Remembering your childhood fleet

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neil_w

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I had a roughly 35 year hiatus before becoming a BAR last year. In the intervening years, all my old rockets were disposed of somehow or other, after languishing in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house for a good number of years. I am sad that they are all gone.

But I've also been sad about how hard it is for me to remember exactly what I had in my fleet. I've been slowly piecing the memory back together, and I think I'm getting close. It makes me happy to think about what I had built back then, and I'm still toying with the idea of recreating the entire fleet, either from Semroc kits or scratch builds. If I had more building time I'd probably do it.

Anyway, tonight, while browsing the Estes 1972 catalog (because what else is there to do on a Saturday night?) my memory was jogged of one that I had totally forgotten about: the Estes K-54 Saros. I liked that one a lot, and it was a bit weird for the time because of its plastic fin can. Also, looking at the gallery thread I linked to, I'm reminded of how the old kits had designer credits on them. I wish Estes' new kits had that.

Anyway, the fresh memory of the Saros made me think again about the rest of my fleet. What I can remember (all Estes):

  • K-50 Interceptor: my all time favorite, and I did a really nice job on it I have to say.
  • K-33 Trident: a tough build, but came out pretty good. I don't know if I ever got it fully decaled; for some reason I recall it finishing out its days all white. I can't imagine why I didn't decal it, because I always enjoyed decaling, and still do. Guess I'll never sort that out.
  • K-27 Honest John: the folded paper spin nacelles defeated me, and I never put them on. But I believe I built and finished the rest of it (because I just remembered painting something olive drab, and it must have been that model)
  • 1270 Nike X
  • K-45 Astron Beta
  • EAC Viper
  • the aforementioned Saros
  • K-1 Astron Scout; this just came back to me as I was typing this post

(there seem to have been a lot of black and white rockets back then. :))

That might have been it, but I may be forgetting another skill level 1 that I built when starting out. Not a bad little fleet. It was a piece of my childhood and I miss it. But I like my new stuff too. :)
 

rharshberger

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I can add to that my Estes Sizzler and my all time favorite the Estes Aries SST #1927 spaceplane, and and Estes SR-71, thankfully most of my childhood fleet survived intact...errr sort of.
 

TopRamen

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All I remember about my childhood fleet is disaster and heartache.
I did not even seal the insides of the tubes, so even if I had a dependable rocket that had 50+ flights, it would eventually develop excess weight and moisture damage from the build up of Ejection Charge Residue, and collapse itself or be damaged by simply picking it up.
Oh man, my childhood builds flew great, but they were nightmares durability wise.:facepalm:

The rockets I build today will be being flown a hundred years from now, and maybe even 200.

Sometimes, I don't even find them likeable aesthetically, but compared to the eldritch horrors of my youth building talents, they rise to cosmic heights.
 
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dhbarr

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I saved up and bought a Mosquito and a motor. Turns out you need more than that to get started, so it never got built or flown.
 

TopRamen

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I saved up and bought a Mosquito and a motor. Turns out you need more than that to get started, so it never got built or flown.
I'm doing a Carbon Fiber Mosquito tomorrow!
Thanks to the increased mass, inertia, and thinner fins, it sims higher than the cardboard and balsa version, and the ejection charge serves as a secondary boost.(The Sims can't account for that or the lack of recovery gear)
STUPID SIMS!
Up, Up and away!
 
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thobin

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I'm 45 and I have never been a BAR. I have lost many to one mishap or another but I still have most of my teen age years fleet.


TA
 

sed6

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My childhood fleet was awesome and I miss it! I've managed to buy a few of the model rockets I used to have and of course branching out towards L-1 certification is even cooler. I do remember though when I was in the 6th grade somehow my school became aware of my model rocket interest and one day I was asked to put on a show for the entire 4th 5th and 6th grade classes. I recall that everyone in those grades was given a couple of hours to come out to our soccer fields and watch me launch rocket after rocket. Best part of that was I had a giant recovery team and didn't really have to look or wonder where my rockets went!
 

Cabernut

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For me its the 1989 and 1991 catalogs that I remember reading over and over. I know my Mom has an old VHS tape of me around 12 or so talking about each one of my rockets. Man, I need to find that next time I'm at her place! I'm trying to clone as much of my fleet as I can remember.

