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REV 2.4 - Sat Jan 1 21:53:46 2011

Launch Pad
Standard AGM-78
25984 SW Rucks Dairy Rd
Okeechobee, Florida 34974
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SPECS: 34.5" x 2.6" - 8.3 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: D12-3, D12-5, E15-7, F24-4

(by Carl Tulanko - 11/25/00)

Rocket PicBrief:
This Launch Pad kit is an accurate 1/5.2 scale version of the U.S. Navy's Standard AGM-78 air or ship launched missile. Additionally, it can be used as the upper stage for the RIM-67A, which is sold separately by The Launch Pad as a Plan Pak kit.

The kit arrived in a plastic bag, similar to some Estes or Quest kits and consisted of two BT80 2.6" body tubes with the coupler stored inside one of the tubes, three sheets of balsa for the fins, a plastic nose cone, paper templates for the fins and nose cone, an 18" mylar parachute and more!

What really impressed me were the laser cut motor mounts, which appear to be much stiffer and stronger than Estes mounts. Another nice touch was the swivel link system for the parachute. About the only items lacking in the kit were a set of decals and fin guides, but I had already been prepared for this from reading comments on other Launch Pad kits. As this is an advanced kit, some prior rocket building and finishing skills are a plus, but it can be assembled by anyone that has a few smaller kits under their belt. Component Rating: 4 of 5

Nose ConeThere are four pages of instructions supplied with the model which take your through the building and finishing process. The first step was building the scale nose cone, which requires you to form a conical shaped "hat" from the supplied card stock. Light steaming along with curling the edge of the paper helped shape it prior to gluing, but every review I had read seems to have a some difficulty with this process. I believe the reason for this is that, as you reach the tip of the built up paper cone, there is no longer any paper overlap left to glue together, not to mention it's impossible to get your fingers up there to hold it together. So, I tried a different approach. I used aliphatic resin to glue the paper cone seam and took my time, starting at the bottom and gluing in one inch increments, working my way to the tip. While squeezing the freshly glued section between two fingers, I placed the opposite bottom edge of the cone on the lip of a table and pulled down. This drew the "gap" at the top seam of the cone closed while I let the section between my fingers dry. In no time I had worked my way to the tip. To finish off the tip of the cone, I took a ¼" wood dowel and sharpened it with a pencil sharpener. Then I put some glue on the tip of the paper cone, ran the dowel point inside the cone to the point and pressed the assembly down against wax paper on a table until it dried. This resulted in a perfectly shaped "hat".

Nose ConeIn the next step, I deviated a bit from the instructions and used 5 minute epoxy to glue my "hat" on rather than the recommended CyA glue. I lightly coated the inside of the paper hat with the epoxy, then placed it on the plastic BT80 nose cone and aligned it until straight. The epoxy flowed down the inside of the paper to the plastic nose cone seam, gluing it on, reinforcing the joint and hardening the paper like a rock. I then coated the seam with Evercoat Formula 27 general purpose filler; This stuff, if you have never used it is great; it easily sands off into a powder. Finally, I decided to coat the entire nose cone with epoxy finishing resin.

Much of the build process was spent on the nose cone, but, primed and painted, the results were very rewarding. The rest of the assembly was straight forward, with a few minor glitches. I notice the instructions did not tell you to fill and sand the joint where the two body tubes are glued, so make sure you do this prior to mounting the long fins. I used Aliphatic resin for gluing the rest of the model.

Motor mount assembly was straight forward, as was fin assembly but you will have to make your own fin guide. The balsa for the stabilizer (long) fins was of good quality, but one piece was not quite wide enough to cut out two fins. I wound up having two of the four fins about a 1/16" narrower than the template. A fresh piece of balsa from my personal supply fixed the problem, but I would like to see them ship sheets that are wide enough to do the job. I decided to taper the leading edge of each lower fin and the leading and trailing edges of each upper fin for scale appearance.

