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View Full Version : Partial Taxonomy of Alpha Kit 1225


Jeff Walther
07-25-2009, 12:27 AM
Some folks asked me to look at the large assortment of Alpha kits I acquired, because in photos I posted a few months back, I have both forms of plastic nose cone. While they're both part number PNC-50K, one of them is fatter or more rounded, while the other is sharper or more tapered.

Here is what I found.

I have five distinct (more or less) forms of the Alpha kit 1225. They all have that model number, except the one with no model number. They all have white plastic nose cones and die cut balsa fins. The 1984 catalog is the first one which starts listing the Alpha as having a plastic nose cone. The 1983 catalog lists a balsa nose cone. The 1989 catalog starts listing a red, white or blue plastic nose cone. I don't know how far forward that goes.

I know I should take pictures. Maybe when I have more time. It's a pain. I'm living in the 90s computer-wise.

#1) The first kit I have here has an orange face card with no UPC symbol and a paper hang tag. The engine hook is the old style, the cone is fat, the parachute has solid stickers, the engine tube is brown and the engine mount uses two rings. I have eleven of these. I haven't opened one to check the version of the instructions, nor the back of the face card.

#2) The next kit has a blue background face card with a plastic hang tag. The face card has a UPC in the lower right corner. On the reverse side, there's a little rectangle warning box (right column) just above the warranty information. The engine hook is old style, the cone is fat, the parachute has solid stickers, the engine tube is brown and the engine mount uses two rings. The instructions have an illustration (drawing) of the Alpha at the top of the first page. This is pretty identical to the orange face card version, except the packaging. I have three of these.

#3) The next kit has a face card that looks just like #2 except the blue background is a little darker, but this could be less fading. On the back of the face card, there are two horizontal lines (instead of a box) setting off a warning above the warranty information (right column). The engine hook is old style, the cone is fat, the parachute has solid stickers, the engine tube is brown, but the engine mount uses a single wide brown ring. The instructions have more of a photo of the Alpha at the top of the first page and the engine mount step is changed to reflect the single long ring. However, I found a couple of these with the newer face card, but the older engine mount rings and corresponding instructions. So there's a bit of a mix. They didn't change the face card in exact correspondence with the engine mount rings and the instructions. I have four of these.

#4) The next kit has "Beta Series" written on the face card. The engine hook is new style, the cone is tapered, the parachute has holed stickers, the engine tube is blue, and the engine mount is a single wide green ring. The instructions are in two parts/pages. I have two of these..

#5) I think these are bulk or educator kits. There are no instructions nor face cards. Otherwise they are just like #4 above. They all have the narrow, tapered nose cone, new hook, new engine mount and new parachute stickers. I have sixteen of these.

Somewhere along the way, the decals changed from a white background to a blue background, but I haven't been able to see enough through the packaging to determine when that happened.

I hope that satisfies some of the curiosity.

jadebox
07-25-2009, 05:22 PM
We just helped some kids build Alphas. The latest bulk versions include pre-assembled plain white parachutes. Estes includes a note explaining the change and suggesting that the 'chutes can be colored with markers.

-- Roger