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REV 2.4 - Wed Aug 10 18:48:37 2011

Nike Smoke
275 West St.
Randolph, MA 02368
(781) 961-1051
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SPECS: 36.5" x 2.6" - 17 oz
ROCKSIM FILE: Right Click to Download
SpaceCAD FILE: MISSING - please submit here
REC'D MOTORS: E15 (if built light), F40W-4(R), G33J-7(R), G64W-10(R), H97J-M, H180

(Contributed - by Craig Cline - 05/01/01)

Rocket PicBrief:
This is a very cool mid and high power scale kit of the Nike Smoke that is a lot of fun to build and fly. It can make a good second mid-power rocket with scale looks and can be used to transition to level 1 high power.

The kit came in a bag with all parts in good condition. The first thing that stands out is the awesome balsa nose cone which at 16" long is almost half the length of the rocket. All parts are very good quality and included are some items that add scale realism to the kit.

The 3 page instructions were very good with detailed text and diagrams I have not seen in most mid and high power kits. There were templates for the fins, the nose cone, and the nose cone hatch covers. The build was fairly straight-forward with everything fitting well. I understand that Cosmodrome now includes motor retainers with all their kits but I purchased mine before they did so I drilled holes in the aft centering ring and added blind nuts with custom clips for motor retention before assembly.

In my opinion, the hardest part for someone new to high power kits was to cut the fin openings in the body tube. The fins are thru-the-wall so you epoxy the fins to the motor mount tube and epoxy internal fin fillets on the inside of the body tube. Therefore you cut the fin openings so the fins will fit tight and no external fin fillets preserve a scale look. The kit has instructions to sand the fins with scale like razor edges but I chose to leave them with square edges. I did use the thin plywood and the pins to make the scale nose cone hatches and they looked pretty good.

The main body and fins were an easy finish - I just primed with several coats of Krylon white sandable primer and then Krylon gloss white. Then the fins were masked and painted gloss red and one fin gloss yellow.

The nose cone was another matter. My normal lazy method is to wait for a warm weather and prime balsa or wood fins with 2 or 3 thick coats of Krylon sandable primer, sanding between coats and finishing with gloss paint. This usually covers most wood grain to my satisfaction without the trouble of using sanding sealer or wood filler. But the solid balsa nose cone kept soaking up the primer and after maybe four coats of primer and several gloss coats, the grain was still too visible for my liking. So I kept adding coats of primer and gloss. I guess there may be up to 20 coats of paint on the nose. Learn from my mistake and seal the nose cone first with sanding sealer, wood filler, or CA. Of course the paint added extra weight and most of my rockets come out a little heavier with thick epoxy fillets. The kit weight is stated on the package as 17 oz, but mine came out about 23 oz.

The final look of the rocket is very good, sport scale and I would give the construction and finishing a 5/5 since you get a very solid rocket that looks impressive. The only glitch was my mistake on sealing the nose.

Construction Rating: 5 out of 5

The recommended motors range from E30 to H97. Because mine came out on the heavy side and I had recently certified level 1 high power, I elected to try it on an H97-J10 Aerotech reloadable motor at ROCStock 10. I attached a Pratt Hobbies Nomex chute protector but also threw in some cellulose fiber wadding for insurance.

The rocket has a wire shock cord mounted firmly to the forward centering ring. I chose to scrap the 7.5' elastic shock cord and replace it with a 15' length of 1/2" flat Kevlar strap. I have seen so many experienced sources that recommend trashing the elastic that comes with mid & high power kits, I wonder why kit makers keep including them.

Flight conditions were very warm with light to zero wind. The flight was very fast, stable and high. The chute came out perfectly and the rocket came down about 150 yards from the pad for a perfect flight. No damage was observed on the rocket body, nose cone or fins.

The next day, I decided to try it on an H180-14 Aerotech reloadable motor. Again the flight was very fast, stable and very high. The chute deployed without a problem and I watched it until it touched down and then pulled a diet coke out of the cooler and started across the playa to get it. This time it was about 500 yards from the pads. After this flight I noted that the bottom of the rocket around the motor mount and retention clips was very charred and the cardboard peeling. I don't know if this occurred on just the 2nd flight but I will try to clean it off and seal this area with epoxy and or CA. There was no other damage.