FiberglassingFiberglassingAfterwards, I opted to fiberglass the lower fins on for stiffening and additional strength using ¾ ounce fiberglass cloth and 30 minute epoxy. I had read of instances where people saw the surface mounting technique lacking in strength and I didn't want this to become an issue. If you don't fiberglass, make sure you use thin CyA to stiffen the soft balsa fins prior to gluing them on. Location of the launch lug was not specified, which is normal for these kits. I cut mine in half, gluing one piece on right at the top of the lower fin and the other just above balanced CG. Construction Rating: 4 of 5

White primer was applied prior to the first sanding and I used 150 grit to cut away any excess epoxy resin left from the fiber-glassing. A second round of primer was added and I used 220 grit to start and finished with 400 grit. In the instructions they have you glue paper "panels" over the inside length of each fin prior to assembly, but you risk tearing up the panels with sandpaper during the priming stage. For this reason, I added my scale paper overlays after all sanding was complete and prior to the last coat of primer. Chamfering the edges of each overlay made them lay down smooth. This was also a good time to add scale rivets. The recommended method of using pinheads just didn't cut it for me, especially when there are 144 rivets on the finished rocket! You can buy stick-on rivets from a R/C helicopter dealer on the net, but they only sell them in large quantities and are a bit pricey. I opted to use a very simple and cheap method derived from experiences in R/C aircraft. I filled a syringe that had the needle ground flat on the tip with a white canopy glue found at many hobby shops called RC-56 and "dropped" a small ball of glue at each location for a rivet. The glue ball flattened somewhat when it hit the surface and made a perfect rivet. If a mistake was made, I just wiped it off with my finger and tried again. With this method, scale rivets were finished in less than an hour, including drying time, and the cost was minimal. Note that Elmers White glue could also be used, but I like RC-56 because it is waterproof when dry and it's consistency doesn't require any dilution.

The paint scheme in the instructions shows a very basic color scheme for a single standard model, but if you want it to look like the missile on the LP website, you're pretty much on your own. Mine was painted in the same colors as the website model, which is actually the paint scheme for the upper stage of the RIM-67 rocket. I used Rustoleum flat white for the body and Testors military federal standard paints for the light gray nose cone and dark gray fins. I just wish there were more pictures available that showed labels and letters.

All in all, the instructions are pretty good for painting a single stage rocket. One of the last steps performed is the installation of the shock cord and parachute. The recommended method of attaching the shock cord is to use a supplied Estes type tri-folded paper glued to the side of the body tube. This is not satisfactory for a model of this size. One of my best friends and long time rocket modeler, Ken, recommended I take 2 sets of 70 lb test Kevlar line and loop, tie and CyA them around the motor mount. I followed his advice, then drilled a small hole through the mount plate right up against the motor tube. The Kevlar line was threaded through the hole and extended six inches out the top of the body tube, where I tied it to the shock cord. This is a much stronger and safer way of mounting the cord and will help prevent those nasty "zippers" that can occur when too much stress is put on wall mounted lines during ejection. Finish: 3 ½ of 5

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Flight: The motor recommended for first flight was a D12-3, which is what I used to make this bird airborne. I wound up using a large sized Pratt Heatshield instead of wadding! The rocket lifted off the pad each time easily, which surprised me for a model of such size. Flight was straight and true; it took to the skies like it was on rails! Listed and supported motors include the D12-3, E15-4 and RMS F24-4. For the next group of flights I want to try the RMS E18-4W, the RMS F24-4W will be a definite must, but only on a calm day. I'll repost a quick update after the holidays on the success of the larger engines.

