Retro Rocketry: Mini Der Red Max!!

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Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2002
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Retro Rocketry’s “Mini Der Red Max” is a downscaled version of the original popular Estes kit.

My numbered (#27) kit was very well packaged and comes with a double sided, color card sheet. On the reverse side of the card is a convenient NSL safety code chart and motor selection field chart.
The model comes with one sheet of very clear and comprehensive instructions. The parts are very well organized and are very easy to find when needed. All of the steps are laid out in very logical progression, making building easy. This is basically a 3FNC rocket, but it’s fun to build.

The kit starts off with the assembly and installation of a friction fit type 13mm motor mount with a Kevlar cord fro recovery. The centering rings fit extremely well and I found that there was no need for any adjustment. I liked the tip of tucking the cord into the mount when gluing it into the BT.

You then mark the tube and cut out the fins. The fin sheet came pre-printed and so fin cutting was a breeze. Even though the fin stock was more than adequate, I still put a coat of thin CA over the balsa surface and sanded. This not only added some strength, but makes filling and finish sanding a lot easier as well. Just be careful of the fumes. I attached my fins with CA gel.

The nose cone is a high quality 2 piece plastic cone that goes together with your favorite plastic cement. The Kevlar cord is threaded through a Kevlar/Nomex heat shield and then directly attached to the nose cone. No need for a shock cord here, Kevlar cord works just fine all on its own. My only comment on the Kevlar heat shield is that it tended to unravel a bit if you handle it too much. So don’t over handle it. The first flight will cinge the edges a little and keeps it from unraveling further in the future.

Items like the launch lug and the fluorescent orange streamer were straight forward and easily attached.

I used very little fill n sand and primed it with two coats of Krylon Sandable primer, sanding in between. I painted the rocket in the traditional red and black, both were Krylon paints.

After the paint had thoroughly dried, I started cutting and applying the decals. The water slide decal sheet is has some really great details and the quality is first rate. When dipping the decals, be careful not to wait to long. Other wise you could end up with them sliding off the backing paper and floating to the top.
After the decals had plenty of time to dry, I applied one coat of Future floor polish for a deep shine.


It was a windless day without a cloud in the sky. I used a 1/2A3-4T motor for my first flight and packed the heat shield and streamer without any problem. One thing is for sure, it’s nice to have a heat shield and not have to mess with wadding all the time. The heat shield is convenient. Launch was uneventful and the rocket flew straight and true with no notable rotation. Ejection was just after apogee and recovery was without damage. This was a great flight with no surprises.


High Quality Parts
Convenient heat shield
Durable Kevlar cord

Can’t think of one!

This rocket is very easy to build and could be attempted by as a second rocket even by a beginner. The parts and instructions were first rate. If this is any indication of the future kits from Retro Rocketry, be prepared for some great memories and great kits!
I just painted mine tonight.

I cannot wait to decal the little sucker!! I LOVE it!!