So far I remember I had:
#2032 Magnum (cloned)
#1917 Zinger
#801 Mosquito (built new one #1345)
maybe #1938 Laser?
#2005 Javelin (cloned)
#2011 Supernova (just built the new one #7248)
#2006 Calypso (cloned)
...there were others I'm sure.

I also had a designers special from which I built a few the old fashioned way. Swing-test and all.

Back then I had a thing with fluorescent paint. Most of my rockets were brightly colored, almost never stock color scheme. These days for cloning, I'm sticking with the stock color scheme.
Most of my old fleet probably ended up on neighborhood roofs or in trees as I was not aware of field size requirements.

Valley View Playfield and St. Bonaventure School in Bloomington, MN is where I flew. Man, those were the days...
 

Mr Rocket

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I posted mine on my about me tab. You might consider doing the same.

FLEET
VINTAGE - All Estes:
Astron Mark II, Alpha, Sprint, Estes Aerospace Club 'Viper', Big Bertha (Nose cone currently in a rocket eating tree), LTV Scout, Vigilante, Scorpion, USS Atlantis, Space Shuttle Booster with Shuttle Glider, Mars Lander

VINTAGE (MIA) - All Estes: Streak, Javelin, Super Flea, Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, Andromeda, Cobra 1500, Mean Machine
 

Jackball74

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All Estes fleet, built between 1988 and 1992

Alpha III - Lost on first launch with a C engine and a small field.
Wizard - May still be at my parent's house.
Skinny Mini - Eventually warped.
Mini Mosquito - Lost on first launch from backyard.
Athena (2028) - Probably my most-flown rocket, it was the one I launched first four years ago when I returned to rocketry. Now retired.
Jupiter-C - Never launched during the early years, it was lost to a tall pine on its second launch in 2014.
IRIS - Survived until 2014 and lost after drifting into a forest.
D.A.R.T. - Flew wonderfully until I decided to try and shorten the fins. Nose cone was salvaged and used on a cloned craft in my new fleet. Bought a second one in the '90s but never built and may still be at my parent's house.
Gemini-Titan - My first good-looking scale (thanks to help from my uncle). Lost to a tree on its first launch.
Der V-3 - My first D engine rocket. Built in 1992 but never launched until 2004. Still active.
 

Flyfalcons

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For me its the 1989 and 1991 catalogs that I remember reading over and over. I know my Mom has an old VHS tape of me around 12 or so talking about each one of my rockets. Man, I need to find that next time I'm at her place! I'm trying to clone as much of my fleet as I can remember.

So far I remember I had:
#2032 Magnum (cloned)
#1917 Zinger
#801 Mosquito (built new one #1345)
maybe #1938 Laser?
#2005 Javelin (cloned)
#2011 Supernova (just built the new one #7248)
#2006 Calypso (cloned)
...there were others I'm sure.

I also had a designers special from which I built a few the old fashioned way. Swing-test and all.

Back then I had a thing with fluorescent paint. Most of my rockets were brightly colored, almost never stock color scheme. These days for cloning, I'm sticking with the stock color scheme.
Most of my old fleet probably ended up on neighborhood roofs or in trees as I was not aware of field size requirements.

Valley View Playfield and St. Bonaventure School in Bloomington, MN is where I flew. Man, those were the days...
1991 was friggen amazing. The only thing that comes close, crazy enough, is the 2016.

I was lucky in that I was able to save most of my childhood fleet. Here it is when I pulled it out of storage last year.

20150406_095810.jpg


20150406_094004.jpg
 

tightwad

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My childhood fleet...err, teenage fleet consisted of just one rocket, a Estes or Century payloader. For the life of me I just can't remember and I didn't have the money to buy other rockets. It survived my high school years, in the 60's and flew well over a dozen times only to come in ballistic 22 years later. What's left of it sits on top of a cabinet in my shop, as a reminder to do a puff test before launching.
 

The_Lone_Beagle

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The iconic rockets from my childhood were (in no particular order):
Estes: Goblin, Omega, Scrambler
Centuri: Lance Corporal (2 stager), Mach-10, Teradactyl
FSI: OSO and Black Brant II (darn it, I never got around to building the BBII...sigh).
 

