Remembering your childhood fleet

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BDB

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I started in the mid 80's with a Challenger-1 Starter Set. Perusing my some old Estes catalogues online (wasting my morning at work) brought back a bunch of memories and helped me remember 22 of my childhood rockets. I'm sure there were more, but here is a partial list.

Challenger-1 Starter Set
Discovery Starter Set
Wizard
Mean Machine
Hercules
Challenger-3
Fox Fire
Stealth
SR-71 Blackbird
Ram Jet
Corsair
SDI Satellite
Ninja
Hawkeye
Exocet (mini scale combo pack)
IQSY Tomohawk (mini scale combo pack)
Helio*Copter
Tornado
Magnum
Recruiter
S.W.A.T.
Strike Fighter

The Recruiter and Strike Fighter have survived the years and flew great earlier this month. The Magnum partially survived a cato on my first launch as a BAR and has since been completely rebuilt and upgraded.

IMG_0800.jpgIMG_0799.jpg11822532_10101568656970794_6278730509492143364_n.jpg
 

jpummil

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Wow! Great thread...really brings back memories. Just noticed that Estes has all of the old catalogs still available online: https://www.estesrockets.com/customer-service/full-catalog/

So, started around '75 with the obligatory "Deluxe Starter Kit" including an Alpha, launch pad, launch controller, wadding, etc.

Around that time, I also had an X-Ray, the Javelin/Super Flea combo pack, and a der Red Max. This phase of rocketry culminated in a build of the old "D" powered Renegade (the old red and Black one)....which ended up atop a huge oak tree. "Lucky" for me, there was a bunch of "viney" growth going up the tree that I could use to climb it. Never really noticed the "leaves of three" on said vines....you can probably SEE where this is going :facepalm: In the end, I never was able to recover the rocket, but DID get multiple cortisone shots to deal with an extreme case of poison ivy :eyeroll: I recall building and flying an X-Wing Fighter a few years after that. Flew beautifully, but was very prone to damage.
 

michaelrmonteith

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Wow thinking back. It was around 1977-80 that I built some of my first rockets. The Estes Vigilante, Black Brandt, and Marauder. I still have them and still flyable but getting in sad shape. Both the Marauder and Vigilante have had a ton of flights but need rebuilt. I'm in the process of rebuilding them. Kind of excited to get to see my childhood rockets look like they did when I first built them. I guess the hardest part will be the decals for them. Researching that a bit.

Michael
 

neil_w

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Wow thinking back. It was around 1977-80 that I built some of my first rockets. The Estes Vigilante, Black Brandt, and Marauder. I still have them and still flyable but getting in sad shape. Both the Marauder and Vigilante have had a ton of flights but need rebuilt. I'm in the process of rebuilding them. Kind of excited to get to see my childhood rockets look like they did when I first built them. I guess the hardest part will be the decals for them. Researching that a bit.
Stickershock23 lists the Marauder, although the page for it seems incomplete so it's hard to tell the status. Also check this thread.

JimZ's site has a decent scan of the Vigilante decals. Mark at Stickershock could almost certainly do that one up for you as well, or you could print that one yourself if you're so inclined, since it's a simple black-on-clear decal.
 

GlennW

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The only rockets I still have from my childhood fleet are the Estes Javelin (from the Javelin/ Super Flea combo pack) and the Alpha III which is in sorry shape and unflyable. I guess you could also count my LTV Scout which I got as a kid but did not build until adult years. Also had a Blue Bird Zero and Icarus which were lost to trees, etc.


Glenn
 

rstaff3

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This is a fun thread!

I barely remember all the kits I had back in the late 60's and early 70's. I do remember the Estes V2, Starlight and Big Bertha. All were bought locally. I scratched a lot even back then. Most notably, I had a couple of boost gliders that I built from plans. They flew great despite my lack of building skills and knowledge of what it took one to fly well. What's even weirder is I have only built two in recent years. Both from kits but, despite better...er...skills and vast info on the web, both were unstable. Go figure.
 

