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El Phantasmo

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First, hello.

Second, as far as I can tell Houston, TX, the home of Johnson Space Center (JSC), no longer has a brick and mortar store with mid to high power rocket kits or parts. The one I used to infrequent, is out of business. Austin and Dallas each have at least 3 LOC Precision dealers. What's the problem in Houston?

Our NBA team is the Rockets, our MLB team is the Astros and the WNBA team is the Comets. There's a real Saturn V rocket on display at JSC. Sure there's plenty of places to buy Estes and Quest and those are still fun, but they don't cut the mustard for me most of the time.

I haven't contacted any of the local rocket clubs yet, I'm a bit of a lone rocketeer. In case your wondering, I have two rockets I've built but never flown because I'm not certified. One's a LOC Norad (38mm motor) and the other's a LOC Vulcanite (54mm motor).

Does some one know of a mid to high power rocket supplier in the Houston metro area I don't know about? Am I stuck with mail order?
 

El Phantasmo

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You need to join the JSC model rocket club. http://nhrc.homestead.com/
I've known of their existence for years, but haven't joined and I don't have any reason for lone wolfing it once I started building mid and high power stuff. Thanks nonetheless.

A bit of a deterrent was the rigamarole of all that ATF nonsense for motors with more than 68g of propellant.

Joining the JSC club will let me launch rockets IN JSC; I don't know why I've put it off.
 

Mikus

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I've known of their existence for years, but haven't joined and I don't have any reason for lone wolfing it once I started building mid and high power stuff. Thanks nonetheless.

A bit of a deterrent was the rigamarole of all that ATF nonsense for motors with more than 68g of propellant.

Joining the JSC club will let me launch rockets IN JSC; I don't know why I've put it off.
It's a fantastic place to fly. If you get too hot or need to hit the toilet, you can head over to Rocket Park and spend a little time visiting the air-conditioned Saturn V. It's very inspirational. :cool:

Chad (the Motorman) has been coming out to our HP launches lately to fulfill our motor needs. He's a great guy and will take care of you - no Hazmat fee IS a wonderful thing. :cheers:

There is also a small hobby shop on I-45 just north of Bay Area Blvd on the east side of 45 that has a small selection of parts. I picked up an LOC nose cone there once.

Hope to see you in the field. ;)
 

WillMarchant

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I've known of their existence for years, but haven't joined and I don't have any reason for lone wolfing it once I started building mid and high power stuff. Thanks nonetheless.

A bit of a deterrent was the rigamarole of all that ATF nonsense for motors with more than 68g of propellant.

Joining the JSC club will let me launch rockets IN JSC; I don't know why I've put it off.
Sorry, I should have put more verbiage on there. It just seems like being able to launch at JSC would be a very cool thing to do...
 

El Phantasmo

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There is also a small hobby shop on I-45 just north of Bay Area Blvd on the east side of 45 that has a small selection of parts. I picked up an LOC nose cone there once.

Hope to see you in the field. ;)
That's the one that's closed/closing. There's still stuff in the store, but at noon on a Tuesday there was no one there and the lights were off.
 

n5wd

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...Austin and Dallas each have at least 3 LOC Precision dealers. What's the problem in Houston?
Well, the grass isn't necessarily as green on this side of the fence as you might think - we've only got one dealer (HobbyTown USA at Walnut Hill/Central Expressway in Dallas) up here in the metromess that sorta carries LOC/Precision kits. But they haven't added any inventory to the kit pile in the last couple of years that I've been going to their store. I know the Plano HT store is listed on the LOC/Precision dealer page, but they haven't had any of the kits the last two times I've visited them (admittedly not for a few months, though).

Times are tough all over, yeah?
 

Mikus

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That's the one that's closed/closing. There's still stuff in the store, but at noon on a Tuesday there was no one there and the lights were off.
Nooooo!!! Dang it and I just passed by there last week. :(

Yeah, that's about it for Houston. Sad.
 

luke strawwalker

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First, hello.

Second, as far as I can tell Houston, TX, the home of Johnson Space Center (JSC), no longer has a brick and mortar store with mid to high power rocket kits or parts. The one I used to infrequent, is out of business. Austin and Dallas each have at least 3 LOC Precision dealers. What's the problem in Houston?

Our NBA team is the Rockets, our MLB team is the Astros and the WNBA team is the Comets. There's a real Saturn V rocket on display at JSC. Sure there's plenty of places to buy Estes and Quest and those are still fun, but they don't cut the mustard for me most of the time.

I haven't contacted any of the local rocket clubs yet, I'm a bit of a lone rocketeer. In case your wondering, I have two rockets I've built but never flown because I'm not certified. One's a LOC Norad (38mm motor) and the other's a LOC Vulcanite (54mm motor).

