Aerotech's IQSY Tomahawk is a good introduction into the world of mid power rocketry for me. It is large enough to please without being so large that storage and transport are an issue. Construction wass very easy due to Aerotech's Fin-Lock system, although the centering rings and Fin-Locks were tight enough to require a big of work with my hobby knife and sandpaper. Once fitted to the motor mount tube they made the rest of the assembly a snap. Literally - the fins snap into the Fin-Lock rings with a solid click and a bit of pressure. I do recommend having a 29mm motor casing or something the same size handy when installing the fins. Putting it in the mount while snapping the fins into place makes things much easier. Speaking of the fins they are molded from a high-impact plastic, so no wood filler or sanding needed.
One deviation from more familiar model rocket building techniques is the use of medium viscosity CA for construction rather than wood glue or epoxy. I cheated and used medium CA for most of the build with carpenter's wood glue in places where I wanted the extra strength bond. I also substituted a length of Kevlar cord (1/8, 750lb test) tied to the motor tube for the supplied elastic shock cord. For a rocket that can take the engines this one can it's just extra piece of mind. Aerotech includes parts to make a quite functional 24mm motor adapter. I modified mine slightly by shortening the exposed end of the tube enough that the mount will hold a 24mm RMS. That simple addition really makes this a very versatile rocket, capable of being flown on a wide variety of black powder or composite, single use or reloadable motors.
This kit includes a payload bay section. Although the kit instructions would have you permanently glue both the coupler and nose cone into the upper body tube it is quite easy to make the nose cone removable for access to what is now a useable avionics bay. I used three small button head screws equilaterally spaced around to attach the nose cone. I glued the bulkhead and coupler as the kit instructions called for but with a little thought and ingenuity it would be simplicity itself to convert the coupler into a baffle and make this a zipper free design. The payload section also offers the opportunity to build this as a dual deploy rocket. As I said, a kit with a lot of possibilities!
There are a couple of aspects to the kit that limit its utility, at least as far as learning building techniques go. While the Fin-Lock system really does make building easy and does add tremendous strength to the rocket it also shares nothing in common with kits from other builders. Aerotech also uses square plastic launch lugs designed to be used on a 1/4 launch rod. While functional the are also very bulky and detract from what is otherwise a very handsome model rocket.
Despite those minor items I heartily recommend this kit to anyone looking for a sport scale model of the Tomahawk sounding rocket, or for a nice, handy MPR in general. Now I just need to get out the the launch field, pop an AT SU E15-7W in it and watch it scoot!
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