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  #11  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:35 PM
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Mark II Mark II is offline
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I think that the period from 1974 to 1990 could be considered to be FSI's "prime" years, when the company really had mojo. That period saw the addition of the following kits:

Black Brant II - 1st scale kit
Echo 1
Eos
Dart
Maverick
Hercules - 20th anniversary year
Hornet - first kit for 18mm motors
Megatron
Nike Tomahawk
WASP
Javelin - 13 years after introducing its first scale kit, FSI release three more in the same year. We're now getting big, too.
Viking V
Competitor
Excalibur II
Streak - second of two 18mm-only kits

As you can see, quite a few of the company's best kits came out in this period.

The 1990s were not a complete loss. In 1990, FSI introduced the Sandia Sandhawk, Nike Smoke and what could arguably be its tour de force, the Intrepid, its last ever kit. It was this late spurt of brilliance that causes me to think that the company did still have its starch at that point, even though as you describe, the decay was becoming very evident.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:35 PM
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A Fish Named Wallyum A Fish Named Wallyum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
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.

That's the one I got when I sent off for a catalog after finding the address in a list of suppliers. I sent for it in late '77 and finally got it in the spring of '78. Dad had a habit of throwing anything out that he considered junk, which in his mind was most of what I owned, so I hid all of my rocket catalogs, plans, scale data, etc. in the cushion of an old couch that we had in the basement. One day I came home and found that it had been donated to charity. I always wonder if anyone ever unzipped the cushion to find out what was causing that odd lump in the left cushion. I've been looking for another copy ever since I saw the one on Ninfinger. Tough to come by.
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  #13  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:45 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Mark:

I believe that Doug Platt was working for FSI during those prime years, and may have been responsible for the innovation and energy you mention!

There was another 18mm-only kit. It was offered to members of the FSI club. I didn't get one (they substituted a Streak), but a friend did. I forget the name. It had an odd rounded nose cone.

I still have my FSI club membership certificate, signed by Harold Reese. It came rolled up in a piece of body tube. Someday I'll scan it in.

Stefan
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  #14  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
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.
If by "classic" you mean the MRK-I through XII kits (Penetrator to Viking IV) that were all first released in the late 60s, then I think that is too limited. The kits from #1014 through #1029 are as emblematic of FSI as any kits that they ever made, and they include most of the company's best designs. I would say that these epitomize the concept of "classic." What you are talking about are the very early releases, all of which were designed within the first 3 or 4 of the company's 27 years of existence.
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  #15  
Old 09-27-2011, 11:54 PM
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FSI club? That's a new one on me. I have been talking to folks about this company for five years now, and this is the very first time that I have ever seen any mention of a customer club. They never mentioned it in their catalogs. Do you have any memories of what that club rocket looked like?
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  #16  
Old 09-28-2011, 12:04 AM
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I would have to guess that the 20th anniversary year, 1987, was when the company reached its high-water mark, its zenith as a rocket company. The Hercules, Megatron, Nike Tomahawk, WASP, Javelin and Viking V (and the plucky little Hornet) were all released that year. Seven kits, including some of their very best work. Three more kits came out the following year. A total of ten kits, fully a third of all of the kit designs that they ever sold to the public, came out in that two-year span.
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  #17  
Old 09-28-2011, 11:45 AM
Neal Miller Neal Miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
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 . . .


I would think that the red chutes, were used because the supply of Select A Chutes had run out and they still had kits to package. ( kit's from the 1990's packaged in a bag with header card with instructions on back).
Although I have built and flown several FSI Rockets over many years ,
I am not as up on every thing like you guys are . Estes and Centuri were the two main Model Rockets to be found locally where I lived as a kid, I found out about FSI Rockets like this:
My older brother had a Estes Cherokee-D , nothing myself or any of our friends had could out fly it. One early summers day, I went for a bike ride into Utica Michigan, there was a new hobby store in town and I wanted to see what they had in the way of Model Rockets. I left the store with a FSI Penetrator and three E5-6 Engines. My brother or myself or anyone else didn't know what was coming.
the Cherokee was left in the smoke trail as the Penetrator flew by and climbed at least another 1500' OH how I love those long burn E5 and F7 FSI Engines, I wish someone would put them back into production.
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  #18  
Old 09-28-2011, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark II
I would have to guess that the 20th anniversary year, 1987, was when the company reached its high-water mark, its zenith as a rocket company. The Hercules, Megatron, Nike Tomahawk, WASP, Javelin and Viking V (and the plucky little Hornet) were all released that year. Seven kits, including some of their very best work. Three more kits came out the following year. A total of ten kits, fully a third of all of the kit designs that they ever sold to the public, came out in that two-year span.


I was working for AeroTech/Enertek in 1987 and I remember FSI was making a stronger effort to interest hobby distributors/shops in their product. I even remember one hobby trade magazine had an interview with Harold Reese.
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  #19  
Old 09-28-2011, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
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 . . .


A Sprint kit that I bought in mid 1986 had the solid red chute and streamer, while a Viking III kit bought in the same order came w/ the Black & Wht Select-a -Chute and streamer. I just assumed they used the red chutes when they were out of stock on the Select's.

S
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  #20  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:32 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Another thing that comes and goes: Decals.

It's been 37 years, but I recall that my Oso came with a small decal sheet.

The Penetrator I bought a little later . . . I don't remember. Voyager from about the same time, another "I think so."

Black Brant II, yes. Intrepid, no. Viking V, I don't remember but I don't think so.

The 1990 vintage Nova: No.
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