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  #1  
Old 11-30-2011, 09:07 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Default Cineroc: It Only Took 35 Years

Besides the Centuri 1/45th Little Joe II, the other 'way out of reach dream' of my childhood days was to have and fly an Estes Cineroc. Though I had been a Centuri fan since the very early 70's, I did not get my first Estes catalog until the 76-1 catalog, wherein I saw the Cineroc (I have since found out that was the last catalog to feature the camera; it was dropped for the 76-2 catalog).

Alas, it was way out my price range at the time. Later on in the late 80s and into the early 90s I flew video cameras on some of my high power flights on G through K motors, and have viewed many other's rocket-borne footage in the years since that has been simply spectacular (e.g., Gates Brothers, etc.).

Still, I always wanted to one day obtain a Cineroc.

Several weeks ago one appeared on eBay, with a slight 'name' twist in the auction title: the seller had it listed as a 'Cinerco' model rocket movie camera. That little mis-spelling would turn out to be fortuitous, as the auction closed with only three bidders and a final selling price of just $107.

The auction photos seemed to show a complete unit, best I could tell, but the seller was apparently uninitiated in model rocketry in general, so the photos were not as complete as one would might like. Still, it looked very clean in the photos and the final selling price seemed pretty reasonable.

After the shipment arrived here a couple weeks ago and I unpacked it, I believe it to be a totally complete AND never flown Cineroc.

I *think* everything is there, and the film pak was still sealed. The only thing I could not find intially was the Cineroc decal, but it 'fell out' of the folded manual when I started going through and unfolding its pages.

But, I wanted to post it here and get any information from those who are much more initiated in Cineroc knowledge and ask two things, based on the attached photos of the unit and its contents:

(1) Does this appear to be complete?

(2) Is there any way to determine what vintage this unit may be?


As for question 2, there are a few clues I've run down at this point. I don't believe it is an 'early' unit, as the box top has an 'applied' Estes label over what used to be the box-printed original price of $19.95. So, it is not in the first year or two of issue. Secondly, in that same photo attached showing the applied box sticker, the sticker shows a catalog # 701-CM-8. From what I can tell looking back at older Estes catalogs, this catalog number was used for the Cineroc through the 1974 catalog. In 1975, Estes used a four digit catalog number. So from that I would deduce this unit is from around the '72-'74 timeframe, but am not sure.

Believe it or not, the film pack batteries, which only showed very minor corrosion when I opened the pack, still registered voltage. They were not enerjetic enough to run the camera (no surprise), but a trip to Radio Shack a few days later snagged a couple of fresh N cells and those DID fire that little motor up just fine.

It is my eventual plan to reload the flight pak with fresh film (researching that now, along with available film stocks, developers to handle the short film lengths, etc.) and get at least a flight or two on the camera with sucessful film footage, just to 'enjoy' the full vintage Cineroc experience. But all that will take a while to accomplish and available time is pretty slim these days.

However, f you have any info on original kit contents or other ways of determining vintage, I'd appreciate comments.


Earl
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2011, 09:49 PM
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Yeah, I always wanted one of those too, but by the time I came into the hobby they were LONG gone, but still talked about a few still flew... (enough to whet my appetite for one!) I even briefly considered saving up enough to try and snag one back in the early 90's when I was fresh out of high school... Never did though, and it was LONG before feebay and trying to find on back then was sorta like finding hen's teeth. So, the dream died.

I'd love to clone one though... the film is completely outdated by today's standards and MUCH better results are easily obtainable from keyfob cams and the like nowdays, so I have no real interest in "functionality"... It'd be kinda interesting to equip one with a modern micro-flash card cam, but it'd be kinda neat just to have a faux flying version of it and the Omega booster...

Now where is that thread about cloning it again??

Later and have a blast with it! OL JR
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:57 PM
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I need to find my Cineroc film from the 1970s. I saved up my allowance for months to buy the Cineroc and Omega. I launched it at my mother's family's farm during a summer vacation trip. I couldn't find the blast deflector for the launch pad. So, in the movie, you see a piece of aluminum foil disintegrate as the motor ignites. Then you see me standing beside our old station wagon, it's hood open because I used its battery for the launch controller. Eventually you can see a few cows then the rocket arcs over and the parachute deploys.

Estes stopped producing the film packs about the time I bought my Cineroc. So, I only got one film from it.

I transferred the film to a VHS tape a while ago. I'm not sure where the original film and the tape are. But, they are here in the house somewhere.

The Omega was my favorite rocket as a kid. But, D motors were too big and expensive (and too scary). So, I often flew it (single stage) on a C6 mtoor.

My Level 2 Cert flight a few years ago was an upscale Omega clone flying on an I motor.

-- Roger
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
Yeah, I always wanted one of those too, but by the time I came into the hobby they were LONG gone, but still talked about a few still flew... (enough to whet my appetite for one!) I even briefly considered saving up enough to try and snag one back in the early 90's when I was fresh out of high school... Never did though, and it was LONG before feebay and trying to find on back then was sorta like finding hen's teeth. So, the dream died.

I'd love to clone one though... the film is completely outdated by today's standards and MUCH better results are easily obtainable from keyfob cams and the like nowdays, so I have no real interest in "functionality"... It'd be kinda interesting to equip one with a modern micro-flash card cam, but it'd be kinda neat just to have a faux flying version of it and the Omega booster...

Now where is that thread about cloning it again??

