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Estes Colossus - authentic kit or easy clone?

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Tramper Al

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I've always liked the look of the Colossus, and for a standard Estes "D" rocket (not a Maxi Brute or cluster), you know it's pretty big.

I think I would build it more or less stock 24mm, though likely with a deeper "E" block, at whatever depth would let me use composite Fs as well (as I recently used in an Alpha Maxi 3.

My recollection is that designer Mike Dorfler particularly liked the "He Man" livery scheme that Marketing came up with.

Kind of pricey in the original kit:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/322469676115?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

But I do have several Maxi 3 kits on hand, eRockets has the odd tube or coupler needed, so the biggest challenge might be just trying to get a nice yellow finish over those red plastic fins (an issue not unique to the clone). I believe Tango has the decal, though maybe for $20+ or something! I guess I could try to print my own, but I don't seem to have the pdf in my files. It might be that I can't reproduce the gold well myself anyway.

The mighty Colossus, Estes #1326 (1979-1983). Anyone build and fly one lately?

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/catalogs/estes79/79est34.html
 

Woody's Workshop

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I've been watching that one for a few days.
The price recently just shot up high.
This is only the 2nd one I've ever seen on Ebay in the last 5 years.
But that doesn't mean I've seen all that were listed.
Seams like the other one I seen went for about 1/2 of what this one is at.
I'd clone it for that price, maybe even do a 29mm Engine mount.
Use blue tube, and get a decal from StickerShock.
 

sl98

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The Executioner uses the same nose cone as the Colossus and is approx 12.75 inches shorter than the Colossus based on catalog specs. Not sure if the Executioner fins are large enough to cut to the fin shape of the Colossus or if you would need to cut new fins. In any event, an Executioner might be a practical starting point for a clone.

http://www.rocketshoppe.com/info/Estes_Nose_Cone_Reference_10.1.pdf
 

samb

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I have some notes on this one but haven't built one yet. scigs30's comments in post #15 of his build thread speak to your title question:

http://forums.rocketshoppe.com/showpost.php?p=74670&postcount=15

Tango Papa does list a decal set here:

http://www.tangopapadecals.com/all_of_the_rest.htm


If I do decide to pull the trigger I'd be inclined to use the recently re-released Executioner as a base: http://www.estesrockets.com/001951-executioner


Under a minute on the auction ! .... US $247.50 takes it home.
 

dhbarr

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Mercury Big School Rocket, a 34" length of matching tube, and a spare sheet ( all from BMS ) : presto Colossus.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I made a removable payload bay for my MA3 using a piece of Estes BT80, a coupler and a bulkhead I cut out of very thin plywood. I'm not sure if it was exactly Colossus sized, but it was a very big and light rocket and was fun to fly. I wasn't trying to clone anything, so I did not paint it with a standard livery. It flew well on E12 motors. E9 motors were a bit underpowered and could weathercock severely. Composite E20s worked great! Having the removable section was great, because I could fly it in standard MA3 form, or add in the bay for a "Colossusized" rocket that was 14 inches taller.
 

Scott_650

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Whew! Somebody was willing to pay over $250.00 including shipping for one of these? Guess I don't get the nostalgia value thing for a straight forward 4FNC rocket with some - ahem - interesting gladiator movie decals. More power to the auction winner - hope their Colossus flies great.
 

Tramper Al

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Hi,
Thanks for the suggestions. Because the Colossus used the plastic fin can of the Maxi Alpha 3 (as I said I have several), that will be my natural starting point for cloning rather than the Executioner - which I recently built and like very much as well. Maybe I will use a longer tube and better couplers though.
At $250 for the kit, I doubt the auction winner will be flying that bird anytime soon. But I will.
 

Fuddrucker

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I say clone it and go bigger!! $250 plus shipping?!?!? Wow, I built this one for about half that amount.

...Fudd

Colossus2.jpg
 

samb

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Awesome upscale Fudd ! That was your L3 cert rocket, right ?


FYI, more notes from my Colossus file. Airframe and motor tube dimensions from the indispensible Estes tube/kit reference:


1326 Colossus
030429 WBT-80A (4) 9.00"
030431 WBT-80MA 3.22"
030352 BT-50 18.00”
030366 BT-50L 12.7”

http://www.psc473.org/howto/EstesTubes.pdf
 

Daddyisabar

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If you were flying the Colossus in the 70's you were the coolest kid on the block and had a rich daddy who could afford a MAXI BRUTE. Flying on a MIGHTY D motor that only highly experienced rocketeers would dare to use. To cool for school, I can dig it! Yes, I once had hair like the kid on the package. You want some original muscle in you car, get out your wallet old man, same with your rockets. A pristine kit with original shrink wrap, just like you wanted in '79 sitting on the hobby store shelf. If someone shows up flying an original on a MIGHTY D all you can do is bow down and chant "We are not worthy!"
 

Woody's Workshop

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I'm skeptical the seller will receive payment. I've seen this before where a bidding war goes on.
Week or 2 later the original seller list's it again.
Would be a cool clone as Fudd has shown.
I've got a lot of building materials.
I may build one in RocSim using TTW plywood fins and a 29mm Engine Mount.
FWIW, Uncle Mikes Rocket Shack has decent prices on HD long couplers.
 

