks produced, verses the paper wrap-around version]
This review is on the Roachwerks 1/130th Saturn 1b. After building a cloned
version of the Estes 1/70 kit a few years ago, I knew I had to have one of
these also. This kit was a limited run by Gordon Agnello of Roachwerks Custom
Machining. If you were lucky enough to get one of these fine kits, and/or know
Gordy, you know the time and effort he puts into them.
All parts were received in a nicely sealed package and were all accounted for.
The balsa parts were turned by hand and are just outstanding. Recovery system
consisted of Kevlar
thread to a nice lengthy black elastic shock cord, to an 18" mylar chute.
The nice waterslide decals I believe came from JimZ. Fin templates, escape
tower shroud, and scalloped transition patterns were also provided.
- The instructions were very easy to follow.
- Many detailed drawings to help with construction.
- All templates and decals are included.
- Only trouble I had was in making the scalloped transition. It took my a few
tries to get it just right. But the instructions do say to make a couple and
Finishing was done in the classic Saturn 1b paint pattern. I did add a few
extras to my model, like corrugated wraps, retro rockets, and discharge tubes.
With all the extras I gave it and the 1b paint, I would have to say it's a
skill level 4-5 kit but only because of it's size.
out of 5
No flights to date.
I believe this to be an all around excellent quality kit. Well planed and
thought out.If you have the chance to acquire one, or can talk Gordy into
making another run, get one, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
out of 5