best first Estes kit? (all in one kits, not a build kit)

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hi all,
new here, this is a great site. quick question; my LHS has a few different Estes options to get started in rockets. I want to keep it simple but not make a mistake and buy too low ( I have some history with rc airplanes and know there are good starter kits you can build on and others that are worthless as soon as you want to move up).
They have the Estes Tazer and Patriot. Is either better than the other, or is there a third option?
thanks a lot!

YOLT
 

mach7

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Hi Welcome.

I don't think either is better so choose what looks best to you. Not much assembly is required, and they will last at least a few launches. A weak point on these rockets are the shock cord that holds the nose cone to the rest of the rocket during ejection/recovery. The attach point is week and will fail, but you can get a few good launches. Others will chime in with what they think, but I think this is the worst feature of the E2X rockets.

Another option is a Flis Kits whatchamacallit. It is a rocket that will last (as long as a tree does not eat it!), and can be built in less than 1 hr.

https://fliskits.com/index.htm

Mark
 
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thanks Mark. the Fliskits are not complete kits though, right? I'd still need all the launch items. I was sort of leaning toward the all-in-one but I dont want something that is going to come apart on the third launch.

??

thanks for the feedback!
 

Indiana

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The Estes kits are good deals. You get a launch controller and a pad suitable for most low power rockets using A,B and C engines. The parts will last a long time. I've had the same Estes controller and pad for at least 20 years. I'm sure others here have had them for much longer.
 

mach7

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Sorry, I guess I miss read your post.

The Starter packs from Estes are a GREAT deal! You get everything you need to launch. The launch pad and controller will last a good long time. As Indiana posted the pad is good for A-C motors and the controller will ignite at least up to E motors.

I was referring to the rocket itself. The RTF and E2X tend to have the problems I posted about, but the value of the starter packs can't be beat. It's been a while since I bought one, but I think you can buy them at Walmat for around $20-30.
 

DAllen

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Quest makes some starter kits as well. Those aren't bad either if they are available. Estes kits (like most other kits) will last a looooong time so long as you are willing to replace the shock cord every once in a while and fly within the limits of the recommended motors. I have an Alpha III from my starter kit I bought as a "BAR" and have flown it 20+ times. Heck, I even ditched the parachute and only use a streamer because the plastic fin-can is pretty robust. The last 10+ flights have only been on C6-5's because it is so fun to watch the thing almost disappear. One of these days I might fly it on an AT 18mm D motor and see what happens. :D

Word of advice tho for Estes launch pads...Ditch the rod that comes with it and go to the hardware store and buy a 1/8" brass brazing rod. They come in 3' lengths and do not have that annoying joint that the Estes rods do. The last time I bought one I think I spent about $2 or $3 on it. It will work just as well.

-Dave
 

jflis

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hi all,
new here, this is a great site. quick question; my LHS has a few different Estes options to get started in rockets. I want to keep it simple but not make a mistake and buy too low ( I have some history with rc airplanes and know there are good starter kits you can build on and others that are worthless as soon as you want to move up).
They have the Estes Tazer and Patriot. Is either better than the other, or is there a third option?
thanks a lot!

YOLT
If you are going with Estes kits either one that you have listed there are good choices but with weaknesses as noted.

I will second the Whatchamacallit as an idea too (shameless, I know :) ) You can see the Whatchmacallit details page by clicking this link.

NOw, if you are doing this for a group of kids I question the approach of going with a starter set unless the intent is that each kid gets a launch pad and controller as a part of the class. If not, then you really only need one or two sets to do a launch for even a large group of kids.

Lastly, if all you need is 1 or 2 sets you can easily build something to do the job which can be a fun project in an of itself.

Let us know your thoughts and goals with this program so that we can better help you with any additional questions you may have.

hope this helps :)
jim
 

El Cheapo

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Our starter kit was the Estes Patriot. It has probably 20 flights on it and the stock shock cord is just fine. However, this is probably one of the few in the world that has never gotten an estes dent (when the nose cone dents the upper body tube because the shock cord is too short). We did chip the bottom of one fin on landing. Simple fix, just evened up the other ones. We also broke a tab on one of the launch legs when a "D" powered saucer hung up on the rod and took the pad for a 5' ride straight up. No problem there, just epoxied the leg to the center piece.

All in all, these kits are very very robust for the money. Do support your local hobby shop in any way you can but I will say that Walmart has a nice little RTF "ready to fly" kit for about $17. It's tough to beat but walmart rarely caries any kits.

If you want to replace the stock shock cord, just pick up some 1/8" elastic and make it about 3x the length of the rocket. Affix it to the inside of the body tube by using the tri-fold method.

Last but not least, "when" you burn through the plastic chute, you can either order some nice rip-stop nylon chutes or make your own out of trash bags or mylar from the emergency blanket you've never used in the dusty first aid kit under the back seat of your car.
 

