Star Clipper Rocket Glider Kit
The Star Clipper RC Rocket glider kit is a great looking simple to build kit. It features a low mounted delta wing with dihedral, a plastic nose cone, 2.6″ white tubing for the body and 6mm depron wing and tail surfaces. It has a light wing loading giving it a very nice glide and easy/stable boost, and the dihedral helps keep it level. Construction is very simple and takes about an hour and a half. Wing elevons are pre-hinged and spars are pre-installed. The body tube is pre-slotted for the tail surface and rail buttons are side mounted to avoid catching on the ground during landing. You will need two 10 gram type servos, two 16-18″ servo extensions, a receiver, and a small 500mah single cell lipo battery. You will need a transmitter with delta or elevon mixing. Excellent cut vinyl decal sets are available HERE: Specs: 36″ length, 23.5″ wingspan, 10.5 oz rtf, for 24mm E-6 single use or reloadable motors.
CG location for rocket flight: 13.25″ measured from the rear end of the main body tube assembly with motor and battery installed ready for flight.
Please refer to the General Information Link above then read the instructions completely before starting assembly. The assembly photos are for general reference but may not include every step in the instructions. If you want hardcopy to work from, all you have to do is click/drag/select and copy all of the text below, open word and paste with “keep original format” and it looks exactly like it does online then you can print it.
Unpacking your kit:
The kits are packed to protect them in shipping, but the contents are fragile so unpack carefully. Carefully cut the tape holding the tubes in the box, then unwrap/lightly cut the plastic wrap to free the tubes, the spar may be packed in the tubes and the baggie with the little parts and nose cone will be in the tubes as well. Carefully cut the tape holding the cardboard wing protector in the box and carefully remove it, don’t pull hard or bend it. Then carefully cut the tape holding the cardboard top piece to the bottom. There may be some sticky tape holding the cardboard to the bottom cardboard piece, carefully peel it being sure not to bend anything. Once the top cardboard is free you can see the foam wing/tail parts, there are little fragile pieces in here, so unwrap carefully. It may be best to use an exacto to lightly cut the plastic wrap and carefully remove it without cutting into the foam. Make sure everything is free before you remove the pieces to avoid breaking anything. Kits contain one or two scrap pieces for repairs if you damage anything in construction or flight, just cut and patch in a spare piece of the foam if needed using foam safe CA+.
Welcome to the world of rocket boosted radio control gliders. This is not a model for a novice RC pilot, but anyone who is comfortable with RC flying of a medium speed model should be fine. Read through the instructions, look at the photos and be sure you understand the step before commiting to cutting or glue.
Star Clipper Rocket glider instructions
Identify all pieces, the kit should contain:
1 wing taped together
2 rail buttons)t-nuts
1 Nose Cone
1 vertical stabilizer
2 control horns w/pushrods
3 2.75″ long foam strips for centering the motor tube.
2 Body Tubes
2 21″ long foam wing reinforcing strips
Velcro(for battery and rx/bec attachment)
2 Rail buttons with t nuts/screws
Notes before starting:
Reference to glue, CA, or CA+ means foam safe CA+, normal CA+ will melt the foam! Normally you need to use accelerator to get the CA to set on the foam since there is nothing for it to soak into and activate.
I bevel the edges of the foam surfaces before assembly which helps reduce drag and makes the model look nicer. I simply use a sharp Xacto knife and a metal straight edge to cut a 1/16-3/32″ wide 45 degree bevel on the edges on both sides of the wing and tail, on the curved areas I do it freehand and touch up with a little 320 grit sandpaper. If you decide to sand the edges, use a block and a VERY light touch and do small areas at a time to avoid the paper catching the foam and tearing it. Do any shaping before assembly.
Epoxy is not needed in this model. It is designed to be assembled ONLY with Bob Smith foam safe medium thick CA+ and accellerator or equivalent. Weight is critical and the model is designed for the thrust and flight loads. Weight in the rear end is bad and will require additional weight in the front of the model.
- If not installed for you install the t-nuts and rail buttons into the pre punched holes in the long forward tube. The t-nut goes on the inside of the tube then slide on a washer, the collar and another washer on the outside and hold it in place with the machine screw
- Glue the coupler into the front tube with the rail buttons. Glue it in the end with the alignment arrow It will stop against the rail button t-nut. Glue the shorter rear tube with the slot for the tail onto the coupler making sure the small arrow marks are aligned on the two tubes, that will ensure the wing marks and rail buttons are properly aligned.
- The wing will be unfolded and mounted on the bottom of the body tube.
- Lightly sand the bottom fuselage wing line and apply a squiggle of glue about 1/2 wide to the body tube wing line, the wing joint, and 1/2″ on either side of the wing joint.
- Lay the wing upside down onto the body tube making sure the rear of the wing is 3/4 ” from the rear end of the tube and the front and rear alignment lines are in line with the taped wing joint. You want to be sure the wing makes full contact with the body tube and is set before you continue. To set the dihedral set one of the 13/16″ wide by 2.75″ long motor center strips under each wingtip as the glue cures. Hold the wing down for several minutes till the glue is set.
- Apply some glue into the wing/body tube joint on both sides to make sure is is secure, I squeeze a bit in every inch or so.
- Apply some glue to the long foam strips, on the wide flat bottom surface. You want the beveled cut to be against the fuselage. Insert this into the wing/fuse joint to add extra gluing surface. DO NOT PUSH IT IN to hard, it will cause the body tube to rotate, you just want it to go into the joint. Repeat on the other side, then apply a fillet of glue to the foam where it hits the body tube and the wing to add extra gluing surface.
