What rockets did you fly "back in the day"?

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Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2010
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(stands up) Hi, my name is Mike...and I'm a BAR. :)

The Rocket Challenge shows on Discovery Channel reawakened the bug in me after 22 years away from the hobby. Since it's butt-biting cold here, I haven't flown anything yet, but I've been building like mad (I'll see if I can borrow the neighbor's digital camera, so I can share a picture of the quickly-growing fleet).

In the meantime, I've been thinking about the rockets I built as a teenager, and was curious how many others had built these kits. (Alas, I don't have any of these anymore; those that didn't crash and / or burn were given by my parents to the neighbor kids sometime in the mid-90s, after spending 15 years in the basement.)

- Estes Patriot. This was my first kit. I spent forever on the big girl, and, on her maiden flight, the shock cord came undone at the nosecone. Core sampler. :( The happy ending is that I'm putting the finishing touches on a clone I recently bought on eBay, and she looks every bit as gorgeous as she did back in '77.

- Centuri Payloader II. Those goofy fins were a pain in the tuckus to put together. And, my assembly skills were a bit lacking at the time anyway (hey, I was only 13), and so the 4 fins were not anywhere near 90-degree angles from each other. Even with that handicap, she did fly well, until she cracked a couple of those bloody fins.

- Estes Condor. I loved this baby. The "Orbital Transport Lite" was fun to build, and flew well. I just built a Custom Rockets Tristar, in part because the looks reminded me a lot of the old Condor. Maybe once I hone my skills a bit, I'll try to clone a Condor off of the JimZ plans.

- Estes Viper. This one came with the Model Rocketry Club kit. As the Comic Book Guy would say: Ugliest. Paintjob. Ever. Flew OK, though.

- Estes Scissor-Wing Transport. Gads, I hated assembling this thing. The photography of the rocket in the Estes catalog hid all the 75 bits of balsa that went into the scissoring mechanism. And, since I was young and impatient, I didn't let the glue dry enough, and so the scissoring mechanism wasn't quite right. First flight, power pod popped out just fine, but the wing maybe moved 10 degrees (instead of the necessary 90 degrees). MAJOR lawndart. :mad:

- Estes SS Cassiopeia. What a beauty; I spent the time to build her correctly, and found some metallic blue spraypaint to finish her. First flight, the parachute caught a breeze, and she landed on the domed roof of the YMCA pool down the street. The janitor actually went up on the roof and brought her down! I flew her a few more times (on bigger fields!), and she always flew well. This is the one I really regret letting my parents give away, as the occasional kit that shows up on eBay now goes for big bucks.

- Estes Firefly. Fun little glider; flew better after I accidentally broke the main spar, and glued it back together. I usually piggybacked her on the Cassiopeia.

Sorry for the reminiscing, but I've enjoyed reading all of the stories on the board, so I thought I'd share.

Safe flights!

Mike Mistele
The Condor was also one of my favorites. I cloned it a few years back, but went with 18mm power instead of the original 13mm. Now I'm planning to do another one, this one with the 13mm mount. I've also got a BT-56 upscale that I fly every chance I get. It's in need of a new glider since the old one flew through a fence and did a cheese grater imitation. To date, the only rockets from my original fleet that I haven't cloned are the Andromeda and the X-Ray, both of which are currently under construction.
No vintage pics, but here are a couple of shots of the BT-56 upscale. On the pad......
Der red max of course, comet, space shuttle with booster rockets,scout,icarus and more i can't remember!
all right folks, listen up... never, NEVER apologize for reminiscing... :)

Sky Hook was my first rocket. Can't remember how many flights I got on that one.

Also flew virtually everything Estes made back in the 60's/70's but most notable would include:

Sprint (Still have it, over 400 flights, signed by Vern and Gleda Estes)
Mars Lander (still have it)
1:70th Saturn 1B
Saturn V (semi scale and full scale)
Gemini Titan
Mars Snooper
(that's the short list :) )

I also did a lot of scratch building in the 70's/80's and flew such things as:

