McCoy's Wonder Works - First fleet Rockets (1960's to mid 1970's)

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Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Jan 18, 2009
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Washington DC
Some have shown an interest in seeing some of my Vary early model rockets. As a teenager back in the 1960's I have very limited funds so I have no photos of my very first rockets back in 1963-65.

Once I got a job, it was much easier to document some of my early builds and flights, though most were b&w. Up until Vandals broke into my appartment storage unit and destroyed almost my entire fleet. As luck would have it my original Scale models (Saturn-V, Satrun-1b, Mercury-Redstone, and a few others were in the appartment waiting their next flight.
Since I was living in a small one bedroom & den appartment my work space was really quite limited. this 1967-1969 photo shows my bedroom work & parts stroage space in my closet.

1st Fleet Early Closet Shop_12-12-69.jpg

First Fleet-1a_Custom controller & 3 models_12-31-69.jpg

First Fleet-2a_Group shot_01-11-71.jpg

First Fleet-2b_OT-Goblin-Mark-Midget-Vostok_01-11-71.jpg

First Fleet-3a_1-0f-3 Saturn's group_02-20-73.jpg

First Fleet-3b_2-0f-3 partical group_02-20-73.jpg

First Fleet-3c_3-0f-3 partical group_02-20-73.jpg
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I have some individual black & white "Static" poloroid photos of these early Estes, Centuri, MPC & PMC Models which I'll add here a little later. Most I've re-created or remade in my current "2nd Fleet". That said sometimes it is fun to look back on how the same rockets were build back in the "Dark ages" and Golden Age of Model rocketry compared to how we built and finish our rockets today.

I've finished re-sizing all my "Static" rocket photos from both first and second fleets so after setting up the thread for my current second fleet I'll back-track to add some of the individual Black & white very old poloriod photos.

Alpha-1_1st Fleet (Mod-Roc)_04-03-71.jpg

Arcon-HI_1st Fleet 2-stage_04-03-71.jpg

Astrobee-D_1st Fleet Scale_05-19-72.jpg

Astron Farside-a_1st Fleet 3-stage_04-03-71.jpg

Astron FarSide-b_1st Fleet 4 stage ver_06-03-72.jpg

Astron Mark_1st Fleet K-2 (BT-30)_04-03-71.jpg

Astron Mark-II_1st Fleet K-2 (BT-30)_12-15-72.jpg

Beta 2-Stage_1st Fleet  18mm 2 stage_02-16-72.jpg

Birdie-a_Shuttlecock Odd-Roc_08-16-71.jpg
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Next 9 "First Fleet" b&w stills. and a couple in color.
One of the things I've done since getting out on my own has been to make my own launch equipment. I've always believed our launch equipment should be at least as interesting as the rocket Models we fly.

A couple notes: Constellation-1 was lost to the darn rocket eating trees after only 3 flights.

Falcon-1: This was my first glider attempt. I spent about a week pin-stripping and hand painting this Boost Glider. Unfortunately it never flew at all!
hand tossing it had a fine glide but when launched she went straight Up and then Straight down at motor casing ejection. It was flown 4 times but never transitioned to glide after the forth failed flight I have a super-8 movie of my boots stomping this glider into the ground.

Falcon-2: Was a great success! Built exactly the same way as Falcon-1, with the exception of NO balsa filler and NO added detailed pin-stripping or multi-color paint. Falcon-2 got two coats of gloss black. For it's first flight it was hand trimmed to do about 100ft circle with a tab of clay on the wingtip. Flown on a B6-2 motor the Glider had a beautiful straight up powered flight to about 250ft, transitioned into a great glide, made ONE complete 100-150 circle and caught a thermal which took the rocket heading due East while raising out of sight, heading for the eastern shore. It was the last Falcon I built until about 25years later when I down scaled the boost glider to Micor-Maxx.