Todderbert

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1987 was the year I started rocketry as a teen. Built a Wizard, Mosquito, Nova Payloader and a Hercules. I think I bought the stand and launcher separate. I started with a homemade launcher that used a 6volt lantern battery and a light switch, later on got the cool electron beam controller. I loved my Hercules model, though I lost it on its maiden flight. Don't know why but as a kid you want to see how high it can go. Always used the largest engines possible. Good memories none the less.
 

neil_w

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  • 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
I'm gonna necro my own thread because other forum discussions have reminded me of one I missed: K-13 Falcon. Mine was painted up just like the catalog pic:
1610632469137.png

This is yet another rocket that I never got to fly. I also can't remember if I ever did glide testing. I do know I airfoiled the heck out of the wings though. :)

Geez it makes me sad that I let my parents give away all my rockets. Blame lies totally with me, I could have taken at least some of them if I cared to.
 

Spitfire222

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I unfortunately disposed of my childhood rockets quite recently, having successfully saved them in the closet of my room at my parent's house. Having not been touched for such a long time I figured I should get rid of them, completely unaware that I'd get back into it a year or two later. 🤦‍♂️ I very much regret the decision! 😥

My first rocket was a USS America Starter Set (the red, black, and white scheme version) for Christmas '96. It was my most flown rocket back then, which was probably only a few more than a dozen flights since I couldn't get motors often. The rest of the fleet was:

-Estes Black Brant II (revisited as BAR)
-Estes Yankee (revisited as BAR)
-Estes Mosquito (CATO-ed on first flight)
-Estes Ninja (lost in a forest after a few flights)
-Estes Tornado x 2 (one was mine (lost on first flight), the other was my sister's, discarded when she cleaned out her room)
-Estes Mach 12

I actually did find a NIB USS America Starter Set on ebay and purchased it. I haven't build it yet, I might save it as my newborn son's first rocket when he's a bit older!
 

mbeels

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Nice. How old were you when you got started?
I think I was maybe 10 or 11? Some around age 15 I got into R/C airplanes, and then age 17 I got into ham radio and I've been cycling through those hobbies since.

Do you remember how old you were?
 

mbeels

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-Estes Yankee (revisited as BAR)
Ah yes, my brother had that rocket, and I'm pretty sure we lost it on a C6-7.

I actually did find a NIB USS America Starter Set on ebay and purchased it. I haven't build it yet, I might save it as my newborn son's first rocket when he's a bit older!
Nice find! I still have the nose cone from mine, but that's all.
 

neil_w

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I think I was maybe 10 or 11? Some around age 15 I got into R/C airplanes, and then age 17 I got into ham radio and I've been cycling through those hobbies since.

Do you remember how old you were?
Probably about the same, but it's just a guess since there is no historical record of any kind and that was a looooong time ago. :) Conceivably could have been a bit younger, maybe 8 or 9.
 

Spitfire222

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Ah yes, my brother had that rocket, and I'm pretty sure we lost it on a C6-7.
Unsurprising, considering how Yankee-type rockets are almost out of sight on an A8. I lost the Tornado on only a B6-4! Granted, it was a very windy day, and I launched into the low sun for a school demonstration....

Nice find! I still have the nose cone from mine, but that's all.
I think there were two on ebay at the time I got mine last year, so if you're interested, it might be worth it to check from time to time if more show up.
 

Stewman

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As someone previously posted, this is a fun thread, and brings on lots of good memories, and a few not so good. My first rocket was the Alpha Starter kit, flew it July 19, 1967. Lost it to a tree, but salvaged the nose two years later when it fell out of the tree it found. But I was hooked, and Estes Industries received a lot of orders for a while as my lawn mowing money went into $5.00 orders so I could get a free kit. I had so many Gyroc's, I finally started using the parts to make a lot of the Estes plans that were sent with your order, or in the MRN and the various publications Estes had. Still have several of those early models that still fly after all these years. Also had some Centuri, AVI Astroport, MPC, CMR and FSI kits, among others.

