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  #1  
Old 11-02-2005, 01:02 PM
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Quasar Quasar is offline
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Default Estes Quasar variations

My first model rocket was the Estes Quasar that came with the Citation starter kit that I got for Christmas in 1971. Naturally, I have a special fondness for this rocket and over the last 6 or 7 years I've acquired several examples and have done Internet research for whatever I could find on the Quasar. A few days ago, I was looking at the Estes kit list here:

http://www.rocketshoppe.com/info/es...ed_kit_list.htm

Quasar variations listed are as follows:

Chrome NC and clip-tip fins
White NC and clip-tip fins
White NC and non-clipped fins

However, my limited research differs. The only pictures of White NC/clip-tip fin Quasars that I've found have been on the face card for the kit and in the catalogs. I've never seen one on eBay, either. All of the pictures that I've found of White NC/fins Quasars have non-clipped fins. Also, I have in my collection a version that has Gray NC/non-clipped fins. A friend also has one of these Gray versions.

I have a theory on the clipped fins. I examined my Chrome Citation version's fins and found that there are mold lines along the edges of the fins EXCEPT the clipped section of each fin. This leads me to believe that the fins were originally regular Alpha III fins that were clipped manually and then chromed, which would work for a small production run like the Citation boxed version. However, for the presumably higher production bagged version, it would probably not be practical or economically feasible to manually clip the fin tips. But I'm just speculating.

So, my question is: Has anyone here actually seen a White NC/fin Quasar that had factory-clipped fin tips?

Thanks.

Mike Fields
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2005, 01:52 PM
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CPMcGraw CPMcGraw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasar
My first model rocket was the Estes Quasar that came with the Citation starter kit that I got for Christmas in 1971. Naturally, I have a special fondness for this rocket and over the last 6 or 7 years I've acquired several examples and have done Internet research for whatever I could find on the Quasar. A few days ago, I was looking at the Estes kit list here:

http://www.rocketshoppe.com/info/es...ed_kit_list.htm

Quasar variations listed are as follows:

Chrome NC and clip-tip fins
White NC and clip-tip fins
White NC and non-clipped fins

However, my limited research differs. The only pictures of White NC/clip-tip fin Quasars that I've found have been on the face card for the kit and in the catalogs. I've never seen one on eBay, either. All of the pictures that I've found of White NC/fins Quasars have non-clipped fins. Also, I have in my collection a version that has Gray NC/non-clipped fins. A friend also has one of these Gray versions.

I have a theory on the clipped fins. I examined my Chrome Citation version's fins and found that there are mold lines along the edges of the fins EXCEPT the clipped section of each fin. This leads me to believe that the fins were originally regular Alpha III fins that were clipped manually and then chromed, which would work for a small production run like the Citation boxed version. However, for the presumably higher production bagged version, it would probably not be practical or economically feasible to manually clip the fin tips. But I'm just speculating.

So, my question is: Has anyone here actually seen a White NC/fin Quasar that had factory-clipped fin tips?

Thanks.

Mike Fields


Hi, Mike!

The color of the plastic for the nose cones and fin units really wasn't the determining factor in making the distinctions between the three versions. Presumably, one could paint the gray nose cone to a white color, or leave it alone.

Where I was making the distinction was in the unique combination of components:

KC version -- Chrome NC and clip-tip fins...
#650 version A -- Non-chrome NC and clip-tip fins...
#650 version B -- Non-chrome NC and non-clip-tip fins (Alpha III fins)...

Your description of gray plastic NC and non-clip fins corresponds nicely with the #650 Version B, which BTW was a version that we actually questioned whether it existed, or was just a simplified revision of the plans. Do you have any slip-card artwork showing this version? I know that Scott would LOVE to get this image up on YORP.

The clip-tip fin can was counted as a stock component in the Estes inventory when the #741 Parts Catalog was released. My conclusion is that this was, at least for a time, a production piece. Hand-clipping of the tips would have been a labor-intensive job, and would not have been a consistent product without at least some jig or special tool to ensure the tips were equally trimmed. The trade-off would be the price of such a jig and the labor required versus the price of a mold set for the injection machine.

No question, the clip-tip can was derived from the Alpha III fin can. And certainly, Estes intended to use their toolings as much as possible. Just look at all of the later renditions of the Alpha III, including the (recent, special-limited-release) Alpha IV, the Quasar, the Liberty, and the two RTF models Minuteman and Patriot...
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2005, 07:37 PM
Green Dragon Green Dragon is offline
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regarding the clip-tip fins on this one, I have a comment, based on my machinist background (and taught by a master mold maker, although not employed as moldmaker myself) .

presumably, the mold(s) for the Alpha 3 fin unit did,indeed exist at the time the Quasar was issued ?

it would not be such an endeavor to make some special tooling to fit INTO the Alpha 3 molds and basically 'fill in' the tips of the fins.

( not as simple in practice, but very feasible).

therefor, say the mold seam line runs around the fins ( centered on the fin ? , sorry do not have an Alpha 3 unit here at the apartment to doubel check, so talking semi-theoretical .

anyways, if the mold line runs down the center of the fin ( along leading and trailing edges ) and is NOT present on the clip tip fins , then the insert used to elimintae the fins, was attached to one side of the mold, and the mold lines would then 'suddenly' switch tot he sides - runnign exaclty along the outer edges of the 'clip line' .

