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danieljh14

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I have been building model rockets for many years but found this website a few months ago. All of my kits are Estes, except 2 Thrustline kits that I can't wait to build. I've noticed many other great rocket manufacturers listed here and am looking for suggestions as to what kits from those vendors that I should look into buying.
Most of my Estes kits are level 1 and 2. I'm not opposed to harder kits but I enjoy simple builds. I have a wide range of styles so I'm not opposed to any style/design. I'm only looking to fly LPR so nothing larger then D power. I have not stepped into the land of clusters either but have looked at a couple 2 engine kits. Also I would prefer it not cost more then $15-20 a kit cheaper is better.
What kits do you recommend from any of the fine vendors out there? What's your favorite non Estes LPR kit?
 

gpoehlein

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If you are talking about learning to cluster, I have two words for you: Deuce's Wild (Fliskits). At $18.95 it is comfortably within your price range and it is a fantastic flyer. I've built one but haven't had a chance to paint or fly it yet - however one of our NAR chapter members flys one a lot and it is a great performer.

Another possibility is to pick up an Estes Big Bertha and adapt it for 3 engines - just go to Jimz and download the instructions for the Ranger. You can use those to change the Bertha over to three engines, and you can either add the payload compartment or leave that end Bertha.

Another favorite of mine is the Alpha - how about upscaling that bird? You can kitbash a Stormcaster into a BT-60 Alpha quite easily (shorten the BT and give it new fins), or you can pick up an Eliminator and kitbash it into a Maxi-Alpha. If you do the latter, do yourself a favor and make the motor mount 3.75" long - you can always adapt it down to a D, but the longer motor tube gives you more options.

Hope these suggestions help!
 

EMRR

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May I suggest you stop by EMRR and take a look at the many kits that would interest you.

Try some of these searches:

LPR (Low Power), Futuristic, FOK (kits), 18mm, -Estes (not Estes)
"lpr+futuristic+fok+18mm+-estes"

or

LPR (Low Power), Scale, FOK (kits), 24mm, -Estes (not Estes)
"lpr+scale+fok+24mm+-estes"

you can add a minus (-) to elminate certain types, like clusters, or scale.

Try some favorites: stubby or longneck or ufo or oddroc

Have fun!
 

chanstevens

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If you follow the "archive" link above, and search for "recommended" and "vendors" you'll probably stumble across one of the dozen or so threads similar to this that come up every year or so.

In general, once you stray from Estes and Quest, both of which are fine but which are safely mass-market, you'll find scads of smaller cottage industry, mom & pop vendors that each have their own niches, many of which offer very unusual and innovative designs. I've personally done business with more than 20 different vendors, and have virtually zero bad experiences. Just about any name you come across in this forum, if they still exist today, is going to be good. It's an amazing group of people in this hobby, which is why I continue to throw my money at it.

That said, I'll run the risk of ticking off many fine vendors I'm overlooking, but the main candidates that come to mind from your open-ended request would be fliskits.com, semroc.com or any of several dealers that carry Sunward kits. Those will each open up doors to a decent variety of kits (collectively over a hundred). The vendors I've overlooked are more likely to have great stuff too, but maybe only half a dozen or so kits or much more specialized. Rocketflite, for example, offers a really sweet futuristic design and a great glider, but that's 2 kits. Sirrius has a few Interceptor-like designs in various sizes plus one of the finest Saturn V's on the market (HPR though), but also specialized. Dr. Zooch kits are really neat, scale-like accuracy and almost through optical illusion both easy to build and highly detailed, but if you aren't into scale, the 15-20 different kits he's got wouldn't be of much interest. Etc., etc. etc.

Start with Flis, Smeroc, Sunward for the "one shop has 'em all" place to dip your toe in the water, then take as many of those other paths less traveled to explore their respective specialties. You'll find the journey well worth it.