My first original design was built in 1968, I named it the Skyscraper II, and it still flies regularly. Cost me a whole $2.65 to build. I loved scale models, and finally saved up enough to get the Saturn V. Launched it while I was in college, and it crashed, destroying it completely. I now have two more, both the Estes and Apogee versions.

I was always pretty good about copying plans, making fin templates, etc., and have a file cabinet full of folders for all of my models. In 2001, I decided to recreate my original fleet of models, which turned out to be 46 total, (between 1967 and 1972). That has turned out to be quite a job, but I am over half-way there and hope to complete the rest of those models in the next couple of years. My line of work always had lots of hours involved so working on rockets wasn't always on the schedule. Won't bore you all with that list, but it includes a lot of classics. Now that I'm retired, I can devote much more time to my favorite hobby.

The Alpha will always be my favorite, but some others include the Big Bertha, Orbital Transport, Constellation, Cherokee D, and of course the Interceptor. My favorite Estes plan was the Starship Excalibur, which was circa 1968.
 

shockie

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1967-1973
Scout
X-Ray
Streak
Sprite
Sky Dart
Nighthawk
Space Plane
Falcon
Camroc
Spaceman
Trident
Gyroc
Birdie
Cox Little Joe II
MPC Flatcat

I also had about $500 worth on unopened kits and 2 range boxes full of engines that I had purchased at NARAM-12 and 13 that my mom threw away around 1980. I had a Saturn V but I can't remember if it was Estes or Centuri

my 1st DIY model rocket was a BT-50 sized rocket I painted Purple because I was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Fran Tarkenten back then and their defensive line was called the Purple People eaters.... just 3 fins and a nose cone

For launchers my 1st was the Estes Red Electro-Launch, a Centuri LIA-77 with the Pro Firing Panel, a Centuri pneumatic launcher?, the Servo Launcher and later the COX Launcher and a MPC launcher with the ceramic blast deflector

I also had a full Vashon Rocket set.
 
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Funkworks

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I only had an Estes Alpha or an Alpha III. My last flight was on a C motor, and it landed in the woods.

Walking 1000 ft to look for it was too much for my patience back then so that’s when I quit the hobby. That and being bitten by a horsefly while looking for the rocket. Ouch.
 

TALON

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1968 (13 YO): Estes ARCAS & the free Star Blazer.
1970 Estes Alpha, Aerobee 300 & Streak
1971 Estes Sky Dart, Gyroc & Sprint

Loved the blue engine tubes!
 

TALON

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Still have any of them?
Lost/fatal zippers to all except the Sprint & skydart. had them till 1990. Did not launch them after 74. During a move the Fins/wings came off and since I deemed then not airworthy I threw them out. Wish I didn't now!
 

Tobor

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My first rocket (built and lost) was an Estes Astron Scout, circa 73'. The fins were not quite straight and it had an atrocious paint job. Flew it on an "A" or "B" motor initiated with the very old-school "Red" BP fuse and no launch pad or launch rod. :eek:

From 73'~78'
These (In no particular order) are the ones I can remember...

Estes Kits
Scout
Astron Delta w/Camroc
Bomarc
Gyroc
Sprite
Big Bertha
Midget
RTF X-15
Andromeda
Space Shuttle

Centuri Kits
Taurus
Bandito
Groove Tube
Vector-V
Quasar Spaceship
Hummingbird
Fireflash
Moonraker
 

Tobor

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How did that go?
Not well. My mother was with me to watch my new found hobby take flight and to make sure I didn't accidentally burn something down (Matches + BP fuse + BP motor = Potential Fire Hazard).

We went to a nearby public park to fly the rocket. I inserted 6" of fuse into the motor and placed the Scout on the ground about 20ft away from where she was standing. I then lit the fuse and ran about 20ft away from the rocket with a 10ft spread from my mother. The scout lifted of the ground to about 5ft then went horizontal with an arching path TOWARDS HER! Miraculously, the wind caught the Scout and the rocket flipped directions away from her and ascended into the air at about a 45° angle. The Scout cleared some tall trees boarding the edge of the park, continued across the street, passed over the neighborhood Jewel Food store and disappeared.

Oops.... Lesson learned.
 
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