Discussion: The "Perfect" rocket/missile...

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Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2003
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Has some spare time earlier, and I was thinking that as much as I adore this forum, and as good as the conversations are, maybe we could have a discussion on what is your favorite rocket and missile. As a way of focusing the debate, hows about :

Best real world rocket and missiles

and if the discussion warrants another thread, perhaps best to build/fly.

I ask because I'd like to see what your motivation is, and perhaps we'd discover a new rocket that we would come to love, and want to build/model for our own collection.

Since it might be difficult to choose just 1 rocket and missile out of all ever built/flown/proposed, hows about a top 5 list?

1) Sandhawk
No surprise here, since I feel it has the best lines of any rocket, and really showcases how a simple design flies very well. I've been a fan of the Sandia family for many years, and after my conversations with the gent at Sandia, my adoration for this design has grown by leaps and bounds.

2) Little Joe 2
Simply adoreable design, with simple lines, and its historical significance is already established..its also so darn cute !

3) Saturn V
Yeah, sheer brute power, but I love Nasa's markings on this rocket, and heck, as a US boy, I'd probably be deported if I didn't choose it. lol

4) Nike-Hercules
Ok, so I've never seen one launch in person, but dangit- Wedge's Nike-Hercules slays me, and it has to be one of the best "hang on to your shorts, this is gonna be FUN " looking rockets ever created. Those long fins on the front end just add to its enduring quality.

5) Delta 3 (TIE)
Yeah, miserable failure, and perfomance record, with only the Dummy test flight having any success, but boy, the DM Delta 3 just looks so darn good, what with all the boosters peeling off, then the air started engines kicking in, not to mention that heavy top end gleaming with an Orange midriff.

5) Navaho (TIE)
Sick design, with just beautiful markings. Would love to see a comeback of this design - ain't gonna happen I know. 8)

So, whats your favorites ?

Many thanks,
My list would be (in order of favorites)

Gemini Titan
Titan IIIE
Saturn IB
Saturn V
Mercury Redstone
Mercury Atlas
Little Joe II
SM-3 Seahawk
Honest John
Bull Pup
Black Brant
Finally an easy one

1) Nike Hercules - Possibly the most business looking SAM in in history. I always thought if the warhead did not work it could harpoon the target. Silverleaf, I have had the pleasure. I saw the last MIM14 launched at White Sands in the early 70's. I was a mere lad and that image stuck with me forever. (How? I lived on base)

2) Talos - Big, ugly and just plain cool.

3) Sprint - What's not to like about an inverted ice cream cone that goes from 0 to mach 10 at 100G?

4) Athena - this one most people have never seen. I've seen it in a museum and getting blown out of the sky.

Runner up

Any of the Nike sounding rockets (favorite is the Apache)

And for those into minimum length and maximum diameter

The Davy Crockett


The V2
to me the 1st real rocket with classic rounded styling..
and It looks sorta mean..plus there are a number of different paint schemes to choose from..the straight 3/4 fin rockets are kinda boring in comparison

not to mention the good ideas that came, from an originaly evil weapon

lots of history
IQSY Tomahawk





Those are my fauvorites, in no particular order. It doesent mean I have built them all, I just like em:rolleyes: ;)
In no particular order,

Real rockets:

- Vostok
- Saturn 1B, and the SA-5 variant of the Saturn 1
- N-1
- V-2, esp. the A4-B variant, and the A-9 (although this never flew)
- Mercury Atlas

(My favorite fantasy rocket is the Space Ark from "When Worlds Collide")
Saturn V
Gemini Titan
Anything with Nike in it
Black Brant - love the fins and that nose!
IQSY Tomahawk
Saturn 1B
Long Tom (Australian sounding rocket)
Thunderbird (surface to air missile, british i beleive)
WAC Corporal (clean lines)
Goddard rocket (his first liquid fueled rocket)
Space shuttle- for all its faults, still an incredible machine, surprised no one else has mentioned it

Saturn V- As tall as a 30 story building, millions of lbs. of thrust, how can you not love the thing?

Saturn 1B- Knowing that it was basically built of spare parts, makes me appreciate it even more, and you gotta love the milk stool it sat on for the skylab flights, hehe!

Soyuz- just a thing of beauty, plus what a workhorse, 30+ yrs and counting

LTV scout- my estes model is next up to be built right after I get done with....

...the Mercury redstone, always had a soft spot for this pioneering rocket!

Manned rocket -
X-15 or
Saturn 1B

Surface to air missle -
Nike Herc

Sounding rocket -

Fantasy -
Estes Interceptor :cool:

I have to start with my all time fovorite missile
the Boeing Bomarc
followed by;
Navaho XSM-64
X-7 Ramjet test vehicle
X10 Navaho test vehicle
Farside (balloon launched)
Sentinal (Nike-Zeus)

all US Mercury, Gemini & Satrun test and launch vehicles

follow by:
any Winged Rocket/missile....Back to the Bomarc.:D
V2 definantly
Terrier Sandhawk
nike Smoke
the Little John looks cool too
Rim-2 Terrier
Little Joe II
WAC Corporal
Black Brant

RIM-2 Terrier is currently in work. Booster done but needs primed and painted. G power booster and E power sustainer!
One that I did forget to mention that really catches my eye is the Meteor - I'm guessing that IF another missile had the same colors and striping I'd like it too. Hmmm...thats an idea..a Nike-Smoke with Meteor striping and colors...

All of the missiles/rockets listed here are certainly fantastic, and I wanted to say thank you for posting your own list. 8)

I think the most electic would be Micro's list - really cool to see all those odd flyers listed together like that.

Here's my vote

AIM-54 Phoenix Missile
AGM-78 Standard ARM
AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-84 Harpoon
AIM-9 Sidewinder
MIM-23 Hawk

The answer has to why....... Well, they all just look cool.......
My list is based on a combination of real world impacts and how interesting the rocket is from a modeling standpoint.

R-7 and variants - No other booster has had, IMHO, a bigger impact on public policy (started the debate over the "missile gap" and the race to the moon) and practical space exploration. Also a GREAT bird to model because of all the "bits" on its exterior.

Atlas and variants - Many of you know this is "my bird" for scale modeling, and like the R-7 in Russia, has had a huge impact on US space exploration.

Goddard Rocket - Anybody's list leaving off the first one is kinda like leaving the Wright Flyer off list of significant airplanes. . .

Saturn V - first rocket to take us to another world, gotta have it. For modelers, the proportions of this rocket are beautiful and elegant.

Nike and variants - This rocket is yet another example of where military application ultimately had more impact on science. Almost everything learned about flying sounding rockets really started with this booster. From a modeling standpoint, literally hundreds of examples exist to model.