There may be room for dispute as to what the silliest rocket I own is, but The Dude has to be a contender.
The body is a balloon, made of what Estes describes as nylon with a chrome coating. The fins are the same stuff attached to a plastic frame, and they mount on a skeletal fin can with a 24 mm plastic motor mount. There’s also a plastic ring to go near the top of the rocket, containing nose weight and acting as an anchor point for a parachute. The one cardboard part is a tube mounted at 90° to the motor mount which is where the chute gets packed.
You start by gluing together the cage that forms the basis of the fin can. This is the step that took me the longest, because I had trouble getting the plastic pieces to adhere to one another using the Testors tube glue. Eventually I switched to what I should have used in the first place, Tenax 7R. Even with that I’m not entirely confident everything will stay together.
Separately you glue the fins to the motor mount, and then you put everything together. Well… that’s what the instructions say. The root edges of the fins are supposed to go through the same slots as the vertical pieces of the cage. That was okay at the top of the cage, but the cutouts on the bottom of the cage are shaped to wrap around the fin roots, and they were just not big enough to accommodate both pieces.
I had to just carve away the wrap-arounds to get the two assemblies together.Next steps are to inflate the balloon, mount it in the fin can, and attach the launch lugs. For the latter two, you use transparent vinyl tape supplied with the kit. Then more clear tape is used to attach the top ring. Next they tell you to tie a loop in the parachute line… which is some stiff, springy plastic stuff that doesn’t take a knot very well. I used a piece of electrical tape to try to stabilize things. Then I tied on the 12″ Estes parachute, which looks fairly ridiculous on a 7 foot rocket. Wait, wrong picture. I figure the parachute is not so much for deceleration during recovery as for stabilization… either that or comic relief.
Anyway, that’s The Dude. This is actually a launch set. It comes with an ordinary Electron Beam controller, and a less ordinary launch pad consisting of a spike to drive in the ground, a blast plate to go over it, and a 3-piece screw-together 1/4″ launch rod.
Which I don’t expect to be using.