Returning to rocketry with a vintage Estes Astron Scout

Gamma68

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Went to Hobby Lobby. They didn’t have many engines in stock. But I did buy an Alpha III kit that includes the launch pad. Same starter kit I bought when I first got
Into the hobby.
 

Gamma68

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I began putting together my recently acquired Scout last night. First build in nearly 35 years.

Assembling it brings back a flood of memories. Including how tough it is to work with the cotton gauze. The material itself, while charming, is difficult to set cleanly with glue. My original Scout was a sloppy-looking rocket. I'm trying to make this one look halfway decent.

I'm convinced Estes photographed their Scout models without the gauze reinforcements.

Here's where I'm at so far. I guess I'll have to apply sandpaper gently after priming to smooth out those rough gauze-covered areas.

IMG_5978.jpg
 
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Hard to believe that's how we did it in the old days, right?
If I may suggest, sand the rough areas and blend it in to the body with Squadron putty or equivalent.
Then sand, primer, sand, primer, etc.
Here's a pic of one of my first builds as a BAR some 5 or 6 years ago:
0725190750.jpg
A modified Estes Buchanan Buster (Design of the Month winner).
Gauze reinforcement around the 90 deg. tube joints.
Still a bit rough but true to the original plans.
I guess that's why modern rockets use Tyvek or cardstock strips instead of gauze now.
Don't think Tyvek had even been invented back in the 60's.
Or Kevlar for that matter.
Laters.
 

5x7

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My original Scout was a sloppy-looking rocket. I'm trying to make this one look halfway decent.

The lumpy gauze look is charming to me, puts it back in that era of coat hanger launch rods and doorbell button launchers.
 

ewomack

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I've never seen, or even heard of, a model rocket with gauze. What was the purpose? I need some edumacation on this topic, apparently.
 

Gamma68

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I've never seen, or even heard of, a model rocket with gauze. What was the purpose? I need some edumacation on this topic, apparently.
The gauze is meant to reinforce the fins to the body of the rocket. It works but I find it very difficult to handle and smooth out cotton gauze over sticky glue.
 

Mike Helm

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This is a great kit. It teaches the CG/CP relationship. Goes up stable then kicks the motor back and tumbles to the ground. The gauze is for reinforcement of the fins for horizontal landings (also why the fins are so thick). This was my first rocket back in the 60s. I walked into a hobby store to purchase a plane only too learn I was too poor...but I could afford a rocket. I was too young to buy motors so I would stand in front of the shop and beg passing adults to make the purchase for me.
Taekwondo Rockets recently made a reproduction of this kit that seems very loyal to the original design. I don't know if the reproduction is still available. You can do a search for them. Also check the vendors on this site.
-Mike
 

ewomack

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There is an unopened Scout kit on Ebay for $179.00. From what I can tell, there is a real market for vintage sealed rockets, which I guess shouldn't surprise me. People seem to really like old unused things. :D

Someone else is selling a vintage scout already built for $45.00.

Perhaps these prices will entice Estes to re-release the Scout?

I have never seen a rocket kit this old - the "Star Blazer," supposedly from 1967 - 1971. It contains a square chunk of wood, which I'm guessing needed to be fully cut down by the buyer?

I'm becoming addicted to scrolling through vintage rocket kits. In any case, the Scout apparently has some real value.
 
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which I'm guessing needed to be fully cut down by the buyer?
In ye olden days, before die cut and laser cut fins, modellers cut their fins by tracing onto a balsa sheet from a pattern (called a template) supplied in the plans or instructions. Here are two websites with vintage kit plans and instructions:
https://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/index.htm
https://www.oldrocketplans.com/
JimZ's site has plans for both the Estes K-1 Scout and the K-31 Star Blazer.
When I was a kid Estes would give you a free kit if your order was above a certain amount (maybe $10?).
The K-31 Star Blazer was sometimes given as a free kit, as was the Astron Gyroc and the Astron Streak.
Centuri did the same with the Midget two stager.
I'm amazed that someone is trying to sell a free kit for $170.
Shoulda kept my free kits instead of building 'em.
Laters.
EDIT: I misread your post. The square chunk of wood with the Star Blazer kit is for the canopy. You are supposed to rough trim to shape with a saw then sand to shape.
 
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Gamma68

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I picked up my unbuilt NOS Estes Scout kit for $9 + shipping on eBay.

If someone really desires a Scout kit, I'd say hang in there and keep looking for one at a reasonable price.

My build is coming along. Been doing some filling and sanding but the glued gauze is thwarting my desire to achieve smoothness. I think I have to accept that a somewhat lumpy finish is part of the Scout "charm." I doubt many kids ended up building catalog showpieces back in the day.

I think I'll prime and do some more sanding/filling.

