(Contributed - by Chan Stevens - 09/20/09)
This is one of Semroc's first offerings in the Deci- line, which represent semi-scale models roughly 1/10th the
size of the real thing. The IQSY and D Region Tomahawk's generally represent among the easiest entry level scale
models, and this kit is certainly easy to build. But in terms of scale-like accuracy, I'd have to pan it slightly
unless the modeler wants to go to significant extra effort. It's a fine kit for basic sport flying, but for scale fans
it needs minor improvements.
Components were generally good although a bit of a mixed blessing--I was impressed by the laser-cut fins
(greatly reducing the amount of effort required to fill grains) and the nose cone was excellent, but the two body
tubes featured spiral grooves significantly deeper than the typical Semroc tubes, which normally barely require any
work to fill the .
Instructions are very well written and illustrated and come in Semroc's new format designed to fit in a 3-ring
binder for easy reference. This is definitely a skill level 1 kit, and I had mine ready for in about an hour.
One word of caution: if you happen to be building in "batch mode" with many kits on the table
concurrently like me, you might want to make sure you don't have a Semroc Marauder on the table at the same time--they
use nearly identical nose cones and they're pretty easy to mix up.
The motor mount is standard -20, metal hook, block, and a pair of centering rings. Note
that there is no Kevlar
shock cord anchor on this model. The body tube is marked for 4-fin using a template on the instruction
sheet, and the bonded inside the body tube.
The four fins are mounted with their aft edges at 0.150" forward of the aft end of the body tube.
Construction tip: mark that line first around the whole tube using a piece of paper wrapped around the tube to hold a
straight line. After mounting the fins, the goes in between two fins towards the aft end.
The main body tube is actually two-piece construction, which is something I find a bit annoying in a scale
kit--especially one that's so short to begin with. I can understand the appeal of holding down the package size for the
kit, but we're only talking about a 9" and 6" tube here. In any case, the tubes are permanently joined with a
, which also serves as the anchor point for the elastic cord. My anal-retentive craftsman beef with this
approach is that I've got a seam/joint to treat, also one tiny bulge where the pushes out the body tube a
little bit. A single piece tube, with a Kevlar
anchor to the forward would eliminate both of these cosmetic flaws.
If you don't have access to scale data such as Rockets of the World (an excellent resource) or the plan pack
available from 's Technical Services online store and all you have to go by for finishing is the cover art and
instructions, you'll be a bit challenged and it'd be better to just consider this a "inspired by"
the real thing.
Glaring "would-be-nice-to-have" #1 is the plate and bolt details that run between
the fins. It's shown on the cover art and is a key part of the scale appearance, but all that's covered in the
instructions is "several gray bolts" and "refer to the photo on the cover". For comparative
purposes, ASP sells a smaller (13mm) version of the IQSY and includes a waterslide decal for the bolt pattern with the
total kit price of $9.
Nice-to-have #2 would be a printed decal for the upper black band which would include both the bolt pattern and
the white stripe. These are beyond the hand-painting skills of the typical leisure modeler and the instructions offer
no guidance on the height of the black band (hint--it's about 7/8", actually 0.9").
Glaring "why is this thing in here" is the decal that is supplied--a Semroc log and IQSY Tomahawk
label, which is probably helpful if you tend to forget the name of your models, but completely wrong in terms of
scale--the real model had no lettering (and the instructions do at least point this out).
In any case, I painted mine with a gloss white base then the top band black and one fin black. The got
a gloss red. I printed out a close enough set of bolt pattern decals on my own over white peel 'n' stick, which adds
the 3D effect of the plate. The only downside is that the white does not perfectly match the white paint, so I should
probably have shot the decal paper with white paint first.
Construction Rating: 3 out of 5
The first flight went up on a slightly windy day, puffing 6-8mph on the ground but hitting 12-15mph in upper air. I
loaded up a B6-4 hoping to keep the rocket within a roughly 500 yard field boundary. It went up dead straight then
arced over slightly into the wind during coast. Deployment was slightly early but not enough to go with a different
The 12" plastic is fine for this, even slightly more than what is necessary, and I wound up dancing in and
out of a couple thermals on the way down. It did turn out to be a lengthy recovery walk but not too bad.
Upon finding the rocket, I noticed one small nose cone dent from where it appears to have
snapped back and struck the body tube but there was otherwise no damage at all. I'll probably slip in a little extra
shock cord for subsequent flights.
Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
OK, bear in mind I'm a scale nut and not exactly the typical casual builder. With that in mind, I'd have like to see
slightly better scale accuracy on this in the form of decals as well as a paint guide. It's still a perfectly fine kit
but could be a much better kit with that little bit extra.
If anyone's interested in a copy of my bolt pattern decal file, shoot me a PM over on either or YORF rocketry
forums, where I go by the handle of chanstevens.
Overall Rating: 3 ½ out of 5