And, as Nick pointed out, feel free to troll rocketreviews.com for extensive independent reviews/experiences on thousands of products. The huge majority are all rated in the 4-5 range on a 5-scale, because for the most part we in the hobby rarely have a bad experience with the kits we're buying. You really have to work pretty hard at it to find a product or vendor that isn't worth dealing with.
 

cjl

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Well, as a Certified Deuce-A-Holic (tm), I have to second the recommendation for the Fliskits Deuces Wild. It's a fairly simple kit, as they go, but it does involve more than the basic estes kits (for example, a balsa sheet and a fin pattern is provided rather than precut fins), and it's a great flyer. The smoke trails it leaves are quite neat too. Alternatively, the Fliskits Corona is a fun ring fin rocket, and the Fliskits Frick and Frack is perhaps the most unique multistager on the market (can you tell I like fliskits yet?).

Alternatively, if you want to try scale, Dr Zooch has some excellent small scale models of various rockets, including just about every saturn ever made. They slightly exceed your budget (~$25 or so), and are harder to build than the Fliskits mentioned above, but they are excellent kits. Also look at Squirrel Works and Apogee. Apogee actually stocks quite a few kits from Sunward, Semroc and Quest as well as their own kits, and their service is second to none (of course, having dealt with all of the vendors mentioned in this post, I would not hesitate to order from any one of them - all of them have flawless customer service).
 

Handeman

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My suggestion would be Pemberton Technology's Kraken, or any of his other 24mm powered models. It's a cool tube fin rocket in 24mm. I've flown my on C11 to E28. It doesn't use a thrust ring or motor clip so you get some HPR type experience when installing motors.

If you don't want that one then I would suggest something with a 24mm motor size. You want to stick with LPR for now, but rockets like the Kraken make it very easy to step up to MPR with SU motors or the 24/40 composite motors. Sooner or later you'll be at a launch on a perfect day (NO wind) and a vendor with a huge selection of MPR motors and you will get the urge to try the composite E or F motor. Might as well have a rocket on hand that can take it.
 

AKPilot

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Daniel, there's been some really solid suggestions here, from going to our TRF archives to going to Nick's EMRR website and choosing.

To be honest, you're going to receive a lot of answers here. If 10 people respond you're probably going to get 15 different responses. LOL!

Take your time, review the kits that are out there, and find something that's fun and may appease you. Just have fun with it, there's no hurry.

I'd suggest you also look up NAR's NARTREK program to assist your skill development. It's a great program that takes you on a progression path. There's no rush, no timeframes involved, etc.

I'd also recommend that you start to accomplish things like filling in spirals, replacing shock cords with kevlar, find kits that have through-the-wall fins, learn how to sand, primer, sand, primer, sand, paint, future floor finishes, etc. Just start developing the skills now that will have your rockets last for decades to come.

Again, just have fun and enjoy the ride. . .
 

DAllen

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I see you are in Greenville, MI. That's just north of Grand Rapids IIRC and not real far from Muskegon. There is a new club flying there over the summer:

http://www.muskegonrocketclub.com/

They use what is being hailed as the best flying field in all of Michigan and probably all of the Midwest. I would recommend seeing some rockets in person and asking around what people like to build. That's a touch over an hour for you and well worth the drive IMHO.

I also recommend making the journey down to Three Oaks this winter to come fly with us. See signature for link.

I have found that most successful brands out there are good at making kits and you really can't go wrong with them. Here are some of the brands I've built Quest, Estes, Semroc, Starlight, Fliskits...They are all pretty good. The Deuces Wild also get's my vote. It was a hoot to build.

-Dave
 

Bill P

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I see you are in Greenville, MI. That's just north of Grand Rapids IIRC and not real far from Muskegon. There is a new club flying there over the summer:

http://www.muskegonrocketclub.com/

They use what is being hailed as the best flying field in all of Michigan and probably all of the Midwest. I would recommend seeing some rockets in person and asking around what people like to build. That's a touch over an hour for you and well worth the drive IMHO.

I also recommend making the journey down to Three Oaks this winter to come fly with us. See signature for link.

I have found that most successful brands out there are good at making kits and you really can't go wrong with them. Here are some of the brands I've built Quest, Estes, Semroc, Starlight, Fliskits...They are all pretty good. The Deuces Wild also get's my vote. It was a hoot to build.

