(Contributed - by John Arthur - 03/01/04)
Picture courtesy of
The Semroc Lil' Hercules is a Semroc "retro-repro" of an earlier
model. It is comparable to an Estes Mosquito or Quark. Just a little bit
Kit contained 1 body tube, 1 balsa nose cone, 4 laser cut fins, 4 metal washers
and 1 paper launch lug. There were no motor mounts or shock cords as this one
recovers via tumble.
The instructions were very well laid out in a logical order with plenty of
pictures. Semroc instructions are some of the most thorough on the market.
Basically, just mark the body tube with the fin template provided, glue on the
fins, launch lug and nose cone and you're ready to go. Oops.. almost forgot.
You have to glue 1 metal washer to the base of each fin. These are supposed to
aid in the tumble recovery. Nose cone was made of balsa as with all Semroc
models and the fins were very high quality and just fell out of the sheet as
they are laser cut. We (me and a 5 year old) used Elmers wood glue to put
We put a couple of fillets on the fins, gave her a quick prime and then painted
her fluorescent orange. The really bright kind that the road crew guys use.
I'll let you guess who picked the paint. Good idea, though, as this thing
really soars and the fluorescent orange is easy to spot.
out of 5
No recovery wadding was necessary and we flew it twice on A8-3's. Instructions
call for an A8-5 to reach 600'. Each one of our flights were probably a little
less than 600'. Both flights were the same. Flight was very good on the way up
with a little bit of a spin.
The tumble recovery was not very tumble. It was the lawn method - straight
down. Possibly the washers need to be moved around a little bit. At a price of
3.50 each, I think I can afford to experiment!
out of 5
Overall, a nice little rocket. We put it together and had it in the air in
about an hour. The tumble needs a little work - but I think it can be fixed by
moving those washers.
out of 5
(Contributed - by Tim Bennett - 12/03/06)
The Semroc Lil' Hercules is part of Semroc's Retro-Repro line of kits based on
the Centuri Lil' Hercules, shortened to Lil' Herc in 1972.
The kit contains a body tube and balsa nose cone, 4 laser cut fins, a launch
lug, and 4 washers used to add tail weight for tumble recovery. The
instructions are straightforward, and the kit goes together like a typical
minimum diameter rocket. The instructions have you glue the washers to the
fin tips. I decided to take my X-Acto knife and hollow out the tips of the fins
in order to hide the washers. The result was a slick looking Lil' Hercules.
Since this model is designed after the original Centuri kit, I still give it
full marks even though I made this one small modification.
I used Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish to slick up the nose cone and fins, then added a
couple of coats of fast drying lacquer primer and sanded after each coat. I
decided to use the paint scheme of the original Centuri model from the 1972
is a link to the paint scheme I was looking for on Ninfinger's website.
A white base coat was applied, then the red on the nose cone, and blue on
the fins. I didn't have any for the two silver bands, so I dug
out some scrap body wrap material from my Estes Mercury Atlas kit. The final
touch was to add the small Centuri decal that I made using Bel waterslide decal
material. The results turned out pretty decent. Note that you can't see the
weights at the fin tips.
out of 5
First flight was on an A8-3. The launch was whiplash fast. With the shutter lag
on my digital camera, all I got was a smoke trail. That's unfortunate because
it was launched from a vintage Centuri Powr Pad, and I'm told by my kids who
were not behind the camera lens that it looked really good.
Since I was behind the camera and didn't see the ascent, it took me a while to
locate the Lil' Hercules. It was almost at treetop level when I saw it, but the
kids tracked it the whole way. It landed about 100 feet from the pad. The
tumble recovery worked well and the bird was in excellent condition upon
recovery with only ejection gas soot as evidence it had been flown.
out of 5
This is a great little Retro-Repro kit. Semroc is doing a great job helping us
old folks remember the good old days.
out of 5