DAllen

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You know now that I think about it, if you don't mind spending a tad bit more $$$ I would get a pad and controller from Estes and a skill level one kit from Fliskits. Fliskits kits are head and shoulders above Estes in quality and will last every bit as long as an Estes kit. I would do this especially since you already have some modeling skills from the r/c world.

If you are doing this for a large group then Fliskits is the way to go since they have great educator bulk packs. I just bought 20 Triskelions a few weeks ago for a group build. I got the box on Saturday and without tearing into the individual packs I can already tell these are awesome kits with awesome parts.


-Dave
 
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hi all,
thanks for ALL the info!

my situation is I want something I can do with my 5 1/2 year old son, he isnt ready for rc planes and it hit me we could start with small rockets, he could help color them or whatever and I presume push the launch button, and hopefully learn a lot and develop an interest. then in a few years I can expose him to rc planes too.
so this isn't for quantities or anything, just a good starter set up for a guy and his son.
$ is not a big deal, I just dont want to waste $ on something that is obsolete as soon as I want to move up. I like the idea of the LHS but I don't think they have Estes launch kits. If I get the Patriot ready-to-go kit would that support the Flis Watcha.... as a 2nd rocket?

thanks all!
 

Daddyisabar

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I would get a 40%-50% coupon for Michaels or Hobby Lobby and get an Alpha III starter kit and maybe some stickers your son likes - they are almost always 50% off. Have him brush paint a basic kit with acrylic paint in the garage or basement. Burn up a few packs of A and B motors in the biggest field/park you can find - I would call to make sure it is ok to launch. Then attend a club launch in your area where you can meet other dads and kids while launching your Alpha and stickered up Fliskits using the club's launch rack and some C motors. As you see members launch larger rockets you son will point out the one that is really cool. You will then be obligated as a father to build that kit with your son. In fact you will have to build other kits with your son and attend more launches as it is a necessary step in father-son bonding. Then you will learn to say "No honey I can't fix the leaky faucet this weekend because I need to teach Jr. about the relationship between the center of pressure and the center of gravity on our new 7 foot tall Richter Recker with the 3 engine cluster.” The little launch pad you get with that first starter set will collect dust – but it is always a good backup. You will have a great time. Good Luck!
 

El Cheapo

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Collect dust? No way. We rode our bikes to the park over the weekend and launched some cardstock rockets, a Quest Gama Ray and my 6yro's own design using parts from an E2X kit which the only thing I did was apply plastic cement and cut any pieces w/razor, tie off the kevlar recovery and help w/more difficult decals. Okay, so it was a group effort but he did most of the assembly himself as well as the design out of just parts. I'm proud as heck of him.

There are some threads on here about building rockets out of paper towel and toilet paper tubes w/Easter egg nose cones. Great time to stock up. Your boy will be able to do all of the assembly shy of cutting the centering rings and rolling the engine tubes with moderate supervision.

My 7yro girl has even laminated her own fins.

That kiddo is more capable than you think givin his interest level.

Good luck and have fun.
 

jflis

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hi all,
thanks for ALL the info!

my situation is I want something I can do with my 5 1/2 year old son, he isnt ready for rc planes and it hit me we could start with small rockets, he could help color them or whatever and I presume push the launch button, and hopefully learn a lot and develop an interest. then in a few years I can expose him to rc planes too.
so this isn't for quantities or anything, just a good starter set up for a guy and his son.
$ is not a big deal, I just dont want to waste $ on something that is obsolete as soon as I want to move up. I like the idea of the LHS but I don't think they have Estes launch kits. If I get the Patriot ready-to-go kit would that support the Flis Watcha.... as a 2nd rocket?

thanks all!
Yes, the Whatchamacallit (WCMCI) uses a 1/8" launch rod so it is compatible with the Estes launch equipment. It also uses the Estes mini (13mm) motors. and is a very easy build. The Jig-Tech fin arrangement means that the fins won't fall off while the glue dries and you can't put them on crooked :)

That said, if you are looking to get yourself and your son started in rocketry, a good starter set will be a GREAT investment that will give you years of operation in the hobby. Keep us posted! :)
 

CharlaineC

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if your looking for an all in one starter set the i would sugest the Alpha III. really is one of my most loved rockets and kits.
 
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wow, thanks all for the great info!

So, I am thinking I get the Alpha III starter kit, hopefully from my LHS, WalMart, or Michaels.

then if I understand it right I can get the Flis Whatcha... and I need to order that online. and that will work with the Alpha kit's launch systems.

is that right that the Whatcha is $12 plus shipping?

thanks again!
 

Indiana

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The Fliskit watchamacallit will work fine, but order 2 or 3 kits to make the shipping charges worth it!
 
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i thought the same. ouch. I could almost have two starter kits for the cost of one rocket w shipping.

jflis, I have to say while I like to support those close to a hobby like yourself and your company, I really HATE that website ! I do appreciate your help though, thanks for the feedback in this thread.

