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New Estes 3” Der Big Red Max coming soon!!

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RocketTree

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The only one review of the Der Big Red Max on Estes site so far, mentions something about each fin being 3 separate pieces. Any idea what that is all about?
 

Scott_650

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The only one review of the Der Big Red Max on Estes site so far, mentions something about each fin being 3 separate pieces. Any idea what that is all about?
******CORRECTION******
Too close to lunch - definitely had a real brain cramp - clearly three piece fins, not layered fins!!

From Estes fan FB group member Paul Wolaver’s unboxing pictures you can see that the fins are apparently made up of three layers of balsa wood. Not sure what the “reviewer” on the Estes website expected - Estes has used layered construction for fins before for bigger rockets: the Mega Mosquito, the 4” PSII MDRM, PSII Super Big Bertha all had layered fins and there may have others as well. I’d see this as, if you’ll pardon the cliche, more of a feature than a bug - if we can’t have actual plywood this at least let’s us make our own 😉
40495D02-E7C8-4503-ABB3-C1057097056D.jpeg
 
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NOLA_BAR

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From Estes fan FB group member Paul Wolaver’s unboxing pictures you can see that the fins are apparently made up of three layers of balsa wood. Not sure what the “reviewer” on the Estes website expected - Estes has used layered construction for fins before for bigger rockets: the Mega Mosquito, the 4” PSII MDRM, PSII Super Big Bertha all had layered fins and there may have others as well. I’d see this as, if you’ll pardon the cliche, more of a feature than a bug - if we can’t have actual plywood this at least let’s us make our own 😉View attachment 447846
Don’t know. Looks more like the fins are made of sections of 1/8” balsa, instead of actual layers. The 3 fins are single 1/8” thickness using sections.
 

Scott_650

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Don’t know. Looks more like the fins are made of sections of 1/8” balsa, instead of actual layers. The 3 fins are single 1/8” thickness using sections.
Yup - lost my mind just for a minute - must be time for lunch, my brain is a bit fuzzy!
 

tjgray693599

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Hmm, I need a laser cutter to make my own plywood fins and centering rings.
 

BEC

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******CORRECTION******
Too close to lunch - definitely had a real brain cramp - clearly three piece fins, not layered fins!!

From Estes fan FB group member Paul Wolaver’s unboxing pictures you can see that the fins are apparently made up of three layers of balsa wood. Not sure what the “reviewer” on the Estes website expected - Estes has used layered construction for fins before for bigger rockets: the Mega Mosquito, the 4” PSII MDRM, PSII Super Big Bertha all had layered fins and there may have others as well. I’d see this as, if you’ll pardon the cliche, more of a feature than a bug - if we can’t have actual plywood this at least let’s us make our own 😉View attachment 447846
I had the same reaction to that review....but with this picture, the story is quite different.

This goes into the "what were they thinking?" bucket. For one thing, a 3 inch DRM would be close to a 2x upscale and so the fins would need to be ~1/4 inch thick, which would lend itself perfectly to the Mega Mosquito/Super Big Bertha approach. If these are the whole fins then I'm wondering, more than a little, how they will hold up on a 14+ ounce model. And they'll look too thin. All of this gives me pause, even if none of the other things folks have been complaining about in this thread bother me at all. The idea of setting the model up to take bigger/stronger motors than the 29mm Estes BP motors (no motor block, so relying on a masking tape thrust ring on the Estes motors, like SBB and Star Orbiter) and having single layer 1/8 inch thick fins seems to be a conflict, to say the least.

That said, I keep hearing balsa is really hard to get right now and I imagine doing the 1/8 inch core with 1/16 inch skins thing I'd more expect (again, see Mega Mozzie or Super Big Bertha) would have made it hard to get this one to market.

And I can see the need for sections if wide balsa stock is hard to come by. With the segments, the pieces fit on 4 inch wide sheets. (width clarified after watching James' unboxing video further down).

Rich, have you priced 1/64th ply lately? :eek:
 
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Philip Tiberius D.

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I’ve got mine (arrived on time even with the best efforts of the USPS) in the build pile, dropped a note to Stickershock23 for better decals. Waiting to see what goodies VanderBurn comes up with but I’ve got 1/4 Basswood and balsa sitting in the garage. Looking to replace the plastic parachute as well... For all the hype over this release it seems Estes went with bottom dollar components.
 

rharshberger

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I had the same reaction to that review....but with this picture, the story is quite different.