Daddyisabar

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I sure hope he receives payment. These were donated to our local club which has been idle under a fire ban for months and thus unable to get donations in the can during launches:( These rockets were stored in my basement for awhile and just looking at that original shrink wrapped Colossus kit setting on the shelf brightens your day! Looks like all the old pro E-Bay buyers had their sharp shooter software out on this one. This kit seems even rarer than the Pershing 1A.
 

Tramper Al

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I sure hope he receives payment. These were donated to our local club which has been idle under a fire ban for months and thus unable to get donations in the can during launches:( These rockets were stored in my basement for awhile and just looking at that original shrink wrapped Colossus kit setting on the shelf brightens your day! Looks like all the old pro E-Bay buyers had their sharp shooter software out on this one. This kit seems even rarer than the Pershing 1A.
I think it's great a fine kit like this goes for big money, probably because 1) I certainly don't want it THAT much, 2) with the Maxi Alpha 3 and Tango's decal out there it is REALLY easily and accurately cloned, and 3) in this case it went to a good cause.

If these are all going for the good cause, let it be known that the seller is also offering old kits for Cruise Missile, SCUD, Gemini DC, Silver Comet, Jupiter C, and Vashon Shrike.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Where does the mighty Colossus separate? At the nose cone? Or lower, like where the yellow booster section meets the upper white section?
 

Tramper Al

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Where does the mighty Colossus separate? At the nose cone? Or lower, like where the yellow booster section meets the upper white section?
It's a lot of volume for ejection, that's for sure. There is a fairly long engine / stuffer tube (30.7" in 2 pieces) called for in the build kit plans, though, and I suppose its length could be modified to be even longer, adding a little weight toward the nose but possibly aiding with a reliable ejection.

Alternatively, I could split it in the middle with a bulkhead / nose block. The added advantage being it would fit in the car for transport off base. Is that the impending suggestion? I do kind of wish I had done this with my mighty Mammoth build.
 

samb

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"Good causes" for proceeds from the sale of donated items:

Pizza and beer party

a cushy chair for the LCO

motors for the club motor box

kits for "youngest, prettiest, best dressed, any old reason" club kit giveaway box

fix the launch equipment fund



I would fly that on 29's
Hmmm... the black powder E16 and F15 come to mind with an otherwise stock build. :)
 

KarlS

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I have a Colossus that I have flown several times. It is so old that the plastic fins and nose cone are brittle. The last time it flew the nose cone hit the hard pack dirt and broke. I bought a Maxi Alpha just for the nose cone. It does fly well on a D12.
 

mwtoelle

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I think I would build it more or less stock 24mm, though likely with a deeper "E" block, at whatever depth would let me use composite Fs as well (as I recently used in an Alpha Maxi 3.

But I do have several Maxi 3 kits on hand, eRockets has the odd tube or coupler needed, so the biggest challenge might be just trying to get a nice yellow finish over those red plastic fins (an issue not unique to the clone). I believe Tango has the decal, though maybe for $20+ or something! I guess I could try to print my own, but I don't seem to have the pdf in my files. It might be that I can't reproduce the gold well myself anyway.
The Colossus is basically a Maxi Alpha 3 with four 9" long BT-80s instead of two, an extra 18" long piece of BT-50 for the motor mount, extra couplers to join the added tubes and a different decal sheet. You would have to paint the Maxi Alpha 3 fine can with a white base coat to hide the red fins and rings. Since you have several Maxi Alpha 3 kits lying around. I would just clone the Colossus instead of trying to find a NOS kit. I know of a hobby shop in Nashville, TN that has one, but it is still pretty expensive.
 

samb

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The Colossus is basically a Maxi Alpha 3 ...
A Maxi Alpha 3 Spare Parts Elimination Vehicle ?!? :)

For me the attraction is the cool, classic, big Alpha form factor. The original parts and construction methods - not so much. But if I had a bunch of MA 3 kits sittin' around I'd certainly use them.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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A Maxi Alpha 3 Spare Parts Elimination Vehicle ?!? :)

For me the attraction is the cool, classic, big Alpha form factor. The original parts and construction methods - not so much. But if I had a bunch of MA 3 kits sittin' around I'd certainly use them.
I actually DO have a bunch of MA3 kits sittin' around...
 

jazzviper1

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I cloned one using a Maxi Alpha III which is what the original Colossus kit was based on. I flew it on a Estes E9 and it flew well but too long of a delay and damaged the tube on deployment.

I re-cloned the rocket using Semroc HD tube, balsa fins and a 29 mm motor mount. MUCH better flyer.
 

Tramper Al

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OK, I recently read on another olde site a justification for building Colossus based on the old Maxi Alpha (not 3 or III), still a BT-80 model but now with balsa fins - and Ill use a white (not red) nose cone. This sounds like a worthwhile project as well and is likely how the Colossus pictured in the catalogs was put together, and of course much easier to get the paint look right!
 

Tramper Al

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OK, I recently read on another olde site a justification for building Colossus based on the old 1977-1978 Maxi Alpha (not 3 or III), still a BT-80 model but now with balsa fins - and Ill use a white (not red) nose cone. This sounds like a worthwhile project as well and is likely how the Colossus pictured in the catalogs was put together, and of course much easier to get the paint look right! The Colossus of course debuted in 1979, alongside the new Maxi Alpha 3.

Another suggestion (also mentioned on the Colossus instruction sheet) is to leave it completely unpainted just like a Maxi Alpha 3 - assuming you've got all white tubes and red NC and fins. This might look very interesting with the Colossus decals too!
 
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