Estes #1294 Cobra-1500

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Fore Check

Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2010
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In the "What kits should Estes re-release?" thread over in the Coffee House, someone mentioned the Cobra-1500. Well, I just happened to have scanned one of these for Ye Olde Rocket Shoppe and had Phred make me some decals a while back (so I could keep the kit together, even though I opened it.)

So, I cloned one. Sort of.

I went with 3/32 basswood instead of balsa for the fins (no particular reason) and I made it 24mm powered instead of 18mm. Also, I used an entire 34" length of BT50 for the motor mount tube for added rigidity on the airframe (there's still 20" of BT55 airframe above it for the laundry hamper.)

It sims to about 1650' on an E9-6.

I need to get better at taking photos - my camera is good enough. It's the operator's fault. My "helper" likes it!
It's quite easy to build, and the parts are very common - NC 55AO (Goblin) nose cone, BT55 airframe, fins and a motor mount. Easy!

The paint I went with is Plasti-Kote "School Bus Yellow" and Krylon Gloss White.

Astronboy's decals do the rest!

Here's a bit better picture. Can't wait to fly it!
It looks to me like a shortened Mean Machine.
SWEET!! Thanks for the kind words about the decals. Have you launched it yet?
Looks great!
The old school decals very nice too. Gonna send it up on an E:D ?

I like your new avatar forcheck. I'm a big fan of Big Trouble.......
"It looks to me like a shortened Mean Machine."

Well, This got me to thinking..... so did a little research:

The Cobra 1500 was produced from 1978-1984
The Mean Machine started production in 1978 as well, and is still in production.
Strange, huh? I guess all-black is still cool...

The Cobra 1500 is based on the BT-55 Body tube (1.325").
The Mean Machinine is based on the BT-60 body tube (1.637")

Yes these two rockets apear to be similar. Strangely enough, ESTES placed both rockets on the same page, right next to each other in the 1978 catalog:

These rockets also appear to share the same fin pattern, although I have not done a paste-over comparison. The Vigilante (on the left hand side of the catalog page) appears to also use this fin pattern!!

I hapen to like the looks of the Cobra 1500, but then again, it could just be that I a cranky old man......

The two designs are quite similar.

The airframe length of the Cobra 1500 is 54". Scaled up to a BT60, it would be about 66.75", a shade more than 7" shorter than the Mean Machine airframe of 72". The nose cones are a fair approximation of each other on scaled shape and size.

The fin locations are identical, so there is no scaling there (both are set at 1" from the back of the airframe.)

I scaled up the fin pattern of the Cobra 1500 to 124%, which is the approximate upscale to a BT60 (Mean Machine) size, and compared the two fins. While quite similar, the Mean Machine fin *slightly* different (its root chord is about 1/4" longer, its tip chord is about 1/8" longer, and it has a slightly steeper sweep to it. Their span is about equal.)
the 1500 indicates the models length in mm;) it's a great flyer I still fly mine on B6 and C6's. It' so light I was glad I didn't convert it to 24mm way back when;)
Soooooooo.........three years down the road, how'd she fly? :surprised:

The reason I'm asking is, the Cobra 1500 finally made it up to the "next" spot in my clone que, and I was rolling around the idea of going with a 24mm mount myself.
Flies like a bat-out-of-hell on an E9-6. Make sure the wind is light and you've got lots of landing area if you do go with the E9. Never had the guts to try the F21 that I've got in the range box.

I've never flown it on an 18mm motor, but I have flown it on a C11-5. Micro is correct in that 18mm power should be plenty, but it's fun to punch it with the D's and E's. Suprisingly, for a D launch, it works better with the -5 second delay (rather than the -7 which is a bit too long.)

It's a fun rocket that always gets the reaction of "Hey, I remember that one - but I never built one" kinda thing. I haven't flown it much (I think it has 5 flights on it) because it's relatively long and it's so light and thin you must take care not to damage it in transport (just not as "convenient" as smaller mod rocs.) That said, if I ever build another, I'd set it up to separate at the yellow/white seam with a large payload section (rather than nose cone separation) just so that it would be easier to transport.

It's a pretty easy build and a fine addition to any fleet. Post lots of pics!
Flies like a bat-out-of-hell on an E9-6. Make sure the wind is light and you've got lots of landing area if you do go with the E9. Never had the guts to try the F21 that I've got in the range box.
I actually won D SuperRoc Altitude at a NAR regional contest our club had a number of years ago with one of my Cobra-1500's. I flew it on a Apogee D motor. Everyone else had fancy super long and skinny models. Many of them shredded on boost. ;) I always lived by the KISS principle when flying contests.