I am wondering if the Flea is a better choice, although It appears to be very close in size to the Whatcha, it mentions small field flying.

I may just start with the Estes Alpha for now...


thanks all!

....

YOLT
 

Indiana

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I wasn't critisizing the shipping costs, I was just trying to help you justify buying more rockets.
 
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oh no, thanks Indiana. I understand and agree. I meant the same. I know shipping is part of online purchases, and you essentially avoid tax as well (sort of).
I should explain my perspective;
for someone starting out, if my reason in buying a Flis kit is that the quality is better than the Estes, that justifies the higher price. but, then, being new, how would I know that I'll ever want three, four, or five of a certain rocket?
I just dont know where this will lead. and with all due respect to Jim (and I say this to be helpful) that website is painful. being new to the hobby it doesnt resonate with me personally.
so I consider just one rocket to try it out, and yes, then with shipping the cost is practically the same as the whole starter kit will be at my LHS.
it becomes circular, buy what you don't know to spread shipping or pay a hefty price to get one of something....

thanks as always for the discussion!
 

Pippen

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You know, personally I think when you're looking at a first rocket for a 5 year old and dad getting back into the hobby the best thing to do is to just go out and pick something up locally that will go together quickly and get it off the ground!. When my husband started back up with my son my husband wanted to fuss to get super straight fins and a sharp paint job. My kid just wanted to LAUNCH so maybe go load the little guy up in the car and go pick something out. :)

The starter sets are relatively inexpensive (especially if you have a Walmart or Hobby Lobby with 40% off coupons in the area), any of the starter set rockets will give decent flights, and the launch equipment can be used with a wide variety of rockets in the future. Then if you decide you want to do more there are lots of great kit options available, including local hobby stores and online vendors.

If you want to involve your son in the building process and are considering Fliskits, the Flea probably isn't the best choice. I've done plenty of building with kids (including the Flea) and know the Watchamacallit and Thing-a-ma-jig well. The kits and instructions were designed especially with kids/beginners in mind.
 

jflis

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wow, thanks all for the great info!

So, I am thinking I get the Alpha III starter kit, hopefully from my LHS, WalMart, or Michaels.

then if I understand it right I can get the Flis Whatcha... and I need to order that online. and that will work with the Alpha kit's launch systems.

is that right that the Whatcha is $12 plus shipping?

thanks again!
You can order online or check to see if there is a hobby shop near you that carries our line. You can find a list of shops by state by clicking the "find a retailer" link in the lower left of our web site or Just click THIS link. :)

Yes, the WCMCI is $11.95 plus shipping. We ship all orders USPS Prioirty (2-day) mail. If you wish to use a lower cost shipping method (1st class or parcel post) drop me an email and I can give you a quote (would need your zip code)). All in all, I think you will find our shipping costs to be quite reasonable, though they do become *more* reasonable with larger orders.

i thought the same. ouch. I could almost have two starter kits for the cost of one rocket w shipping.

jflis, I have to say while I like to support those close to a hobby like yourself and your company, I really HATE that website ! I do appreciate your help though, thanks for the feedback in this thread.

I am wondering if the Flea is a better choice, although It appears to be very close in size to the Whatcha, it mentions small field flying.

I may just start with the Estes Alpha for now...


thanks all!

....

YOLT
I would be most interested in additional feedback on this (either here, a separate thread or via email). I designed the site with the intent of making it easy to navigate but not with a lot of fancy bells and whistles. For example, to see our products you just click on products. Then you can select "Micromaxx", "Rockets by Skill Level" (good if your goal is to select a particular skill level such as "beginner kits"), "Rockets by type", "Components", etc.

Any specifics about what it is you hate or are frustrated about with regard to our web site would be much appreciated :)

What we ARE missing is a search function as the site has gotten so large...

Frustratingly, we don't have the resources for any major changes to the function of the site but I encourage folks to let us know their thoughts so that we know what areas of functionality we need to be looking at.

For a beginner rocket I would still recommend the Whatchamacallit kit over the Flea. They are about the same size, but the Flea uses 18mm motors (A, B, C) and goes MUCH higher than the WCMCI (13mm 1/2A and A motors). Also, the Flea has "cut your own fins" whereas the WCMCI has laser cut interlocking fins (very easy assembly.)

Both use the standard 1/8" launch rod found on Estes (and others) launch pads.

I hope this helps! I look forward to hearing from you.
jim
 
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Hi Jim,
I'll reply to you separately on my feelings on the website. I imagine it is a matter of personal preference, so I'll share and take it for what it's worth... about two cents.... :)
 

jflis

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Hi Jim,
I'll reply to you separately on my feelings on the website. I imagine it is a matter of personal preference, so I'll share and take it for what it's worth... about two cents.... :)
That's all I ask :)

Now, back to that first rocket / Starter set :)
 
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