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Initiator001

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News from NARAM-62 is pretty scarce.

Can anyone report what was discussed at the Manufacturers' Forum Monday night?
 

Scott_650

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The NAR Youtube page has two video segments posted so far - ASP & Aerotech. ASP has more Black Brant variations coming in various engine sizes and some new MMX kits. Aerotech didn’t announce anything new - talked about the 24mm QJets, the neo-Enerjet 29mm F52, 18mm QJet B6s, long burn G motors, additional I motors and the new Quest 24mm powered kits.
 

Scott_650

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Along with the RTF New Shepard - due out, hopefully, by the end of November, Estes announced a standalone Astro Cam - the camera with some kind of mounting “straps“, not just the nose cone/cam assembly, also there will be additional Designer Series kits but no specifics were announced, the Super Mars Snooper release has slipped to August, Hobby Lobby is receiving a big shipment of their currently stocked items - delayed due to the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, big hint (wink, wink) that a licensed SpaceX model is coming Spring 2022 but nothing said about which rocket it’s going to be, another strong hint that, eventually, someday, we’ll see a C5-0 (or something like it) 18mm booster motor. And an item of interest to STEAM educators, general teachers and youth leaders - Estes is revising their educational materials and lesson plans.

Good stuff from Estes - it looks like they’re really focused on what they see as their core strengths - model rocketry, their heritage, and education. A big step up from the scattershot approaches of the recent past - no more being a “toy company that happens to sell rockets” or trying to be all things to all rocketeers.
 
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cerving

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Estes probably looked at their sales and decided that they'd sell more by concentrating on their repeat customers than the toy vendors (which nowadays is pretty much just WalMart). Good move, especially focusing on education.
 

Scott_650

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Some interesting stuff from eRockets/Semroc. Due to the shortage of balsa and it’s rising cost they’re transitioning from balsa nose cones to 3D printed nose cones so some of the OOP Semroc kits will be back. A Semroc standard sized Mars Snooper along with a bigger (than Estes future release) upsized Mars Snooper are coming. A new Semroc Pro upsized 29mm powered Cherokee is now available - Stickershock cut vinyl decals, screw on motor retainer, rail buttons and rip stop nylon chute included, retail $90. More Semroc Pro upsized kits to come. A version of the Hummingbird boost glider is coming but still in development. The upsized Orbital Transport is finally about to be released - they’re printing nose cones and finalizing the instructions. A nifty little rail button to launch lug adapter is now available in various sizes, including one that fits the old Aerotech square lugs. Oh, and a nice looking 3D printed sanding block similar in size to the OOP Great Planes Easy Touch is now available along with laser cut to size self-adhesive sandpaper in 220, 320 and 400 grit.

The move from balsa to 3D printed nose cones will be a very good thing - I have some of the same feelings about a nice, dense balsa cone as a lot of folks but with quality balsa being in short supply and having some real cost volatility going to SLA printed cones makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t seen how nice an SLA printed part can be you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully this also means that more of Carl’s classic Semroc designs can be brought back but we’re going to have to wait and see. Watch the video and see how nice the big Cherokee looks - I have a surplus of rockets and kits in that general size range but it’s a must buy for me - great looking kit!
 

turbofireball

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My local hobby shop got more info on the Blue Origin rocket. It is item #2198, and has a MSRP of $69.99 (same as the 1/200 Saturn V and 1/200 SLS). Strangely, the scale is listed as 1/66 not 1/200 as referred to in the Manufacturer's forum video. I attached their official image.
 

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turbofireball

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Estes probably looked at their sales and decided that they'd sell more by concentrating on their repeat customers than the toy vendors (which nowadays is pretty much just WalMart). Good move, especially focusing on education.
If Estes "could" get a half dozen items in Walmart, along with a smattering of engine packs, they would double their current yearly sales. You would be amazed at the quantity of items Walmart (and Target) can sell in a very short period of time.
 

5x7

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My local hobby shop got more info on the Blue Origin rocket. It is item #2198, and has a MSRP of $69.99 (same as the 1/200 Saturn V and 1/200 SLS). Strangely, the scale is listed as 1/66 not 1/200 as referred to in the Manufacturer's forum video. I attached their official image.
1/200 had to be a mistake.
 

afadeev

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Yes, because at 1:200 it would be a Micromaxx rocket (literally: 3.5" long).
Regardless of scale, it looks like you know what, with fins (which, really, should have been bigger and more rounded).
I am OK holding out till spring'22 for the SpaceX version.
Love the Super Mars Snooper.
 

cerving

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If Estes "could" get a half dozen items in Walmart, along with a smattering of engine packs, they would double their current yearly sales. You would be amazed at the quantity of items Walmart (and Target) can sell in a very short period of time.
The key thing is that they would double their SALES. WalMart isn't going to give Estes any margin on those sales... they'd be better off not hassling with it and concentrating on their core hobby/educational business, which undoubtedly generates a higher margin, and is probably a lot more fun too. That's what got the former owners into trouble... they went for a mass retail model, and it didn't work. I seem to recall that Montgomery Ward sold Estes kits too, back in the Damon Industries days... I got one of the Coldpower rockets cheap on a post-holiday sale once.
 