This goes into the "what were they thinking?" bucket. For one thing, a 3 inch DRM would be close to a 2x upscale and so the fins would need to be ~1/4 inch thick, which would lend itself perfectly to the Mega Mosquito/Super Big Bertha approach. If these are the whole fins then I'm wondering, more than a little, how they will hold up on a 14+ ounce model. And they'll look too thin. All of this gives me pause, even if none of the other things folks have been complaining about in this thread bother me at all. The idea of setting the model up to take bigger/stronger motors than the 29mm Estes BP motors (no motor block, so relying on a masking tape thrust ring on the Estes motors, like SBB and Star Orbiter) and having single layer 1/8 inch thick fins seems to be a conflict, to say the least.

That said, I keep hearing balsa is really hard to get right now and I imagine doing the 1/8 inch core with 1/16 inch skins thing I'd more expect (again, see Mega Mozzie or Super Big Bertha) would have made it hard to get this one to market.

And I can see the need for sections if wide balsa stock is hard to come by. With the segments, the pieces fit on 3 or 4 inch wide sheets.

Rich, have you priced 1/64th ply lately? :eek:
I have not priced it lately, but years ago bought a half sheet (4'×4') so I might still have enough to do one set of 3" DBRM fins.
 

Scott_650

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I’ve got mine (arrived on time even with the best efforts of the USPS) in the build pile, dropped a note to Stickershock23 for better decals. Waiting to see what goodies VanderBurn comes up with but I’ve got 1/4 Basswood and balsa sitting in the garage. Looking to replace the plastic parachute as well... For all the hype over this release it seems Estes went with bottom dollar components.
I’m not sure the component choices were strictly a balance sheet decision - balsa prices have really gone up and availability has gone down so using the size sheet for the fins they did could have been their only choice, there have been several builders of the past 4” MDRM who related they’d rather have a self-stick decal instead of a water slide for the big skull and bones wrap - but as for the chute, yeah, it really should’ve been printed nylon, not plastic. As for the card stock centering rings that’s in line with the last two bigger diameter PSII kits so I’m sure that’s their current design philosophy and they’re sticking with it.

For me I’d rather have the 3” Max as it is than no Max at all but I wonder if the leadership at Estes ever considered releasing their own premium option? Would that even be a possible choice for them to have an options package of say layered construction fins, a nylon chute and water slide decals labeled “For Advanced Builders”?
 

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This kit may represent some new realities for material availability and cost. Interesting times. I was never interested in any Red Max but I almost want to get this one, build it stock, and see how it holds up.
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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I’m not sure the component choices were strictly a balance sheet decision - balsa prices have really gone up and availability has gone down so using the size sheet for the fins they did could have been their only choice, there have been several builders of the past 4” MDRM who related they’d rather have a self-stick decal instead of a water slide for the big skull and bones wrap - but as for the chute, yeah, it really should’ve been printed nylon, not plastic. As for the card stock centering rings that’s in line with the last two bigger diameter PSII kits so I’m sure that’s their current design philosophy and they’re sticking with it.

For me I’d rather have the 3” Max as it is than no Max at all but I wonder if the leadership at Estes ever considered releasing their own premium option? Would that even be a possible choice for them to have an options package of say layered construction fins, a nylon chute and water slide decals labeled “For Advanced Builders”?
Honestly the best improvements I’ve seen to the Estes lineup are the clones from Toby @ VanderBurn Rockets. If I was Estes I’d bring him on to make a new Pro Series - PSIII or something. I have his 4” MDRM in my build pile as well. If you haven’t checked his work out it’s...
 

rharshberger

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Honestly the best improvements I’ve seen to the Estes lineup are the clones from Toby @ VanderBurn Rockets. If I was Estes I’d bring him on to make a new Pro Series - PSIII or something. I have his 4” MDRM in my build pile as well. If you haven’t checked his work out it’s...
Estes is making their kits to fly with Estes motors, Vander-Burn upgrades would make the kit difficult if not impossible to fly on Estes BP motors. Toby offers a great product to a select crowd.
 

Scott_650

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Honestly the best improvements I’ve seen to the Estes lineup are the clones from Toby @ VanderBurn Rockets. If I was Estes I’d bring him on to make a new Pro Series - PSIII or something. I have his 4” MDRM in my build pile as well. If you haven’t checked his work out it’s...
This kit may represent some new realities for material availability and cost. Interesting times. I was never interested in any Red Max but I almost want to get this one, build it stock, and see how it holds up.
Toby’s clones and upgrades look like quality stuff - I’ve been eyeing that big Cherokee now for a while, it looks really good. But, and I know I’ve said this before in various conversations, as of today, if a bigger rocket can’t fly safely per Estes requirements on one of the 29mm BP motors they won’t be releasing it.

