Estes bringing back the Orbital Transport

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Scott_650

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Yeah, I figured they would upscale- increases the margin, and differentiates it from the original. I am new to the hobby, after getting into it 50 some odd years ago. But, $49.99 seems a bit steep. Maybe it is a great flyer, though.
The online discount price from Belleville, AC Supply, etc will probably be closer to $35.00.
 

dbrent

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I thought the nosecone in the catalog image looked a little too "pointy" compared to the original kit, but if it's upscaled that would explain it being slightly different.
 

ZoomieG

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I thought the nosecone in the catalog image looked a little too "pointy" compared to the original kit, but if it's upscaled that would explain it being slightly different.
Good odds it’s the long PNC-55 from the Space Corps Corvette and other recent BT-55 based kits, ARFs, and RTFs.
 

Stewman

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Figured they would do this sooner or later. Gotta save my nickels and move something else to the back of the build pile.
 

DeWain

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I have a 75% downscale (BT20) in early assembly, and I was planning on doing the 136% (BT55) after that. I already have all of the parts that I need for the upscale, including custom nose cones and Tango Papa decals.

But I still might buy the new Estes upscale (which will be 136%ish) anyway just to thank them for making this kit... and laser-cut balsa will be way easier than cutting all that lumber by hand.
 
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rkoenn

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Yeah, I figured they would upscale- increases the margin, and differentiates it from the original. I am new to the hobby, after getting into it 50 some odd years ago. But, $49.99 seems a bit steep. Maybe it is a great flyer, though.
If you purchase it retail they are not cheap. However whenever I get an order planned I just go for $100+ and then go to AC Supply. The discount is around 35% which is about wholesale pricing and with the $100+ shipping is free. They have always been honest and reasonably fast. That way I am not priced out of the hobby. I am going to pick this one up along with the larger Mars Snooper once this arrives.
 

rkoenn

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I have a 75% downscale (BT20) in early assembly, and I was planning on doing the 136% (BT55) after that. I already have all of the parts that I need for the upscale, including custom nose cones and Tango Papa decals.

But I still might buy the new Estes upscale (which will be 136%ish) anyway just to thank them for making this kit... and laser-cut balsa will be way easier than cutting all that lumber by hand.
Now that you mention that I have to ask as I simply don't recall when I built my first around 1970, was it cut your own using templates? It probably was and back when I was young I didn't hesitate. These days I might if I had to cut all those parts for a Transport. I actually built a scaled up one based on a BT-60 main tube around 1974 but never completed it or painted it unfortunately so it never flew. Got the main parts built and assembled and for whatever reason stopped there. Back then I was not going to be able to get custom decals so I think that realizing without decals it would be pretty bland I gave up.
 

DeWain

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Now that you mention that I have to ask as I simply don't recall when I built my first around 1970, was it cut your own using templates? It probably was and back when I was young I didn't hesitate. These days I might if I had to cut all those parts for a Transport. I actually built a scaled up one based on a BT-60 main tube around 1974 but never completed it or painted it unfortunately so it never flew. Got the main parts built and assembled and for whatever reason stopped there. Back then I was not going to be able to get custom decals so I think that realizing without decals it would be pretty bland I gave up.
The original K-42/#1242 Orbital Transport had un-cut balsa sheets and a card stock sheet with the templates. You had to cut out the templates, trace them on the balsa sheets, and then cut out the balsa. But the shapes were all very basic (no curves or complex angles). This makes it easy to upscale and downscale without ordering custom laser-cut balsa. It is just a lot of cutting, but straightforward.

Estes did a rerelease as #1259, which had a plastic nose cone, but that still had un-cut balsa sheets. Semroc brought it back with lasers-cut sheets, and then eRockets introduced a version with a thicker booster body tube.

I also built a BT-60 168% upscale (that is it in my thumbnail photo). Unfortunately, the booster crashed a few years ago. But I am planning on rebuilding it with a 29mm motor mount. This will allow it to fly with Estes E15-4 motors, and the 29mm tube is a more accurate upscale of the original BT-20 motor tube.

The Orbital Transport is such a great design. Clean lines, great decals, complex shape... and a glider!
 

