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Old 04-18-2009, 12:28 AM
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Royatl Royatl is offline
SPEV/Orion wrangler
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,275

Originally Posted by MDorffler
There has been a great deal of discussion at Estes of late reagrding whether we really should have gone with balsa nose cones for the new Wal_Mart series, or the Classics. The balsa nose cones cost roughly 3 times that of their plastic counterparts, and they can get dinged or dented in shipping. And that means additional QA to make sure those don't get through. They also require sanding sealer and sanding by you the rocketeers. But this is what you, the forum members said you wanted, so that's what we did.

At first I thought you were being facetious about basing a decision like that on what "we in the forum" expressed, but since you've mentioned it more than a few times, I suppose you might be serious.

I hope you know that most of the people here have no earthly idea what goes into making parts, or the special requirements you might have for making/storing many hundreds of thousands of parts. I've picked up a little knowledge here and there and can usually make a edumacated guess at how a part is made and why it was made that way instead of another. Others may just be going with their heart.

It is true that when I was younger, I favored balsa exclusively. But that was for my ego, since I was the usually the only one around that could fill balsa to make it look like plastic!

It is easy for me to see why Estes went with all plastic nose cones. High part count, low per unit cost, durability, ease of painting for the user. I've mentioned recently in another thread that the problem wasn't so much the material, it was the selection. I suppose because you had to invest so much in a mold, you could only afford to make a couple different shapes? I kept waiting for that plastic version of the Midget nose cone that never came, and I wondered where the plastic version of the Sprint nose cone went after being available for many years. Same for the nose cone of the BBZ/Goblin. Or the various transition pieces. That was a big disappointment for many years, but BMS and especially Semroc now fill that void, and can copy most shapes. And if they can't do it, there's always Sandman.

So, yes, I think it is neat that you are making balsa noses again, but I just didn't expect you to go all the way to the other extreme! The Odyssey with a balsa nose cone? Just isn't an Odyssey -- or maybe it is if you put some cardboard do-dads all over it (I have managed to collect three Odyssey nose cones, so it won't bother me!). A Phoenix Bird with balsa nose and fins? To me, the whole point of it was the sturdy, straight-as-an-arrow fin can.


While we're on the subject, call me nit-picky, but I've also noted the change in shape of the Alpha and Orbital Transport nose cones many years back, which, to me, wrecked the classic lines, and makes them look cheaper. I'm talking about how both of those cones went from being a little fuller towards the tip, to having a slightly secant ogive shape (the 50Y nose even went from being blowmolded to being a two-piece injection molded part). Was there a reason for this change other than maybe losing the original drawings and having to come up with something quick?
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