LW Bercini

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I got my first rocket, an Estes Scout, in 1968. I was 12. It was the perfect marriage of my fascination with things that fly, and my love for making things with my hands.

The following Christmas, I asked for more Estes kits from that 1968 catalog.

I think of those as my "childhood fleet": Scout, Mark, X-Ray, Spaceman, Starlight, and (what was my "ultimate" at that time) Mars Snooper.
 

K'Tesh

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Just for clarification... Which childhood period are we talking about? :wink:

My original fleet (1983-1987) consisted of these:

Spin Fin
Sizzler (one piece PNC-50Y nosecone version)
Cherokee D (long version 2x)
Patriot (Citation)
Wizard (purple, black, and white version)
Alpha
Advanced Target Drone
Defender
Honest John (BT-55 version)
Space Shuttle (full stack version)
Mercury Redstone (which I never finished)
Centuri Saturn V (bought built from my band teacher)
Centuri V2 (bought built from my band teacher)
Trident (bought built from my band teacher)
Mach 10 (bought built from my band teacher)
Stealth
Black Brant II
Black Brant III
Jupiter C


I actually still have many of these rockets.
 

BEC

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My first rocketry period was about 1968-1974, which would have been Jr. High and High School. I don't recall precisely what the entire fleet was, and I have very few from that time, but it included a number of Estes kits - Streak, Sprite, Alpha, Cobra, Gemini-Titan, Farside-X, Apogee II, Constellation (I still have part of that one), original Star Blazer for shorty motors (still have that one), Birdie, and a Gyroc that went on a family vacation with us and got flown in Death Valley. There were also some scratch birds based on BT-10, BT-20, BT-30 and BT-50. I have some of the scratch birds, including a shorty-motor two stager built from BT-30 (no, I don't know why, now). I also built a three motor cluster rocket for an eighth grade science fair project (launching planaria on a cluster of B14s - don't ask). I had a Goblin built but not yet painted when college overtook all of this. Fortunately that is one I managed to retrieve and it has since been finished and flown.

Living in NW New Mexico i mail-ordered direct from Estes. I was aware of Centuri but never had any of their kits, though one of the scratch birds I still have clearly shows some Centuri influence in its design.

I also have a small handful of motors from back then including one shorty.

When I go out the Solar Launch Controller was brand new (I do have mine from then and it is serviceable and now has an LED-based continuity lamp so is Q2G2 safe).

I also had a Vashon Valkyrie II and enough support equipment to fly it and subsequently loose it on a flight out of a park in Santa Fe, NM on a hot summer day..... *sigh*

Oddly I never built a Scout or a Big Bertha until recently, but am currently up to two Big Berthas for flying (one with a 24mm mount) and two that are now shelf queens because one has Vern's signature on it (from NSL 2013) and one has both Vern and Gleda's signature on it (NARAM 56). Both had been flown before being signed and the NARAM one actually has been flown once since then, in a demo for a pack of Cub Scouts. But not any more.
 
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ballistic_trep

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My childhood fleet was made up entirely of Centuri kits. My friends and I would spend summers flying in hay fields.....seemed that back then engines were cheap and all we needed were lawns that needed mowing and a drive to town to the hobby store once every few weeks.

I had a Vector V, UFO, SAM-3, Saturn 1B(lost the nose cone), Jayhawk, Thunderhawk, and a payloader model for which I can't remember the name.....but many a grasshopper were sent on important missions in that one!

Good times!
 

EXPjawa

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Most of my early rocketry was a teenager, so that was in that 1990 time frame, +/- a couple years. I still have most of my rockets from that period, or at least the ones that survived flight. In fact, that fleet was the basis of what I what was flying when I got back into it a few years ago. As I recall:

(all Estes)
Recruiter
Sentinal
Tornado
Hawkeye
Ninja
Phoenix
Bullpup
Solar Sailor II (never finished)
Patriot Missle
Silver Streak (2 of 2)
Ram Jet
Titan IIIE
Pro Series Jayhawk
Pro Series Terrier-Sandhawk
Stealth
X-16
Argosy
Nimbus
Helio-Copter
Mini-Scale Combo - Exocet & IQSY Tomahawk

