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  #1  
Old 03-03-2014, 10:28 PM
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Earl Earl is offline
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Default Longest Continually Produced Rocket Kit?

It seems that maybe the winner here would be the venerable Estes Alpha. Or, is there one with a longer production life than it?

I thought maybe the X-Ray kit in it's E2X release, but it seems to be OOP too now best I can tell.


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Old 03-03-2014, 10:50 PM
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The current incarnation of the original K-25 Alpha would be my guess for the answer to this. And/or Big Bertha (originally K-23).

That E2X X-Ray was a mini-motored sorta X-Ray...and it's been gone a long long time I think.

Added after a quick look on Ninifinger: It's gotta be Big Bertha. She's in the 1966 catalog but the Alpha didn't come out until the 1967 catalog.

So, Big Bertha has been in production for 48 years!

(I'm assuming that it was continuously in production during my rocketry hiatus here....)
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
The current incarnation of the original K-25 Alpha would be my guess for the answer to this. And/or Big Bertha (originally K-23).

That E2X X-Ray was a mini-motored sorta X-Ray...and it's been gone a long long time I think.


Yeah, I was thinking Alpha too, but forgot about the Big Bertha......that may be the winner.


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Old 03-03-2014, 11:17 PM
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Checking Gerry Fortin's kit database, it appears the Big Bertha was released in '65, with the Alpha coming out in '67.

Looks like the Big Bertha may be the winner, unless someone finds one we've overlooked.


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Old 03-03-2014, 11:35 PM
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IIRC I had a Big Bertha in '64. I went to a local park on my bike with a Porta-Pad(?), the BB and some other rockets in the basket. I joined the USAF that summer and didn't fly until my first PCS posting. Tyndall AFB, Florida. Discovered Centuri and built a Black Widow. I don't think I ever got the booster to glide on a flight. Built an Estes Gemini Titan and never got both motors to light. An Astron (everything Estes was Astron) Drifter disappeared over the Gulf of Mexico.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:43 AM
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The Bertha gets an asterisk because its identical (except for a 3-motor cluster) twin, the Ranger, made its debut in the 1963 catalog.

But the Bertha under its own name debuted in 1965. Wonder if Estes will put out a special "Golden Bertha" decal set or something next year??
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:19 AM
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No asterisk. The question was about the rocket in the longest continuous production. There is rather a large gap in the Ranger's run.....though it is currently available from Semroc.

Big Bertha first appeared as a plan in 1963 in Model Rocket News: http://www.spacemodeling.org/JimZ/mrn0302.htm
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:31 AM
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Yea Big Bertha! Not only the longest continuous kit, but a great one for small fields with standard motors.

That's the one Mary flew for Gary and I when we went on the Estes tour, on the way to NARAM PA 1981.

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Old 03-04-2014, 12:26 PM
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The Big Bertha kit. And I'd asterisk it anyways, because the basic design was known for a few years longer than it was in production. That's at least note-worthy.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:27 PM
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So, looks like the good ol' Big Bertha is the winner.

I would consider it a 'different' kit myself than the Ranger. Even though they have the same basic design, the Ranger had a payload section and a three engine cluster mount, neither of which were in the Bertha.

So, that would be 49 years of continuous production. Wow, hard to argue with that kind of success.

The next, natural conjecture then would be: How many produced in that near half century? Probably been more Alphas produced and sold since that kit has been sold in sooooo many starter sets since the latter 60s, but certainly the Big Bertha has rung up some huge sales number numbers over the years also.

Get those golden Berthas ready for next year!


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