Initiator001

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The key thing is that they would double their SALES. WalMart isn't going to give Estes any margin on those sales... they'd be better off not hassling with it and concentrating on their core hobby/educational business, which undoubtedly generates a higher margin, and is probably a lot more fun too. That's what got the former owners into trouble... they went for a mass retail model, and it didn't work. I seem to recall that Montgomery Ward sold Estes kits too, back in the Damon Industries days... I got one of the Coldpower rockets cheap on a post-holiday sale once.
Estes direct sales to consumers is no more than 5%-10% of their sales.
Sure the margin is better but the company won't survive on that level of sales.

With the change in the past hobby sales model (Hobby manufacturers sell to hobby distributors, hobby distributors sell to retail stores, retail stores sell to general public) a large company like Estes needs to find new outlets for it's products.
Estes designs it's product to make a profit even if it is a small amount.

I have worked in retail on-and-off for nearly 40 years.
The comment about getting a Coldpower rocket cheap at a post-holiday sale is a perfect example.

The pandemic brought a whole bunch of new products into the market.
My company started carrying many types of hand sanitizer.
We were given a memo indicating that if the company only sold 30% of the inventory of one type of this item then we would break even.
The company sold 43%.
At that point every store could have thrown away the remaining inventory as the company already made it's money back and then some.
We just marketed it down to a little above cost and put it in the Clearance section. Eventually, what doesn't sell WILL be thrown out.

Your Coldpower sale purchase was probably the same situation.
Each store received X number of the item.
Once Y number of the item had been sold (i.e. purchase cost had been made back plus a certain amount of profit) the rest were market down to clear out the inventory and make room for new products.
 

rklapp

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The key thing is that they would double their SALES. WalMart isn't going to give Estes any margin on those sales... they'd be better off not hassling with it and concentrating on their core hobby/educational business, which undoubtedly generates a higher margin, and is probably a lot more fun too. That's what got the former owners into trouble... they went for a mass retail model, and it didn't work. I seem to recall that Montgomery Ward sold Estes kits too, back in the Damon Industries days... I got one of the Coldpower rockets cheap on a post-holiday sale once.
That’s not what Bill Stine is focused on. He wants the kits in Target/Walmart/HL to attract the kids so they grow up to be BARs like us who spend $1000+ on them.

When I saw the Astro kit at Target last Christmas, I wanted to stand there and explain to parents The Who, what, where, when so it actually gets used again and again.
 

cerving

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I realize the Estes' direct to consumer sales are very small... distributor sales are most of it, but distributors will only order what they think they can sell. What I'm saying is that a lot of their new products are aimed at the hobby sector, vs. the impulse/toy sector. That is a good thing... hobbyists spend more per purchase and keep coming back. The educational sector is really where the money is there to be made now... actively cater to the STEAM movement, you're not selling onesies and twosies but a whole bunch at a time. The toy business is brutal, I hope Bill can do a better job than the previous owners, I'm pretty confident that he can but if they try to turn Estes into a toy company they're going to go down hard.
 

rklapp

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I realize the Estes' direct to consumer sales are very small... distributor sales are most of it, but distributors will only order what they think they can sell. What I'm saying is that a lot of their new products are aimed at the hobby sector, vs. the impulse/toy sector. That is a good thing... hobbyists spend more per purchase and keep coming back. The educational sector is really where the money is there to be made now... actively cater to the STEAM movement, you're not selling onesies and twosies but a whole bunch at a time. The toy business is brutal, I hope Bill can do a better job than the previous owners, I'm pretty confident that he can but if they try to turn Estes into a toy company they're going to go down hard.
Considering that Bill has called the previous owners “robber barons”, there’s little chance of that.
 

rkoenn

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I don't know about overall Astrocam availability but I got mine from AC in April with no problem and have seen them on other online hobby shops available right now including eRockets which is selling them for $30. I finally got a good video last Sunday after 3 attempts where I did not read the instructions or had a rocket failure. It would be cool to have one with a universal mounting system to put it on other rockets. I'd like to get the lens out away from the rocket a little more than it is but once you READ the instructions and are careful using it it's great and easy and really fairly cheap.
 

rklapp

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I don't know about overall Astrocam availability but I got mine from AC in April with no problem and have seen them on other online hobby shops available right now including eRockets which is selling them for $30. I finally got a good video last Sunday after 3 attempts where I did not read the instructions or had a rocket failure. It would be cool to have one with a universal mounting system to put it on other rockets. I'd like to get the lens out away from the rocket a little more than it is but once you READ the instructions and are careful using it it's great and easy and really fairly cheap.
I've just been attaching the AC cam with two layers of masking tape. Haven't had it come off yet. Might look less ghetto with the clamp...

 
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