IMG_6022.jpg IMG_6023.jpg
 

Rex R

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as i recall... the gauze was to reinforce the motor retainer body tube joint to keep the 'hook' from tearing out. i will note that G.H. Stine suggested using tissue paper (Not Bathroom tissue) to 'make' tissue fillets on booster stages to make the fin/tube joint stronger.
 
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as i recall... the gauze was to reinforce the motor retainer body tube joint to keep the 'hook' from tearing out. i will note that G.H. Stine suggested using tissue paper (Not Bathroom tissue) to 'make' tissue fillets on booster stages to make the fin/tube joint stronger.
Actually, it's for both fin and engine hook reinforcement.
Ref. step 6 here:https://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/estes/k-01.pdf
BTW erockets/Semroc still has the "Golden Scout" available: it's a special edition reproduction celebrating the golden anniversary (some years ago) of Vern and Gleda Estes wedding. It uses Tyvek reinforcement for the engine hook and no fin reinforcement.
 

Ez2cDave

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I found this interesting item about the "MICRO SCOUT" and "MICRO SPRITE" . . . Enjoy !

Dave F.
 

Attachments

  • MICRO SCOUT and MICRO SPRITE.pdf
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Fishhead

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I found this interesting item about the "MICRO SCOUT" and "MICRO SPRITE" . . . Enjoy !

Dave F.
I have a Micro Sprite. Jim Flis marketed it and called it the Tumbleweed. I've never been able to stop my hands from shaking just thinking of cutting those tiny fin tips, so it's still unbuilt.
 

5x7

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Actually, it's for both fin and engine hook reinforcement.
Ref. step 6 here:https://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/estes/k-01.pdf
BTW erockets/Semroc still has the "Golden Scout" available: it's a special edition reproduction celebrating the golden anniversary (some years ago) of Vern and Gleda Estes wedding. It uses Tyvek reinforcement for the engine hook and no fin reinforcement.
The Golden Scout was made in an effort in 2008 to comemorate the Estes company’s 50th anniversary (Founded in 1958) with ‘Sky of Gold’. This is from the Semroc site from the Internet Archive “The Golden Scout™ was officially announced at NARCON 2008, but has been selling since March 1. The Golden Scout™ commemorates the 50 years of dedication to model rocketry by Vern and Gleda Estes who started their little venture that changed the world in the spring of 1958. The Golden Scout™ is designed to be an integral part of the Sky of Gold this July.”
 
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The Golden Scout was made in an effort in 2008 to comemorate the Estes company’s 50th anniversary (Founded in 1958) with ‘Sky of Gold’. This is from the Semroc site from the Internet Archive “The Golden Scout™ was officially announced at NARCON 2008, but has been selling since March 1. The Golden Scout™ commemorates the 50 years of dedication to model rocketry by Vern and Gleda Estes who started their little venture that changed the world in the spring of 1958. The Golden Scout™ is designed to be an integral part of the Sky of Gold this July.”
I stand corrected. Further info from the instruction sheet:
"Realizing that the 50th anniversary of Vern and Gleda Estes’ beginnings in model rocketry was approaching, Ken Montanye (the Rocket Doctor) suggested on the rocketry forums that it be remembered in a special way. Ken had the idea that rocketeers all over the country and the world should build a “golden” Scout and fly it for Vern and Gleda to commemorate their 50 years of contributions to the sport of model rocketry. All of us at Semroc were caught up in his proposal and after many conversations with Ken and the Estes’, the Golden Scout™ concept crystallized. This kit is your part of this historic event. Build it, make sure you paint it GOLD, and fly it during July of 2008. Register your flight with Semroc either online, by email, or by mail and Vern and Gleda will mail you a commemorative certificate celebrating their Golden Anniversary of the beginning of the “Golden Age of Model Rocketry.”


Gotta dig up mine and find my QJet Ds.
😁
 

5x7

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I also flew in the Scout in the Sky of Good with my wife and kids, Semroc sent us a commemoritve certificate that is very nice.
 

John_lennon

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Jeez I can't imagine having to work with that gauze like that I guess I missed that design feature on rockets I built at camp as a child. I wish I remembered more about the kits that were offered and which I chose to build. I do remember our launch area being a small round green in the center of a dirt road rotary. With trees all around now that I think of it I wonder if anyone got there rockets to return to the ground. Definitely interesting to see how far the kits have come and the way they're put together. Really interesting read thanks to the OP.

Dyl
 
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I have a Micro Sprite. Jim Flis marketed it and called it the Tumbleweed. I've never been able to stop my hands from shaking just thinking of cutting those tiny fin tips, so it's still unbuilt.
Build it! The fins and fin tips are laser cut!
Not as hard as you think.
 

Fishhead

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Build it! The fins and fin tips are laser cut!
Not as hard as you think.
Not on mine. Just a flat squarish sheet of balsa with a pattern sheet. I've had it since 2001-02. Considering the timing and circumstances, it's quite possibly a prototype.
 
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