Shastas Rocket Site
Squirrel Works




James Gartrell was our primary beta tester during the formative years of The Squirrel Works. While other beta testers may have built one or two kits, James tested the first 27 designs we produced. Sadly, James was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and passed away in September 2010.

Shortly before his illness, James had been talking to us about designing a kit for our Signature Series line. He had started working on some preliminary ideas but didn’t have time to progress beyond that state. Even though this rocket is not a true Signature Series kit, we include it in the line and think he would have appreciated that.

James was a fan of space travel, both real and imaginary, as well as vintage model rockets from the 60’s and 70’s. We’ve tried to incorporate these themes into this kit. The D.S.R.V. Gartrell features a turned balsa nose cone and transition, fins decaled as solar panels and simulated habitation rings. The kit also includes laser cut balsa parts, water slide decals and parachute recovery.

Additional Information

  • Length = 21.25″
  • Diameter = 0.976″
  • Weight = 2.4 oz.
  • Recommended Engines
    • B4-2, B6-2, C6-3
  • Laser cut balsa fins
  • Balsa nose cone
  • Balsa transition
  • Water slide decals
  • Mylar parachute


Photo Gallery

Build History

  • 10/18/2018 – Purchased Squirrel Works Gratrell from Squirrel Works for $28.95 (Retail $28.95)
  • 11/14/2018 – Took pictures of package and components. Measurements are on page 38 of Book #4.
  • 02/07/2019 – Marked the motor mount tube 1/4″ from forward end and cut a 1/8″ slot and fitted the end of the motor retainer. Marked motor mount tube 3/4″ from aft end and 1-1/2″ from forward end. Glued centering rings. Cut fins from fin stock. Rounded leading edge and tapered trailing edge. Sanded other edges of fins smooth. Filleted centering ring joints and glued assembly into body tube when glue dried. Glued fins through slots onto the motor mount tube. Filleted fin joints. Glued launch lugs onto guide lines previously drawn on body tube.
  • 11/26/2019 – Marked motor mount tube 1/4″ from forward end and cut a 1/8″ slit for the engine retainer hook, taped the engine hoot to motor mount tube and glued centering rings 1/2″ from both ends. Marked fins using Estes fin marking guide. Placed the launch lug line half way between fins. Glued engine motor assembly into aft end of main body tube. Sanded balsa fins with 120 grit sandpaper. Sanded leading and trailing edges round for all but the small fins.
  • 11/27/2019 – Glued forward and aft fins onto the body tube at 1/4″ and 4-1/4″. Glued second set of forward and aft fins. Glued third set of fins and solar panels to body tube.
  • 11/29/2019 – Glued middle set of fins to body tube. Filleted fin joints.
  • 11/30/2019 – Screwed and glued the screw eye into balsa transition. Glued shock cord into mount and then inside forward end of main body tube. Tied Kevlar cord to screw eye. Punched holes into parachute canopy. Glued rings to small fins. Tied shroud lines to parachute, installed snap ring and tied end of shock cord to screw eye. Glued launch lug standoff to main body tube. Glued launch lug to standoff.
  • 07/22/2021 – Spray painted model with Red Primer



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