I'm not much of a collector, but I wanted to get down some thoughts.
I believe FSI kits fall into roughly five "eras." The actual designs and packaging changed very little in the middle three of these.
EARLY LOUISVILLE EPOCH
Made by Flight Systems Incorporated / George Roos
There are two pieces of evidence of this era:
An 1967 catalog (http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...7/67fsicat.html
) and a Nova model (built) and instruction sheet which I own. (Originally owned by John Fox, purchased at auction)
The catalog illustrations, and the internal design of the Nova, suggest that the models were a little different than the "classic" designs. For example, the Oso and Voyager had different-shaped fins, and the Nova's motor mount didn't have a tube . . . just rings. (More on this later.)
The Nova instructions suggest that the parachutes had the "select a chute" design.
LATE LOUISVILLE EPOCH
Evidence: This catalog:
The range of kits has expanded to include the "Micro," Orbit, Sprint and four Viking kits (latter on price sheet only). The fin designs of the Oso and Voyager are now the classic design.
There was a conical nose cone for the RT-8.
The 1970 catalog shows a thrust-ring style shock cord mount. The "classic" kit instructions show a paper tab shock cord mount. Were many kits produced with the former? Has anyone seen an instruction sheet from this era?
FINAL LOUISVILLE EPOCH
This catalog: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...1/71fsicat.html
The instruction sheets used through the late 1980, which still have the Louisville address (crossed out after the Raytown move).
Based on the instruction sheet, the models now have a paper tab shock cord mount. The motor mounts may have changed as well.
EARLY RAYTOWN AEON
FSI is sold to Reese Industries of Raytown Miss. The first catalog of this era is here:
The "classic" kit design and selection changed little for over a decade. The packaging has Louisville era instructions with the address crossed off.
The 1977 catalog introduced the Thunderbolt composite motors. The Eos, Maverick, Dart, Black Brant, and Echo I are introduced. New motors too. The Orbit is noted to be "LONGER!"
MIDDLE RAYTOWN ERA
The classic kits have the same packaging and design. Some kits now come with an 18mm motor mount adaptor so the new FSI A - C motors can be used in the smaller classic kits.
Select a Chute replaced with a simple red panel.
LATE RAYTOWN ERA
1990 through 1994 or so.
New 18mm kits and scale kits introduced. Also the Megatron, Intrepid, and Hercules.
The "classic" kits undergo some design changes.
EVERYTHING is repackaged.
This era is also known for very spotty quality control. I remember having to rework nose cones, because the shoulder was off-kilter. Centering rings were sometimes made of masonite board.