Returning to rocketry with a vintage Estes Astron Scout

Discussion in 'Beginners & Educational Programs' started by Gamma68, Jul 19, 2019.

Help Support The Rocketry Forum by donating:

  1. Jul 19, 2019 #1

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Greetings! First post here.

    I got into model rocketry as a teen (early 1980s) after buying an Estes III Alpha rocket/launch pad kit at my local hardware store. I branched out a bit afterwards and built quite a few more to launch with my best buddy, who also flew rockets. I even built the Estes camera model and started flying rockets of my own design. All my rocket stuff was tossed when my parents sold the house.

    Now in my 50s, I'm starting to feel some nostalgia and want to return to the hobby. Haven't built or flown a rocket for close to 35 years. I bought a new Estes Alpha and just picked up a vintage unassembled Estes Astron Scout off eBay. These are the two rockets I originally started with (although I'm pretty sure my very first was the Alpha III) and I think I made some nice choices.

    Actually, I was very disappointed to learn Estes discontinued the Scout. You'd think they'd keep it active since it's an important part of the company's heritage.

    Here are some questions:

    • Can anyone tell how old my Scout is from the packaging? Besides the items pictured below, it came with some Estes sheets: Preflight Preparation and Recovery Tips, Model Rocketry Safety Code, Join the Estes Aerospace Club, Technical Report TR-1, and Information about the Astron Scout.
    • The gauze is a little frayed in section 2. Is it still usable?

    • I'm not sure if the little wire attached to the circle is the Engine Retaining Wire. It looks really thin and skimpy compared to what I recall. If it's not the retaining wire, is there something I could use that I can find around the house? Maybe stripping a wire from a twist closure on bread packaging?

    • What would be my best choice for a launch pad/launcher? Looking for something inexpensive and simple but gets the job done.
    Thanks in advance.

     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    ewomack likes this.
  2. Jul 19, 2019 #2

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Houston TX
    For a launch pad or launch rod you can go find an old pizza pan that isnt used, or find an old piece of sheet metal, if you cant find either thats ok, if you can, go find a large plowed up field, the dirt is usually soft enough to stick in a launch rod about 6in the ground. A launch rod for that type of rocket would probably be a standard 3/16th rod , this can be easily bought at the Home-depot for less than $8. If you happen to find the heat deflector and rod you can put the the rod into the ground and the deflector next to it and launch the rocket ontop of it
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  3. Jul 19, 2019 #3

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll also need all the ignition stuff too.

    My buddy just used to put a wick in the engine and light it with a Bic cigarette lighter. I was always more cautious and used my Estes keyed launcher with the little Estes igniters.
     
  4. Jul 19, 2019 #4

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Houston TX
  5. Jul 19, 2019 #5

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Houston TX
    If you want to get your hands on some actual Estes equipment go to a nearby Hobby store or Hobby Lobby, they sell some rocket but all engines going from mini's to F class. Igniters and launchpad/rods are also sold their aswell
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  6. Jul 19, 2019 #6

    5x7

    5x7

    5x7

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Likes Received:
    25
    The little wire keeps the motor from falling out on the pad, the gauze looks fine. You’ll probably want to cut or punch two more holes in addition to the one that’s there to make sure the motor is not ejected with today’s energetic ejection charges.
    Here are the instructions:

    http://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/estes/k-01.pdf
     
    Gamma68 and KennB like this.
  7. Jul 19, 2019 #7

    rocketheads

    rocketheads

    rocketheads

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    7
    My first kit. The day iI broke it still lingers.
    Please DONT fly it.
    Please clone it to fly.
    In my opinion it is ultra rare and very hard to find original.
    TRUE collectors item.
    My brother bought a Mosquito same day.
    .69¢!
    Jamey #5295
     
  8. Jul 19, 2019 #8

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Houston TX
  9. Jul 19, 2019 #9

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    http://www.seateddimevarieties.com/BAR/pictorials/k1.htm

    It looks like the kit you have is from 1980-85.

    And that kit likely needs a 1/8” rod, not 3/16”. It’s only 7” long and less than an ounce. 3/16 is overkill. The cheapest launch system Estes sells will work just fine. You can usually get one (pad and ignition system) thrown in with a rocket at hobby lobby. You can use the hobby lobby 40% off coupon.
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  10. Jul 19, 2019 #10

    KennB

    KennB

    KennB

    I-95 Envoy

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,249
    Likes Received:
    79
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    @5x7 beat me to it. The instructions should show you the proper use of the small wire.
    Stick to 1/2A6-2 motors for your flights.
    Hope you got it for a reasonable price; I picked up one or two that were a little pricey but it was my first back in the day so worth it to me.
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  11. Jul 19, 2019 #11

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Matt_The_RocketMan

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Houston TX
    My bad 3/16th is for larger rockets , i should of mentioned 1/8th thats for medium midsize rockets, also if you want to just build it but dont fly , its a historical artifact
     
  12. Jul 19, 2019 #12

    Bat-mite

    Bat-mite

    Bat-mite

    Rocketeer in MD

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    9,801
    Likes Received:
    906
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maryland
    No advice on this rocket, but welcome to the forum and back to the hobby!
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  13. Jul 19, 2019 #13

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks for this link. The hang tag is missing from my packaging but it looks like mine dates from 1980-85, around the same time I originally built mine. Man, those scans from the 1980 and 1981 Estes catalogs bring back memories. I used to spend hours pouring over those pages.

    What concerns me the most is the gauze and engine retaining wire. That wire really looks thin. Is it the right wire?
     
