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  #11  
Old 10-11-2010, 03:55 PM
tfischer tfischer is offline
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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.
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2010, 04:04 PM
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dlazarus6660 dlazarus6660 is offline
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Default I don't like the newer launch pads

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!
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  #13  
Old 10-11-2010, 04:07 PM
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dlazarus6660 dlazarus6660 is offline
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Default Change?

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....
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  #14  
Old 10-11-2010, 04:28 PM
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Doug Sams Doug Sams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlazarus6660
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

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  #15  
Old 10-11-2010, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlazarus6660
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?
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2010, 05:01 PM
tfischer tfischer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Sams
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 )
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  #17  
Old 10-11-2010, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffyjeep
....and the lime in the coconut?
....and the grapefruit juice in my grapefruit juice?


Who put the benzadrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine?
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  #18  
Old 10-11-2010, 08:38 PM
Scott6060842 Scott6060842 is offline
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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.

Last edited by Scott6060842 : 10-11-2010 at 09:04 PM.
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  #19  
Old 10-12-2010, 12:58 AM
tfischer tfischer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfischer
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/review...3_seahawk.shtml

Navy, USAF, I was close
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2010, 06:00 PM
Scott6060842 Scott6060842 is offline
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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.
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