I've never owned a clip-fin version o fthe fin can ( or a Quasar kit ), so speculation, but maybe someone with a kit or fin set could look real close at the fins, there should be some trace of flash or mold parting line at the edges of the fins - although, being a new mold, might be quite good tolerances.

I have to , also assuming / speculating , that the inserts for the 'tip elimination' were either lost or damaged and then the kit was no longer offered in that setup.
or the molding of different fin sets was too costly, when they could leave tooling set up and just shoot it with the white plastic ?

~ AL

ps: side note - I do have an Alpha 3 fin set at my stash over at my dad's, so Quasar might be a good clone , not as 'generic' .. so question being, is there a pattern for cutting the fin tips, or dimensions ?
( wondering more if it;s posted someplace, but if not, maybe some input / post the info for future reference ? )
not sure about the 'decal ' / wrapper, but did note that it's posted, so either could be redrawn / printed on clear stock and applied over silver paint / or chrome mylar / monokote ? , or maybe printed on the Palilio chrome adhesive stock ( talked about before for the Maxi_force decal, but I ave not ordered and tried any yet )
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2005, 10:44 AM
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Ltvscout Ltvscout is offline
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This wasn't my first kit, but it was one of my favorites as a kid due to being all chrome. The club I was in during the very early 70's used to have auctions once a year at our meetings. That's where I bought my first one in '72.

I have a version of the Quasar that has no chrome on the fin can or cone, but the fins and nose cone are translucent (not white). Looks kinda neat. It's buried somewhere in this mess and I don't recall if this one has the clipped fins or not.

I have a few of the Citation Starter Sets with the chrome pad. That really looks cool with the original all chrome Quasar sitting on it.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2005, 01:26 PM
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Doug Sams Doug Sams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ltvscout
I have a version of the Quasar that has no chrome on the fin can or cone, but the fins and nose cone are translucent (not white).


That sorta makes sense. As I recall, most of the chromed (actually Nickel AIUI) styrene I've seen over the years is not solid, but sorta translucent, so it sounds this would have been an interim color while they were transitioning production from chrome to white, shipping the still-to-be-plated stock before moving to the new, solid colored stock.

That's my theory anyway.

Doug
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2005, 10:47 AM
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Phred Phred is offline
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I have both the chorme/clipped Quasar and the white non-clipped version.

I compared the white non clipped version to one of my vintage Alpha IIIs, and the parts appear to be identical.

I also examined the clipped fin version: There are very visible mold/parting lines on the fins edges, there are none on the clipped tips. In fact, they actually appear to be clipped.
Looking at the insdie of the nosecone, and through various scratches on the fin can, I can see that the plastic is well, a nasty sorta color I would call 'horn' (kinda like dirty yellow fingernails *Ugh!*) .

I do know that Lionel trains uses 'inserts' in their injection molds. This allows them to make different versions of diesel locomotive cabs, without having to create tooling for each version.
The various versions appear seamless.

My guess is that the Alpa III fin can tooling was produced, and a certain # of fin cans were produced with inserts, an then chromed. One the initial run was used up, the switch was made to white... with a few grays or 'off-white' versions doen in the transition....

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  #7  
Old 11-07-2005, 01:07 PM
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Quasar Quasar is offline
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Thanks for all the replys, guys. They're all very interesting and informative.

I'm afraid, however, that my original question is still not answered. The version that Craig refers to in his reply as "#650 version A -- Non-chrome NC and clip-tip fins" is the one that I have never seen except in Estes photos. Companys often use prototypes for product photo sessions and I'm wondering if that's what happened in this case.

So, was this version actually produced or did it only exist as a "fashion model" for the catalog and kit face card insert photos?

Thanks.

Mike Fields
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2005, 03:52 PM
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CPMcGraw CPMcGraw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasar
Thanks for all the replys, guys. They're all very interesting and informative.

I'm afraid, however, that my original question is still not answered. The version that Craig refers to in his reply as "#650 version A -- Non-chrome NC and clip-tip fins" is the one that I have never seen except in Estes photos. Companys often use prototypes for product photo sessions and I'm wondering if that's what happened in this case.

So, was this version actually produced or did it only exist as a "fashion model" for the catalog and kit face card insert photos?

Thanks.

Mike Fields


I'm going to hold out and speculate that there were a few of these released into the wild, whether it constituted a full production batch, or was a non-chromed remnant of an earlier production run of chromed parts. Given that Estes took the time to produce artwork for this variant, which represents a major investment of resource capital, it seems logical to me that they were anticipating this version, with the intent of having it around in their catalog for more than a single year. The full-tip, non-chromed version was introduced as the logical follow-up to keep the design around without having to continue production of that special part. Estes could concentrate on the Alpha III fin can, gaining price breaks for quantity increases.

Also interestingly, Estes never used a full-tip model image in their catalog. From 1975 through 1984, the only image seen was that of the all-white clip-tip model. The only paper record of the full-tip version is the first sheet of the #650 plans found on JimZ site.

Equally curious, though, is that these same plans call out the PFM-1 part number for this fin unit, which is the part number given for the chromed clip-tip fin can...
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Last edited by CPMcGraw : 11-07-2005 at 04:16 PM. Reason: Added thoughts
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