- Test fit the vertical tail into the slot and make sure it fits. Make sure the tail is straight with no warps, bend carefully by hand to straighten it if needed. Glue into the slot using foam safe CA+ making sure the tail is perpendicular to the wing and is straight. You can correct any small offset when you glue the motor mount in place.
- Glue the foam centering strips on the motor mount tube. You will glue two strips on either side and one on the bottom using the marks on the tube. I premarked the tubes and for some reason the marks aren’t all perfect, use your eye and make sure the strips are as shown. See picture for clarification. Glue the motor block ring to the front of the motor tube at this time if desired. If you are using reloads, the flange of the motor will stop against the rear of the tube and the block is not needed. For flight you will use a small amount of masking tape to friction fit the motor from falling out after burnout.
- Test fit the motor mount, It will slide under the vertical stab tab. If you need to sand the tabs glued on the motor tube so that it fits under the vertical fin tab, do so carefully till it will insert fully and is recessed flush with the vertical stab tab. Make sure the vertical stab is still perpendicular and then glue the motor mount into the rear of the model. Make sure you glue the tube so that the engine block is forward.
- Glue each control horn/pushrod in place on the bottom of the control surface using the pre made holes. The control horn holes should be pointing toward the front of the model and the pushrod should be closest to the center of the model and angle inward toward the center slightly. There is a left and right pushrod, see picture for clarity. Repeat on the other side.
- Put some CA on the top of the control surface where the horn prongs stick through, this locks it in place
The basic construction is now complete.
Note: Your radio needs to be configured for Delta mixing, this means that the servo arms will move the same direction during elevator stick movement and opposite for aileron stick movement. Connect your servos to the receiver one in the aileron connection and one on the elevator connection and apply power. Use a servo arm at least 9/16” long and with holes small enough that there won’t be slop with the pushrod wire when installed. I use the hole furthest out on the servo arm, to maximize movement. On some servos there are a long two-ended servo arm, you can trim off one end if needed to get sufficient length. Zero out any trim settings on the transmitter. The model once the motor has burned out is nose heavy and flying wings lose pitch authority when nose heavy so you want as much up elevator travel for trim/flare as possible.
- Connect a servo to each pushrod. If the pushrod is too tight, you can use twist an exacto knife in the servo arm hole to make it larger, but be careful and do not make it too large. Once connected, tape each servo in place so that the control surfaces are centered. Flip the model right side up and look at it from the rear. Moving the transmitter stick back(up elevator) should move both elevons up. Moving the transmitter stick to the right should move the right elevon up and the left elevon down. If you can’t get the servo reversing to give you the right polarity try swapping aileron/elevator inputs to the receiver or turning the servos over and swapping the servo arms to the other side of the output shaft. If that is correct, continue.
- Flip the model upside down and supported. The servos may be attached to the model using double back servo mounting tape(not included) or by directly gluing the servo to the wing with CA+ or a small amount of epoxy. Double back servo tape can loosen over time and with exposure to heat, I prefer to glue the servo in place. With the radio still on, put a small amount of glue on the servo, being careful not to get any near the output shaft. And set it in place on the model keeping the control surface centered. Do the same to the other side. Make sure the glue is set before continuing. Dihedral in the wing should prevent the servo from making contact with the ground before the bottom of the wing does on landing. I have never had any issue with servos being damaged or coming loose using this method over many hundreds of flights.
- Flip the model back right side up. Make sure the control surfaces are centered, use trims if needed. Now measure the control surface movement. Full elevator movement should be 1” in each direction, aileron movement should be 1/2″ in either direction. Since the model will be nose heavy, extra elevon movement helps to give sufficient authority during glide.
- If you have a flap/elevator mix you can program up elevator to a switch setting. The model needs approximately 1/4” of up elevon during glide. You can also use flight modes to set individual elevator trim settings so that you get boost and glide elevator trim when you switch between flight modes. If you can’t set the up elevator trim to a switch on your radio you’ll have to manually put in boost and glide trim which is hard to do while flying the model.
- Attach a 16-18″ servo extension to each servo. You just need to be able to route the wire to the front of the tube to attach it to the receiver.
- Make a 1/8″ wide by 1/2″ long slot in the bottom of the wing/fuselage in the center and pass the wires through to the inside and toward the front. I then re-inserted the cut out plug of foam and taped over that with the included blenderm tape to hold the wires in place. See photo for more clarity.
- Attach the servo wires to the receiver and make sure they are going the right direction.
- Use the included Velcro to attach the receiver 2″ from the front of the body tube at the top(or enough to allow the wires to clear the shoulder of the nose cone). This allows you to be able to remove and replace the receiver if needed for repairs or for removing the servo wires.
- Use the remaining velcro to attach the battery inside the nose shoulder at the bottom.
- Insert your heaviest loaded rocket motor into the motor mount.
- Support the model upside down at the balance point indicated for boost. Glue pieces of the included lead weight in the nose or tail as needed to balance it. Do not try to fly the model with it balancing it behind this point. The adage is, a nose heavy model flies poorly, a tail heavy model flies once.
- Use a black sharpie to add panel lines if desired
- To apply the red and silver wing and tail stripes you’ll need to remove the stripes one at a time from the backing and transfer material and press them down onto the wing and pull and curve them so they follow the curved corners.
- If you use the stickershock vinyl, once applied, use a hair dryer on hot to soften the vinyl and press it down into the foam and cardboard surfaces and it will adhere very well. Make sure not to warp the foam especially on the vertical stab.
- Re-install the receiver and battery
Flying: See the General Information link at the top for flying instructions. Be ready on the first few flights to keep the model straight till you have the trims set perfectly for boost and glide.