New Estes skill levels?

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Spacepirate R

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I was at Hobby Lobby today and I noticed that there are new facecards for some Estes rocket kits. The ones that I saw were the Yankee and the Crossfire ISX. On the cards they are listed as level 3! They used to be level 1, but I saw that the level number was in a circle that was divided into six sections with three of them highlighted. This suggests that there will be 6 levels; RTF/ARF/E2X will be level 1, Old level 1s with simple laser-cut fins will be level two, and old level 1s with "cut it yourself" or complicated fins at level 3. I assume that level 5 will now be level 6.

Has anyone heard of this? Am I close to correct?
 

TopRamen

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Ha! How about that!
If a Crossfire and Yankee are level three, then level 6 must be their Saturn V, and the level one must be the RTF stuff.
Crossfire and Yankee should be level one in my opinion, but after arguing with folks about the RTF stuff and why it should not even exist, I had to agree that it is useful to at the least perhaps inspire someone to start building rockets, so they do apparently have some merit.
 

Rex R

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RTF models have their place, if you have ever seen the faces light up on visitors to a launch when you hand them an Estes crayon and casually mention that one can have it flight ready in 20 minutes, or a snitch drag race*. I might not like some of RTFs etc. but they do help encourage folks to try the hobby who might otherwise pass it up.
*and you really get some odd looks if someone is using an 18mm D...:).
Rex
 

neil_w

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I guess it's reasonable to re-jigger the scale, since RTF/ARF/E2X really should be on there somewhere, but it is gonna be a bit confusing while the two scales coexist. As far as I can tell most or all the rockets on their website are still listed using the old scale.

I hope Estes will clarify their thinking at some point.
 

Todderbert

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Just picked up a Tandem-X kit at Hobby Lobby, not a bad deal with their 40% off. On the side of the box they mention the new levels one through three.
 

neil_w

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I saw the new packaging at Michael's today but didn't think to look for that info. Good work.

It is mighty confusing that they seem to be applying this new system only to some rockets, though.
 

bguffer

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Are these new levels, or just a subset of the previous levels? The bottom fine print states 'For additional rocket skill levels, to to estesrockets.com'.
 

Initiator001

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I saw the new packaging at Michael's today but didn't think to look for that info. Good work.

It is mighty confusing that they seem to be applying this new system only to some rockets, though.
Estes is waiting to run out of old packaging before introducing kit packaging with the new skill levels.
 

Kruegon

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I bet JumpJet could shed some light on this. I've never figured out how to tag someone in a post. Can someone do that here?

As for the RTF/ARF kits, I see the draw for newbies. I'm not a fan and I think it caters to the millennials, but anything that attracts new blood, I suppose.

I'm borderline on the E2X kits. I have to admit that some of them are fun and interesting. The spirals drive me nuts, and the seams on the plastic parts irk me. Most E2X kits end up being level 1 kits by the time I'm done. I'm not ready to see them leave, I just wish they were better made.
 

dhbarr

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I always took RTF/E2X as meant for those who didn't want to or couldn't invest the equipment, space, and practice as others. Kids, people sharing apartments, folks too busy for hand-weaving individual carbon tow, etc.
 

PhlAsh

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Oooh boy! This is going to be as good as the USENET traffic when ST:TNG rejigged Warp Factor!!!
 

Kirk G

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I always took RTF/E2X as meant for those who didn't want to or couldn't invest the equipment, space, and practice as others. Kids, people sharing apartments, folks too busy for hand-weaving individual carbon tow, etc.
That's a good way to look at it too.
I have to agree with your assessment.
 

shreadvector

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More importantly - does this meant that Estes Model rockets are being carried by Michael's again? They had dropped them nationwide for a quite a time period and I was hoping they would return soon that they would continue to carry them for a long time.


Estes is waiting to run out of old packaging before introducing kit packaging with the new skill levels.
 

samb

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I got an answer to my Email about the 2017 catalog from my buddy at Estes.
There will be NO 2017 Catalog.
No explanation, so it's up for grabs to guess why.
That's an easy guess for me, cost versus return on investment is no longer favorable to the company.
 

neil_w

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More importantly - does this meant that Estes Model rockets are being carried by Michael's again? They had dropped them nationwide for a quite a time period and I was hoping they would return soon that they would continue to carry them for a long time.
My local store never stopped, although their selection is limited to RTF/ARF/E2X and launch sets. And they recently restocked on motors.
 

