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

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John Taylor

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My local hobby shop got some new Estes news today!
#9721 Der Big Red Max
This is the 3” upscale kit shown at the NARAM manufacturer’s forum earlier this year.
Pro Series II using E16-4 and F16-6 engines.
Image attached!!
Not much of a Pro Series if you ask me.
It has wimpy balsa for the fins, paper card stock centering rings, rubber band shock cord. and a plastic chute. O and did I mention stickers instead of water slides.
Personally only parts I would keep would be tubes and the nose cone. Everything else would be upgraded. If you can't fab your own,
Vanderburn Rocketry has an upgrade kit for plywood centering rings and fins.
Then get a nylon chute and real shock cord along with StickerShock decals and you would have a nice kit.
 

John Taylor

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The PSII builder kits were really good rockets. And if Estes can produce motors that would lift similar rockets again I’d say they’d probably make similar kits again. But let’s not let nostalgia color things, when the big PSII kits came out they didn’t sell in near the numbers that Estes parent company projected - that’s why we, rocketry hobby enthusiasts (as important to them as we are, we’re not Estes core market), spent several years buying out their stock at radically discounted prices. The reason you and I ended up with multiple Leviathans, Partizons and Ventrises (Ventri?) in our stashes is because Hobbico had a big pile of unsold kits so selling those kits at pennies on the dollar helped them buy some time before the bankruptcy. Of all the PSII kits I wish I’d grabbed a Nike Smoke before the supply ran out - but not enough to pay a premium for one now, there’re just too many other similar rockets out there for similar money that interest me. For me, I’d rather Estes be Estes and cook up stuff like the coming in 2021upsized Mars Snooper, Super Big Bertha, Protostar and the rereleased C5 motor rather than try to compete with LOC, Madcow, etc...
Cosmodrome Rocketry has a nice Nike Smoke rocket kit for a very reasonable price.
 

John Taylor

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The PSII builder kits were really good rockets. And if Estes can produce motors that would lift similar rockets again I’d say they’d probably make similar kits again. But let’s not let nostalgia color things, when the big PSII kits came out they didn’t sell in near the numbers that Estes parent company projected - that’s why we, rocketry hobby enthusiasts (as important to them as we are, we’re not Estes core market), spent several years buying out their stock at radically discounted prices. The reason you and I ended up with multiple Leviathans, Partizons and Ventrises (Ventri?) in our stashes is because Hobbico had a big pile of unsold kits so selling those kits at pennies on the dollar helped them buy some time before the bankruptcy. Of all the PSII kits I wish I’d grabbed a Nike Smoke before the supply ran out - but not enough to pay a premium for one now, there’re just too many other similar rockets out there for similar money that interest me. For me, I’d rather Estes be Estes and cook up stuff like the coming in 2021upsized Mars Snooper, Super Big Bertha, Protostar and the rereleased C5 motor rather than try to compete with LOC, Madcow, etc...
Vanderburn Rocketry have a lot of PS2 clones that are exact copies of the old Estes kits. They use genuine Estes parts and upgraded parts where it counts.
Very all inclusive and very reasonable prices. I have 5 of his kits.
Very high quality.
I could not recommend them higher!
 

Scott_650

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Now that I have my Estes 3” PSII DBRM in hand here’s a few thoughts. If you’re looking for the return of the mid-2010s PSII kits this is not the rocket for you - there are plenty of other vendors who will happily sell you a MPR/HPR 2-4” kit, including Toby Vanderbeek with an improved version of the Mega Der Red Max - this is not one of those rockets. The Big Max is a very good LPR/MPR kit, not perfect by any stretch, but very good. The 3 piece fins wouldn’t be my first choice but the balsa and laser cutting of my fin set is good quality and well done. The body tube is heavier than regular Estes Euclid sourced paper tubes with cleanly cut fin slots - I haven’t checked the fit of the fins but if it’s typical of Estes TTW slots they’re on the snug size - as preferred since opening up the slots is preferable to filling oversized ones. The nose cone is a lovely rendition of the PNC-60AH cone, nicely molded though it does have the infamous PNC-3000A “Big Daddy” style shoulder that some folks attribute the BD’s tendency for lawn darting to. The accessory pack has the well made Estes 29mm threaded motor retainer, plenty of clay nose weight, the ubiquitous Estes rubber shock cord and trifold mount and big tube style launch lugs.

