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AKPilot

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Does anyone know the history behind this company?

What I know is that I never see them at any national events. I never see the owners on any message boards. And, from what my LHS, tells me they sell and distribute via telephone; meaning they simply call LHS and ask them if they'll carry their products.

Who are the mystery owners and are they active in the hobby?
 

Pat_B

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I'm interested too. They have a few especially solid kits for beginners and it seems like they've never come out with any new ones in recent times.
 

MarkII

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I can't provide a detailed history of the company, especially its history prior to about the middle of this decade, other than to say that it was started in 1988 and that it appears to have always been a small outfit that produced a small number of varied but interesting LPR to MPR kits over the 20 years of its existence. I was not active in the hobby during the early to mid-1990's, but I am quite attracted to all of the kits in this 1994-95 catalog. The Landviper, the Dynamic Carrier and the Stealth Interceptor were apparently some of the more popular kits from that era. Yet by 1998, many of the largest kits were gone, and the company's total catalog had been pared down. The kits, for the most part, were also simpler in construction.

But even though they dropped all of their large kits, they had added two interesting two-stagers (Aztec and Sam-X), along with the Elite egg-lofter (one of the best of its kind to be sold as a sport rocket kit) and the very cool (to my eyes, at least) retro-styled Ion Pulsar.

The company added just a few new kits over the next eight years. Sometime during that period they introduced the Raven, a model that bore some resemblance to the discontinued Lamprey (but was smaller) and a more striking resemblance to the Estes Rogue, but was considerably larger than that model. They also added the scale-like ATW, the Serin, the Skybird payloader and the two-finned Tri-Star.

In 2006 (I think) Custom brought back a new version of the Sport that was 8" shorter (29" vs. 37") and wider (0.976" dia. vs 0.736" dia.) than the original version. During that same year, they dropped the Galileo.

In 2007, Custom introduced, for the first time, E2X-type kits that featured a plastic-molded fin can (another first for them), self-adhesive decals, and pre-colored body tubes in one kit. These included the Big Chief, Evil One, Screamer and the Sierra (the one with the colored tubes). They also introduced the 3FNC Game Over with self-adhesive decals, and changed the decals of the Fiesta to self-adhesive.

In late 2008, Custom introduced 7 new kits, including its first kits with 24mm engine mounts and its first ever kit with a 13mm diameter mount. The new kits are the scale-like S.L.V., the 6-finned Atomic and the elliptical-finned Zero Gravity. The brand-new Scavenger and the Liberty are large-diameter (BT-60) rockets with 24mm engine mounts. Custom also brought back the largest of its 1990's era models, the 6 foot plus long Equinox, but with a 24mm engine mount now. The also have a new, super-detailed 13mm model, the P.O.N.G.

Mark \\.
 

Gym_Class_Hero

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I've built a few of their models. They've got average quality parts, and some interesting designs. I've got the PONG and I'll post a build thread later.
 

RoyAtl

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I have the Serval -- a tube finned rocket that I really like, the TriStar, the Stealth Interceptor, and the Ion Pulsar. All were very nice kits.

I know that they provided a special kit for the NAR back in the early 90's.
 

MarkII

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Does anyone know if Andy Gnidziejko still runs the company?

(O. K., I give it a try; I think it is pronounced "Nud-SHAY-co." Maybe.)

Mark \\.
 

RangerStl

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I have the Serval -- a tube finned rocket that I really like, the TriStar, the Stealth Interceptor, and the Ion Pulsar. All were very nice kits.

I know that they provided a special kit for the NAR back in the early 90's.
The tube finned one is the Razor... Yellow, right?

That thing is AWESOME on a C6-5 and a streamer. It HAULS buttinski.
 

Boosterdude

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The tube finned one is the Razor... Yellow, right?

That thing is AWESOME on a C6-5 and a streamer. It HAULS buttinski.
I'll second that! I have one I fly all the time on C6-5 and it leaves the pad in a hurry.
 

MarkII

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The tube finned one is the Razor... Yellow, right?

That thing is AWESOME on a C6-5 and a streamer. It HAULS buttinski.
At one time, along with the Razor, there was the Serval, which was the one that Roy had.

Mark \\.
 

AKPilot

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You know, that Horizon of theirs looks pretty neat.
 

RangerStl

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No, Razor is a smaller tube finned rocket. Serval was BT-55 sized 18" main tube.
Well, it'd be cool if they brought that one back. I have another Razor I stole the mount out of and I'm thinking about making it a sacrificial 24mm min diameter. If it's stable with that D12 in the back...... :D
 

shreadvector

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In the very early days, when we had more local hobby shops around the Los Angeles area, I heard stories from hobby shop owners.

They bought the product once sinc eit was interesting and different. Then they kept getting repeat shipments and bills without placing any additional orders. Some of the sotre owners got really P'd-O.

I have NOT heard such stories in over a decade, so I will assume that practice is long abandoned (or that glitch in the shipping system is long fixed, whatever the case may be).

Anyway, has anyone else seen the two stage rocket that is unstable? As far as I can tell, the builders did not build them incorrectly and I have asked them to notify the maufacturer to help identify the problem and make corrections if needed. In the meatime, I know what to do: check stability visually (fins not in front of the c.g. is a key indicator), swing test as needed, add clay weight inside nose, etc. Our goal is to have everyone fly safely and successfully, so we provide free clay if needed.

Hey, look: a quick check of E.M.R.R. seems to indicate that they have INDEED responded to this feedback and now include clay nose weight in the kit. THANK YOU!!!!! http://www.rocketreviews.com/reviews/all/cus_samx.shtml
 
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AKPilot

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So if I hear everyone correctly, they're not actively on the rocket scene - as far as launches, national events, etc?