Recovery: The parachute deployed right at apogee. The gold mylar chute supplied in the kit was very easy to spot and the rocket landed safely with all parts intact. I had wondered about the 18" parachute being enough, since the instructions tell you to build two of them. I believe this may have been a misprint from a previous generation, but on lower level flights, a larger parachute is something I may use. I was please that I decided to beef up the fins during the build process and do recommend it to those wanting to build a sturdier model. For reference, my rocket weighed in at 8.3 ounces without motor, which seems about right for a mid powered model of this size.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

The AGM-78 is nothing less than AWESOME! The rocket just plain looks good, and is a very close scale representation of the real deal. Construction is easier than it looks and the end result was worth any extra effort. A few things could be improved, such as the supplied balsa stock (or lack of enough), parachute mount and specifications for CG. I would also like to see additional documentation showing more scale lettering information and placement. These minor flaws aside, this is one fine model. Just keep in mind that this is definitely a builder's kit, which worked out well as I really enjoy the building process. I now have a fleet addition that would make any modeler proud. If you like the Launch Pad kits, then you have to get one of these; it's a great buy for the buck! Now, about the only thing I'm still missing is the two stage RIM-67 version, which I intend to remedy real soon, but that's another story.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

(by Greg Burke) 

[Picture]This kit is relatively straight forward. The instructions are pretty easy to understand, and are also correct. The manufacturer gives some hints on detailing and that's the hardest part. They suggest using the heads of pins for the rivets in the fins. This took up the bulk of my building time as it took over 150 pin heads to accomplish this. The only problems that I had with the kit is the balsa stock provided with the kit. It's really soft and needs to be reinforced. Unfortunately I didn't do this and I broke a fin and one of the runners on the first flight. Speaking of flights, I flew the model on a D-12-3 for the first flight. Boost was real good and ejection happened right on time. The landing hurt though as that's when it broke it's fins. In conclusion this kit is cool. You need some modeling experience to do the job right though, (not for beginners). When I fix mine, I'm going to reinforce the fins to make them more durable.  This is a must buy, the thing looks great just sitting out being displayed. At about $20 it's a good bargain too. 

* SPECIAL NOTE off of RMR from Chuck Barndt, President of The Launch Pad

[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 - Nov/Dec 1997 - page 29 - by Mark Sinicki) 

[Picture]"The Launch Pad's representation is rendered in an impressive 1/5.2 scale." 
"The fin layout, though complex looking, in not very difficult to construct." 
"On D12-5's, the model flied straight as a rail, even in a modest breeze." 
"My sample was one of the first Launch Pad kits I've constructed, and remains one of my favorites." 

The entire article gives the impression is that it is a good value for the intermediate modeler.

* SPECIAL NOTE off of RMR from Chuck Barndt, President of The Launch Pad

[Submit your Opinion]

01/01 - "The construction was fairly simple in principle, however after cutting the long balsa sidefins they developed a severe camber. Not wanting to start all over I glued and filleted them one at a time and used several rubber bands to hold them in place. Very time consuming as it took 4 nights to complete the process. The result was a beautiful rocket which we have started moving up in power. After several D12 flights we took to an E15-4. The flight was perfectly straight, and the parachute was discharged at near apogee, though slightly past. We will soon try an F engine, but this rocket has not disappointed yet and all retrievals have been by hand, it has yet to hit the ground. Fortunately it is light enough to be able to be caught, though it is not recommended." (C.R.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

"" (x.x.)

