Born Again RocketeerMy first memories of model rocketry are from the late 1970's, when my father and I spent long hours building, and thrilling minutes launching our Estes Alphas, Mosquitos, a Big Bertha and my prized Colonial Viper. Boy, did I love Battlestar Galactica back then. A few years ago I was blessed with two children of my own. Like many others Born Again Rocketeers (BARs), the desire to share my childhood with my own kids has led me back to the smell of burning propellent.
Also like many other BARs, I was dismayed to find out that most of the kits I loved as a child were no longer available, and had been replaced by RTF "kits" and molded fin units. I did some web surfing, and quickly found a multitude of sites all about supporting BARs and their need for classic kits and modeling challenges. I've put links to most of these in my Links list.
This set of pages also has a small photo gallery of my fleet and a launch log - the latter is mostly for my own use, but I hope you find it interesting too. I hope to add building tips and movies of my flights to the page in the future.
Model Rocketry with Small ChildrenThough I prefer a bit more than "three fins and a nose cone" myself, I have found that all those RTF rockets and simple kits have great value as well. Particularly because I want to share this hobby with my five year old daughter. She's been very patient with me so far as we work on her Estes Yankee, but there is really very little that she's able to do herself on that kit. The fins are very thin and fragile, and the body tube (BT-20) is so small that she could easily crush it without some care. And it takes a long time for the glue to dry, so I have to get her excited again and again over a number of days to complete the kit. She'll get there, but she's not really ready for, or interested in, the kind of kit I enjoy.
Enter the simpler kits. At a recent launch (our first together) she instinctively headed straight for a kit that was big, needed no paint, and had a single piece tail section. This kit, a Quest Falcon, also goes together quickly, using plastic model cement for almost all of the joints. We got the entire tail section with engine mount finished in less than an hour, and she did most of the work (OK, I handled the glue tube). And, she could press-fit the whole rocket together immediately and zoom it around the room. A very important selling point, that.
So my advice to BARs with very young aspiring astronauts is to find kits that still require some assembly (to get them started with their skills), but that go together very quickly if you can. I'll try to get a list together of kits that fall into this category and post it here.
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