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  #11  
Old 11-28-2011, 12:31 AM
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Initiator001 Initiator001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketcrab
You know Bob, I recall this whole episode, just not the story behind the discontinuation of the Dark Star. Somewhere in the mess that is our basement, I think I have a VHS tape of the Dark Star's RMS flight - was it at NARAM that year? Either way, I think you sent it to me - it WAS impressive!


George,

Yes, the Dark Star/RMS-18/D13 combo was flown several times at NARAM-33 which was held in 1991 outside of Chicago, IL.

I was thinking about that same video while typing my posts. I will have to get that video out and watch it again some day. There's a great scene where Mary Roberts is getting the third degree from a woman who has just flown an AeroTech HV Arcas model and wanted to know why Estes wasn't making products for the adult rocket market. After 30-40 seconds, Mary suddenly looks to the side and sees me filming the exchange. She walks over and puts her hand over the lens of my video camera.
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2011, 06:45 PM
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Bob,

That's a cool story about a short lived rocket.

I don't even recall seeing that rocket from 91 until you posted about it here. Tunick should have left that product in the line up given the free press that AeroTech was offering.

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  #13  
Old 11-28-2011, 07:59 PM
Neal Miller Neal Miller is offline
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Bob, I have always been an opportunist. I remember KB Toys stocking the Estes Dark Star,
So that explains why they closed the Dark Star out so fast.
KB would always mark down rocket kits, that had been on the shelf awhile. One week end I went to the KB Toys at the Mall of the Americas in Miami, there was the Dark Star ( 6 models)
hanging there marked down to $ 2.99. KB, Walmart and all the rest of the larger retailers no longer have rockets. I wish the Micheal's stores here in South Florida
carried a full line of rockets.
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2011, 08:12 PM
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Doug Sams Doug Sams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Miller
KB, Walmart and all the rest of the larger retailers no longer have rockets. I wish the Micheal's stores here in South Florida carried a full line of rockets.
Well, Michael's and Walmart both appear to suffer from a bad case of wedon'tknowwhathefwe'redoing as regards rockets. In Walmart's case, they couldn't keep the shelves stocked, and they wouldn't carry complementary motors and kits. It doesn't do any good to stock B6-4's when the kits call for A10-3T's.

As for Michael's they tended to mark up from the already kinda unrealistically high MSRP. Apparently, their internal pricing guides had errors in them confusing cost and retail with the result that 10 dollar kits were routinely listed at 13 bucks. That is, they often had stuff that wasn't a bargain even with a 40% off coupon. I seem to recall Fred Shecter calling them about it once and reporting back that they were correcting the problems. But I don't think they fixed it in time - by then, too many potential rocket kit customers had written them off as a viable retailer.

Similarly, if Walmart could have actually managed to install and keep stocked a coherent mix of kits and motors, maybe they wouldn't have dropped their offering.

In short, both these retailers seem to have been rather incompetent with these products.

Doug

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  #15  
Old 11-28-2011, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Sams
As for Michael's they tended to mark up from the already kinda unrealistically high MSRP. Apparently, their internal pricing guides had errors in them confusing cost and retail with the result that 10 dollar kits were routinely listed at 13 bucks. That is, they often had stuff that wasn't a bargain even with a 40% off coupon.



I really do not understand Michaels' business model. I often get their coupons every week in snail mail and in the Sunday paper, meaning most people have them without having to go seek them out online. Plus the fact that they often print out a coupon for the following week with purchases. It is often like a critical nuclear reaction in which I cannot use all of the coupons.

They have everyone conditioned to use the discount on pricier items not specifically excluded by the fine print.


Bill
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  #16  
Old 11-28-2011, 09:58 PM
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Barry's decision to deep-six the Dark Star is at least comprehensible (although not excusable) in light of the fact that Estes and AeroTech were competitors in the motor market. The AeroTech D13 reload would have been a direct competitor to the Estes D12, but in a different form factor. One can well imagine the reaction from Estes when they saw one of their new kits being used in advertising by one of their competitors to market a product that directly competed with one of their own. Especially without any prior notice or request for permission. I am not taking sides in this story, which is about something that happened 20 years ago, nor am I trying to defend Estes' action regarding the Dark Star. Quite the contrary; that's a nice looking rocket and it is a shame that it was discontinued so quickly. I am sure that something could have been worked out between the two parties that didn't cause the customer to come out on the losing end.

Thanks for the story, Bob. It's always entertaining to hear about some of the stranger episodes from the business side of our hobby.
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2011, 01:29 AM
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Based on what happened with the Dark Star kit, I guess it's a good thing I didn't have a Big Bertha model available at that time.
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  #18  
Old 11-29-2011, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark II
Barry's decision to deep-six the Dark Star is at least comprehensible (although not excusable) in light of the fact that Estes and AeroTech were competitors in the motor market. The AeroTech D13 reload would have been a direct competitor to the Estes D12, but in a different form factor. One can well imagine the reaction from Estes when they saw one of their new kits being used in advertising by one of their competitors to market a product that directly competed with one of their own. Especially without any prior notice or request for permission. I am not taking sides in this story, which is about something that happened 20 years ago, nor am I trying to defend Estes' action regarding the Dark Star. Quite the contrary; that's a nice looking rocket and it is a shame that it was discontinued so quickly. I am sure that something could have been worked out between the two parties that didn't cause the customer to come out on the losing end.

Thanks for the story, Bob. It's always entertaining to hear about some of the stranger episodes from the business side of our hobby.


Mark,

You missed out on all the 'fun' twenty years ago when Barry Tunick became General Manager at Estes.

The things he did to try and put his competitors out of business was unreal (Anyone remember the 'reload' video sent to the CPSC?).

He used to tell hobby distributors that AeroTech was out of business. When I would call a hobby distributor and asked why they had not ordered in a while, the distributor would often respond, "I heard you were out of business".

AeroTech did sue Estes. There was a settlement but the damage was done.
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  #19  
Old 11-29-2011, 10:00 AM
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Sounds like another typical Barry story.
It's a wonder that company survived at all with that bass-ackwards leadership at the helm.
One nonsensical yet predictably ego-maniacale decision after another.
Glad to see a real hobby company as the parent now, but I still WANT MY B14's !!!!!

Hopefully they will NEVER AGAIN have any association with any plastic toy/board game people in ANY sort of mgmt. capacity.
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Last edited by ghrocketman : 11-29-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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  #20  
Old 11-29-2011, 11:31 AM
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I've got a strong urge to clone this one.

Darkstar: http://www.oldrocketplans.com/estes/est2045/est2045.htm

I'm lucky enough to have the nose cone and nozzle, also used on this kit:

Super Vega: http://www.spacemodeling.org/JimZ/est2036.htm

I'm thinking 24 mm , for maximum enjoyment.
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