DaveRKP

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The Orbital Transport is such a great design. Clean lines, great decals, complex shape... and a glider!
I agree wholeheartedly with DeWain on this - just love the OT design!

Started with a build of the Semroc KV-66 and followed with a scratch 168% upscale (pictured below). Since then I've added the Semroc MX version and now looking to pull off a 227% version based on a BT-70 sized booster tube. Now there's the new Estes 136% upscale that will be looking to join the family.

IMG_1936.JPG
 

Woody's Workshop

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Now I don’t feel bad about losing my Semroc.

A Little Giant Ladder will pay for itself in a short time retrieving rockets from roofs and fits in most vehicles.
Worth while investment if that happens often!

I was listening to Randy some time back on the Rocket Show Pod Cast. He stated that he had made some improvements on the Semroc version. Including some alignment jigs so it was almost impossible to mess up the wing alignments.
I wonder if Estes will have something similar in the re-release upscale version coming out?
Depending upon how much I get from forced retirement from disability, I may have to buy both and get back into building again.
Which means someone better move in this apartment complex with some kids for retieving my rockets!
Or I'll have to save up some pain pills and do some walking myself next summer.
I can hear other older tenants now...What the hell is that old man with the cane doing walking around out there? LOL
And invest in some liquid pain killer...Jamison's is my flavor of choice for that.
But that is about the same price as the Semroc Kit. Yikes!
 

Alan15578

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I still have my original Orbital Transport. I flew it in my first rocket meet. I had to strip it down on the field to get it under the event weight limit of the time. I have two more kits in the bag, but I'm not in any hurry to build them. I have mixed feelings about Estes releasing only upscales of classic kits. I wander if it is just an effort to avoid then and now price comparisons? The Mars Snooper was my first rocket and I would like to build another one some day. I'll probably have to build it from scratch, rather than buy the upscaled kit.
 

rkoenn

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The original K-42/#1242 Orbital Transport had un-cut balsa sheets and a card stock sheet with the templates. You had to cut out the templates, trace them on the balsa sheets, and then cut out the balsa. But the shapes were all very basic (no curves or complex angles). This makes it easy to upscale and downscale without ordering custom laser-cut balsa. It is just a lot of cutting, but straightforward.

Estes did a rerelease as #1259, which had a plastic nose cone, but that still had un-cut balsa sheets. Semroc brought it back with lasers-cut sheets, and then eRockets introduced a version with a thicker booster body tube.

I also built a BT-60 168% upscale (that is it in my thumbnail photo). Unfortunately, the booster crashed a few years ago. But I am planning on rebuilding it with a 29mm motor mount. This will allow it to fly with Estes E15-4 motors, and the 29mm tube is a more accurate upscale of the original BT-20 motor tube.

The Orbital Transport is such a great design. Clean lines, great decals, complex shape... and a glider!
I live in Florida and used to go up to the annual Bunnell Blast on a sod farm for a number of years until the got kicked off. There was a guy, Steve, who had a very large Orbital Transport he built many years ago. He would fly it almost every year. Up close it was rather beaten up and not the greatest craftsmanship but it always impressed. He was still flying the last time I saw it about 4 years ago.
 

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mjennings

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I live in Florida and used to go up to the annual Bunnell Blast on a sod farm for a number of years until the got kicked off. There was a guy, Steve, who had a very large Orbital Transport he built many years ago. He would fly it almost every year. Up close it was rather beaten up and not the greatest craftsmanship but it always impressed. He was still flying the last time I saw it about 4 years ago.
Steve's been flying that OT for years when I flew with Spaceport Rocketry (2007-2009) it had crashed many times already. He used to advertise it as the shortest flight you'll ever see on a J. I don't think it's a lack of craftsmanship but dedication to keeping a favorite rocket flying.
 

rkoenn

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Steve's been flying that OT for years when I flew with Spaceport Rocketry (2007-2009) it had crashed many times already. He used to advertise it as the shortest flight you'll ever see on a J. I don't think it's a lack of craftsmanship but dedication to keeping a favorite rocket flying.
He has/had that large Mars Lander too. I've seen it go straight up and also seen it arc over with a soft impact. Here are both in flight.
 

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