  14. Jul 19, 2019 #14

    kuririn

    kuririn

    kuririn

    BARGeezer TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    417
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Welcome to the forum. I'm guessing that your kit from eBay didn't come with instructions. Here's a link to the original instructions, that should answer most of your assembly questions:
    http://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/estes/k-01.pdf
    The gauze is usable since it will be covered by a film of glue anyway. Or you can use some from your medicine cabinet.
    The wire is for engine retention since the rocket uses tumble recovery. There is a port in the front of the tube for venting ejection gasses and when the engine casing moves backward the rocket is unstable so it does not come down ballistic.
    Standard diameter rod for low power rockets is 1/8", not 3/16".
    For launch pads, rods, sets, and controllers I hear that some Hobby Lobbys are having a clearance sale now, don't know if there are any in your area.
     
    Gamma68 likes this.
  15. Jul 19, 2019 #15

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks for all the quick replies. There's a Hobby Lobby not too far from me. I'll see what they have in launch pad kits.

    So that thin little wire that came with mine is correct? It doesn't look like copper, either.

    The assembly instructions are included but the wire seems bigger in the small illustration.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  16. Jul 19, 2019 #16

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    I hear you. But these were meant to be built and flown! I plan on using low-powered engines and a large field so I can recover it. My thought was to fly it a few times and retire it. Then get the Semroc version for more flights.
     
    Nytrunner and SecondRow like this.
  17. Jul 19, 2019 #17

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Got it for $9 plus shipping. Was very pleased.
     
  18. Jul 19, 2019 #18

    samb

    samb

    samb

    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,580
    Likes Received:
    75
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Welcome Gamma68. Yeah, that gauze does look a little threadbare. Some replacement materials come to mind: new gauze, used dryer sheet, model airplane tissue. The retaining wire is correct; it's meant to hold the motor within the airframe while it's sitting on the pad with the clips attached to the igniter wires. It is meant to give way when the ejection charge fires so that the motor can travel aft and initiate the tumble part of "tumble-recovery".
     
  19. Jul 19, 2019 #19

    kuririn

    kuririn

    kuririn

    BARGeezer TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    417
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Two wires are in the kit. The beefy one is the engine hook. The skimpy one is to keep the motor up against the nose cone on ascent. Had to refer to the instructions myself for clarification. Have fun!
     
  20. Jul 19, 2019 #20

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    For clarity, I'm referring to this skimpy thin wimpy wire, attached to circular sticker. This wire looks like it might break after a few bends. I can see that it would hold the engine in place on the pad before ignition. Is that its only purpose? Looks like it wouldn't hold up for too many flights without getting burned away.

    The engine retaining wire in the kit I built years ago seemed thicker. But it's hard to recall.

    Yeah, might be best to get some new gauze.

    IMG_5959.jpg
     
  21. Jul 19, 2019 #21

    kuririn

    kuririn

    kuririn

    BARGeezer TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    417
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hawaii
    The skimpy wire attached to the circle is only to keep the motor from slipping down while on the launch pad. If you loosely wrap the engine with tape enough so that it doesn't slide down (but still moves back at ejection) you can eliminate that wire. But then it would not be an "original" build.:D
    The thicker copper wire is to keep the motor from kicking out when the ejection charge goes off. The sliding motor shifts the CG back and the rocket comes down unstable (tumbles) instead of ballistic.
     
  22. Jul 19, 2019 #22

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Got it. Thanks. My goal is to build it as it was originally meant to be constructed in 1961.

    Looks like I'll have to get new gauze as this stuff is stuck to the blue cardboard and will tear if I try to detach it.
     
  23. Jul 19, 2019 #23

    kuririn

    kuririn

    kuririn

    BARGeezer TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    417
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hawaii
    BTW I also became a BAR about 5 or 6 years ago. These may not have been around when you were flying 35 years ago:
    1. Laser cut fins. These young whippersnappers don't know how easy they have it nowadays.
    2. Kevlar/Nomex/Aramid/CA et al... New materials, better performance, longer lasting...
    3. 3D printed rocket parts. Virtually anything can be reproduced now. Great for cloning.
    Laters.
     
  24. Jul 19, 2019 #24

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Yeah, I can see in just skimming through this forum that some things have changed over the last 35 years.

    Right now, my interest is in building the way kids did back in the day. Sort of becoming re-engaged with the roots of the hobby and keeping it simple.
     
  25. Jul 19, 2019 #25

    Zeus-cat

    Zeus-cat

    Zeus-cat

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,087
    Likes Received:
    321
    Where do live gamma? I suggest joining the local club if there is one. Best thing I ever did in rocketry.
     
  26. Jul 19, 2019 #26

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Near Detroit.
     
  27. Jul 20, 2019 #27

    5x7

    5x7

    5x7

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Likes Received:
    25
    I can you shave the gauze off the paper with a razor blade?
     
  28. Jul 20, 2019 #28

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Gamma68

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Maybe but the threads look like they’ve weakened over time.
     
  29. Jul 20, 2019 #29

    ewomack

    ewomack

    ewomack

    Forum Supporter TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    26
    Welcome! I love the old Scout packaging, thanks for posting - I think Estes rockets looked that way when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure that I built a Scout all those years ago. I'm sure it flew into a tree like most of my mini rockets. It's fair to say that I really didn't know what I was doing. I recently built 2 nostalgic Mosquitoes, 1 to keep, 1 to launch into oblivion. I agree with your disappointment about the retirement of the Scout. That was a nice little kit.
     
    Gamma68 and 5x7 like this.
  30. Jul 20, 2019 #30

    BBowmaster

    BBowmaster

    BBowmaster

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    30
    Gamma68 likes this.

Share This Page