Great rocket. Went together perfectly. I am not doing dual deploy on this one yet so I screwed the bulkhead and coupler to the payload section. This will be fun on some I motors!
I bought this kit anticipating launching it at NSL 2020 in honor of Captain John Elliot Buckingham, my father-in-law. A retired marine, he passed away a few years ago. Like all LOC kits, this one is built very strong. The Semper Fi is a 3.1 inch diameter kit, three fins and a nose cone, plus a bulkhead/payload section that can be set up for dual deploy if desired. The instructions are very straightforward and if followed result in a quick and solid build. I used rocketpoxy for all gluing, including internal and external fillets. I refrained from gluing on the rear centering ring, after applying a bead of epoxy inside the main tube just below where the upper ring would go, I inserted the motor mount until it was about an inch and a half short of it’s final position. I then added some epoxy inside the fin slots above the middle ring and slid it up into final position just above the fin slots. I slipped the rear centering ring on just inside the main tube to ensure alignment, once everything was set I then added the fins all at once using a fin guide printed from payloadbay.com. Anyway, after initial cure, added fillets internally, then added the rear ring once they had cured.
Here is where I have one criticism, thus only four stars. When doing the external fin fillets, I used blue tape, which I always use, but when peeling off the tape before the fillets had fully cured, I noticed it tore/lifted some of the paper layer from the main tube. Upon closer examination, these tubes have spots where it appears the outside layer had maybe air bubbles under it or just not fully glued.,Definitely not as well wrapped as I what am used to from LOC. I will spot fill those locations when I prep and paint the rocket, not a big deal as I was going to use some thinned CWF to fill the spirals anyway.
I will not be doing dual deploy, at least initially, so I am using rivets to connect the coupler/bulkhead to the upper section, and will either tape the nose cone or add rivets to it as well. I think the included shock cord is sufficiently long so I will indeed use it, but I did add a nomex protector over it down to the eye-bolt. The included nomex ‘recovery blanket’ seems on the small end for this tube, so I may up-size it slightly. The included parachute looks very good, as usual for LOC kits that include recovery, but I have a special order red white and blue one that I’m planning to use at least for the Memorial Day launch at NSL 2020. My color scheme will be Dress Blues, i.e. a white nose cone, midnight blue upper section, a narrow white band with a gold stripe in the middle, and a brilliant blue bottom section. Gloss black fins, and a bright red stripe down the lower tube and along the top of each fin. The included vinyl decal just makes it pop.
Here goes an additional salute to all of out front-line health care workers, as NSL 2020 is still in doubt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Memorial Day will repeat, so I will still get to launch this in honor of my F.I.L. along with all service members, past, present and future even if it has to wait a year. Everyone stay safe. SEMPER FI!