Richter Recker
Hi Mike!
Welcome to the Best MR forum on the net!!! :D
I'm an ol'e Rocketeer...Starting back before there was Dirt:D, Back in the Day I loved flying my OLD rock-a-chute, Flyin Jenny, Space Plane, Laser-X, SST-Shuttle, Orbital Transport, Orion, Javlin, Falcon BG, Interceptor, 1/48th X-15 PMC, Night Hawk BG, Cobra-1500, Constellation payloader, X-24 bug, Valcan, Omaga 2 stage with Cinaroc, Scissor wing transport, 1/100th Saturn-V, 1/70th Satrun-1b cluster,2 size Bomarc's and 1/42nd Mercury Redstone. Mini bertha, sketter, mosquito, and Beta 2-stage 13mm short engine models.
During the summer of 79 while I was on vacation, almost my entire fleet was stolen and destroyed from my apartment storage area, with the exception of the Satrun-v, 1b, merc-redstone and the Cinaroc that happened on display at a local hobby shop while I was away!
Well, that set me back a bit, took almost 2 years and a move to my current house to get the building bug back:D
Currently Fleet 2 consists of some 250 plus standard and upscale models and about 92 micro-maxx, and lord only knows how many competition type models..(we don't bother counting stuff made to thermal away:) Favorites in fleet 2: Ultra Orbital Transport, Interceptor, Omaga w/ Cinaroc, Der Red max, Goblin and 5 D12 clustered Goblin, Laser-X, micro laser-x and 3D upscale Laser-X, Ram-Jet, 3D Ram-jet, Scissor wing transport 4 different Scale Bomarc's and Crusader swingwing BG's. I'm sure I've missed tons Like 5D cluster Crayon and planty of Scale's and PMC's..but they can't all be favorites right? maybe they can:D:D
Just another rocket fanatic!
I built quite a few rockets back in the 70's ... I'm sure I don't remember everyone but here goes:

Several Estes Aerobee 300's ... my fav ALL TIME
Centuri Space Shuttle
Estes Beta
Mini Bertha
Apogee II
bunch of Mosquito's and Scouts and Streaks
Mark II
Sky Hook
several Honest Johns
Mercury Redstone
bunch of home builts
any probrably many more I don't remember now

into the early 80,the last rocket I built before a month ago,I built a Centuri Magnum SAM 3 .... I wish I could find one of these kits cheap .... or maybe even a clone !
Instead typing...I'll say dittos tot he above, except I never finished my Saturn 1B. That is my biggest regret
Alpha III
Mark II
Estes Quasar
Mercury Redstone
Evil Keneivel (SP?) Rocket Cycle

There were others that I don't recall right now. I had to buy my own rockets and motors from what I could earn around the house or by working for nearby farms. My father worked two jobs most of the time and we had a small farm, so money was tight. I recall that most of the time I earned enough to buy one pack of motors or one box of Winchester Wildcat .22s a week, whatever that amount was. It might have been a dollar. In the fall my brother and I were allowed to pick up fallen apples from a nearby orchard, and we had them pressed for cider, which we sold. We might have ended up with $50.00 each after expenses! That is how I was able to buy my first rifle. I am now cloning the classics that I wanted as a kid, but could only dream of.
My First rocket was an MRI Wac-Corporal. I enjoyed all of them, still do, I like the Birdie, Midget, Skydart as well. My favorites were my Bomarc and 1/70 scale Saturn 1b. I still have them all of these, plus more, and still occasionally fly my Original Saturn 1b, it is now over 30 years old itself. Have fun, stay young, and welcome to the Forum. Much of my exploits can be found here https://members.cox.net/shortckt4 just follow the links, I even have a list of all of our current rockets, built and unbuilt.
Happy Flying!
Mike Dickinson
back in the early 90's I flew some kits with my uncle.

Mean Machine
Hello Copter
SR71 Blackbird

thats all I can think of, I havent been around as long as you guys. I guess I am kinda a BAR though. Flew with my uncle alot in the early 90's (dont remember all of that) and then stoped till around '98/the beginning of '99...been going strong ever since then ;)
Back in the days where we walked three miles to school... barefoot... in the snow... up hill both ways.... I was not born yet...


I did have an Estes Marauder and Scout :)
That's ok Doug! being "older" just means you've got more to remember....right Sandman & Jflis:D
How could I forget clustering my SR-71, Deep space transport, GeoSat HLV and Grayhawk!!!:)
I flew when I was in high school, back in '73 and '74. I could never afford very many rockets (I was a poor kid back then!). My first rocket was the perenial favorite - the Alpha. Still love the shape of that rocket - I'm building a whole bunch of them in different scales now.

Other rockets I had back then included:

Trident (still have it)
Mini Bomarc (still have it)
V2 (the small one)
Mark II
Groove Tube

I made an abortive attempt to get back into rocketry about 10-15 years ago and bought a number of rockets that I never got around to building:

Colonial Viper
Mini Dactyl
Star Wars X Wing
Soaring Eagle
Yankee Clipper.

Yeah - I'll probably build those guys now, (although I may clone them and leave the components unbuilt in some!)

