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How was the Estes Starship Excalibur (RP#55, 1968) released?

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Tramper Al

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I understand that it was not a catalog item, and that it was not in Model Rocket News either. So how did Rocket Plan #55 come to the attention of Estes customers in 1968, and beyond?

It seems like the natural companion to the Mars Snooper, and the other Exotics released in the 1968-1973 time frame.

I have the Estes #55 plans, but am once again not able to post pictures / tifs.

https://www.semroc.com/Store/scripts/RocketKits.asp?SKU=KV-85
 
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neil_w

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I note that the Semroc kit is listed as skill level 1, that can't be right can it?
 

Steve Shannon

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Yes, I did find those, thank you. Just curious how the plans would have gotten into the hands of builders in 1968.
Mail. It was amazing.

Sorry, that was a snarky thing for me to say. I remember being amazed by it, so I assume that I received something in the mail.


Steve Shannon
 
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Gary Byrum

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Now THAT was a long time ago. I remember as a kid drooling over this design and I'm still scratching my head as to how I came about the plans. My research does concur with your MRN comment. They skipped over plan #55 from Vol 8 #1 to Vol 8 #2, but there is reference to it. Vol 8 #1 shows a concept drawing on the cover, although it's not exactly the same design. Similar, but not. There's also some info in "Notes From The Boss" which seem to discuss this design. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, there is a big red boxed note stating the plans were available through some "clip-n-mail" page, which isn't in the document.

See MRN VOL 8 HERE

I'm left here wondering if I did mail that request in for the free plan or if the hobby store just had them laying around. Back then, you could get anything you wanted at Science Hobbies. (no longer in business). Anyway, I did acquire them and build it sometime in the early 70's. Later on when I became a RE-BAR, I discovered JimZ's site and printed off a replacement copy. Never built it though. Until a few years back when the notion hit me to rebuild it but as an upscale model. That was fun! I turned the nose cone and the longer pod cones on a lathe and made myself a BT 70 version of that dreamy design. And since I didn't know where to have decals made (at that time) I opted to have them cut in vinyl. Oddly enough, I never saw a good pic of what that image was on the fin. It wasn't until way after I built it, that quite a few folks chimed in on my build thread, and there were 2 people that used the Excalibur sword for said fin image. Both were different. Apparently no one really has, or had the original since it wasn't included in the plans. So I made my own design. Here's that build thread if you are interested.
STARSHIP EXCALIBUR
I'd be very interested in knowing why this design has no designer name and why it only became the concept drawing for a cover page on MRN.

19.JPG
 
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BEC

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I note that the Semroc kit is listed as skill level 1, that can't be right can it?
Having built and flown the Semroc kit I certainly wouldn't call it skill level 1, no - more like 3 or 4. The Semroc kit does have laser cut fins and other key parts, but there is still quite a bit of shaping to do, as well as just getting things lined up properly, especially the fin tip pods.

(image taken 1/15/17 courtesy Kris Hull)

IMG_2444.jpg
 
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Gary Byrum

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It seems to me this would be at least a skill level 2, unless all parts come pre-cut or die stamped.
Even in kit form, this could go no less than a skill level 3. Pod alignment, curvature sanding and shaping of pieces and parts, nose cone hollowing (if you decide to go there) Basically the craftsmanship is what would run the skill level up. Cutting your own fins is a no-brainer, so that isn't really a challenge. Just more work than die cut. And had I known what usefulness CA glue could have provided, cutting those port reactor bay tubes would have gone a lot better. NAH, this one requires some work. Not your every day run-o-the-mill design.
 

TangoJuliet

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I just went through your upscale build thread Gary. Really nice! Makes me want to build an upscale of the Trident. I built an original many years ago but never flew it before getting destroyed in a move.
 

Gary Byrum

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I just went through your upscale build thread Gary. Really nice! Makes me want to build an upscale of the Trident. I built an original many years ago but never flew it before getting destroyed in a move.
Tough break on the Trident Tango. Never built one of those. I did do a spin-off of it I call The Argus Transport. Much more involved building though. Works on the same principal but has some transitions and recessed gas chambers in the aft shroud.

DSCF2223.JPG


DSCF2281.JPG
 

LW Bercini

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It was Estes Rocket Plan #55, published in 1968 as a "stand-alone" plan.

I looked at my tattered copy of the plan, and cannot locate the designer's name anywhere on it.

Estes published a number of these "stand-alone" plans and included them as freebies with orders, and with mailings to regular customers.

It may have also been in MRN, but I have not looked. I do know that a rather fanciful version of it appeared on a MRN cover.

Estes had a much simplified and rather uninspiring kit version of SE in the mid-80s(?)
 
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Gary Byrum

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It was Estes Rocket Plan #55, published in 1968 as a "stand-alone" plan.
I looked at my tattered copy of the plan, and cannot locate the designer's name anywhere on it.
I do know that a rather fanciful version of it appeared on a MRN cover.
Now that makes sense. Estes does take credit for it. I guess whoever was designing for them is the responsible party.
That front cover you mention is in the link I provided above.
 

Tramper Al

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Now THAT was a long time ago. I remember as a kid drooling over this design and I'm still scratching my head as to how I came about the plans. My research does concur with your MRN comment. They skipped over plan #55 from Vol 8 #1 to Vol 8 #2, but there is reference to it. Vol 8 #1 shows a concept drawing on the cover, although it's not exactly the same design. Similar, but not. There's also some info in "Notes From The Boss" which seem to discuss this design. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, there is a big red boxed note stating the plans were available through some "clip-n-mail" page, which isn't in the document.
Thanks! I think you've got it, and I am able to find all those pieces in MRN Vol 8 No 1.

I know there were scores of these non-catalog kit plans released via MRN. And a few like Camroc Carrier later found their way into catalog and full kit production runs. The Starship Excalibur must have created quite a buzz even as a free set of plans, to develop a following and the Semroc tribute many years later. Most of the numbered MRN plans I think have not had nearly that kind of lasting popularity.
 
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