Not bad, just was wondering.
 

kjohnson

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Custom also brought back the largest of its 1990's era models, the 6 foot plus long Equinox, but with a 24mm engine mount now.
The Equinox always had a 24mm motor mount. At leaset the one I bought back in 2000 and used to fly on F12 reloads did.

kj
 

RoyAtl

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So if I hear everyone correctly, they're not actively on the rocket scene - as far as launches, national events, etc?

Not bad, just was wondering.
Never seen 'em at any of the seven NARAMs I've been to since 1990.
 

AKPilot

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This is really, and sincerely, interesting from a business perspective. I wonder how they keep their thumb on the pulse, if they're not active in a traditional sense (e.g. events, message boards, etc.).

I wonder if they simply launch at their local parks.
 

RoyAtl

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I think it'd be kinda easy to do so, just by watching what Estes puts out. Thousands of people have joined NAR over the years without attending a launch or contacting a section, and you can glean good information just from reading the magazine.

That said, they have had some contact with NAR, and other rocketeers over the years. One point of contact, as I said before, was some sort of commemorative rocket sometime during the mid 90's. Not sure if it was for NARTREK or NARCON or what. The egg capsule for their Elite Egglofter was the original Nova cone that Ed LaCroix had made for Apogee back in 1989 or so, so they either purchased the inventory from Ed, or from the guy who had Ellipse Rocketry.
 

shreadvector

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Do the plastic fin units look like the MRC units to anyone other than me?
 

Stymye

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In the very early days, when we had more local hobby shops around the Los Angeles area, I heard stories from hobby shop owners.

They bought the product once sinc eit was interesting and different. Then they kept getting repeat shipments and bills without placing any additional orders. Some of the sotre owners got really P'd-O.

I have NOT heard such stories in over a decade, so I will assume that practice is long abandoned (or that glitch in the shipping system is long fixed, whatever the case may be).

Anyway, has anyone else seen the two stage rocket that is unstable? As far as I can tell, the builders did not build them incorrectly and I have asked them to notify the maufacturer to help identify the problem and make corrections if needed. In the meatime, I know what to do: check stability visually (fins not in front of the c.g. is a key indicator), swing test as needed, add clay weight inside nose, etc. Our goal is to have everyone fly safely and successfully, so we provide free clay if needed.

Hey, look: a quick check of E.M.R.R. seems to indicate that they have INDEED responded to this feedback and now include clay nose weight in the kit. THANK YOU!!!!! http://www.rocketreviews.com/reviews/all/cus_samx.shtml
I know the Sam-X is squirrly if not built carefully or too heavy ,also I think the forward strakes add some crucial forward weight.I've built 2 of the older ones and had no problems.
 

dpower

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In the very early days, when we had more local hobby shops around the Los Angeles area, I heard stories from hobby shop owners.

They bought the product once since it was interesting and different. Then they kept getting repeat shipments and bills without placing any additional orders. Some of the store owners got really P'd-O...<snip>
My LHS in WI had a similar experience, and no longer carries them.
 

MarkII

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The Equinox always had a 24mm motor mount. At leaset the one I bought back in 2000 and used to fly on F12 reloads did.

kj
My bad...I had just obtained the parts that I would need to clone the Equinox and the Custom Engage, and had been thinking about both of them. When I was writing that post, I got the mounts of the two mixed up.

The other day, I was wondering what, besides the fins, was distinctive about the Custom Equinox that set it apart from the earlier original-version Estes Mean Machine. You just reminded me of a major difference. :D

Mark \\.
 

JRThro

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A LHS in Houston, Larry's Hobbies, carries a pretty sizeable number of Custom's parts, mostly plastic nose cones, couplers, centering rings, that sort of thing, plus some of the Custom kits. The parts seem just as good as the equivalent Estes parts, but they cost less.
 

Fishhead

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Hey, I want in on this.;)
I picked up a Stealth Interceptor on the way to NARAM 43 back in 2001, stuck a 24mm mount in it and flew it to death. I've still got it, but it's in rough shape and waiting for me to get busy building another body for the nose cone. Since that introduction I've picked up a Satellite Drone, Dynamic Carrier and Serval that are all ready to go if I remember to take them the next time I fly. I also bought a bunch of the big PNC-55 and PNC-60's directly from Custom a couple of years back with plans to build the Bullet, Lamprey, Lightning and Landviper. The Bullet and Lamprey are done and flown, but I kinda stalled out on the other two. Custom has had some cool kits in their past. For several years I kept a couple of their Razors in my range box to give to kids who wandered over and showed an interest in the hobby. They kind of got off track for a while there, but this latest bunch of releases has me interested all over again. Personally I think they'd do well to reissue some of the early kits. They had personality.:cyclops:
 

bob jablonski

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They did a NAR 35th aniversary kit for a fundraiser.
I think the name was Applause 35 or something like that.
Mr. Bob
Starlight dude
 

kelltym88

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The 94-95 catalog mentioned earlier had some fantastic kits, Dynamic Carrier, Landviper, Satellite Drone, Stealth Interceptor, Lightning, and so on. And then one day, they were all gone and all they sold were simple skill level 1 and 2 kits. I asked them once why and they told me, because they didn't sell well.


The Dynamic Carrier is a great flier, uh oh, I feel an upscale coming on...
 

EMRR

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I remember reading this article in Sport Rocketry, but no longer have it.

Custom Rockets A Very Custom Rocket Company
Author: Talento, Joseph L. Source: SR; Jan/Feb, 1998, Vol. 41, No. 1, page 39.
 

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