Originally Posted by Gus
Thanks for coming over.
You mentioned in another post that the Centuri Super Kits didn't sell well because of poor graphics. Were?there any Estes kits you thought should have done way better but didn't, for similar reasons.
I'm also curious as to whether there was ever a "standard formula" for the overall makeup of the line, like 50% skill level one kits, 10% scale kits, etc.?
Finally, with regard to the skill levels assigned to kits, there have been numerous debates on the forums over the years regarding the value and validity of skill levels. What was the thinking within Estes?
Thanks again for being here.
Gus - this is another great set of questions.
Yes, there have been many decors on several of the models over the years that I simply flat out detested. Let me try to explain why I think this without digging a big hole for myself.
A number of people can walk into a room and visually detect when a picture on a wall is not level by a mere 1/8". Exhibition shooters can fire a thousand rounds over a couple hours hitting every target and aiming with their senses instead of using sights. Many flying aces could feel how to set up and combine critical timing for a long distant deflection shot and take down a foe with a single short burst.
I have the artistic ability to 'see' what I believe a model rocket decor should look like for a particular shape or design. I gravitate to simple clean crisp block lines and shapes. Wayne had it too. If you will look at some of my kits such as the Optima you will see that decor and the title font type I created for that design makes that model what it is.
Sometime in the mid 80's R&D was told that decors should be created by the visual graphics or even the marketing departments. It was felt we took too long to develop a new kit because it was perceived we felt too great a personal ownership or attachment to the deisgn and that somehow slowed development. Well, yeah we did. That was what we did and who we were - we designed cool model rockets!
Anyway, the result was that 'new' decors then started being sent around for final approvals, such as the Colosses. Yeah right, a muscle man with chains on the side of a model rocket - a decor I could only shake my head slowly back and forth about. It was stupid. It was an awful period of time for me - watching the decors of some of my kit designs I presented reverting to back to when damon was dictating bunny rabbits for the Goonies.
So yes, I have a real problem with some of the decors that ended up on my designs.
There is no standard formula for how many designs there needs to be in any one catagory to round out the Estes kit line. It is true that we need models from the simplest to the Saturn V's for a well rounded Estes product line. We normally generate new models as a standard activity to fill any holes or as a replacement for one particular kit if sales drop too far.
As to the skill level question, I have personally never seen any indication that model rocketeers at any level religously adhere to moving only from a 1 to a 5 as they choose their models to build. Rocketeers build the designs they like no matter what the skill level printed on the package might be.