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  #1  
Old 10-01-2010, 11:07 PM
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AcroRay AcroRay is offline
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Smile Estes FIRING LINE set with Vampire!

My parents were out on one of their regular flea-market/antique-fair trips this week, so I asked them if they happened across a rocket launcher set for under $20 if they'd pick up one for me, so the ladies and I could launch our rockets ourselves.

So, this evening my dad gives me one he found for $20 - an Estes "Firing Line" set with an RTF called "Vampire". The kit seems to be in great shape. Well cared-for, missing only the blast deflector plate and some of the decals for the Vampire, and has only one rod element for the launch rod. The rocket even had a single unused engine & igniter loaded into it. It must have also had some sort of plastic overlay to hold all the pieces in the foam tray. I may just replace that, and transfer what I'll be using to a range box.

The Vampire does seem like it's been launched at least once or twice. When I pulled out the 'chute, a puff of old talcum powder fell out of it. Otherwise it's in great shape apart from the decals. The main body decal with it's cool 1970s graphic lines is missing, and the fin decals are oily from glue migration. I expect the decals were factory applied.

So,a couple of questions: Anyone know where I could get scans or repros of the Vampire's decals? Also, would this be considered a valuable set? I don't plan on selling it, but that may affect how I approach using it or restoring those portions that haven't aged well. Is it a common set? It does mention Damon on the box.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2010, 11:30 PM
gonzoexe gonzoexe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcroRay
My parents were out on one of their regular flea-market/antique-fair trips this week, so I asked them if they happened across a rocket launcher set for under $20 if they'd pick up one for me, so the ladies and I could launch our rockets ourselves.

So, this evening my dad gives me one he found for $20 - an Estes "Firing Line" set with an RTF called "Vampire". The kit seems to be in great shape. Well cared-for, missing only the blast deflector plate and some of the decals for the Vampire, and has only one rod element for the launch rod. The rocket even had a single unused engine & igniter loaded into it. It must have also had some sort of plastic overlay to hold all the pieces in the foam tray. I may just replace that, and transfer what I'll be using to a range box.

The Vampire does seem like it's been launched at least once or twice. When I pulled out the 'chute, a puff of old talcum powder fell out of it. Otherwise it's in great shape apart from the decals. The main body decal with it's cool 1970s graphic lines is missing, and the fin decals are oily from glue migration. I expect the decals were factory applied.

So,a couple of questions: Anyone know where I could get scans or repros of the Vampire's decals? Also, would this be considered a valuable set? I don't plan on selling it, but that may affect how I approach using it or restoring those portions that haven't aged well. Is it a common set? It does mention Damon on the box.



Excellent find...
Just wondering if someone out there knows which of the limited Estes series kits are more rare, the firing line or the citation series.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:30 AM
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cas2047 cas2047 is offline
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I had never heard of the Vampire until reading your post. After a quick check of the Ninfinger site i found that it's part of the flight line kit in the 1973-1976 Estes Catalogs. I like the picture in the 1973 catalog. You can clearly see all of the parts, engines, etc..
http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...s73/73est4.html

1974 Estes catalog:
http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...74/74est10.html
1975 Estes catalog:
http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...75/75est48.html
1976 Estes catalog:
http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/76est006.html

Not sure where you would find decals scans. I'm sure you could craft up a set yourself though, using decal printer paper, or I'm sure one of the decals vandors would be willing to print something up for you.
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:43 AM
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gpoehlein gpoehlein is offline
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Check out this page of the 73 catalog - it gives a bit better picture of the Vampire:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...s73/73est8.html

Greg
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2010, 10:12 AM
Scott6060842 Scott6060842 is offline
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Ahhh the memories...

My neighbor got this set for Christmas in 1973. We didn't have the right size batteries for the controls so we duct taped some "D" batteries together to make it fire. I don't remember if the set came with the 1973 catalog or if we sent away for one using a form that came inside.

I remember mailing in cash for my first rocket (a scout) and a pack of A8-3's. I proudly painted it dark green using a gallon of old house paint I found in our basement. Flew great from what I remember.
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2010, 11:00 AM
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Solomoriah Solomoriah is offline
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The Vampire looks a lot like the Mini Max with a shorter nosecone. Of course, the Mini Max is not plastic; but it would be easy to build a look-alike using the Mini-Max kit and Semroc BNC-50G3.

Or just build the Mini Max, paint it black and apply similar stickers/decals.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2010, 08:08 PM
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PaulK PaulK is offline
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You're pretty fortunate, I've been watching for a firing-line set, having lusted for them in the 70's, and they rarely show up on auction. Being open, it probably has little value to hard core collectors, but for nostalgia BARs like us, it has a lot of value. Launch it and relive your youth, but I personally would keep the set together and use it only for the occasional nostalgia trip.
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:13 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Luckily (from the standpoint of duplicating your Vampire's missing decals), they were ordinary, non-glossy, self-adhesive paper decals that can be reproduced using ordinary self-adhesive label stock. If you have a little drafting experience, the lengthwise body decal is fairly easy to reproduce (and even easier if you have a drawing program on your computer).
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:35 PM
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AcroRay AcroRay is offline
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Well, I use Photoshop (CS4) on an almost daily basis, and a buddy at my studio is our professional graphic artist and animator, so developing the graphics for the decals shouldn't be a problem. I just really need a decent, sharp photo of the main body label to work with.

I'm also assuming the two fin face decals that say 'Exhaust' on the side of the main body decal are the only other decals. My Vampire only has decal residue on the main body tube on the one side. You can see the mess in the one picture. The Vampire, then, was only decorated on the surfaces exposed by the packaging - correct?
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2010, 10:05 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcroRay
Well, I use Photoshop (CS4) on an almost daily basis, and a buddy at my studio is our professional graphic artist and animator, so developing the graphics for the decals shouldn't be a problem. I just really need a decent, sharp photo of the main body label to work with.
Indeed! You're well-furnished to duplicate the Vampire's body tube decal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcroRay
I'm also assuming the two fin face decals that say 'Exhaust' on the side of the main body decal are the only other decals. My Vampire only has decal residue on the main body tube on the one side. You can see the mess in the one picture. The Vampire, then, was only decorated on the surfaces exposed by the packaging - correct?
Yes, you're correct.
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http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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