The Understated Estes Alpha.

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by Overeasy123, Jul 6, 2015.

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  1. Feb 21, 2017 #151

    blackjack2564

    blackjack2564

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    Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's

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    These were all built in 66-67. They were found in my parents attic when I sold the house several years ago!

    100_2276_2.jpg

    The Alpha has a ''rubber" square shock cord. Looks like the rubber used in old balsa wind up planes.After all these years..."50" it's still supple and stretchy as when new!

    Astros Drifter was built, but never flown.
     
  2. Feb 21, 2017 #152

    BEC

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    That's because that's exactly what it was. I wouldn't be surprised if Estes Industries was buying 1/8 inch Sig contest rubber back then - or getting it from the same source as Sig Manufacturing did.

    It would be cool to finally get that Drifter in the air....
     
  3. Feb 21, 2017 #153

    TangoJuliet

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    If color could be done... A gold banner would be nice. Any chance you could share your artwork with someone who can cut it with colors? If not, could you offer cut black vinyl to the rest of us?
     
  4. Feb 21, 2017 #154

    Joe_Shockcord

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    Thank you. I think I used a rattle can of Testors aluminum. The wrap was from Excelsior, which sadly is no longer available. Coming up with a reasonable facsimile of the wrap with MonoKote and MacTac will be a future project.
     
  5. Feb 21, 2017 #155

    Gary Byrum

    Gary Byrum

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    Anybody that wants the artwork is welcome to have it. It was made in Corel Draw, so it should have the necessary vector lines. I'll get the other one done today and post it shortly. As far as cutting special orders, I won't be getting into that. Couple of good reasons here too. I just bought this plotter and still educating myself with it. I have cut a couple successful projects, but that is only scratching the surface. I'm still a nubie at it. The other reason is, this is Mark's territory. He makes the time for small orders and large ones on a scale I have no interest in competing with. Small projects like this one wouldn't be worth my time. I really don't have the room to stock a boatload of different colored vinyls, and I certainly don't have the time to baby sit another job at home. Maybe after I retire, (if that ever happens)
     
  6. Feb 21, 2017 #156

    TangoJuliet

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    Totally understand.
     
  7. Feb 21, 2017 #157

    samb

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    Sweet pic !

    Some great old rockets in that collection, Thanks for posting.
     
  8. Feb 21, 2017 #158

    Gary Byrum

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    I like that you did your own color scheme and strayed from the given concept that is no more than Estes spin on them.
    Great old photos Jim.

    It's remarkable that his shocks were still good after all these years. Last time I dug up some old birds, the shocks were all dry rotted. Same stuff he used as well

    OK, so now I have 3 "50th" concepts. Which one to choose....hmmmmm
    Sorry, I'll try to upload the pic later. TRF is having issues with my pics this morning.
     
  9. Feb 21, 2017 #159

    K'Tesh

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    @ Anyone with an old unbuilt Alpha... Please scan the Instructions, along with the fins and decals (and a ruler* for good measure (pun intended)). I'd be interested in seeing what 50 years of kit evolution looks like.

    Thanks!

    *Please no scans of political or religious leaders (past or present).
     
  10. Feb 21, 2017 #160

    Gary Byrum

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    Let's try this again.

    50th trio.jpg
     
  11. Feb 21, 2017 #161

    Rex R

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  12. Feb 21, 2017 #162

    TangoJuliet

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    I think the top one is OK. The middle one I think is too "modern" for the Alpha. The bottom one, IMHO, is just as it should be for this model.
     
  13. Feb 21, 2017 #163

    BEC

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    Gary,

    Thanks for the logos. I actually like the modern one almost as much as I like the first one you posted (bottom one in the trio).

    The one without the dates has the advantage of having wider applications (say, retrospectively, for the Big Bertha....).

    There is a small graphics company in New Mexico (Callie Graphics) that I have worked with on both airplanes and a few rockets....I may start a conversation with her on what she might be able to do with these and gold color. To fit on a regular Alpha they will have to be pretty small. Of course if Mark at Stickershock is interested in something this tiny, that would be good.

    I see a wrap (so the logo is upright as drawn when the model is standing on its fins), a banner that is turned 90 degrees that goes down the length of the body tube, and even a sticker to put on a fin (or two or three)...... what were you thinking along those lines?