I also had the Designer Special, which led to:
City of New Orleans
Smokin' (retired)
BT60-size Maverick missle (CATO)
Wild Weasel I (never finished)
Streak Eagle

Lost to the ages/trees:
Silver Streak (1 of 2)
Meanie
Mini Mean Machine
Comanche 3
Spartan
Mini Tri-Pack - Star Seeker, Sting Ray & S.C.R.A.M.
Flying Saucer
 

neil_w

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Most of my early rocketry was a teenager, so that was in that 1990 time frame, +/- a couple years.
I had to look up a lot of those, that period is really a black hole to me. Gotta go back and read some more old catalogs!
 

milehigh

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As a 33-year BAR, one of the major projects on which I have embarked, besides building rockets, is piecing together a historical notebook of my former collection. Between 1973 and 1983, I had built 103 model rockets, all of which were numbered. This history is complete up to #45 at the moment. Fortunately, I had kept all of my flight logs from back in the day, so those provided a good basis for writing up much this history.
("I remember now when that big D-engine boost glider got blown up on the pad by a bum AVI engine!")
Many of my rockets had photographs taken of them, while others had drawings and sketches. Despite all this, there are a couple of self-designed contest models that I don't have any of this material for, and I don't even recall what they looked like. I'm just taking a WAG at these ones. Also supplementing the data are brief descriptions of some of my rocket launches that were published in our old club new letter. I even have the bulk of my old contest ribbons where I had written on the tag of each one the name of the model that was used to win it.

One side bar to this project is that I am vividly remembering some of those old rockets and how cool they were. I've already picked a number of them to build new versions of for 2016 and beyond. Topping that list is an MPC Lunar Patrol, one of my all-time faves.

By the way, I'm getting closer to completing an Estes Lynx kit. It will proudly get a decal identifying it as model rocket #104 !
 

emckee

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My first rocket was Estes #1915 "Harpoon" (See page 13 on the 1984 Estes catalog...)

Funny thing is that I've never seen anyone else mention the rocket and pics are hard to find. Only difficult about re-creating this kit is the NC... anyone know where to get one like it?

This rocket paved the way for so many afterwards...

Sizzler (lost the NC)
Mini-3 pack (Booster stage of Sting-ray exploded, Star Seeker was sat upon, SCRAM... dunno what happened to it)
Scorpion (Lawn dart)
Comanche 3 (broken during move)
Phoenix (never built)
MX Missile (broke the plastic fins on a hard landing)
Yankee (lost during move)
Alpha (drifted away after launching on a C6-7)
Mosquito (went the way so many mosquito's do)
Der V-3 (donated when moving back to California)
Black Brant II (NC and parachute separated on first launch... never seen again)
Hawkeye (don't know what happened there)
Nike Apache (probably one of my favorites!)
Nimbus (Not sure if I had it but never built it, or if I'm just wishing I did...)
Sentinel (definitely one of my favorites! and one I've cloned as an adult)
Helio-copter (donated)
Eggspress (donated)
Warp II (donated, never built)

Honestly, there are only a few in there that I'd be interested in cloning or re-building... I think the model and HP rockets of today are much more interesting!

-e
 

Steven

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Boy oh boy, let's see:
Centuri Black Widow
Centuri Payloader II
1/45th scale Centuri Little Joe II
1/100th scale Centuri Saturn 1b
1/100th scale Centuri Little Joe II
Centuri X-24 Bug
Centuri Long Tom
Centuri Mercury Redstone
Centuri Red Eye
Centuri SST Shuttle
Centuri Mach 10
Centuri Screaming Eagle
Centuri Excalibur
Centuri Nike Smoke
 

MaxQ

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A lot of mine were sold to friends that didn't build (my Estes Apollo Little Joe II), my Estes V-2 was stolen after a show and tell in one of my classes, the rest
were given to my younger brother as I left the hobby in high school. I think some of them came to a bad end.
- Estes Honest John
- Estes Nike X
- Estes Big Bertha
- Estes Streak
- Estes Scout
- Estes Gyroc
- Estes Apogee

