Estes - Big Daddy {Kit} (2162) [1998-]

Contributed by Jim Stuckman

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 3.00 inches
Length: 19.00 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Sport

[Rocket Pic]19" LG X 3" Dia
24" Parachute
24mm Motor Mount - D12-3 & 5 recommended

This is a great sport flyer that builds very quickly. If you upgrade the parachute to a quality nylon chute you have a very versatile companion for your Aerotech 24mm RMS!

Construction: 4

My kit is a pre-release beta kit so it did not come in the standard Estes packaging - just a basic plastic bag. All parts were present & accounted for. The heavy North Coast 3" body tube & nose cone are top quality. The balsa used in the fins was also of good quality and harder than many recent Estes kits have used. 

The instructions were very clear and leave no doubt as to the proper assembly. If you have built a skill level 1 kit you'll have no problem with this bird. If it were not for the 24mm motor this kit would surely have been skill level 1. The kit uses precut slots for the "thru the wall to the mount" fins. This makes building a snap! Be sure to apply fillets as described in the instructions - especially if you plan on using composite E & F motors.

Since I planned on flying this rocket on F motors, I made a couple of minor modifications. The kit comes with a pre-assembled 24" plastic parachute and standard Estes paper shock cord mount. Both of these components are fine for flying on the recommended D12 motor but should be upgraded IMO if flying hotter motors. I used a length of Pratt Hobbies Kevlar® line, epoxied to the wall of the BT for a shock cord anchor. I substituted a spare 18" nylon chute I had in my rangebox supplied 24. I also added approx. 3/4 oz. of clay to the nose to offset the weight of the RMS F reload.

The basic color scheme for this rocket is black with a yellow tip on the NC. Red & Yellow decals with the kit name really make an eye catching rocket on the pad. 

Flying: 4

This rocket follows the usual prep procedure. I used cellulose insulation for wadding. To ensure retention of my RMS case the motor hook had a wrap of masking tape applied. I flew this at a club launch in December on a very large field so I didn't even fly it on the D12. The F24-7 reload was perfect! The Firestar igniter lit the motor without hesitation and the rocket boosted straight to about 800'. The parachute deployed perfectly and rocket was recovered without incident. Even with an 18" chute the Big Daddy was in no hurry to land. Future flights on F motors will be done with a 14" LOC nylon chute but the 18" will be used on D & E motors.


I really enjoyed building and flying this rocket. It's construction is very straight forward and can easily be ready to paint in an evening. Like the Fatboy, this airframe has many possibilities - 29mm, cluster, staged, etc. Use your imagination and have fun!

Overall Rating: 

Other Reviews
  • Estes - Big Daddy {Kit} (2162) [1998-] By Dave Brunsting (January 28, 2007)

    This project was an upgrade of the typical Big Daddy to a 29mm mount with fiberglass reinforcement to the fins and lots of nose weight with a funky flame job. Modifications: This is an old style Big Daddy I ran across for $15 which sure beats the heck out of the regular retail price of ~$30 or whatever it is. So first up is the MMT. I used 30 minute epoxy because that’s what I ...

  • Estes - Big Daddy {Kit} (2162) [1998-] By Jon Revelle

    Short, stubby, and fun rocket. Flies on Estes D engines. Unfortunately I think it was just discontinued because it was not in Estes' 2005 Catalog. The rocket made its debut in the mid 1990s. At the time, kits were being made with a 4/6 sided box with a bag. This one was no exception. It had: 1 Nose Cone 1 Fat body tube 1 24mm Motor tube 1 Sheet of balsa 2 Centering rings ...

  • Estes - Big Daddy {Kit} (2162) [1998-] By Nick Esselman

    In keeping with my likes of "stubby" rockets, I decided to build three more that were around three inches in diameter to compliment my 2.6" and my 4" collection. So, I set off to get a LOC Onyx, a RocketVision Grymm, and the Estes Big Daddy. See my 3" Stubby Rocket Comparison Page The Estes Big Daddy qualifies as a "stubby" rocket because it is 19" long and has a 3" diameter giving it a less ...

  • Estes - Big Daddy {Kit} (2162) [1998-] By Andy Tate

    single stage, 24in. parachute, 24mm motor mount, 3/16 launch lug This is a standard Estes kit. It utilizes TTT (through the tube) fin mounting for the four balsa fins. One three inch paper tube is the body tube with a 24mm paper tube for the motor mount. The nosecone is a large plastic one with the standard Estes shock cord attachment loop. Two cardstock centering rings are included. The ...