[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
03-22-2008 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Very stable boost, no hint of a roll. Great first flight.
03-22-2008 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Essentially a repeat of the first flight. If the winds die down, I'll try this on E18 power.
04-19-2008 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - Good flight.
04-19-2008 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS E18-7 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds - Excellent flight.
07-19-2008 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - Model took off to the north, and dove into 8' high corn. It was very lucky that we found it. It will, however, need extensive repairs.
11-21-2010 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Good flight.
12-19-2010 Bob Bernatchez AT RMS E28-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Could have used to cut 2 seconds off of the delay. Great flight.
01-01-2011 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-5 Late (2-3sec) 5-10 mph winds - Good flight, but delay is too long.
01-01-2011 Bob Bernatchez Est SU D12-3 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Delay was better, but the E engine flights were more rewarding.
04-20-2008 Edward Chess Est SU D12-3 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds Event: April 2008 Club
- D12 is underpowered, but straight enough boost. Will launch again staged as the Standard RIM 67A.
09-06-2008 Brian Pope AT SU E15-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 5-10 mph winds - Nice slow lift and good flight. 1078' est alt
03-11-2001 Chuck Rudy Est SU D12-5 Just Past (1-2sec) 10+ mph winds - This rocket never seems to disappoint. Despite the wind it held straight and true. Took a hard landing in the corn field and no damage. 250' plus
03-27-2004 Hans Southlaunch AT RMS E11-3 Just Before
(220 m)
0-5 mph winds - A really nice launch on ice covered sea in Sweden. Only problem was the parachute which didn't develope to 100 %. It was my fault because i was a bit sloppy when a packaged the parachute.
03-05-2006 Hans Southlaunch AT RMS E11-5 Very Late 0-5 mph winds - Nice fly, but too long delay. Ripped the parachute in 3 pieces. Landed on soft snow covered lake in Sweden, so the rocket is still OK.
11-04-2000 Carl Tulanko Est SU D12-3 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - Perfect flights, straight up; landing was right on the mark. RMS data to follow in a couple weeks.
11-24-2000 Carl Tulanko Est SU D12-3 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Easy to follow and it really looks cool lobbing over and deploying chute. Was a foot away from catching this one too, within 10 feet of last landing. Will report on RMS motors. Needs bigger chute. Winds 5mph, Rod angle 15 degrees, landed 50 ft from pad.
11-24-2000 Carl Tulanko Est SU D12-3 Apogee - Perfect
(500 ft)
5-10 mph winds - Great model; it just looks cool! Altitude was near 500 ft. Landed in hard dirt and slightly dinged outside bottom edge of one fin. Parachute may need to be larger. Wind 5mph, rod angle 0 deg, landed 150 feet from pad
11-24-2000 Carl Tulanko Est SU D12-3 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Perfect launch. Landed closer to pad andlooks very impressive coming down. I caughtthis one on landing! Wind 5mph, rod angle 20 degrees, landing 50 feet from pad. RMS came today; will try D15T, E11J and E18W on 12-1-00. Report after.
03-18-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-4 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - Perfect flight; the rocket came off the pad very nice. Rod angle was 10 degrees, altitude was @600'. Great motor for this model.
09-02-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-3 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - Slow great launch was one of the nicest models I flew this day . Rocket went straight up, slightly rolled and ejected parachute. Safe landing and Altitude was only around 400'
09-02-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-3 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - The launch was the last D15 I had for the day. It was a great launch, slow and extremely straight. Model never arched over but rather hit apogee, then did a tail slide downward for 1/2 second before ejection. Incredible! More D15's on order.
09-02-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-3 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds - second of two launches, rocket stopped nose up then deployed parachute straight up. Really cool effect. Altitude around 400'
10-12-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-4 Apogee - NC Up Calm - Another good launch, same as before. Estimated altitude is around 500'. Deployed with 24 chute and lands soft.
10-12-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-4 Apogee - NC Up Calm - The launch is so straight, it goes up, never rolls over. It just hovers, then deploys...what a sight!
10-12-2001 Carl Tulanko AT RMS D15-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Great motor for this rocket. Reached appogee and deployed just right.
16-09-2000 Mike Weiner AT SU E15-4 Apogee - Perfect Calm - Notes: 6th flight. Stunning lift off and flight. Very pleased with this kit!! Built exactly to plans and specifications, to include simulated rivets and authentic paint schemes. Very nice comments from spectators.
11-11-2000 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Didn't Record Didn't Record -
03-10-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Didn't See Gusty - Perfect light of triple cluster. Straight flight in gusty winds. Twin 18 plastic chutes. One chute tore open.
06-16-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Perfect flight
07-14-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - This rocket is a crowd pleaser
08-11-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - perfect flight
10-13-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Apogee - Perfect 10+ mph winds - AGF .25 zipper
11-10-2001 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C6-5 Apogee - NC Down 0-5 mph winds - Zippered, fin broke. repairable, will fly again.
08-10-2002 Larry Zeilmann 3x Est SU C5-5 Apogee - Perfect 5-10 mph winds - Nose cone seperates tumble recovery no damage, will fly again

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