Now the stuff that really seems to be causing consternation - the plastic chute and self-stick decals. Chute first - it’s a heavy, almost vinyl-like plastic with the classic skull and bones printing. Looks good but I won’t deny I’d much prefer it was nylon rather than plastic - I won’t be using mine in cold weather for sure and will probably swap it out for a homemade chute kludged up from a cheapo cloth novelty pirate flag. It appears perfectly serviceable and definitely heavier duty than a standard Estes chute but a nylon one would’ve been a great addition. The decals don’t quite reach the almost vinyl level of the Quest Advanced Rocketry kits’ self-stick decals but do appear better than Estes standard self-sticks - I’ll call them a serviceable near miss. Some enthusiast/advanced builders will certainly be unsatisfied and will probably swap them out for an inclusive set of cut vinyl from Stickershock. I’ll be using mine for my first kit and a variation from Stickershock if I end up buying a second one. Overall I give the new Big Max a solid “B” - not perfect but a solid kit, a decent value at its $49.99 list price and a great one at the discounted $29.99 price from online vendors.

Now here’s my thoughts about why this kit is what it is. The biggest elephant in the room would be the fins - why pieced together balsa fins? I think there’s two primary reasons: first, weight - in order to make it flyable on an adapted Estes E12, second is cost - with the cost of balsa rising this is probably the only way the fins can be done and hit Estes needed price point. A third and minor reason could be packaging - stuff has to fit in a box a certain size based on retailer shelf space so the fin sheets size may have been limited by those considerations. Now the decals - self-stick decals aren’t my first choice but these are pretty good for what they are. And for a builder with minimal experience who picks this kit because it’s really cool looking self-sticks are a better choice than water slides. Finally, this kit was never going to mark the return of the older PSII builder kits, ever. All the current PSII kits must be flyable on both Estes 29mm motors and adapted 24mm motors so anything heavier isn’t happening.
 

CoachSteve

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Any stickershock users out there that have the original decals they might be willing to let go of? :) - I would like to get a spare set :)
 

James Duffy

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Any stickershock users out there that have the original decals they might be willing to let go of? :) - I would like to get a spare set :)
Sure, I've got a set. Shoot me your mailing address via DM and I'll drop them in the mail.

James
 

Red7Fifty

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I bought a couple extra rocket just to get more stickers......I'll buy a set (or 2 or 3) if someone has some to sell.
 

Red7Fifty

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I sent an email to customer service to buy the set of decals, this is the reply I received:

Decals Unavailable.
 

Ron Humphrey

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Contact info

Sandra D. Cox
Customer Service
Estes Industries, LLC
1295 H Street
Penrose, CO 81240
Phone: (719)372-6565 x 216
Fax: (719)372-3419
 

Red7Fifty

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That's who said they are not available:

Estes does not offer decals for any rocket except when offered on our website. Currently we only have the decals for the #1969/#2157 Saturn V decals available. At times I come across some decals that I can offer for sale however, at this time I do not have any decals for the #9721 Der Big Red Max available. Estes hasn't had a designated parts department in over 12 years, not all decals become available.


Thank you,


Sandra D. Cox
Customer Service
Estes Industries, LLC
1295 H Street
Penrose, CO 81240

Phone: (719)372-6565 x 216
Fax: (719)372-3419
 

jimzcatz

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Not much of a Pro Series if you ask me.
It has wimpy balsa for the fins, paper card stock centering rings, rubber band shock cord. and a plastic chute. O and did I mention stickers instead of water slides.
Personally only parts I would keep would be tubes and the nose cone. Everything else would be upgraded. If you can't fab your own,
Vanderburn Rocketry has an upgrade kit for plywood centering rings and fins.
Then get a nylon chute and real shock cord along with StickerShock decals and you would have a nice kit.

FYI, Large waterslide decals are useless. I always will prefer vinyl in kits over 3 inches.
 

Scott_650

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FYI, Large waterslide decals are useless. I always will prefer vinyl in kits over 3 inches.
Well, in all honesty the self-adhesive decals in the DBRM kit aren’t quite vinyl - better than the usual Estes self-stick decals and probably appropriate for this kit if it’s being built by someone without a lot of experience with large water slides - but not the same quality as Stickershock stuff. But I’m on the same page when it comes to really big water slides, I usually end up cutting them into smaller sections.
 
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