Initiator001

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I got an answer to my Email about the 2017 catalog from my buddy at Estes.
There will be NO 2017 Catalog.
No explanation, so it's up for grabs to guess why.
Times are tough in the hobby industry.

Here's a news note about Hobbico:

https://www.modelretailer.com/en/Th.../Hobbico defers stock ownership payments.aspx

Hobbico is the parent company of Great Planes and Tower Hobbies along with being the largest hobby distributor in America.

Hobbico also owns Estes/Cox and Revell/Monogram among other hobby companies.
 

BDB

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I got an answer to my Email about the 2017 catalog from my buddy at Estes.
There will be NO 2017 Catalog.
No explanation, so it's up for grabs to guess why.
I know that it makes no sense to print a paper catalogue in the age of the internet, but it's such a shame. My kids love to thumb through the 2016 catalogue--just like I did when I was a kid.

As for the E2X stuff. I really like it...for my kids. They like to build their rockets completely on their own, and that is possible with E2X but not quite yet with level 1 (or whatever it's called now). E2X has been a great entry point for them. I'm glad that we didn't start with RTF, though because a big part of what I'm trying to teach them is that building things is fun.
 

Scott_650

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Sad that the paper catalog is being phased out but that's the way things work - hopefully Estes offers a .PDF download in its place. As to skill levels, I don't know that I pay much attention to those - if a model looks interesting enough I do the cost to enjoyment calculations then buy it or not :wink:
 

TangoJuliet

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Times are tough in the hobby industry.

Here's a news note about Hobbico:

https://www.modelretailer.com/en/Th.../Hobbico defers stock ownership payments.aspx

Hobbico is the parent company of Great Planes and Tower Hobbies along with being the largest hobby distributor in America.

Hobbico also owns Estes/Cox and Revell/Monogram among other hobby companies.
I wonder how much of the hit to the industry is directly related to the R/C industry, and specifically drones and airplanes as a result of both the federal regulations imposed and the heavy push by the industry itself on selling drones? For the last few years nearly all of the R/C airplane magazines have been chock full of drone ads!
 

Initiator001

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Sad that the paper catalog is being phased out but that's the way things work - hopefully Estes offers a .PDF download in its place.
Unlikely. Printing a catalog from a .pdf file isn't that much more work so I don't think there will be a catalog for download either. :(
 

Initiator001

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I wonder how much of the hit to the industry is directly related to the R/C industry, and specifically drones and airplanes as a result of both the federal regulations imposed and the heavy push by the industry itself on selling drones? For the last few years nearly all of the R/C airplane magazines have been chock full of drone ads!
It doesn't appear the Federal requirement to register drones above a certain size/mass has diminished their appeal.

R/C cars are still selling well but other traditional hobbies have been experiencing downward trending sales.
 

Todderbert

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Estes appears to be including the ARF kits into the new Level 2 designation.
 

Woody's Workshop

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To me, RTF, ARF & E2X kits are not even a skill level.
It's not until you start gluing fins on that really starts in building skills.
Correct angle, fillets, etc.
But that's just me.
 

TangoJuliet

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To me, RTF, ARF & E2X kits are not even a skill level.
It's not until you start gluing fins on that really starts in building skills.
Correct angle, fillets, etc.
But that's just me.
I tend to agree with that. Skill Level 0!
 

Todderbert

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RTF classified as Level One. My Wife wanted a rocket, she wasn't interested in building it, just flying it. Glad to have some support then none at all.
 

samb

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RTF classified as Level One. My Wife wanted a rocket, she wasn't interested in building it, just flying it. Glad to have some support then none at all.
The Athena is a nice flyer. Double the fun when the better half is involved. :cheers:
 

Buckeye

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To me, RTF, ARF & E2X kits are not even a skill level.
It's not until you start gluing fins on that really starts in building skills.
Correct angle, fillets, etc.
But that's just me.
Hehe. That's the attitude of the "Modeling Elite."

ARF and E2X do require some assembly and rocket common sense. A newbie can easily screw up the measurements, centering rings, or fins. Estes instruction sheets are sometimes wrong or incomplete.

I like ARF and E2X for my local park flying. I am likely to lose them in the trees or break them on concrete landings. If so, I am not out a lot of money (AC Supply) or effort.
 
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