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  #1  
Old 09-27-2011, 12:50 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Default FSI Kit Eras

I'm not much of a collector, but I wanted to get down some thoughts.

CORRECTIONS WELCOME

I believe FSI kits fall into roughly five "eras." The actual designs and packaging changed very little in the middle three of these.

EARLY LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Made by Flight Systems Incorporated / George Roos

There are two pieces of evidence of this era:

An 1967 catalog (http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...7/67fsicat.html) and a Nova model (built) and instruction sheet which I own. (Originally owned by John Fox, purchased at auction)

The catalog illustrations, and the internal design of the Nova, suggest that the models were a little different than the "classic" designs. For example, the Oso and Voyager had different-shaped fins, and the Nova's motor mount didn't have a tube . . . just rings. (More on this later.)

The Nova instructions suggest that the parachutes had the "select a chute" design.

LATE LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Evidence: This catalog:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...0/70fsicat.html

The range of kits has expanded to include the "Micro," Orbit, Sprint and four Viking kits (latter on price sheet only). The fin designs of the Oso and Voyager are now the classic design.

There was a conical nose cone for the RT-8.

The 1970 catalog shows a thrust-ring style shock cord mount. The "classic" kit instructions show a paper tab shock cord mount. Were many kits produced with the former? Has anyone seen an instruction sheet from this era?

FINAL LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Evidence:

This catalog: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...1/71fsicat.html

The instruction sheets used through the late 1980, which still have the Louisville address (crossed out after the Raytown move).

Based on the instruction sheet, the models now have a paper tab shock cord mount. The motor mounts may have changed as well.

EARLY RAYTOWN AEON

FSI is sold to Reese Industries of Raytown Miss. The first catalog of this era is here:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...rc1/rc1cat.html

The "classic" kit design and selection changed little for over a decade. The packaging has Louisville era instructions with the address crossed off.

The 1977 catalog introduced the Thunderbolt composite motors. The Eos, Maverick, Dart, Black Brant, and Echo I are introduced. New motors too. The Orbit is noted to be "LONGER!"

MIDDLE RAYTOWN ERA

The classic kits have the same packaging and design. Some kits now come with an 18mm motor mount adaptor so the new FSI A - C motors can be used in the smaller classic kits.

Select a Chute replaced with a simple red panel.

LATE RAYTOWN ERA

1990 through 1994 or so.

New 18mm kits and scale kits introduced. Also the Megatron, Intrepid, and Hercules.

The "classic" kits undergo some design changes.

EVERYTHING is repackaged.

This era is also known for very spotty quality control. I remember having to rework nose cones, because the shoulder was off-kilter. Centering rings were sometimes made of masonite board.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2011, 02:09 PM
Neal Miller Neal Miller is offline
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Default FSI History

Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
I'm not much of a collector, but I wanted to get down some thoughts.

CORRECTIONS WELCOME

I believe FSI kits fall into roughly five "eras." The actual designs and packaging changed very little in the middle three of these.

EARLY LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Made by Flight Systems Incorporated / George Roos

There are two pieces of evidence of this era:

An 1967 catalog (http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...7/67fsicat.html) and a Nova model (built) and instruction sheet which I own. (Originally owned by John Fox, purchased at auction)

The catalog illustrations, and the internal design of the Nova, suggest that the models were a little different than the "classic" designs. For example, the Oso and Voyager had different-shaped fins, and the Nova's motor mount didn't have a tube . . . just rings. (More on this later.)

The Nova instructions suggest that the parachutes had the "select a chute" design.

LATE LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Evidence: This catalog:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...0/70fsicat.html

The range of kits has expanded to include the "Micro," Orbit, Sprint and four Viking kits (latter on price sheet only). The fin designs of the Oso and Voyager are now the classic design.

There was a conical nose cone for the RT-8.

The 1970 catalog shows a thrust-ring style shock cord mount. The "classic" kit instructions show a paper tab shock cord mount. Were many kits produced with the former? Has anyone seen an instruction sheet from this era?