After the launch I modeled the rocket dimensions on Apogee Components' RocSim4 program and determined that on the H97-10 the rocket could reach 3136 feet and on the H180-14, 3680 feet. A G64-10 could lift it about 2120 feet. I will try to upload my file to the RocSim Design library soon.

For the first flight I hooked up the 24" nylon parachute that came with the kit, but due to the rocket coming out heavier than what the package indicated, I decided to add a second 18" chute made of ripstop nylon. They both deployed fine with no tangles. The descent rate seemed safe and as stated the rocket touched down with no damage.

On the second flight I switched out the two chutes and tried a new RocketMan standard R4C chute made of ripstop nylon. This chute also deployed perfectly with no tangles and the descent and touchdown was without problems.

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

This would make a great 2nd rocket for someone starting in mid-power or high power with good scale looks and great flight performance. It would also be a lot of fun for the experienced flier. The instructions are very good and the materials high quality. I would only replace the shock cord and recommend some heat proofing on the aft end of the rocket.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

(Contributed - by Jordan Raice - 09/24/04)

The Nike Smoke is a great rocket with a lot of extra parts for an awesome scale look. If bought directly from Cosmodrome, you get motor retention and a better shock cord system. It flies great on everything from F to H.

One body tube and a very impressive 16" nose cone made of balsa. The nose cone comes with a plastic anchor for the nose eyebolt. The shock cord is 12 feet of 5/32" bungee cord. The shock cord mount is preassembled and it is made of 1/16" metal wire that connects to the centering ring.

The construction is straightforward but you have to cut your own fin slots. One thing that may be hard to do is shaping the knife edge fins, however, I decided not to do this. I used couplers to increase the tube strength.

PROs: Strong to the motor mount fin assembly, pretty good instructions.

CONs: You have to cut your own fin slots

Comes with one decal and is pretty easy to finish. The nose cone will need extra sanding sealer unless you use finishing epoxy to coat it, which is something I recommend because balsa dents easily.

Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

I have not flown it yet but reviews say it flies great. Motor retention is a threaded rod sticking out of the back with a washer and a nut holding the motor in place. All it needs is a little wadding for the cord and I used a Kevlar pad to protect the chute. I will be flying it soon on an H180 and I will but an update on how it flies.

The kit comes with a 24" chute very similar to the Top Flight 24" chutes. I added a lot of extra weight so I need to use a 30" parachute. If you plan to fly high, stay with the 24" because of drift. Even if the kit is built stock though, the 24" chute will still have it come down a little fast. I would use a 28" chute if you plan on using something that won't go high or if there is little wind.

Flight Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

This is a great rocket. The tubes though, are thin so if you are planning on using a big motor you should consider using coupler reinforcement. Great for small flights to 750' or neck snapping acceleration on a H180 or H220. It won't break Mach though. I recommend buying direct from Cosmodrome so you get all the extras that some of the dealers don't have yet. I bought mine from Discount Rocketry because Cosmodrome ran out of nose cones. My kit had the old recovery system and shock cord mount. Luckily, Mike at Cosmodrome was nice enough to send me one at no extra charge.

Overall Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

[Submit your Opinion]

04/05 - "I thought the rocket had easy assembly, except that you have to cut your own fin slots. Nice review." (Z.S)

10/04 - "Just an update of my review. I said it wouldn't break mach, I lied. I flew it on an Ellis Mountain H275 and got 730MPH, heard a boom. My rocket had reinforcements an all kinds of extra weight. If built light it will get 760MPH+. Great FAST engine!!!" (J.R.)

