I still build model rockets and go shoot them off with my daughters. I even built my own launcher box from a fishing tackle box. Does that count for squat?
do you have to clear the area first? I mean, do they crash land?
IIRC (it's been over 30 years since I did it) the lase stage of the rocket's engine blows backward up the body/tube to dislodge the cone/tip to release a parachute that it "lands" with.
(skwire beat me to it)
I still have some of my kits from 10 years ago, and they continue to work like that to this day.
The kit rockets and prepared engines for them are a standard type gunpowder arrangement. They provide a high thrust for launch, then a smoke trail for tracking during the ballistic phase, and finally an ejection charge that "pops" up the tube of the rocket to eject the nose coupling and deploy the parachute for recovery.
Gotta clear a small area for the launcher just in case, but most of the time they can be flown successfully in a football field sized arrangement- or really any similar sized open field free of trees and power lines that they could get caught on.