Constellation-1_1st Fleet payload lofter_04-03-71.jpg

Constellation-2_1st fleet (2nd model)_12-12-72.jpg

Controller-1_1st custom controller & 3 models_12-31-69.jpg

Controller-2_with OT & Mod-Roc-Alpha b&w_04-03-71.jpg

Falcon-1_Pin striped BG b&w_05-12-71.jpg

Falcon-2_1st Fleet (2nd falcon) BG_12-18-72.jpg

Goblin-1_1st Fleet b&w_04-03-71.jpg

Goblin-2_liftoff Suitland Md (Comp. 12-23-71)_04-23-72.jpg

Gyroc-1_1st Fleet b&w_03-10-72.jpg
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Next 8 Static "First Fleet" photos.
All these 1st fleet photos are alphabetical rather then by date of construction as my current 2nd fleet and Micro fleets are numbered. Hope that doesn't confuse anyone. That said each is dated so their era can be easily identified.

Another minor point of intrest: These are all first generation Poloroid photos. one would take the photo pull it from the camera then wait 60seconds for it to develop after which the photo had to be coated with a thick goo applicator to perserve the photo. I'm sure you'll see some of the streaks from this applacation but that was the way it was back in the Dark ages LOL!

One of my all time favoite scale subject has and still is the Boeing Bomarc. My first attempt was Estes Mini-Bomarc in canadian Grey. As the years went by I've dicovered I really perfer the Bomarc Test flight Black, White and Phenolic Copper color scheme. Actaually the Phenolic raydome nose is not a copper color at all but in most scale photos it "appears more copper then anything else so that's what most go with.

Next is one of my favoite boost gliders. The Estes NightHawk BG. An outstanding Sport Glider, this one I added a Hawks bill to the glider and planned on feather detailing the wings but is was destroyed before I got to that stage:( While I do not have a NightHawk in my current 2nd fleet, I do have it one in the que for micro maxx building. Sooooo many rockets Soooo little time.

First Omage 2 stage and Cineroc Super-8 movie camera was a joy to build and fly. Over this models brief 3 year life if flew often on the old D13-0/D13-5 combination with and without the Cineroc. over those 3 year I collected about 12 Cineroc movies 11 of which were also lost in the break-in. The one that survives has been transferred to VHS..DOO now I need to transfer to a thumb drive:) as Luck would have it the original Cineroc camera was safely in the appartment went the rest of the Omage was in my storage unit. The Cineroc is still in working order today but I only have one film cartridge so it hasn't flown recording in about 30 years. It has flown on a Cloned Omage twice in fairly recent year just for fun.

Estes Orbital Transport intrigued me from it's introduction. This first fleet example flew sever times before being stomped into dust outside my appartment building by vandels.

Centuri Orion was one of those " Must Have" rockets in the early 70's, Flying on B and C motors it was on the heavy side but very impressive on the pad.

As I recall: My 2nd or 3rd PMC was the "Aurora" 1:144th scale Pan Am Space Clipper "Orion". This model has an off-set C6-3 only motor the extends outside the rear of the model more the 2/3rds of the motor. Very large clear .030" Lexan fins. This PMC flew very well until being lost in the break-in. For years I searched without much luck for a replacement until about 1983 when AirFix released their version which did not include the Pan-Am decals. I had to custom design and print my own on paper and glue them on the replacement model.

Last is the Centuri Payloader-II: Always a great flying payload model. back in the day it flew a number of electronic sensors and water capsules just to see how much mass I could lift with B & C motors.

Omaga 2 stage-a1_Payload & NC_03-16-72.jpg

Omaga-CineRoc-a2_w CineRoc_03-16-72.jpg

Omaga-CineRoc-a3_2 pic b&w pg_03-16-72.jpg

Orbital Transport_1st Fleet Estes best b&w_04-03-71.jpg


Pan Am Space Clipper Orion-1_1st Flt 144PMC b&w_01-06-72.jpg

Payloader II_1st Fleet Payload lofter b&w_04-03-71.jpg

Mini Bomarc-1_1st Fleet 48th scale b&w_07-17-72.jpg

NightHawk BG_1st fleet Glider_05-18-72.jpg
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Saturn-V: 1st Fleet 100th scale: Original Estes offering finished 05-17-1970. is still in my fleet today because it was stored inside my appartment between flying sessions. Finally retired after 139 flights in 1999.
Saturn-1B: 1st Fleet 1/70th Scale: Estes Original 4 motor cluster, and my first cluster attempt. it's first flight which only had 3 of the 4-C6-3 motors ignite caused me to investigate other ignition options, eventually discovering "Relay Ignition Systems". This discovery saved may a cluster ignition problem over the decades.

