(Contributed - by Chip Jenkins)
The Scimitar is a mid-power original Surface to Air missile with
dual 24mm engine mounts and an 18" recovery.
This rocket came packed in a bag, all of the pieces were contained in the bag
and none were damaged. The 6 pages of instructions were well illustrated and
detailed. The was spiral wound tube with only a light spiral to fill
(almost non-existent) The one thing that I didn't agree with (and didn't
follow) was the body tube assembly. The instructions direct you to glue the 2
tube sections together first and then glue the engine mount assembly and the
chute compartment disk in second. This would have made it harder to get the
chute disk in properly although it would have been possible either way.
The next thing was the sandwiched main "wings", if you follow the
instructions to the letter, you would end up with an open area between the two
fins that attach to the . If I would have left this area open, it would
have been impossible to finish. I filled them with a small sliver of and
it turned out good.
The fins needed to be cut from soft balsa wood stock from templates that
were provided. It's a good thing that it was soft balsa too, because there is a
lot of it to cut, sand and form. I'll address more on the fins in the
The last thing was the light cardboard "turbojet" air intakes. The
intakes are cut from light cardboard that is provided, scored, folded, and then
glued to the body tube on 4 sides 45 degrees from the fins. I looked at these
and tried to talk myself into leaving them off. Once I prepared them for
assembly, I decided to put them on anyway, this was a good decision on my part.
They look kind of cheesy when you first look at them but, once it's finished,
they look nice.
Once everything was glued to the airframe, the resulting product was sturdy
and solid. The parachute supplied was an 18" that I didn't care for.
I like nylon so I substituted an 18" ripstop nylon chute.
The finishing had one particular twist that I'd had not encountered before. The
soft balsa and the cardboard were to be coated with light before sanding.
This did make the fins sturdy but almost impossible to sand smooth. I guess I
could have sanded them until my fingers hurt but, I'm glad I did not (see the
sad end to the story). The next one I build that instructs that I apply CA to
balsa, I'm going to use the standard sanding . It will take several coats
of sanding sealer but, I'm sure it will be easier to sand smooth. (or it will
just seem easier and I'm all for that)
After everything was sanded, I sprayed on a few coats of and sanded
it down again. Then I put a coat of machinery grey paint. Then I applied some
1/8" and 1/4" automotive pinstriping. The resulting Scimitar looked
½ out of 5
The recommended motors were a pair of either D12-5, D12-7, of Aerotech E15-7. I
used two D12-5's for the only launch (this is leading to the sad part of the
story). The motors were held by Estes style retaining clips, and the igniters
were tied together. I put the and the parachute in and set her on the
pad and connected to the leads.
At launch, the rocket few a straight line to maybe 600 or 700 feet and then
it weathercocked bad and flew at about 40-50 degrees to the horizontal (best
guess) this was not the fault of the rocket (I'm guessing again) but my fault.
The wind was not exactly calm but it was not continuous either. I would guess
that the large fin area in conjunction with the wind gusts well above my head
contributed to the arrant .
The was long enough but it attached by a piece of heavy paper in an
Estes style. I didn't have a big problem with the way the recovery system was
set up. From my vantage point on the ground, I saw the ejection and the
parachute high in the sky. Now this is the sad part. Since the flight path took
the rocket much farther over than I expected, I was unable to recover it. It
cleared a row of trees into a field on the other side of the tree line. I
figured that I missed the trees so I would be able to go to the field on the
other side of the trees and search for my rocket. Once I passed through the
trees, I discovered that the field was not empty but, full of field corn about
8 foot tall. I did buy a piezo locator but, I didn't have it ready for
installation. I should have been working on that instead of launching that day.
The flight was not that bad because I cant blame the rocket kit for the will of
out of 5
I read some of the comments that others have written about Launch Pad kits and
I have read the comments from the Launch Pad. I will agree that it was more of
a challenge than building an Estes kit. I will also agree that the instructions
leave something out that a novice would have trouble with. I do like the fact
that the instructions leave some of the thinking to me. After all, I can't
really say "As a matter of fact, I AM a rocket scientist" if I were
unable to assemble the kit with the instructions provided. I didn't agree with
coating the balsa with CA. If several coats of sanding sealer made it necessary
to add some , then so be it. It would have been worth the time to
add it although I don't believe that nose weight would have been necessary
either way. I know that the was just fine without any additional adjustment.
Here's a good tip that I learned from this rocket. If you take your time
building a rocket to make it look and perform well, don't be in a big hurry to
lose it on the first launch. I wanted to see it fly and I needed to wait for
another day. This rocket leads me to believe that the wind causes more problems
to rockets with large fin area.
out of 5
* SPECIAL NOTE off of RMR from Chuck Barndt,
President of The Launch Pad
(Contributed - by Stephen Morrow - 04/07/09)
A Launch Pad original, the Scimitar is a two motor , mid power rocket. Some skill in model rocket building is
needed for this kit but overall it is a very easy kit to build.
The parts list:
- Two Body Tubes
- 24mm Motor Tubes and Retainers
- Cardboard Centering Rings and
- Balsa For Fins
- Mylar Parachute
- Elastic Shock Cord
- Fin Templates
- Cardstock and Scoops
This kit came with detailed instructions and should be followed to the letter if you are wanting the same
performance that TLP advertises. Overall, the instructions are easy to follow. They do not include or CG locations
or where to place the launch lugs, but this is an advanced kit and you should be able to determine those things for
The kit goes together very well as long as you make sure to plan out all of your fins on the balsa before you cut
them. They include just enough balsa to make the fins, but if you plan the cuts wrong you will run out before you are
done. The balsa is also very soft and the instructions state you are to apply CA to the fins for strength. I decided to
paper the fins with cardstock and wood glue instead. If you do this, make sure you book the fins over night so they do
not curl up on you.
The motor mounts are recessed in the back of the transition pretty far so I decided to add some material to
strengthen that area and protect it from the motors. I cut some thin tin flashing I bought at Home Depot to the
appropriate size and glued it in place with JB Weld. So far the addition of the flashing has payed off. You can clearly
see the char from the motors on the tin but no damage to the rocket.
The recovery system relies on the old Estes three fold paper method, which I think would work just fine in this
model, but I decided to change it up just a bit to suit me. TLP includes a bulkhead that mounts up front in the body
tube making a parachute compartment. I think this is a great idea and it helps keep the CG where it needs to be and
also baffles the some. What I did was back the cardboard bulkhead with balsa and epoxy in place a
U-bolt that I made myself out of a coat hanger and attached a steel leader to that. I then attached about eight foot of
thick elastic then what comes in the kit to the end of the leader. This gave me something that I can pack above the
wadding to keep from getting it burnt, and the elastic is also easily replaceable.
One thing to mention, if you build this rocket stock then the parachute included is more than enough needed, but
if you add the mods that I did you will break a fin almost every time it lands. Invest in a bigger chute for it if you
do decide to bulk it up.
The kit also includes some cardstock parts, such as the rear transition and the ducts that are on the side of the
rocket. The instructions call for soaking the parts in CA, which gives them more than enough strength. Bending them may
be a bit tricky, but the effects are well worth it. All said and done this is a very satisfying rocket to build and
All paints used were Rustoleum or Krylon. I can not remember the specific clear coat I used on this rocket.
I did use longer and better elastic for my build than what was included with the kit.