11/01 - "Additional kudos to Cosmodrome for making a well designed and STURDY kit. This rocket has survived a flight where I forgot to pack a parachute with a subsequent tumble recovery (nose cone and body attached by shockcord) from 1000 feet; AND also survived 4 months in the trees waiting for the leaves to fall and reveal it's location in the forest on the edge of our launch area. If not for a chipmunk making it's home in the body and shredding some of the cardboard out of the body tube, this rocket could fly again and it still might. My 29/40-120 reload casing was fine after removing the reload and cleaning it up. The nose cone is a little banged up but fine. The parachute is fine. The outside of the body and the fins are in good shape thanks to an excellent paint job and sturdy construction. The body tube stinks to high heaven, and the inside surface is chewed up thus weakening the body. This rocket was subjected to wind, rain, and frost, and is still in amazing condition. It still may fly again if I can decontaminate, disinfect, and get the shredded cardboard removed; then install a strengthening liner in the body tube. CONGRATULATIONS to Cosmodrome for designing an excellent line of kits! I had filled spirals, painted with Krylon gray sandable primer then Krylon white gloss. The fins had been brush painted with several coats of enamel which understandably was chipped a little. Krylon is obviously a durable paint if done correctly. The decals were still in good shape as well." (D.F.)

05/01 - "I agree with the original reviewer that this is a very cool kit. I bought the Quest Nike Smoke as well to have big and little versions of the same rocket. There is a one page write-up of the history and plan of the prototype included with the Quest kit. This write-up was done by none other than Harry Stine. That write-up helped me appreciate even more this kit. It is nice to have a mid power rocket that is not just some 3FNC like most Aerotech and LOC stuff. The balsa nose cone is very nice, and the small details such as the hatches and hatch covers are a nice touch. I built this rocket stock, including the bolt glued to the engine mount for motor retention. I like this method so much I later used it in a PML kit. I puzzled a long time about how to put the sharp edges on the fins. I finally got myself a Dremel for Christmas and after marking the pattern on the fins, hand sanded the angles into the fins. The seven plys of the wood are a good guide as to keeping the angle right. Note that the angle to the edge is sharper out at the end of the fin than it is at the root. That is why this has to be done by hand instead of on a belt sander. The comment (and the picture on his web site) by J.B. says he put a diamond airfoil on the fins, and I believe this is wrong, at least according to the pictures I have found and the kit maker. The Nike Apache had a diamond airfoil, but the Smoke has the airfoil pattern shown by Cosmodrome. Since I had not built a PML kit before this, I did not know about internal glue filets on the fins, and my rocket does not have them. Obviously, the instructions do not mention them, and they are not really necessary with this 13 oz. rocket provided you filet the joints on the outside. Cutting out my own fin slots was difficult but not impossible. Since the angle of the fin edges was not exact, my fin slots did leave 4 triangular gaps to be filled on each fin after I attached the fins. The rocket flew great and straight on an F23-4 in a 20kt wind. I attached the parachute to the shockcord rather than the eyebolt to minimize stress on the eyebolt only from the weight of the nose cone rather than from the weight of the whole rocket." (D.F.)

04/00 - "Cosmodrome's Nike Smoke is a good entry level kit for mid-power rockets. The balsa work is exceptional on the nose cone. Mike Kruger does all the turning himself. I took the extra step on mine to fiberglass the balsa with 3/4 oz glass cloth and Z-Poxy finishing resin. This extra step is well worth it to have the nose cone be more durable and easier to finish for painting. Another change I made was to incorporate the diamond airfoil on the fins. I used the furnished ply fins as the core and added balsa ribs and .030 sheet styrene skins. This adds a nice scale touch to the model with very little weight gain. the styrene also eliminates the need to seal the ply grain for painting. The furnished picture wire used for the shock cord mount was replaced with 1/16" aircraft cable. I like this much better since it is less prone to corrosion. I suggest installing a section or 3/4" wood dowel into the base of the nose come for the recovery system screw eye to attach to. Just adding epoxy and screwing into balsa is not sufficient. I used a spade bit to bore a hole then epoxied in a section of dowel, filed gaps with left over epoxy and sanded flush when dry. Painting was straight forward using Krylon white. Fins were fluorescent orange with one yellow fin. I opted to used dry transfer letters for the UNITED STATES. This eliminates the tell tale of the self adhesive mylar sticker. The rocket was then clear coated with Top Flite's Lustrekote flat clear. This provides a durable and cleanable finish. I added a motor retention system using brass strips bent into a 'z' and attached to the aft bulkhead with 6-32 screws and blind nuts. I also use a 24mm motor adapter since I don't always want to fly this rocket on 29mm motors. I usually fly on AT E18-4W's and AT G80-7W's. The 'E' motor is good for small fields and the 'G' is for all out fun. I am not brave enough to fly it on anything higher performance since putting in a dual deployment system really isn't possible with such a small airframe. If you would like to see a picture of the Nike Smoke you can go to my web site." (J.B.)