Later and have a blast with it! OL JR
Estes could please both us old-timers and the young 'uns by bringing back the Cineroc casing (with a large access hatch) with multiple options for various existing video cameras and still cameras that could be installed inside it (the Cineroc case has ample room inside for cameras, lenses, and mirrors for different image sizes and optical paths). The new Cineroc could come with an inexpensive key fob or gum camera. For those who like film still photography, the Cineroc case could probably hold a 35 mm camera setup inside it. Also:

If offered with an Astron Omega launch vehicle, this new Cineroc could be flown either single stage (as Roger mentioned above--the 24 mm C11 motors would work nicely) or in two-stage configuration.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:21 PM
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Great deal seeing as one in the same condition went for over $400 a few days ago. It looks 100% complete and is of a "newer" vintage judging by the parackute. I also has the Estes label in the corner of the box that covered up the original $19.95 price tag that was printed on the box. Lastly, the pictures don't show it, but there are probably small triangular gussets where the mechanism tray meets the base of the transition. This was added later on and provided much more strength at that joint.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokitflite
Great deal seeing as one in the same condition went for over $400 a few days ago. It looks 100% complete and is of a "newer" vintage judging by the parackute. I also has the Estes label in the corner of the box that covered up the original $19.95 price tag that was printed on the box. Lastly, the pictures don't show it, but there are probably small triangular gussets where the mechanism tray meets the base of the transition. This was added later on and provided much more strength at that joint.


Thanks Scott for your response. Yes, I thought it was a pretty good deal at the time, but when that other one a week or so ago that you referred to on ebay (in the same condition) went for over $400, I felt VERY fortunate on this one.

The applied Estes logoed sticker on the box over the original box-printed price was a clue to me that it was not produced in the first couple years (I think the price stayed at $19.95 the first two years the Cineroc was out). And that orange and white parachute is from no earlier than the early 70s....whenever Estes got away from the 'checkerboard' parachutes.

I did recall in an American Spacemodeling (NAR mag) article here a few years ago (I dug that issue back out a few days ago) where Mike Dorfler recounted the development of the Cineroc and I think in that article he talks about those beefed up gussets being added to the frame just a few months into production of the Cineroc because folks were breaking the camera frame just inserting it into the nosecone/shroud assembly. This unit features the gussets.

Based on the product number printed on that box label, it appears to be a pre-1975 unit best I can tell, since the '75 and '76 catalogs show a four digit product number for the Cineroc by then.

Otherwise, the unit appears pristine from what I can tell. I suspect when I put those two new N cells in the unit here about a week or so ago and turned it on (it ran!!!), that's probably the first time it had been run since it left the factory, seeing as how the original film flight pak (with batteries) had never been opened. The parachute was still sealed, the battery tester was still on it's paper directions slip, shock cord unused. No sign at all that it had ever been 'cranked up'. The only 'issue' there was at all with the contents was that the manual was folded over in 'quads' and not in the nice, neat factory form it was originally.

The only thing I have not yet 'opened' is the film cartridge itself. I'll eventually do that when I get ready to start doing some experimenting with film reloading and such after I decide which will be the best current-day film stock to try to use in it. Kodak still makes several Super 8 stocks and I think one of them may work ok. Still need to do some further research though.

Thanks for your feedback Scott. I think someone posted in an earlier thread that you probably would know a thing or two about the Cinerocs.


Earl
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2011, 02:23 AM
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I got a Cineroc just after NARAM-50. I got it dirt cheap, but the batteries were installed and they and the battery harness were badly corroded. The rubber band on the pulley, of course, was toast, but otherwise, the rest of the camera appears to be in good shape. The main decision has to be whether to repair or attempt to replace the battery harness. Since I'm not as eager to actually run film through the camera, that decision has so far been very easy -- do nothing, and just bring it out occasionally to show people!
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Estes could please both us old-timers and the young 'uns by bringing back the Cineroc casing (with a large access hatch) with multiple options for various existing video cameras and still cameras that could be installed inside it (the Cineroc case has ample room inside for cameras, lenses, and mirrors for different image sizes and optical paths). The new Cineroc could come with an inexpensive key fob or gum camera. For those who like film still photography, the Cineroc case could probably hold a 35 mm camera setup inside it. Also:

If offered with an Astron Omega launch vehicle, this new Cineroc could be flown either single stage (as Roger mentioned above--the 24 mm C11 motors would work nicely) or in two-stage configuration.


That would be cool... I've thought about gutting the interior of my old Astrocam 110 and converting it into a housing for a camera setup... since 110 film is harder to find that hen's teeth, and the Astrocam never took THAT good a pic anyway (due to the small negative, small lens, and small mirror). I would have loved to see an "Astrocam II" set up to use 35mm film... the larger negative and higher ISO speeds available would have allowed for faster shutter speeds and larger lenses/mirrors, but it would have been heavier/larger, probably the camera section would have been around a BT-70 or BT-80 size... still, coulda "hammerheaded" it on top of a Maniac/Eliminator/Challenger II with D motors, or the two staged Maniac with a D booster and E sustainer for some interesting flights...

Later! OL JR
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
I would have loved to see an "Astrocam II" set up to use 35mm film...
I think any camera or video rocket today, in order to be commercially viable, must be digital (and have some sort of reliable, non-volatile storage, unlike one recent unit). Folks today, with iPhones and micro-USB connectors, want to download and watch the video/see pics while they're at the field. Not only do they not want to wait for film developing, they don't even want to wait to get home to see what they got.

So, while 35mm film is a huge improvement over 110, it's still not viable, in this day and age, IMNSHO.

Doug

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Old 12-01-2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
I've thought about gutting the interior of my old Astrocam 110 and converting it into a housing for a camera setup...
This is a good idea, I think. But for a keychain cam or something similar. If you were gutting a Cineroc or Camroc, it'd be rocketry blashemy! But, given the Astrocams aren't so rare, it makes sense to do that.

Doug

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