The only survivors are an Estes Sprint, an Estes Screamer and an Estes Orbital Transport (used to be white...now a light cream yellow)
 
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GlenP

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Me in 1980 and my Centuri Thunder ROC, I also had the Thunder Hawk & Bird.
(grainy picture is a still capture from an old Super 8 film video camera converted to DVD)

Most of my fleet was from Centuri mail order, but I got a few Estes from my local hobby shop back in the day.
First Cub Scout Day Camp rocket was a Viking
First launch set was the BIG Shot, Screaming Eagle and Excalibur. Hard to remember the entire fleet, some memorable kits: Centuri Space Shuttle Orbiter, Buck Rogers Earth Forces Starfighter and Draconian Maurader, Red Eye & Satellite Killer, Alien Scoutship Flying Saucer (I still have that one!), Nomad, Russian Magnum SAM-3 (two stage version), Magnum D Hornet, SR-71, Jayhawk, Mercury Redstone, Saturn V. My brother had the Power System Outfit. Estes Satellite Interceptor, Constellation, Gyroc, some mini RTF like a Vampire or something.
 
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fyrwrxz

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OMG- If I count the rocket my Dad made me when i was 7 (luckily we lived in Colorado-so one of the first Estes kits?) I've been doing this for 60 frickin' years. I do not want to remember them all. According to the local newspaper, I had the altitude record (Georgia)for probably three nano-seconds with a Estes Skyhook in either 1966 or '67. I spent a few good hours tapering,filling and sanding the fins and nosecone (Aerogloss dope), then waxing it. Good times!
 

qquake2k

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I think it was around 1972, when I saw an Estes ad in Boys' Life magazine. I talked my dad into taking my friend Tim and me to Jacquie's Hobby Shop. Jacquie was a mean old woman, but she sold rockets! I chose the Alpha III because of the plastic fin can. Tim chose the Sky Hook. We both bought packs of A8-3 motors and off we went. My first launch pad was a piece of 1x12 pine with a welding rod stuck in it, and a can lid as a blast deflector. A length of lamp cord and a 12v dry cell battery were my first launch control system. I remember my second rocket was a Big Bertha, and I thought it was huge! I joined the Estes Aerospace club and achieved Skill Level 5. My level 4 rocket was the Mercury Redstone, and my level 5 was the Mars Lander. Unfortunately none of my first rockets survived. I did have the nose cone and fin can from the Alpha III for many years, but I eventually lost track of them. As a BAR, I have upscaled the Alpha III and the EAC Viper. I also remember building the following:

Maxi Alpha III
Maxi Honest John
Scout
Mosquito

I built many, many others, including Centuri, but these are all I specifically remember.


IMGP3657.JPG


IMGP3670.JPG


P1040354.JPG


P1050843.JPG


P1050881.JPG


P1100045.JPG
 

Steven

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I think it was around 1972, when I saw an Estes ad in Boys' Life magazine. I talked my dad into taking my friend Tim and me to Jacquie's Hobby Shop. Jacquie was a mean old woman, but she sold rockets! I chose the Alpha III because of the plastic fin can. Tim chose the Sky Hook. We both bought packs of A8-3 motors and off we went. My first launch pad was a piece of 1x12 pine with a welding rod stuck in it, and a can lid as a blast deflector. A length of lamp cord and a 12v dry cell battery were my first launch control system. I remember my second rocket was a Big Bertha, and I thought it was huge! I joined the Estes Aerospace club and achieved Skill Level 5. My level 4 rocket was the Mercury Redstone, and my level 5 was the Mars Lander. Unfortunately none of my first rockets survived. I did have the nose cone and fin can from the Alpha III for many years, but I eventually lost track of them. As a BAR, I have upscaled the Alpha III and the EAC Viper. I also remember building the following:

Maxi Alpha III
Maxi Honest John
Scout
Mosquito

I built many, many others, including Centuri, but these are all I specifically remember.
My brother used to get those Boy's Life magazines and there were a series of articles on building an HO train set on a 4 x 8 layout. I think the fellow's name was Wagner but not certain. It even had a trolley rolling through the center of town. Nice little set up!
 

Scotty Dog

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SST Centuri
Little Joe
2 stager--Marauder?
Some 3fsn
 
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