No matter what we in the enthusiasts community want to believe we simply aren’t Estes primary customers - which connects to Samb’s point about cost. The distributors and big retailers are truly Estes primary customers - if they won’t buy a kit at the wholesale price and sell it at the list price (or the discounted price - kind of confusing) and make the money they need to in order to justify the transaction - then Estes can’t bring that kit to market.

This thread is a great example - this is probably the largest active rocketry enthusiast group on the internet (yes, there are Facebook pages with more members but can you count those? Joining a FB page is a bit different than joining this forum in terms of commitment to the subject matter) and roughly 40 people have participated. Compared to the numbers of kits that Estes most likely sells we’re probably on the order of a rounding error.

Not that the enthusiast community isn’t important, my favorite analogy is that we’re the “yeast” in the rocketry recipe - without us keeping things going and pushing for new stuff the rocketry world would get moribund pretty quickly - not much call for bigger/better/newer/improved stuff if you’re just selling 3/4FNC rockets with bold new graphics and multipacks of B4 motors. Without us it’s highly unlikely that we’d see the bigger Max, the Saturn 1b, the future release upsized Mars Snooper, the C5 motor bring back, or things like the Designer Series Orange Bullet coming from Estes. But I still wish the new Max had a nylon chute!
 

SkyFire

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I have been looking at this rocket with interest.
2 1/2 months ago I ordered a Red FiberMAX from AMWPro-X. Never got it.
So, I decided to piece together a copy of the Estes Mega Der Red Max.
Got a nosecone and body tube from Estes, fins from Rocketry Works, 54mm motor tube, etc. from Apogee, decals from Sticker Shock.

Red Max body tube.png
 

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BEC

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Just for grins I whipped up a quick unboxing video featuring the new Der Big Red Max kit. Check it out here:


James
Thanks for that. I agree with all your thoughts about the choices made for the kit and the reasons behind them....though I'm still a little concerned about the fins' durability on a model of that size.

I LOVE the history stuff....I'd completely forgotten about that Monogram car, but remembered it as soon as you showed it. I can Wayne Kellner having seen that kit either in a shop or in hobby industry publications and being inspired to create the original Red Max.

And +1 for recommending Callie Graphics as another source of quality vinyl markings. I have worked with for some time (including before coming back to rockets) and have always been more than satisfied. Mark at Stickershock of course does great work as well, as you suggested.
 

mo2872

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Oh man, forgot about that Revel kit........never had it, but I did have the Hot Wheels car!
 

Scott_650

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I never built the Red Baron show car model but wish I had - that big M-B 6 cylinder engine is just too cool!]
 

Initiator001

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I’ve got mine (arrived on time even with the best efforts of the USPS) in the build pile, dropped a note to Stickershock23 for better decals. Waiting to see what goodies VanderBurn comes up with but I’ve got 1/4 Basswood and balsa sitting in the garage. Looking to replace the plastic parachute as well... For all the hype over this release it seems Estes went with bottom dollar components.
Remember, Estes sells this kit to hobby distributors/vendors for $22-$23 each. There is probably $7-$8 parts cost including instructions and packaging. Then comes shipping costs, overhead, insurance, etc. It's amazing that Estes can stay in business let alone turn a profit.
 

Scott_650

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I had to have this model when it came out in 1968! Was fun to build and oozed the COOL factor!
View attachment 448318
1611851935458.jpeg

******Pointless Correction!*****
I built the Firecracker, not the later release Fire Iron - I remember the funky deep dish wheels.

Absolutely no relevance to a discussion about the Max but this is the only Tom Daniel design I remember building as a kid - though I think I did a Model A truck model he did for Monogram but I can’t find a picture online of that kit. Might just have to find a Red Baron kit and build my first plastic model in over 40 years...
 

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James Duffy

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Two of these kits are now in process here, and a call was made to skin the fins for cosmetic reasons. One set has been covered in 1/64"-thick ply attached with Titebond II, and the other has been skinned with .010"-thick styrene sheet attached with 3M Hi-Strength 90 spray contact adhesive. Importantly, the difficult-to-store 12" x 24" sheets of ply and styrene are now gone from my storeroom.
IMG_5027D.JPG
Both sets look great, and were easy to do. The set with the styrene fascia is going to be easier to finish, as it will not require and additional surface work. The ply-skinned set is clearly stronger, but will require a round of diluted wood filler to fill the grain.

The styrene set will end up on a single-stage model, while the ply set will end up on my planned two-stage version. An out-of-the-box set with no skin would be plenty strong for a stock build.

James
 
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