FINAL LOUISVILLE EPOCH

Evidence:

This catalog: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...1/71fsicat.html

The instruction sheets used through the late 1980, which still have the Louisville address (crossed out after the Raytown move).

Based on the instruction sheet, the models now have a paper tab shock cord mount. The motor mounts may have changed as well.

EARLY RAYTOWN AEON

FSI is sold to Reese Industries of Raytown Miss. The first catalog of this era is here:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...rc1/rc1cat.html

The "classic" kit design and selection changed little for over a decade. The packaging has Louisville era instructions with the address crossed off.

The 1977 catalog introduced the Thunderbolt composite motors. The Eos, Maverick, Dart, Black Brant, and Echo I are introduced. New motors too. The Orbit is noted to be "LONGER!"

MIDDLE RAYTOWN ERA

The classic kits have the same packaging and design. Some kits now come with an 18mm motor mount adaptor so the new FSI A - C motors can be used in the smaller classic kits.

Select a Chute replaced with a simple red panel.

LATE RAYTOWN ERA

1990 through 1994 or so.

New 18mm kits and scale kits introduced. Also the Megatron, Intrepid, and Hercules.

The "classic" kits undergo some design changes.

EVERYTHING is repackaged.

This era is also known for very spotty quality control. I remember having to rework nose cones, because the shoulder was off-kilter. Centering rings were sometimes made of masonite board.
The one thing that seems to be out of order is the changing of the Select A Chute , all of the last FSI models I bought still had a blue, black or red and white Select A Chute. (1993). The very first FSI Perpetrator I had was in the very early 1970's
I would swear it had a pointed balsa nose cone? and I had a short version of the FSI Orbit,(1978) this kit had a per made plastic red and black chute, that looked very much like a Select A Chute. all of the scale kits and the larger kits where ment to come with the
FSI Yellow nylon chute.
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2011, 02:45 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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It's possible that there was a new run of "Select a Chutes."

I have a set of what I 'm calling "Middle Raytown" classic kits. Oso, Penetrator, Vikings, etc. They all have red parachutes and the smaller kits all have 18mm / 21mm motor adaptors.

The Penetrator I bought around 1975 had an ogive hardwood cone, but that doesn't mean your kit wasn't different!

I remember the yellow nylon parachutes. I guess they came in in 1977, along with the Black Brant II.
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  #4  
Old 09-27-2011, 10:28 PM
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Mark II Mark II is offline
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Default RE: the 1970 thrust ring shock cord anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
The 1970 catalog shows a thrust-ring style shock cord mount. The "classic" kit instructions show a paper tab shock cord mount. Were many kits produced with the former? Has anyone seen an instruction sheet from this era?
I read that page in the 1970 catalog a little differently. Instead of a a previous anchor design (an earlier product), I read the copy as instructions on how to modify a thrust ring or centering ring to serve as an attachment point or anchor for the shock cord. IOW, I don't see a product being offered that has a specific role of anchoring the shock cord. The threaded paper patch (#SA-6) was the only shock cord anchor that FSI ever sold, from what I can see.

From what I understand, the Orbit, Sprint and Micro were added in 1968, only a year after the company opened. I'm not sure how this affects your breakdown of eras.

My general impression is that some of the older FSI kit designs were tweaked multiple times during their production run. I haven't had the impression that this followed any identifiable pattern, in that one kit's design tweak didn't herald a new "era." But leaving that aside, there were certainly the Roos era and the Reese era, and there were new directions taken (expansions of the line, rather than wholesale shifts in direction) under the Reeses in the 70s, 80s and finally in 1990.

In the set of catalogs at Ninfinger, the Select-A-Chute appears in all catalogs through the 1980s as Cat. No. P-12. (For example, see p. 39 of the 1986 catalog.) It was changed to catalog #7114 in the 1990s catalogs (p. 28). It appears to have been offered throughout the company's lifetime.
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Last edited by Mark II : 09-27-2011 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default Kit number trivia

Interesting trivia: in the original MRK-# series, there was no MRK-XIII (13). The numbering went straight from MRK-XII (Viking IV) to MRK XIV (Black Brant II). There was also no kit with a number 19, either MRK-XIX or #1019. The series goes from MRK-18 (Maverick) to #1020 Hercules. (More on that in a minute.)

