Tumbleweed (Flis)

This was a gift from my Secret Santa on The Rocketry Forum. The Tumbleweed is an interesting rocket. Tumble recovery, but the engine is not completely ejected from the model, it is pushed way out of the rear of the rocket and caught, held in place by a LONG motor retention hook. The imbalance insures this uniquely designed rocket in unstable enough to tumble properly.

And it's environmentally friendly! Many small tumble rockets eject the motors to the wind, fall where they will. This one picks up it's own trash!

Length: 3.6" (9.1 cm)
Diameter: .541" (14 mm)
Fin Span: 1.84" (4.7 cm)
Weight: .2 oz (6 g)
Recovery: Tumble
Fins: Die cut balsa
Recommended Engines: 1/4A3-3T, 1/2A3-2T, A3-4T

NOTE: Jim sent me another Tumbleweed to try out the new laser cut fins. Check out the SECOND pics to see the second build.

Click on any image below to see a closeup.


Here is the layout fresh from the bag. Immediately noticed this had interesting variations from the "norm". The BT has vent holes and there is a strip of gauze.

Here's the Tumbleweed 2 kit with the laser cut lite ply fins. Very nice! Much better than balsa. Good job Jim!


So, the fins are pretty small, this is only the second time I've had to measure and cut the fins out by hand, and of COURSE the fins are these dinky tiny things that are a pain... ugh! Oops, sorry, no complaining. But LOOK how tiny those fin caps on the right are. DINKY! Sheesh.

Here are the laser cut fins for the T2. Total time to perfect fins: 10 minutes. Dreamy!

Used my trusty Estes Fin Marking Guide to make straight lines on this tiny little body tube. Note the vent holes.


I've attached the three main fins and the nose cone.

When dry, I sanded the nose cone and fins smooth, then balanced the rear ring fin in place and glued it in position. Since their will be a bit of heat, I coated the inside of the ring with CA to strengthen it.

Next, the launch lug was put on.

For the T2, this baby flew together! Here are the fins initial attachment.

Now the motor retention hook....

Finally, the retention hook gauze cover and launch lug installed.


Finished by using that piece of gauze to hold the LONG motor retention clip on the outside of the body tube between fins.

The fins were finished off and the ring fin held permanently in place by adding the fin tip pieces on the end of each fin. Cool.

For the T2, the ring fin fit on perfecly first time. The fin tips fit perfectly, glued on perfectly, and look, well, perfect! Be sure to click the pics to see the blow ups...see the perfect alignments. Praise me!!

T2 is ready to paint, total build time: 90 minutes.


Primed in white, I almost stopped right here, I mean, look at it. Woohoo, pretty in white. But, I decided to keep going.

For the T2, I am going with a different finish, so it's Krylon grey, primed this at the same time as my Andromeda.


I used enamel paint pens for the blue and red. My wife suggested the black, I had to use brush-on Testor's black for the outer ring and retention assembly. Came out nice, paint pens are hard to use.

The completed T2 in a .99 can of gold from Walmart, came out SWEEEET! I do believe this one is done right here, no more detail needed.

Thanks, Jim!