Rockets I drooled over from the '73 catalog (and intend to clone now that I'm back in the hobby!):
X-Ray (the new one is a travesty!!!)
Orbital Transport
Mars Snooper
Mars Lander
Red Max
Starship Vega

Greg Poehlein
Dang, I still have every one of your list still in the bag or box except the Skydart:D That's WHY the wife is gonna have such a Great Yard sale Ah Ha!!!

You really like the Old X-ray better then the Now 13mm X-ray?
Does this bring back any memories?
Originally posted by Fishhead
The Condor was also one of my favorites. I cloned it a few years back, but went with 18mm power instead of the original 13mm. Now I'm planning to do another one, this one with the 13mm mount.

Bill, I saw your write-up on the Condor clone on EMRR...very cool. Now I *know* I need to do this one.

And, thanks for all the kind words, folks. :)


I can't believe that nobody has said "CHEROKEE D"...
man, I lived and breathed that one...

For me, this all took place in the '60s and early '70s. I was the 'first kid on my block' to launch rockets, but managed to get several others infected too.


Streak (first rocket)
WAC Corporal
Apogee II (gone on first flight)
Alpha, Alpha III (about ten times)
Big Bertha (nothin' but FUN)
Gyroc (one of the best ever)
Sprint (?)
Space Plane
Flying Jenny
Sky Hook
Red Max
Cherokee D
Delta (all those booster stages went EVERYWHERE)
Interceptor (why didn’t I KEEP that?)
always wanted a Saturn IB but couldn't afford it
many others


Nike Smoke
Long Tom
F-104 Starfighter
also wanted an F-15 Eagle but never got one for some reason
I loved the Condor, too, as a kid. If/when I can find a good field to fly, I'll build the gliders again.

No one has mentioned the 13mm Little John: My first kit EVER. She may not look like much, but, ah... nostalgia... I've got it cloned, and awaiting a paint job.
Back in the Day ....... ??

Ive only just started !! I dont think rocketry had penetrated into the UK "when I were a lad".

Mmmmm , that would be interesting to know .... WHEN did this LPR stuff hit the UK ?

Im going to sue for having been deprived of a fun childhood !

Ah well , Im having fun now !! :)

Im going to sue for having been deprived of a fun childhood !

Ah well , Im having fun now !!

As my mum would say, your having your "second childhood" :p

It all started with the ALPHA.

I remember the Streak, ApogeeII, Scissor Wing Transport, Sprint, and Orbital Transport best.
The Orbital Transport was the one I always longed after in the Estes catalog -- even moreso than the "real life" high-end kits like the Saturns, the Mercury Redstone, or the Space Shuttle, which never had quite the same appeal to me. I loved the long lines and airliner feel of this one. But, at the time, I had a hard enough time with Skill Level 3 kits, and was intimidated by the SL4s and 5s.

In reading the reviews of the OT kit on EMRR, it sounds like the high SL on this kit is more a matter of patience at cutting and constructing all the balsa, more than anything horribly complicated. So, one of these days, I'll think I'll get a copy of the kit, and see if I can't muddle my way through. :D
Oh, boy.... Let's see how good my memory is.

Everything I had was Estes.

Falcon Commander
Starship Nova
Nova Scout Ship
MX Missle
Der Red Max
SR-71 Blackbird
Advanced Target Drone
Mark II
Ram Jet
Manta Bomber

Surely I'm forgetting a few...........
Mike, Welcome aboard from another guy in Illinois:D

Here's a pic of most of my fleet from back in the day, 74-75. Lucky for me they were put away in the attic for several years. I do fly some of them from time to time. I think the Centuri Little Joe2 has always been my favorite.
For me it all started in 1971. I was 6 then, so my dad built rockets for me. He built me:

Goblin (still have it!!)
V2 (BT-55)

When I started building I had:

Astron Spaceman
Another V2
Honest John (skill level 4 version)
Mars Snooper 2
Nike X
Alien Invader
Mark IIScout
Aerobee 300
Mars Lander
Maxi Brute V2
Wac Corporal

I still have many of these, pics are on my website.

Here is my first rocket: Goblin, restored.
I was about 10 when I started...so figure around 1970.
My very first was the Sky Hook followed by the X-Ray. After that it was crazy, but I remember having the Wac Corporal despite my brother warning me that it was "hard to make". I also had the Centuri Twister....I made a clone of it last summer and it flew great! Like many others here, I wish I had the foresight to keep all those old kits. Oh....I remember the "2 Bits" kits.....made of paper. I can't remember who made those though....any help?
I forgot to add the fact that at the time of my rocket purchases, the engines (Estes) came in a blue tube and we always tried to made rockets out of those tubes. Some flew great, some.....well...not so great. Centuri engines came in a box that looked like playing cards. We never tried making those fly though lol.