The Star Watcher rocket kit comes in a clear plastic bag with a face card and the parts listed below.
- 4 laser-cut balsa fins
- 5 launch lugs (four for fins)
- engine tube
- 2 engine centering rings
- metal engine hook
- elastic shock cord
- shock cord mount (to be cut out)
- fin template (to be cut out)
- fin reinforcement tabs (to be cut out)
- instructions, warranty information and NAR safety code
Supplies needed to launch the rocket are not included. As usual, you'll also require hobby tools such as a ruler, glue, scissors, hobby knife, sandpaper and paint.
This is a level two model rocket kit, recommended for ages 10 and up. Adult supervision is recommended for rocketeers 10 to 16. Instructions are provided in both English and French and are accompanied by computer-drawn illustrations.
There really isn't anything difficult about building this kit. Some things are done differently, so be sure to read all instructions before building the model rocket. A metal L-screw is used as an engine retainer hook and paper strips are used as fin reinforcement tabs.
It is possible to configure the fins in X-wing style. The fin template provided for this configuration is too small to work with. If you do decide to build the rocket this way, you'll need to determine the correct amount of weight to add to the nose.
The Sunward instructions say to paint the canopy black but don't offer much else as far as suggested color scheme goes. This leaves the rocketeer to use their imagination, which can be a good thing.
After priming the rocket (Rust-Oleum automotive primer), the launch lugs on the tip of the fins were given a coat of Testors flat white. The same white was applied to the canopy and the sides of the rocket (where the yellow stripes will go).
The canopy was painted silver (Testors #1246) and the launch lugs on the fins were painted yellow (Testors #1214). Two stripes of the same yellow were applied on each side of the model rocket.
Next, the canopy was masked off, as were the launch lugs on the fin tips. A strip of masking tape was applied to each side of the rocket, to get the yellow lines on each side. To complete the look, a few coats of gloss black (Testors #1247) were applied all over. The Testors paint described is the paint sold in the small rattle cans.
No decals are provided with this Sunward model rocket kit.
With a wingspan of 6 1/2", this futuristic-looking model rocket is over 14" long.
Engines recommended by Sunward for the Star Watcher are : A8-3 (first flight), B4-4, B6-4, C6-5 and C6-7.
For some reason, I had my doubts about how this rocket would perform. Luckily, I was dead wrong. Launched with a B6-4, it slowly went straight up and was a joy to watch. The steamer was replaced with a 12" parachute for this flight. The rocket landed no more than 7 to 8 feet from the launch pad. Great flight, very enjoyable.