Weir Rockets - Tannenbaum
(Contributed - Reviewed by Tim Wood )
Christmas may seem far away, but it's
never too early to think about celebrating it in style - rocketry style.
Weir Rockets' Tannenbaum is a flying Christmas tree. If you like rockets
that draw attention on the launch pad, this rocket should suit you fine. It has
four fins shaped to give the appearance of a Christmas tree. Decorations are
But not only does the rocket look good on the pad, it puts on a good show
after the launch button is pushed. If built correctly, it is a stable,
Like other Weir rocket kits, the Tannenbaum is built to last. The 24mm motor
mount fits into a BT-60 tube. In addition to thin paper centering rings, two
thick reinforcing rings of a smaller diameter are included. The motor hook is
thicker than most comparable kits and a motor block ring is included. The fins
are made of one-eighth-thick balsa wood. The nose cone is made
of plastic and attaches to a mylar parachute with a leader cord and an elastic
thread shock cord that's 7/16 of an inch thick-comparable to many high-power
rocket shock cords.
There are a couple of critical aspects to construction - fins and nose
weight. The fin pattern is in two parts. You must cut out two patterns and
correctly line them up. If you've done it correctly, the root edge should be 18
inches long - the length of the body tube. Put a new blade in your knife, draw
the patterns and cut carefully. Attach one fin at a time and be very careful
The fins go all of the way up the body tube, so the center of pressure is
closer to the nose than it is on more traditional rockets of the same size.
Thus, considerable weight must be added to the nose to move the center of
gravity ahead of the center of pressure. The instructions state that the
balance point is 10.75 inches from the motor mount end of the body tube. Why
don't more rocket kit makers include this information?
The kit provides clay for this purpose, but the instructions assume you know
how to get it into the nose cone. I rolled bits of clay into long, slender
pieces and slipped them through the hole in the base of the nose cone. I also
put in a 1/16 ounce fishing sinker, although this probably wasn't necessary.
Put all of the clay in the nose cone to be on the safe side. I used a dowel to
push the clay as close to the tip of the cone as possible. After putting in all
of the clay, I poured some white glue into the nose cone and let it dry in a
vertical position with the tip down.
Green was the choice for paint. Decorative ribbons are included with the
kit. You may wish to use your imagination to appropriately trim your flying
The first flight of the rocket was at the December launch of the Parker
County, Texas 4-H Rocket Club. The rocket flew nicely on a D12-7, although the
delay was just a bit too long. The rocket deployed the parachute flawlessly and
it was recovered undamaged.
With a D12-5, ejection occurred just after peak altitude was attained.
Alas, at the next club launch, a cato of a D12-5 damaged my Tannenbaum. I'm
not sure if it can be repaired - but if not, I'll rebuild it, using the nose
cone and fin pattern on a new body tube and motor mount.
The Tannenbaum is a fun rocket for any time of the year. Perhaps your club
could plan for a Tannenbaum contest around the next Christmas season - namely,
the most creatively-decorated flying Christmas tree that still flies
If you're looking for an interesting rocket that flies well, give yourself
an early Christmas present and get a Tannenbaum. It's available from Weir
Rockets, 25 Metten Road, Newark, Dela. 19713.
Length: 24.5 inches
Weight: 5.5 ounces
Recommended motors: D12-5, D12-7
Nose cone: plastic
Motor mount: 24mm with motor hook and block
Available from Weir Rockets, Metten Road, Newark, Dela., 19713