-Dave
Muskegon Michigan Area Rocketry (MMAR)'s website has changed. The active and correct one is:


http://www.mmarocket.com/index.htm
 

Green Arrow

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I have been building model rockets for many years but found this website a few months ago. All of my kits are Estes, except 2 Thrustline kits that I can't wait to build. I've noticed many other great rocket manufacturers listed here and am looking for suggestions as to what kits from those vendors that I should look into buying.
Most of my Estes kits are level 1 and 2. I'm not opposed to harder kits but I enjoy simple builds. I have a wide range of styles so I'm not opposed to any style/design. I'm only looking to fly LPR so nothing larger then D power. I have not stepped into the land of clusters either but have looked at a couple 2 engine kits. Also I would prefer it not cost more then $15-20 a kit cheaper is better.
What kits do you recommend from any of the fine vendors out there? What's your favorite non Estes LPR kit?

May I suggest the following vendors:

Fliskits ---- Excellent kits and challenging

Sunward ----- Has similar kits and challenge

The Launch pad ---- These are also challenging with military styles
 

cjl

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Not all fliskits are challenging. They have a nice range from quite simple (ThingAMaJig, for example) to rather frighteningly complicated (USS Grissom).
 

danieljh14

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Thanks so far. I am kinda looking more for specific kits from any of those vendors you have talked about.
So maybe what you think the best seller or most popular rocket from Fliskits, Sunward, etc are, or what your favorite kit from those companies are.
 

dedleytedley

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I have to recommend the Dynastar Snarky.It's D-powered but is still a good park flier and performs well in windy conditions. It is an interesting build, has good instructions and comes with a jig for setting the wings. Mine has survived a lawn dart and a tumble recovery. The only flaw in the kit is the oversized parachute, you could cut a spill hole in it or replace it with an 18 inch chute, as I did. Ted

dynastar snarky Liftoff!.jpg
 

Green Arrow

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Thanks so far. I am kinda looking more for specific kits from any of those vendors you have talked about.
So maybe what you think the best seller or most popular rocket from Fliskits, Sunward, etc are, or what your favorite kit from those companies are.

I have a Flis kits Deuces wild it is a canted 2 motor cluster. I want to add the Tres to my collection also, it is a 3 canted motor cluster. I have the 3 motor cluster Richter Recker which is 6 or 7 ft tall. I made an upscale of the Deuces Wild which is a "Crayon rocket" and flies on 2 canted D motors.

I have the Preseus II from Launch Pad...It is a 2 motor cluster rocket.

I want to get the Sunward Skybender rocket in my fleet.
 

Green Arrow

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The Avatar of "cjl"'s posting is a picture of an upscale of the Flis Kits Deuces Wild rocket.
 

troj

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What kits do you recommend from any of the fine vendors out there? What's your favorite non Estes LPR kit?
Based on personal experience with their products, anything from Squirrel Works, FlisKits or Semroc, and you'll be happy with it.

As far as a personal favorite, that's still in production?

Squirrel Works Firebird SST - http://www.squirrel-works.com/catalog/firebird/firebird.html

It's at the upper end of your desired price range, and may be a little bit more challenging than what you've built thus far, but that's not a bad thing. The instructions are really good, and Don provides jigs to help with alignment of some of the trickier parts.

There are other vendors out there that are also reported to make great products; I just don't have personal experience with them. One who comes to mind, who a friend has a LOT of stuff from, is Sunward Aerospace.

-Kevin
 

brianc

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...looking for suggestions as to what kits from those vendors that I should look into buying.
...Also I would prefer it not cost more then $15-20 a kit cheaper is better.
What kits do you recommend from any of the fine vendors out there? What's your favorite non Estes LPR kit?
As mentioned, the Fliskits Duece's Wild is by far, your best bet for that jump
into clustering.

I'm surprised noone has mentioned specific kits from Semroc yet! They have many challenging and
unique kits that fit your under $20 requirement. The Tau Zero would
be one of the top on my list.

And for a bit of fun, try the "My Boid", you never know what version
you'll get!
 

dr wogz

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I woudl say "buy something on special"

ther are always a few kits, somewhere on special, mark down, or with a discount code or coupon. let that be your deciding factor, then judge based on the picture on the box (packet)..

I've bought a few kits that were "just too cool to have" and turned out to be mediocure / lost interest. Others that were boring on the box tunred out to be pretty sweet builds..

Sometimes a boring rocket becomes a love with the right paint job or theme. Some rockets are just a build to DO that amazing paint scheme, and to learn some nifty painting techniques.
 
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