Another great clone from the lab

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Fore Check

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2010
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This one is made possible by, and special thakks are given to - Astronboy. He made the ever elusive decals. SWEET!!!!!

This is the one I referenced in another thread. 36 hrs ago, this one was just parts in the box. Now, she's a real beauty!

Too bad the pics don't do it justice. The fins, the paint, the decals - perfect. One of my best jobs yet!

Mine is upgraded from the kit to include Kevlar shock cord retention, a stuffer tube for the engine, and an "E" engine mount (rather than an 18mm.) RSim predicts about 1575 ft.

I did a couple of other minor mods just because I felt like it: a stuffer tube for the motor mount, relocation of the launch lugs for finishability (relative to the markings on the fin/lug wrap template), and a couple of other minor changes to aid in the finish - but not on the overall look and design.

Estes kit #1335
A "better" view. ;)

I'm so glad I never caved in and dropped $50+ on a kit of this one on eBay or wherever. Putting together a scratched together clone is much more gratifying - and Astronboy's decals are INFINITELY better to work with than ones sitting around in a kit for 20 years or so. Considering the going rates, I saved a ton of money!
WOW! What a beauty! not only the paint job and decals but the design. Truly a work of art, you have my applause. I gotta know how well she flies. Keep us posted.
That IS a beauty!

But...I always thought you were older:confused:

You only look 6 or 7 in the picture...and no where near as fat as you claim to be.

Very, very nice !!!!! I wish I had your skills ..... oh well ... practice makes perfect :)
Omigod, that rocks! That's just begging for a 4" diameter upscale....
Thanks, gang. I really like it!

Now regarding that upscale........

A direct 4" upscale would be HUGE! I've got a 2.6" (BT80) upscale laid out on RSim right now, and it is right at 79" tall (over 6 1/2' tall.) Just doing the math, a 4" upscale would be right at 10' tall!

It would require quite a few parts to build that 4 x E powered bt80 upscale..... Probably *not* the best idea at the moment for me.......

Fore Check,

That looks GREAT!!

My brother lost his original BBZ to a tree last summer, but I always thout that it was underpowered with an 18mm mount.

Let us know how it fl;ies!!

Come on Fore Check....where's your sense of adventure. I'm gathering parts for a BT80 Red Max. A big Blue Bird Zero would be cool. Same crazy WWII German crosses and such.

Excellent job on the clone. Let us know how she flies.

Really beautiful. Have to admit I was never a huge fan of the BBZ, perhaps because I hadn't seen one built. Now I am. Way nice job.
Great job Forecheck!! Beautiful!!. I have always liked the BBZ, in fact I just sold my original from about 15 yrs. ago. It was pretty bad. Now I wish I still had it. Could you possibly send a parts list my way for that, I think I'd like to try my hand at cloning. Thanx.
Again, very nice looking rocket.:D :D
Tha hardest part to get is the nosecone. Just about nothing ESTES makes matches today.


Custom makes a cone that is really close.

Go to their website:

scroll down and click on parts.

click on nosecones.

The fourth cone down is PNC-55. That is the one that you want!!


Oh yeah, I have the decals available for $5.00. Just email me......
As far as parts and stuff go, just cruise by JimZ's website and download the plans. In the plans, the two BT55 body tubes for the main airframe are each 18" long (for a total airframe length, minus the nose cone, of 36".)

For mine, a made the following changes for finishability.

First, you'll notice on the paint scheme in the plans that the lower 15" of the rocket is painted white, the remainder above painted blue. To eliminate or mask the appearance of the joint between the two BT55 body tubes, I used a 15" body tube and a 21" body tube rather than two 18's. This allowed me to attach the fins, sand and seal them, etc. on a very manageable 15" length of body tube; as well as paint the white portion of the rocket separately from the blue to avoid any masking at all. In fact, I applied all the decals to the white portion before coupling the blue portion to it, because that shorter length was easy to manage on my build table. The result was a very sharp white/blue interface that masks the bt joint.

Secondly, I used a stuffer tube. This wasn't so much to aid in recovery as it was to provide additional rigidity to the airframe. I used a 24" length of BT50 for this tube. It is mounted flush with the bottom of the rocket on the motor end (as per the plans) and it extends 9" into the upper or blue tube. This leaves 12" above the stuffer for the "laundry" and after having been all epoxied together it gives a lot more rigidity than the simple 2" long BT55 tube coupler at the airframe joint. A kevlar shock cord anchor is attached to the top end of the stuffer. The engine hook and engine block are sized to accomodate "E" engines, D's with a spacer. This is also a change from plan.

Also, I relocated the launch lugs from the plan. Well, first I upsized them to 3/16" lugs just out of preference - not sure if it's needed. But on a taller rocket under "E" power, I went with the maxi-lug. Anyway: the plans called for two pieces of launch lug. The top one mounted flush with the top of the lower body tube (in the plans) and the bottom of the bottom lug mounted flush with the bottom set of fins at their attachement line to the body tube. These lugs are mounted on a line that is centered between a pair of fins, which is standard Estes build stuff.

That was the plan. In mine, my body tube was shorter, so to mount the upper lug in the exact same location as the plan, I would have had to mount it 3" above the bottom of the blue tube. This seemed like a pain in the butt since I was building and painting the upper and lower halves separately, so I went ahead and mounted the upper lug at the top of the white tube, which is 3" lower than plan.

Also, looking at the finish of the rocket, when it is set up like in the first pic I posted, the name "Blue Bird Zero" is centered between a pair of fins. The two lowest fins in that pic have decals on them, the third fin on the bottom (which is pointed at the wall and not seen in that picture) has no decals. If the launch lugs are mounted between a pair of fins (like the name Blue bird Zero is, but around the back between a different pair) you could see the lugs when the rocke is viewed from the angle posted. For no other reason than personal preference, this annoyed me. So, I nested the lower launch lug right into the joint of the lower fin and the body tube. Right up against that fin with no decals on it. Then I just lined up the upper lug with the lower. To me, this just gives a "cleaner" look.

Don't forget to get your decals from Astronboy - they're excellent!
Very, Very nice..

It's all about craftsmanship.. To me at least..

Give us a launch report!!!!

Fore Check,


If you hadn't told us about the changes only JimZ and I would have known the difference.:D

Beautiful job on the BBZ.
I wish my paint jobs turned out that well.

Only thing I notice about the clone is that NC is a bit pointed compared to original. Still, another top-notch job.
Yes, I drew those for my own BT-60 based upscale of the BBZ. Send me an email offline.

And the fin patterns. be sure to print to scale using the 1" square