Estes - Baby Bertha {Kit} (1261) [2002-]

Contributed by Herb Estus

Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Diameter: 1.64 inches
Length: 12.75 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Sport

Rocket PicBrief:
A skill level 1 rocket from Estes.  Small version of the Big Bertha.

Construction:

  • BT-60 body tube-7 1/2"
  • BT-60 elliptical nose cone-2 1/2"
  • Engine mount tube
  • Centering ring card
  • Retaining ring for motor tube
  • Engine block and hook
  • decal sheet
  • 12" plastic parachute
  • shock cord

Pros:
Instructions are easy to follow and well illustrated.

Rocket went together quick with no problems. We used a few drops of super glue to get the fins on where we wanted them.  Then we epoxied the fillets, we only did this because my kids always like over powering their rockets.  However everything can be put together with white glue with no problem.

Cons:
Shock cord was to short and was replaced with a 1/4"x15" elastic cord mounted to the top centering ring instead of glued with paper to side of rocket.

Finishing:
Nothing special here, 1 coat of primer.  Than we painted it yellow.

However, the decals don't show very well, they are a one piece decal on clear backing with white lettering and white/blue rectangles.  Decals would show up much better on a dark color.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Flight:
We used some shredded paper for recovery wadding.  We used a B6-4 for it's first flight.  It flew nice and straight with recovery just past apogee. So far we have only flown this once. A lot of our rockets only get one flight because the kids have so many .

Recovery:
We replaced the supplied shock cord with a 1/4"x15" piece of elastic and connected it to the top centering ring. We also replaced parachute with a 12" homemade nylon parachute.

Everything worked and deployed nicely.

Flight Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:
A nice level 1 kit. With help, my daughter had it together in just one day and she has only built 2 other rockets.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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B.E. (August 5, 2002)
I bought a Baby Bertha for my son to build as his first rocket. He loved it and couldn't have been more proud when he first took it to the pad at a club launch. He wound up flying it five times that day, completely bankrupting my supply of B6-6 engines. This is another great first rocket in a long line of them from Estes. BTW, I believe this one has been done earlier. Wasn't it once the Estes Rascal?
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K.R.E. (June 4, 2003)
The Estes Baby Bertha was a pleasant surprise. I had expected a kit that sold for less than ten dollars to have a least one flaw or two, but this kit far exceeded my expectations. Assembly was a no-brainer. If you have ever put together any other level one kits, the Baby Bertha will be no problem. The balsa was a little soft but certainly acceptable and the body and nosecone took paint very well. My daughter and I finished the kit with a gloss royal blue body tube and fins and a chrome silver nose cone. Although I liked the classic black on the package insert, the blue silver combination is a looker as well. First flight was on a B6-4. The day was gusty and not quite ideal but the Baby B did not disappoint. 500 feet, straight up. The chute deployed but gusty winds took the baby 300 yards away into a lake. (sound familiar?) Recovery was not possible and the Baby Bertha sank quickly. BUT, at its low cost and fine performance there is sure to be another in the stable in the future. Highly recommended.
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W.D. (October 15, 2003)
This rocket is now my favorite. The flight was straight up and landed 10 steps away from the pad! If you are hesitating to buy this rocket, go for it and you will have a great time.
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J.I. (December 21, 2003)
I really like this rocket. I've launched it at least a dozen times, and always have had excellent results. Nice straight flight and always a very nice chute deployment and landing. I'm not really fond of the Estes Shock cord attachment (or the shock cord for that matter), but this baby has always come through for me in any condition.
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K.W. (July 26, 2004)
I've now built about 50 of these kits with both high school and elementary school students. They are a great first kit, with large parts that are easy to align and correspondingly large glue surface area for strong construction. I find that even elementary students can assemble the kit in a three hour workshop. Flights are a little underpowered on an A8, but just right for small fields on a B6. I've seen this kit for <$5 online, so it is still a reasonable choice for groups even though there is no bulk pack available. Try it, you'll definitely like it!
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A.M. (October 4, 2004)
I built this kit stock, accept, I swapped a 24 inch chute in it. I used it for my Nartrek bronze chute duration, I got 145 seconds, only needed 60 seconds. This little rocket really rocks, and on a C6-5 will get way up there. Highly recommended for beginners, or even high power folks who just wanna have fun.
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D.S.C. (October 24, 2004)
I did a lot of research before settling on this kit for my cub scout rocket derby. I've been running these derbies annually where scouts build, launch and try to land their rockets as close as possible to a target pole. I've used Vikings, Alphas and even Mach 12s in the past but this year I've selected the Baby. The pros are the large size which makes it easy to build, easy to see and suitability for a small field with a B6 engine. I field tested one today and with an A8 engine, flies too low but just right with a B6, gaining about 300 ft altitude straight up but only 200 feet when angled 20 degrees from vertical making it perfect for this event.
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G.B. (July 9, 2006)
What's not to like about the Big Bertha's little sister? Nothing.....except that the shock cord supplied with my kit was way too short, and I should have recognized this and swapped in a longer one. The effect of the short shock cord in that the chute and nose cone snap back over the fins and tangle.
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R.W.L. (January 9, 2007)
This was my daughter's first rocket, and she loved it! She was able to do most of the construction herself (I did the cutting and tube marking), though she asked me to stick the fins on the bodytube once she had applied glue. The "apply glue and let it dry, then reapply" trick is really handy for getting the fins to stick. It's still in primer (we've got some pink spraypaint for it) but it flew beautifully -- my daughter used up a whole pack of B4-4 engines at the january SOAR launch. One flight arc'd into the wind a fair ways, but the other 2 were picture perfect!

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