Dr. Zooch Rockets

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luke strawwalker

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I've bought several kits from Dr. Zooch Rockets and they've all been well thought out and well executed. They are innovative and interesting and the materials are good quality, despite the 'off nominal' sourcing of some of them (IE trash bag parachutes, which sounds rather cheap but keeps kit costs down and they DO work quite well). The instructions are expertly illustrated and bring a bit of levity and fun to the building process with some biting wit carried over from Dr. Zooch Rockets owner Wes Oleszewski's cartoon strip "the Program", featuring the ant scientist leading "the Program" Dr. Zooch. I enjoy the humor in the instructions.

The Zooch Rockets are also very good fliers. I have never had a bad flight with a Dr. Zooch Rocket. They are surprisingly good performers for their size, especially for 'ant scale' subjects which are usually heavy or draggy, as scalers tend to be. The are true SEMI-SCALE models, not 'true scale', so if you want exactly 112 rivets on joint seam 334 on page 1124 of the original vehicle blueprints, you might be disappointed. If you're looking for a good looking good flying kit, these are it.

The service is excellent and Dr. Zooch has always stood behind any problems I've had, even sending custom parts out when something was accidentally omitted from the kit. Usually a few extra parts are included, like reinforcing rings for the parachute, which is a nice bonus in case you mess up like I sometimes do.

The value of the kits is excellent. The prices are surprisingly low for such nice kits, and the material quality and innovative ideas that go into these kits just add to the bargain.

I highly recommend these kits as a satisfied customer. For those of you who are possibly returning to rocketry as a BAR, these are the kind of "builder's kits" that you remember from bygone days. For those of you advancing in the hobby and looking for something new beside plastic fin cans and three fins and a nose cone type rockets, these are it-- old school creative rockets using real (but easily learned, for the most part) rocket building skills.

Try em, you'll like em! Big thumbs up! OL JR :)
 

Fred22

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Luke raises a number of great points. I really like the scale aspect of it. Frankly not many folks are doing scale of any sort and the docs stuff is really good and affordeable. I just finished his Soyuz and man it was great :)
Cheers
fred
 

DRitchie

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I've only built a Zooch Space Shuttle as of yet, but when the chute failed the booster survived a lawn dart with NO DAMAGE! (The failed chute was a lousy packaging job).

I do plan on building more, but alas, I'm more prone to buying larger kits....(hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge...)
 

luke strawwalker

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I've only built a Zooch Space Shuttle as of yet, but when the chute failed the booster survived a lawn dart with NO DAMAGE! (The failed chute was a lousy packaging job).

I do plan on building more, but alas, I'm more prone to buying larger kits....(hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge...)
Yeah, some BT-70, 80, and 101 based Zooch kits would be nice, sorta MPR Zoochies, but I doubt it's in the cards. (They'd probably have to move up from "ant scale" to "cockroach scale" or "cricket scale" I suppose... :D) Dr. Zooch seems to be doing very well with the LPR offerings, and I can honestly say as a fan of 'bigger kits' myself, that I'm NOT disappointed in any way with the Zooch kits despite their being 'smaller' than I typically build. When they're done, they look like a much larger kit than they actually are.

Besides, the typical Zooch rockets tend to fly VERY well despite the B & C motor sizes; they typically fly more like a high-performance sport kit in those motor classes than a semiscaler!! Bigger means more $$$ and also bigger kits usually don't walk away from prangs without a scratch, which I've seen Zooch kits do...

Still, if the Doc ever wanted to offer larger kits, like say a BT-80 Saturn V in the same scale as his Saturn I's and IB's and Soyuz's, I'd be first in line to buy one!

Later! OL JR :)
 

Dr.Zooch

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Still, if the Doc ever wanted to offer larger kits, like say a BT-80 Saturn V in the same scale as his Saturn I's and IB's and Soyuz's, I'd be first in line to buy one!
You mean like the one I have sitting on my desk right now? Okay- so it's a scratch built and based on a T70 tube. No plans to kit it- way too much on the plate ahead of it at the moment.
 

luke strawwalker

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You mean like the one I have sitting on my desk right now? Okay- so it's a scratch built and based on a T70 tube. No plans to kit it- way too much on the plate ahead of it at the moment.
Sounds interesting... can you smuggle pics out of Area 102?? (twice as secret as Area 51??)

What's a T-70?? Is that 2.6 inch like a BT-80 or 2.21 inch like a BT-70?? So what else is in the pipeline ahead of it??

Inquiring minds want to know! :D :dark:

Later and KUTGW!! OL JR :)
 

Dr.Zooch

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This Saturn V ain't even in the pipeline... it's just for my desk.

Ahead of everything at the moment... and just moved into that position BTW... is the Dr. Zooch Vanguard Eagle (From the X-Prize compitition). Back at the X-Prize Cup in 2006 I met Steve who owns Vanguard Space- I saw the Estes version of the Eagle... I scoffed and said I could do it WAY better. He asked how. I told him that this was screaming to be a two stager and I could not figure out why they'd made it a single stager. Of course the answer is "time." You can't engineer a complex rocket like a gap-staged Eagle and then rush it throught the folks in Communist China in time for X-Prize- so Estes went the easy route- lots of vacu-formed parts and a single stage.

Anyhow- Estes dropped the X-Prize line as soon as the last ocean-going container from Red China was empty, and Vanguard was left with no one to produce their rockets- so Steve contacted me and contracted me to develop it all over again. I came up with a gap-staged, two stager that really boogies. The staging event is very cool- it vents through the first stage's aft engine bells- so the model engine bells are actually functional. The seperation is quite spectacular.

We ran into two snags, however. First was that we cannot get X-Prize to communicate with us for use of their trademark logo on the model- they won't even return communication. Not that they're mad- it's just that X-Prize is one of the worst managed, worst organized foundations on the planet. Second problem was (note I said "was") the nosecone. It is a highly complex shape whose end curve is almost impossible to mill out of balsa. I kicked that issue around for a year and finally the answer, last month in fact, dropped into my lap. Thanks to TRF member U812, I'm having the Eagle's spacecraft molded. He can detail the method for you- but I can tell you that he's able to do it in the numbers I need for a price that works to bring the kit to market. And the best part is- the entire kit is made in the USA, and not the People's Republic of China. As far as the dolts at X-Prize are concerned- we just won't use their name or logo on the kit... their loss, not mine.

So, the Vanguard Eagle just went to #1 on my production schedule. I have the prototypes of the nosecone- they look GREAT and we're rolling.

For details on how this rocket functions- there is a four page spread in October's Rockets Magazine- with photos of the staging sequence that just blew me away!

4pat1.jpg
 
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