Saturn-V & 1B: refinished 04- 26 1979, When my Son decided he wanted to start building model rockets (age 9), most of the remaining rockets in my first fleet were well worn and needed a little sprucing up.

Estes intoduced the Mini-bute 13mm motors in 1972 and the first 3 rockets were the Screamer, Mosquito & Mini-Bertha.

Skydart SST: A very nice flying Pod ejecting Boost Glider.

Estes Skyhook: Another first fleet very fine flyer.

Centrui SST Shuttle: IMHO this is one of Centuri's very Best designs. without doubt it was one of my favorite designs and flying rockets.

Estes Starship Enterprise NCC-1701: StarTrac's flagship...well my kit came with a single weighted "extension probe" retainer hook which simply was not enough to keep the BT-50 from crimping under thurst doing a lot of damage to the underside of the Enterprise. After contacting Estes they sent me a new kit and explained the probe extension was designed to have two retainer hooks. anyway I still have my orignial Enterprise hanging in the basement looking more like the Enterprise after the Wrath-of-Kaun LOL!

Saturn-V_1st Fleet 100th scale b&w_05-17-70.jpg

Saturn-1B_1st Fleet 70th Scale b&w_02-01-72.jpg

Saturn-V_& 1B refurb'ed(Color)_04-26-79.jpg

Screamer_Mosquito, & Mini-Bertha b&w_07-15-72.jpg

Skydart SST_1st Fleet glider b&w _07-13-72.jpg

SST Shuttle_1st Fleet Centuri's Best b&w _01-28-72.jpg

Starship Enterprise-a_ NCC-1701 Front top(Estes)_78.JPG

Starship Enterprise-b_NCC-1701 Top_78.JPG

Starship Enterprise-c_NCC-1701 Starboard side_78.JPG

Starship Enterprise-d1_NCC-1701 4pic Damage pg_78.JPG
Last 8 rockets for First Fleet:
Estes Stinger: Starting off this page this BT-20 x 12.5" rocket is a fine 3f&NC kit. Nice flying standard motor model.

Centuri "Point": One of the first all cardstock model rocket. The Point is unique in that it becomes it's own chute by ejecting the motor casing teathered to the base ring.

Triad-a1: This model was designed and built to fly the very old NAR competition event "Quatrent" in a single flight rather then 4 flights. As a plesant side effect, the rocket give a smoke trail pattern that looked like the Blue Angles Bomb Burst maneuver when the 3 upper stages took off. Really KEWL flights.

Vostok: 1:144th Scale PMC: I really do not recall who's kit this was but it was a great Plastic Model Conversion. Flying on C6-3 motors only, it made 4 wonderful flights before meeting it's end under the feet of vandels.

Centrui Vulcan: The second most popular Cardstock design the Vulcan, a great flying Cardstock rocket.

Revell 1:48th Scale X-15: This first try at converting an X-15 was only partically successful. This D13-5 powered rocket made 10 flights with the Up flight being near perfect at ejection there as almost always a seperation with the heavily weighted nose section breaking away from the body. On flights 1 thru 5 the nose free fell luckly onto soft ground, on 6-10 a second small 6" Chute was added to the weighted nose. While it brought the nose down seperately it still seperated from the main body which was not the intent.

Last is the Centuri X-24 bug: this lifting body design should not be confused with the recent Quest Cardstock HL-20 Lifting body which does NOT fly well at all. The Centuri X-24 bug worked very well and had very nice glide duration flights.

That's it for my First Fleet Static photos. Perhaps at some future point I'll add some actual flight photos from back in the Golden Age of Rocketry LOL!

Stinger_1st Fleet b&w_02-16-72.jpg

The Point_1st Fleet b&w_04-15-72.jpg

Triad-1a_Clustered 3-2stage (7motor) b&w_02-04-72.jpg

Triad-1b_Clustered Staged topview b&w_02-04-72.jpg

Vostok_USSR PMC_04-03-71.jpg

Vulcan_1st Fleet Centuri b&w_07-25-72.jpg

X15_48th Scale PMC_03-05-72.jpg

X-24 bug_1st Fleet Centuri b&w_07-23-72.jpg