PDA

View Full Version : Estes Range Box


dlazarus6660
09-16-2010, 11:54 AM
I picked up an Estes Range Box this past July at a local flea market. I couldn't look at it until today.

For the grand total of $5.00 I got;

1. The Range Box
2. Two launch controlers(blue)
3. Launch rod(aluminum)
4. Launch pad(red legs)
5. Blast deflector(steel sleeve)
6. Assorted rocketry manuals
7. One A8-3 rocket motor
8. # 11 Xacto knife and blades with a wood carving handle and blade
9. One Estes Gemeni DC rocket kit, opened but complete
10. Big Bertha instructions and decal
11. Six Solar ignighters

From what I can determine, it dates back to the early to mid 80's.
You had to assemble the launch controlers according to the instructions.
Anyone know what rocket came with the Range Box or what other stuff came with it?

Shreadvector
09-16-2010, 12:01 PM
Based upon the items in the photo and in your excellent description (Big Bertha instructions, order form, educational materials/technical reports...) I would bet that this was a teacher's starter set which included the Big Bertha rocket. There may have been more than one set and you have just the leftover items. Teachers usually bought one or more of these and then either bulk packs of kits for the students or a bunch of individual kits for the students. Sometimes, if money is tight, they have the students build fewer models as "teams".

ghrocketman
09-16-2010, 12:19 PM
Usually old range boxes like this will have items like a couple of half-melted parachutes, used engines, dried up bottles of glue/paint, an old moldy half-eaten sandwich, a smashed Blatz beer can, and a handful of rocks for good measure.

o1d_dude
09-16-2010, 02:15 PM
The decal alone is worth what you paid for the whole schmear.

Nice score!

ghrocketman
09-16-2010, 02:58 PM
Heck, a smashed Blatz can is worth darned near what he paid.
Lil' disappointed there was not anything totally useless and unrelated to rocketry in the box.
Usually in one of these old "range box deals", there will be something that is impossible to figure out any sort of rocketry use for. Like some old beat-up fishing bobbers, an empty baked-beans can, a half-chewed rawhide pet toy, or a chunk from a busticated bowling bawl.
I know I ALWAYS include something like that in one of my "range box deals". The last one had a few ounces of BIRD SEED (for plantin' to grow new rockets, ya know) in an old baby food jar.

dlazarus6660
09-16-2010, 03:13 PM
Oops...I forgot, it had some cooking spice in a plastic sandwich bag.
I couldn't tell what it was so I smoked instead! :eek: :p
It smelled awful! :(

Now really...
Is there anything in there of any value?

ghrocketman
09-16-2010, 03:37 PM
Some sort of green leafy "WILD" parsley huh ?

Not really anything of special value but you got a great deal for 5 buxx ! :D
The stuff must be worth at least $40-50

dlazarus6660
10-11-2010, 02:59 PM
Looking it over again I determined it is from 1988 by some of the litature in the box.
I just didn't know they put a Big Bertha in the Range Box. I thought it was always just an Alpha only?

Looking at it again, I found an order form dated 2-1-89. You should see the prices!

so the Ranage Box is from 1989!

Doug Sams
10-11-2010, 03:15 PM
I just didn't know they put a Big Bertha in the Range Box. I thought it was always just an Alpha only?They shipped lots of stuff in the range boxes, including the starter sets. I don't recall any Big Bertha Starter Sets, but there have been many starter sets over the years that had rockets other than the Alpha.

That said, because my first rockets came in an Alpha starter set (circa 1969), like you, my paradigm has always been that Alpha and starter set go together :)

Doug

.

jharding58
10-11-2010, 03:44 PM
You can sometimes tell by the legs on the launcher. If they are the futuristic saw tooth legs, then they are certainly more recent than 1988. Straight red legs remind me of the Alpha starter set. Are there "hazard stripe" stickers on the legs? Isn't there a reference list somewhere on the site with all the starter sets?

tfischer
10-11-2010, 03:55 PM
I actually still use my original Alpha range box from 1982 or thereabouts. It's sort of a "backup" box these days with some supplies that I want to have at the launch, but aren't my 'primary" ones.

I also have a range box that came from the mid-90's, I believe it was another Alpha starter set. And I had a slightly larger box from the same time period (mid-late 90's) that came with a rocket (not a starter set). Can't remember the name of the rocket off-hand but it was a USAF model that I still have but have never actually had the guts to fly because it's now OOP and it would be very hard to clone (plastic fins, etc). I'm at work now but I could verify it later...

BTW both my 1982 and mid-90's alpha sets had black porta-pads. The first one had a removable piece where the rod attached that fit into the base piece where the legs attach- looks like the one in your pic has this as one piece, like the newer style did.

dlazarus6660
10-11-2010, 04:04 PM
I don't like the newer launch pads, they break too easily! I have three of them and I've broken a piece here and there and now have one complete black launch pad. The red one seems more beefier to me!

dlazarus6660
10-11-2010, 04:07 PM
When did Estes change to the colored plugs instead of the masking tape you applied to hold the igniter in the motor?