    I will want to use something like this on at least two or three models including the 1.67 upscale posted above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  14. Feb 21, 2017 #164

    Woody's Workshop

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    Here's something that hasn't been addressed yet.
    The paper fin templates for cutting out the fins, not die crushed or laser cut.
    From what I can tell, you cut the fins on the outside of the black line on the template.
    When you put them all together and sand them all the same size, they should equal the size of inside the black line.
    So if you lay the fin on the template, you should see the black line all around the fin, but no white between the fin and black line.
    Is there a different perception than this?
     
  15. Feb 21, 2017 #165

    BEC

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    Jim,

    I've been thinking about scanning the various instructions figuring you'd pop into the with a request for same. I think I have half a dozen variants currently in my possession. The problem I haven't solved yet is that the oldest three versions are 14-inch-long paper and my scanner isn't that big....so the result will be some sort of patchwork if I do it. I'm not sure I have the image-editing tools necessary to paste partial pages together without making a muck of it, but I'll see.

    As for fins - I'm pretty certain from my own tedious research that the SP-25 template sheet has the same fin pattern in its various incarnations (at least two). When the fins started getting pre-cut then it gets interesting. I sure hope we don't collectively discover some variation in the die-cut versions over time beyond what happens as dies wear. Then there is the current laser-cut shape (which is also common to the Super Nova two-stage model recently re-released). I hope, too, that there's only one version of that shape. I do know it to be different from its predecessors.

    Decals.....yes. Earliest versions have none. Then, it appears to me, came the black/red version that was a decal and looks much like the current livery (which first appeared in EK-25 Alpha IIs). Does anyone have an example with the blue/red version of the livery that's a decal rather than a sticker? Another natural question would be what, if anything, changed in the blue/red sticker version after production was moved to China.....

    And so it continues :eek:.
     
  16. Feb 21, 2017 #166

    BEC

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    And if you want to get crazier - do you trim the template to the black line and then draw around it, or trim the template inside the line and draw on the wood around that, or use the pinhole method to just transfer the corners and cut them out that way? Each would yield a slightly different pre-sanding shape. It's this sort of thing that made me go off on that guy in the other thread who was so hung up on the numerical dimensions in TR-11 and who just couldn't seem to grasp that some parts are defined graphically. And of course as long as they are pretty uniform and put on straight, the Alpha itself isn't going to care which of these approaches one has used - it will just fly like Bill Simon wanted it to when he designed it....

    I need to step away from the computer now.
     
  17. Feb 21, 2017 #167

    samb

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    A paraphrase of Barry Goldwater comes to mind:

    "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of the Estes Alpha is no vice." :wink:
     
  18. Feb 21, 2017 #168

    Mugs914

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    The info I recall was something about educational use as well. Didn't know about the longer engine tube or the dots on the fins though...
     
  19. Feb 21, 2017 #169

    Mugs914

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    The other thing I notice is how much smaller the Alpha is now compared to the ones I built when I was 10...

    :p
     
  20. Feb 21, 2017 #170

    Gary Byrum

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    Now that I have 3 to ponder, I'm leaning more to use the first in the trio (without dates) on one of the fins. I hadn't realized I had left the dates off though. I suppose I could slip those in just above the black Anniversary tag if I felt the need. And since my Alpha will have no real historic reference (decals, artwork & such) I could use the 2nd one because I'm adding a fairly modern touch to the aesthetics. The one thing I will consider keeping is the single colored fin and stripe above it. I'm playing around with about a dozen airframe applications to see what I want to do with that and maybe decide on the adequate font for 'ALPHA'.
     
  21. Feb 22, 2017 #171

    K'Tesh

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    Nuts I forgot to request face cards too... This is what happens when a very tired me decides to jump into a thread.

    @BEC I was inspired to ask when I saw one of your posts.

    @RRex I'll have to get on that when I get the chance... but I don't have the time right now. Thanks for the link though. :)
     
  22. Feb 22, 2017 #172

    5x7

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    Yes, I have one bought and built around 1991 with a blue and red waterslide decal. And if you are keeping track this one has the first version pnc that is fatter on the end than today's nosecone and the shoulder has ribs on it.

    20170221_190022.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  23. Feb 22, 2017 #173

    K'Tesh

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    Back in the US, I have a built Alpha with the red and black decals, and an unused set of waterslide blue and red decals from a kit I bought for parts.
     
