1971 estes alphaIII fincan?

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Well-Known Member
Jan 26, 2009
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Skating (moreso sitting around) at the park today my friend says to me "Omar, look, its a rocket thing"

So i take it, and naturally shove it in my bag to bring home and look at later.

Its a red fincan, and the fins look like AlphaIII ones

The thing is dented, slightly cracked, missing a fin, and covered in dirt.

Now, if this is an alphaIII fincan from 1971, i have this crazy idea of refurbishing it (meaning the only classic thing on it will be the fincan... eh close enough to being vintage)


thats the estes 1971 catalog page

https://www.leo.nutz.de/Rockets.php?Rockets=Estes Industries

scroll down and theres an alpha from 1978 by Mattel (thats what it says)

for all i know it might be an orange fincan sunbleached, but looking on the inside its red (which i guess whouldn't have the sunlight to get bleached)
Rabid ,while you might somehow be able to revitalise your find
I got two words for ya

Originally posted by stymye
two words for ya


Naw. Recycle it!

Put it on a dowel and chunk of 2x4 or plywood and make a
goofy award for the local club. Maybe for lost rockets or most
spectacular non-launch.

Pass the trophy around each month! New winners every time!

ive seen worse things that ive fixed

all i need is some balsa, a lighter, and some apoxe to get the fincan looking alright

as for the other stuff i might as well

need some sort of (cheap) project to do
Are the fins like 1mm polycarbonate? I've got a Alpha , and because of its use , the heat from a motor bent the tip of one fin. So I got a ligher , heated it up a bit and squeezed it straight. It still has the 'white' on the plastic where it bent but it's straight. Does it still have the motor tube in it?

I collect Alphas, and can tell you a bit about that fin-can. Although it was introduced in 1971, the Alpha III is still in production and is available. The starter set with the ALPHA III costs about $20, and can be had for $10. (That is the rocket, launch pad, launch controller, plus 3 engines) The only difference is that about 10 years ago, the plastic started to be cast in orange rather than red.

Well, I've got some bad news for ya' pal...
Basically, this fin can is worthless, and without a fin, even if repaired, it can be dangerous. If the repaired fin shreds during launch, or the old , stressed fin can cracks/tears open, there is no telling which way the rocket will turn....

I would trash it or as brinac said, use it as a Rocket Eating Tree trophy/award.

I have studied your photos and can tell you that is most definitely an early Alpha III fin can. Now having said that I would agree with others who suggested the trash can as its appropriate place.