Does some one know of a mid to high power rocket supplier in the Houston metro area I don't know about? Am I stuck with mail order?
Hi! Glad to hear of another rocketeer in the Houston Area. I provide my farm to the Challenger 498 NAR section out at Needville. You can check us out at www.challenger498.org and another good site for launch site and club information is http://www.artapplewhite.com/launches.html we'd be glad to meet ya!

There is only one LHS in the Houston area that I know of (and I shop at every one I know of at least once-twice per year) is over on the northbound feeder road of I-45 south just north of the NASA Parkway. They sell some HPR supplies, mostly LOC tubes, nosecones, transitions, rings, etc. and some reloads. I think they've changed names but here's the best I could find at the moment. http://issacsmodels.com/hc3.asp I drove by there taking my inlaws down to Galveston for the day here about a month or so ago and they were still there, but closed for the day (and couldn't go with the inlaws in tow anyway LOL:)) They're going to be your best bet.

Contact some of the Challenger guys via our website-- I know there is a guy selling reloads up in N. Houston but I can't recall his name ATM... PM dwmzmm and he could tell you; Dave's been around a LONG time and knows everybody, and HPR isn't really my thing anyway.

BTW, to fly with NASA/Houston, you'll have to have an entry permit to get access to their field behind the Saturn V display-- it's inside the NASA gates and the guards won't let you in if you're not on the list and don't have a membership card.

TRA has a nice HPR field at Hearne, but it's a bit of a drive.

As far as other hobby shops go, RC Hobby Shop on the SW freeway just past 90, Larry's Hobbies just off I-45 north at 1960, M&M Hobbies on Chimney Rock south of 59, and the LHS I mentioned out near NASA Pkwy off I-45 south all only carry Estes stuff. Larries Hobbies also carries some Red River Rocketry stuff, but that's it.

Not much in the way of LHS's around Houston for some reason...

Later and take it easy! OL JR :)
 

luke strawwalker

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That's the one that's closed/closing. There's still stuff in the store, but at noon on a Tuesday there was no one there and the lights were off.
Hmmm... hadn't heard they were closing. I was over there probably 6-8 months ago and stopped in, bought some paint and a kite for my daughter, and some tubes or something IIRC... they seemed to be doing alright then.

IIRC they ARE closed in the middle of the week, at least one day. Can't recall their hours exactly but I think they were closed all day on Tuesday or Wednesday. Short hours during the mid week as well if I'm remembering right. Not uncommon with hobby shops who probably see most of their business on the weekends and the days immediately bracketing the weekends.

I guess it wouldn't surprise me to hear that they're closing-- things are getting tougher all the time... Of course like most hobby shops, RC is their bread and butter, and everything else is sorta 'along for the ride' but last time I was in there they really seemed to be doing as well if not better than anyone. Of course I bet the rent on that place is pretty steep though...

There used to be a FANTASTIC hobby shop down near NASA... it was in an old shopping center (don't think the shopping center is there anymore, so this has been a LONG while back!) and they had an AMAZING selection of plastic model kits, airplane kits (long before ARF's/electrics/foamies) and rocket stuff. They either went out and were replaced by the one out on the freeway, or relocated there. Anyway, it wasn't the same and it was a shame because that old store had TONS of stuff!

I'll probably be over that way on Spring Break (neice is flying in to spend the week with us and we're going to Galveston for seafood/etc.) and I'll check on it and report back...

Later! OL JR :)
 

El Phantasmo

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Odyssey RC (I think that's the name) on the corner of I-45 and NASA Road said they might carry mid and high power stuff, but they would have to rearrange the store first. They have a decent selection of Estes and Quest.

I think one of the problems of the Hobby Center is/was it's location: 1. nothing else around it to generate foot traffic (the mattress store and sex shop don't count) 2. it's on the other side of the road for which you exit (couple of extra miles of extra driving if you miss the exit).

I'll go by Hobby Center (the one that's closing) again, late tomorrow afternoon. If they still have rocket parts and kits (there's an UP TO 50% off banner), I may go a bit crazy and buy much of what's left. If it's worth while, I'll let go the stuff I don't want at cost plus shipping to those interested.
 

luke strawwalker

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Odyssey RC (I think that's the name) on the corner of I-45 and NASA Road said they might carry mid and high power stuff, but they would have to rearrange the store first. They have a decent selection of Estes and Quest.

I think one of the problems of the Hobby Center is/was it's location: 1. nothing else around it to generate foot traffic (the mattress store and sex shop don't count) 2. it's on the other side of the road for which you exit (couple of extra miles of extra driving if you miss the exit).