[Enter Rocket Specific Tip]

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[Enter Flight Log]
Date Name Motor Ejection/
Wind Notes
04-10-2010 William Beggs RoadR SU F45-5 Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Rio Rancho, NM
- Great flight and recovery
04-10-2010 William Beggs RoadR SU G80-10 Apogee - Perfect Calm Event: Rio Rancho, NM
- Great flight and recovery
05-09-2010 William Beggs RoadR SU G80-7 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Flight PictureEvent: Rio Rancho
- Great flight and recovery
05-09-2010 William Beggs RoadR SU G80-7 Just Before 0-5 mph winds Event: Rio Rancho
- Great flight and recovery
05-09-2010 William Beggs RoadR SU F45-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds Event: Rio Rancho
- Great flight and recovery
04-21-2002 Joe Cacciatore AT RMS F40-7 Just Past (1-2sec) 10+ mph winds - First flight lands in tree 1/2 mile away. Thanks to club member with 50' pole, I was able to get it back. Nose cone got damaged at deployment, fin struck it, loose fin, nose cone goge.
10-20-2002 Joe Cacciatore AT RMS F40-7 Didn't See 10+ mph winds - Wow! An F40 puts this rocket out of sight. Lost for a while but caught sight again, lands within 3' of pads! Unbelievable considering the height and high winds that day!
11-03-2002 Joe Cacciatore AT RMS F52-8 Apogee - NC Down 5-10 mph winds - Not quite out of sight with an F52.
04-13-2003 Joe Cacciatore AT RMS F40-4 Just Before Gusty - Nice high flight but 4 second delay is a little short since the rocket really goes high and fast.
05-10-2003 Joe Cacciatore Ellis SU G35-6 Didn't See 0-5 mph winds - This was on an Ellis G35-6 SU engine that burns for almost 4 seconds. Nice, long boost, nice smoke trail. Nice engine for a light rocket like this, 16 ozs.
07-06-2003 Joe Cacciatore Ellis SU G35-6 Apogee - NC Down 10+ mph winds RIP - This was with the Ellis 4 second burn time G35-6 engine. Boost was great but wind caught it and blew it into an orion field with 7' tall grass, never to be seen again. Status: Lost
04-28-2001 David Fergus AT EconoJet F23-4 Just Before 10+ mph winds - good straight flight in 20 kt wind to about 1500 ft. curved over into wind at end of flight.
05-12-2001 David Fergus AT SU E15-4 Very Early 0-5 mph winds - my very first RMS, and must not have put it together right, because it ejected about 100ft up. wobbled around a bit with the chute dragging, but came down fine with normal configuration; no damage.
05-19-2001 David Fergus AT RMS E16-4 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - forgot to load parachute, survived tumble recovery with broken tip of nose cone and slight dent on aft body where it impacted. good strong kit!
06-23-2001 David Fergus AT RMS F40-4 Just Before 5-10 mph winds - remembered parachute this time! good flight and recovery
07-07-2001 David Fergus AT RMS F40-4 Apogee - NC Up 0-5 mph winds RIP - lost in grove of trees, bummer! first time at this launch site the wind was blowing in that direction... Status: Lost
09-03-2006 Robert Koenn AT RMS E23-5 Apogee - Perfect 0-5 mph winds - This was my first flight (and only to this time) of this rocket. It flew perfectly and landed perfectly at Freedom Launch in SC.
11-08-2008 Robert Koenn AT RMS F52-7 None - Unknown 0-5 mph winds RIPEvent: Bunnel Blast 2008
- The second and last flight for this rocket. It took off like a bat out of hell and flew very high. However there was never an ejection charge and it augered in destroying the rocket. Status: Core Sample

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