  24. Feb 22, 2017 #174

    BEC

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    Wow - I was unaware of the fatter plastic nose cone. Going back to the Alpha II that I posted pictures of earlier in this thread I see it matches that description. I assumed it was the same as the current one - thanks for pointing the difference out.

    Also - you don't recall how the motor mount went together in that one - two centering rings or one big fat cylinder - do you?

    AND - I just determined that another kit I have (Beta series face card with a flight log on the back - kit made in USA) does have blue/red waterslide decals. I hadn't though to look at it for that before. FWIW it has the skinnier blow-molded nose cone that looks the same as one from a 2014 bulk-pack Alpha I just got from eRockets (in the same order as my BNC-50Ks and BNC-60K for the current Alpha building binge). It also has the centering cylinder style motor mount.

    I'm going to have to set up a spreadsheet for all of this to keep track. Maybe tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  25. Feb 22, 2017 #175

    K'Tesh

    K'Tesh

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    I've simmed up the black and red, and blue and red decaled versions, as well as the modern version... You can check out the .ork files in my OR files thread.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Personally, I like the red and black version the most, and I have no idea why the engine mount was changed for the most recent version.
     
  26. Feb 22, 2017 #176

    BEC

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    I was looking at the instructions for the one I just got from eRockets and saw that motor mount tube moved aft as well. No idea why either. Seems silly to me.

    Also just bought a Beta series Alpha on eBay that has "Made in China" on the face card....but it otherwise looks like the one I discovered had the blue/red waterslides in it earlier this evening. Will be interested to see if it's peel-n-stick and/or what other changes there are. At some point I'm going to wind up opening up a bunch of different Alpha kits to see the specifics and to do some scanning. I never set out to collect all the different versions anyway - I figure I'd never get there.

    Now the Nova Payloader on the other hand - I'd like to do that for it. I need to find at least one example from the first iteration released in 1986. But that's for another thread.....
     
  27. Feb 22, 2017 #177

    shreadvector

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    Yes.

    I worked an Educator's conference and Estes sent us Alpha II kits.

    I clearly recall the die cut fins and the dots to help identify the root edge. I do not recall the linger motor mount tube or different shock cord anchor - simply because I do not remember.

    And now I have a hazy memory of some kit that included a single edge razor blade. Perhaps to help remove die cut fins from the sheet? I cannot recall if it was this kit or some other kit.....


     
  28. Feb 23, 2017 #178

    5x7

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    I looked at the built rocket and the instructions and it's the motormount version with the single fat cylinder cr (ick). In the picture below it is the middle facecard. The facecard on the left of the middle appears to be the version with black decals but I can't recall them being black (long story for that one) they both have identical instructions. I added an Alpha 3 and 4 for completeness. The funny thing about the instructions for the kits with the huge alpha decals is they have the nosecone part listed as either the PNC50ka blow molded or the pnc50k injection molded alpha 3 version with the screw eye.

    20170222_185423.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  29. Feb 28, 2017 #179

    Trident

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    Sorry, somehow I missed the question on how I did the "Easter Egg" paint job. Hydrodipping is a good description. Fill a sufficiently larger bucket with water. I've done bigger rockets using a 30 gallon trash can. I put rocket on a dowel and seal up the motor end to prevent water from entering and making the tubes soggy. I dip with nose cone installed. Wrap with tape if you think it's too loose. I've had the best result using an all white base coat, but I've also used black, with interesting results. Spray colors on surface of water, and quickly dunk and pull rocket out. Do this quickly before paint starts to dry while floating. If a second dunk is desired, use newspaper or paper towels to remove old paint from water, and repeat.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  30. Mar 24, 2017 #180

    BEC

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    Bump.

    Gary, would you be willing to email me the Corel files of your logos? bernard (at) cawleys (dot) net

    I've started painting two regular sized and one 1.67 upscale Alpha and I'd like to send the graphics to Callie along with another upscale decal I'd like to have her do.

    Since I was last in this thread I bought a retail version of the current incarnation at Fry's (for quite a bit less than the list price, fortunately - I've never understood why the Alpha's MSRP in its current form is so high). I really hadn't set out to collect all the versions of it but I seem to be headed in that direction anyway....

    I saw a "free Alpha" kit on eBay the other day....a face card I'd never seen before and the kit contents looked as if it had die cut balsa fins but an Alpha III nose cone. The price went past my willingness pretty fast.
     

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