I'll go by Hobby Center (the one that's closing) again, late tomorrow afternoon. If they still have rocket parts and kits (there's an UP TO 50% off banner), I may go a bit crazy and buy much of what's left. If it's worth while, I'll let go the stuff I don't want at cost plus shipping to those interested.
Hmmm... I'll have to look up this new one when I'm down that way over Spring Break. You say it's at the corner of NASA 1 and I-45?? It's kinda weird and I'm having to find my way now that they've opened the new bypass more or less. Where exactly is it?? Are you talking the intersection of 518/NASA 1 and I-45, or near the new bypass exits/overpasses?? Which side of the road is it on, what's it next to, etc?? Details please?? (thanks!)

Probably a good idea to pick up whatever they have left. Probably some of the NASA/Houston club guys have already picked it over, but that doesn't mean there still aren't some deals to be had, in most cases. I wish I'd have known that the HobbyTown USA over on the SW side (Hwy 6 and Richmond Blvd area) was going under; I'm sure they had some deals on rocket motors and stuff there at the last. (I hated to see them go, as I'd buy some motors and stuff from them and they were very friendly and easy to deal with, unlike most LHS people who are strictly interested in the RC crowd and making the big bucks off high dollar sales to them, and usually could care less about rocket people since rocketry is a "cheap" hobby (LPR anyway).

Good luck! OL JR :)
 

El Phantasmo

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The Hobby Shop (Center) is closing. I took the attached pictures at about 3:30 pm, 3/4/2010. The original name was Hobby Center, but in Houston that's confusing. The Hobbys are a filthy rich Houston/Texas family and has a preforming arts center named the Hobby Center downtown.

Odyssey RC is located at NASA Road 1 (not the bypass). It sits in a strip center that is the north east corner of the intersection of I-45 and NASA Road. It says Odyssey RC on the outside. If your headed south on I-45 you have to exit at Baybrook Mall and take the feeder road down (I think the exit also says NASA. There's a Chili's restaurant and a Star Furniture there. The vast majority of their stuff is RC related.

CIMG0004.jpg


CIMG0005.jpg
 

GregGleason

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I remember going to that hobby shop a few years back and I enjoyed it, although getting to it was a little difficult. I remember seeing from I-45 one day and decided to stop by.

Sad to see all of these hobby shops close. I had good memories as a child going to some of them and it was better than a candy store to me.

Greg
 

luke strawwalker

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Quite true Greg, quite true... The hobby shops of yore were something special! There used to be one in the Galleria that I used to just DROOL over-- of course we only got to the Galleria every few years or so, but still... last time I was in there they were LONG gone...

Thanks Phantasmo for the pix... sorry to see them go as they had more 'building supplies' for rocketry than any other, probably due to their locale near NASA and NHRC. I bet there are some guys around Clear Lake that are sad about it too.

Thing is, LHS's just aren't like they used to be. I don't know if it's the RC 'whiz-kids' they tend to hire or what, exactly, but there is a BIG difference in the way they treat you compared to the RC guys. I know there are probably 10 RC fliers for every rocketeer, and they each probably spend 10 times as much, with all the parts that go into RC, but still, my money is as green as the other guys, and I for one don't appreciate being "blown off" in a LHS just because "meh, the rocket stuff is over there" and I won't be spending as much as some RC dude walking in wanting car hop-ups, heli parts, or a plane or radio or something. If the RC shop guys don't want to be bothered with non RC shoppers, why stock anything non-RC at all?? It's aggravating. One of our club guys asked about reload casings and they told him they'd "look into it and get back to him"... that was several years ago and not another word. Usually all you get when you ask about different rocket companies than Estes, say Quest or Semroc, and all you'll get is a blank stare...

One other thing I've noticed, is the LHS's are usually REDICULOUSLY overpriced on rocket stuff anyway. Some of their prices are WAY more than the part would be from any of the rocket vendors, WITH EXPEDITED SHIPPING! Even Hobby Lobby and some of the chains that sometimes have specials, say the HL 40% off coupon, still only marks down the overprice to about what you'd pay without shipping. Hardly a huge bargain in most cases.

Basically I only go to the LHS for stuff that I don't want to wait for or bother to order alone, say a single pack of tubes or something like that, or something I need NOW to finish a project I need done soon. Otherwise I strictly order online. I'd bet most other rocketeers are in a similar mode...

Later! OL JR :)
 

luke strawwalker

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Funny you mentioned that! I used one after work today to get a pack of C6-7's. Earlier this week I got some Excel knives since they were 50% off.

Greg

Yep.. thank goodness for the HL coupons-- only thing that makes it cost-effective to shop there...

I usually print off a handful and hand one to my wife, one to my brother, and one for me, and hand them both a pack of engines to check out and some cash... Works for me! LOL:) OL JR :)
 
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