In the printed catalogs, both the WASP and the Viking V are shown with catalog #1025, in the same catalogs! No kit was ever designated as #1029, even though the series continues through #1032. It is likely that the Viking V was mislabeled in the catalogs, and was actually the otherwise missing #1029.

The Hercules, a rather sizable rocket for FSI at the time, was introduced in 1987. The year 1987 happened to be the 20th anniversary of the opening of Flight Systems, Inc. The Hercules carries catalog #1020, and it is possible that it was released to commemorate the milestone. As I mentioned, there was no kit #19. The Hercules might have originally been intended as kit #19, but was given the next number for symbolic reasons. The 20th anniversary year also saw the start of the company's new 4-digit catalog numbering system, replacing the alphanumeric scheme that had been used up until then. (Other companies, like Estes and Centuri, had made exactly the same change in their systems in the 1970s.) FSI may have felt that it was a good idea to start the new system with a number that ended in "0", so they decided to just skip #19 entirely.
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:49 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Neal, I looked in my "Late Raytown Era" Nova and found a red and white Select-a-Chute.

So maybe my "late classic" models with the solid red parachutes were an anomaly. As Mark suggests, constant tweaking may mean all FSI kits are anomalies . . .
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:52 PM
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Unless you have actual kits from 1970 that verify it, I wouldn't take every dimension and part shape in the drawings of the rocket models in the 1970 catalog as gospel. Too many things appear there that don't show up in any other catalog.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
EARLY RAYTOWN AEON

FSI is sold to Reese Industries of Raytown Miss. The first catalog of this era is here:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...rc1/rc1cat.html

The "classic" kit design and selection changed little for over a decade. The packaging has Louisville era instructions with the address crossed off.
"Aeon?" Are we creating a graphic novel here?

The Black Brant II, Echo-1, Eos, Dart and Maverick, all introduced in the 1974-75 time frame, do not bear the Colorado address and they all have typical 1970s-80s style instructions. These five represent about a third of their catalog at the time, so a significant portion of FSI's kits in the 1970s and 1980s never had a Louisville Colorado address or contained the funky calligraphic instructions.

The Orbit was lengthened by a good 4 inches. Since it was designed, according to FSI, to be launched on the big F7 motor, one can infer that it was lengthened in order to improve the stability margin.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2011, 12:15 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Well, I have an actual 1968 or 1968 FSI Nova right here!

The upper body is almost exactly 8" (203mm). A perfect match for the 1970 catalog.

The lower body is 5 11/16" (145mm). That part isn't measured out in the catalog diagram, but by subtracting the nose, upper body, and transition from the overall length we get 147mm, which is darn close. (The Sprint's upper body is 145mm . . . same part I guess).

Below I have the old model laid out next to a "Late Raytown Era" Nova, which is a bit longer:

The old Nova's motor mount:

I believe the builder (possibly John Fox of Evanston, IL) modified the mount. Here is the mount as it appears in the instructions:

The thick coupler part is one piece in the instructions. The built model has a ring at the rear. But the forward edges of the ring and the rear edge of the mount in front are very rough. John appears to have sawn off the rear 1/2" or so of the mount to create the rear ring. This is a sensible modification. FWIW, the model was built to take "A - D" motors (the FSI 21mm x 70mm size . . . the E5 (and the D18, which wasn't around at this time) was an inch or so longer.

Here is the front page of the instructions:

Once I plug in my scanner I'll make a higher quality image of each page!
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:25 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Quote:
The Black Brant II, Echo-1, Eos, Dart and Maverick, all introduced in the 1974-75 time frame, do not bear the Colorado address and they all have typical 1970s-80s style instructions.


I'm mostly interested in sorting out the "classic" line of kits.

I had a RC-1 catalog back in the day. I got it in 1974 or so; I ordered an OSO and a pack of D6 motors late in that year.

I assumed that the Raytown-designed kits all came out in 1977, which (as far as I know) was the first new catalog in many years.
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