Also, when did they puy the 'hook' in the motor hook?

And who put the sham in the....

Doug Sams
10-11-2010, 04:28 PM
I don't like the newer launch pads, they break too easily! I think that's the nature of the beast. Pretty much every starter set I've ever seen, regardless of vendor, was chintzy / flimsy and prone to easily breaking. But, if half the stuff sold in this industry is starter sets, then they have to be able to make money off of them with a retail price in the $20 range (for MR's, higher for mid and HPR). So you end up with 26 gauge wire on the controllers, spindly legged launch pads with flimsy rod connections, and 2-piece rods which are prone to being crooked.

In essence, the business model dictates that they sell starter sets that aren't very durable. My old (1969) Electro-launch was, in hindsight, pretty flimsy (although I think that style controller was much more rugged). So it's nothing new.

Aerotech's Mantis pad has some parts on it that break very easily, too, so the mid-power stuff's really no better.

Most buyers only ever use their setup once, maybe twice. And the rest of us, I think, build our own upgraded pads and controllers. In my case, I don't need to bend over to adjust the rod angle :) , and the pad is heavy enough that it ain't gonna tip over in a little breeze. My contollers are all factory (starter) stuff that I've modified to make them a little more robust.

Anyway, your pad choices tend to be inexpensive and fragile, or rugged but expensive, or roll your own for a few dollars and a few man hours. Most every commercial, after-market pad I've seen has been comparatively pricey, on the order of 70 dollars and up, so you end up paying a lot to upgrade your starter set. Or you roll your own. Lots of guys have done that.

If you make your own, the things you want to look out for are to not make it too heavy or too cumbersome to lug out to the field. A nice tri-pod that folds up is great. Having something that disassembles into 17 pieces is a PITA as is anything made with black pipe :)

Doug

.

jeffyjeep
10-11-2010, 04:58 PM
When did Estes change to the colored plugs instead of the masking tape you applied to hold the igniter in the motor?

Also, when did they puy the 'hook' in the motor hook?

And who put the sham in the....
....and the lime in the coconut?
....and the grapefruit juice in my grapefruit juice?

tfischer
10-11-2010, 05:01 PM
I think that's the nature of the beast. Pretty much every starter set I've ever seen, regardless of vendor, was chintzy / flimsy and prone to easily breaking.
.

My original 1982 Porta-Pad is still quite functional. And it's seen quite a few flights over the years (even though it's been semi-retired to backup status now).

My original Solar Launch Controller is still functional as well.


To answer the other question's post: Not sure when they started shipping the ignitor plugs, but I like them. I hardly ever have a misfire anymore, and I used to have plenty (of course I'm now much older and, in theory, wiser as well ;) )

gpoehlein
10-11-2010, 06:59 PM
....and the lime in the coconut?
....and the grapefruit juice in my grapefruit juice?

Who put the benzadrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine? :D

Scott6060842
10-11-2010, 08:38 PM
I recently purchased two starter sets on ebay:

For $28 bucks I got a Big Bertha starter set. It was unused. Yes there is one. It came with 1992 catalog. A Big Bertha with a plastic nose cone and a two piece body tube. The controller and launch pad have to be assembled and are pretty crappy. I am going to give it away as a gift with an xray and a pack of T engines. The guy tossed in 6 engines on the side to complete the set. I just finished building the Bertha with a 1992 paint scheme.

For under $20 I got an Alpha starter set. Also unused. I'm glad this one slipped through. It has an Alpha complete. It is open but has the balsa cone and the fin stock that has to be cut. It contains the exact contents shown in the 1973 catalog. The bottles of paint and sanding sealer. The paint brush. A box of citation engines. All the literature. A 1973 catalog compete with the cool Estes envelope. Even the packet of glue (dried up of course) and the old battery type controller. The best part is the port a pad. The launch rod is heavy duty, solid and straight. It comes apart easy and goes back together the same way. Solid deflector, not flimsy like the newer sets. The pad sits with a higher profile than the new pads and is rock solid. This is going to be my new main pad for sure. Can't wait to build the Alpha. :)

tfischer
10-12-2010, 12:58 AM
And I had a slightly larger box from the same time period (mid-late 90's) that came with a rocket (not a starter set).


In case anyone was just dying to know which rocket of mine came with the larger, nicer range box, it was the SM-3 Navy Seahawk:

http://www.rocketreviews.com/reviews/all/oop_est_sm-3_seahawk.shtml

Navy, USAF, I was close ;)

Scott6060842
10-22-2010, 06:00 PM
Well, I just finished putting the first coat of sanding sealer on the Alpha I got from a 1973 range box. It came with the four little bottles of Testers Thinner, sanding sealer, red paint, and white paint. They all seem to be in great condition and I am planning on painting it with the original supplies. :)

I had a little problem with the decals for the '92 Bertha. The two wrap around decals disintigrated on application. Can anyone give me some pointers for applying old decals? I am goint to build a '79 mini bomarc soon and those decals are even older. I am kind of a rookie building these old kits.

Also, is there a place to buy a '92 Bertha decal sheet? any help would be much appreciated.