Building the Hot Rod Habanero (part 1)

This kit’s been in my build pile since last Fall, ever since the owner of Hot Rod Rocket Shop got out of the kit business and gave away his remaining stock. He called this kit the Habenero but I’m going to go with the more conventional Habanero spelling. (One also sees Habañero, and indeed that was how I thought it was spelled until I got this kit and looked it up. Habanero is a Spanish word referring to a resident of Habana, or what we call Havana. It’s also applied to a style of dance originating in Cuba. And it’s applied to a type of hot pepper not originating in Cuba… no one seems to know why.)

This rocket is a little (13 mm minimum diameter) 3FNC, nothing especially unusual about it except maybe the external shock cord. I’ve been passing it over in favor of other projects of more immediate interest to me, but Friday night I decided as long as I was cutting out and prepping a full set of Shrox fins for the Sea Sting, three more would be like nothing, right?

Right. So I cut out the fins. Template and hobby knife, old school, again. The balsa piece supplied looked to be a full 1/8″ thick! Pretty chunky for such a little rocket. The Sea Sting is three times its size and its fins are thinner. The balsa was also quite soft. Once again I chose to fill and sand rather than paper — in this case I filled the fins after cutting them out. It’s just hard to make up my mind.IMG_3093

The instructions didn’t say anything about shaping the fins, but I couldn’t see leaving such a thick edge square. I chose to round the leading edges and taper the trailing. The tip edges I did leave square.IMG_3094

After that it’s mark the body tube for fins and launch lug, install the thrust ring, glue the fins on, glue the launch lug on. One of the fins went on seriously canted in spite of using my Estes fin jig. I cut it off and reglued it freestyle. (I gotta get a better fin jig. I’ve been looking, but have trouble deciding between a couple different ones. Buy both? But each of them alone has a price that makes me uncomfortable, let alone both. On the other hand, though, I may need two, just for different size rockets. I keep making bigger ones, while still also making small ones.)IMG_3095The Kevlar gets tied around the root of one fin before fillets are added. With that, assembly is done, aside from tying together the recovery system, which will wait until after painting.

And that’s a third one out of the build pile column and into the in progress column. And the odds on favorite to be the first into the completed column.




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