T.T. (July 1, 1999)
I agree that the Big Daddy is an above average kit. I upped its fun factor by installing a 29mm LOC stuffer tube with plywood centering rings, a heavy duty shock cord mount, 30" Top Flite nylon chute, and glassed the entire airframe before painting. About 5 oz of clay and epoxy in the nose was needed for stability. With an F62 Dark Star or G35 Econojet, it will get off the pad in a hurry for arrow-straight flights to about 2000'. I'm tickled with the conversion, and it is a real crowd pleaser.
R.T. (November 1, 1999)
I have put the Big Daddy up five times. The motors were: 2 D12's, 2 E30's, and one F12. The first D had a recovery failure, the upper centering ring got pulled out due to the use of some terrible Radio Shack glue. After epoxy was used to improve the rocket (including taking out the motor clip and beefing the thing up), I started pushing the rocket. The E-30 gives a nice fast flight, and the F12 gives a nice soft contrast to my typical G125/F101 flights. The rocket is very solid, It could probably take an F72 (in terms of strength if not stability).
E.P. (April 1, 2000)
This is my best rocket. It is very sturdy and has withstood several hard flights. The only modifications I would make is to get some Nomex® permanent wadding because this rocket takes like 10-11 sheets of wadding and half the time the shoot melts anyway. This is a great rocket and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a long-lasting rocket.
G.B. (April 1, 2001)
Maybe it's just me, but I love stubby fellas like the Big Daddy and Fat Boy. I thoroughly enjoyed building the Daddy, with my only complaint being the fin slots were longer than they needed to be. But that's a minor complaint. I made two modifications: I used braided steel picture-hanging wire run through a hole in the forward engine ring and wrapped around (and glued to) the engine tube to protect the shock cord from ejection heat. The wire extends to the top of the tube, where the shock cord is then tied. I also cut the Estes logo out of the 'chute, and thought the descent rate was about right when flown on the D. I had a bit of wind and was afraid she'd drift away. Great flight, flawless recovery. A real nice flyer.
B.E. (May 1, 2001)
I thought this would be a good candidate to fly on a small field since the box claims 350' flights on the D engine. WOW! Was that ever wildly pessimistic! This thing went almost twice that before landing on the roof of a house that borders our launch field. (The field has since been renamed "B6-4 Field".) Luckily the houses owner was in as big a hurry to get the rocket off of his roof as I was. He wouldn't even let me clean his gutters for him as payment for use of his ladder. Bottom line: Make sure you have ample space on your chosen field and DON'T believe everything you read on Estes packages.
D.B.Jr. (June 1, 2001)
I highly agree with the above comment. I bought the kit when it first came out. The projected altitude of 350 feet caught my eye too. I thought about flying it on a high school field. I was getting desperate and wanted to see it fly but held off the get-go fever. The next summer I was granted permission to launch from a giant hay field. Boy am I glad I waited. The projected altitude of 350 feet looked about right but because of the large parachute this thing must of drifted at least a 1/4 mile. I recently replaced the 24 inch chute with an 18 inch one but haven't tried it out yet. Excellent rocket, highly recommended A++++.
D.C. (June 1, 2001)
I really like this rocket. The review is very accurate. Estes really had a winner with this kit. I have about 6 flights on mine so far. It is built like a tank. I launched it in high winds one time and it curved into the ground while the motor was still burning but no damage. I love this rocket so much that I'm going to buy 2 more. One of which I plan to cluster on 4 C motors I give this kit a 6 on a scale of 1 to 5. I highly recommend it to anybody. It is super easy and fun to build and fly. I was my third rocket. By the way it also flies well on single C motors.
D.B.Jr. (June 1, 2001)
I would like to update my previous comment. Recently I launched my Big Daddy with the smaller 18 inch chute. It came down a little faster than I would of liked. Because of the tall grass at my field no damage resulted. If anyone makes a 20 inch chute, this would probably be the way to go.
T.J.C. (September 17, 2001)
This is a fun rocket. My son and I built it stone stock and finished like the photo. Using D-12 motors the Big Daddy takes off slow, almost too slow as it was substantially above the launch rod before aerodynamic stability was apparent. We also cut a spill hole in the center of the chute to cut drift and soon had it landing within a few feet of the launch pad. Flight number seven was the Big Daddy's unlucky one. A slow lift off combined with a slight tendency to fly into the wind (over stability?)put the Big Daddy into a low drift which ended in the top of a 60 foot maple tree 150 yards down range. Several weeks later the cheap Estes shock cord broke in a wind and the Daddy returned to earth minus the nose cone and chute. Even though having hung in a tree for weeks it was in surprisingly good shape and will soon fly again. I plan to try a 6 foot launch rod this time to give the Daddy a little more time to stabilize at lift off.
P.T. (October 2, 2001)
The Big Daddy was my third rocket. The other two being E2X kits it was quite a jump to explorer kits. I was very impressed with the first flight on a D12-3. Straight up 350'. However the second flight was not so successful. I counted to 5 for the delay on the D12-5. But the ejection never happened. It came down like a shell and made a huge thud as it burried itself into the grass. The nose cone was squashed inside the body tube. At first I thought the motor mount had fallen out, but then I realized it was at the top of the rocket. When I finally got it apart I could see the motor mount tube had ripped itself free of the two centering rings. The tube was crimped, the nose cone dirty and the parachute melted together. Amazingly I fixed it, and flew it again on a D12-3, the flight was perfect. A few weeks later I flew it again on a D12-5. Guess what, it nose dived again! I think I might be able to fix it again, but I might just get a new one! Great first D rocket though, and I'm sure it could take E and F motors too.
M.V.L. (October 19, 2001)
This is a great rocket kit, especially for those just getting into bigger diameters/engines. Very sturdy and stable. One suggestion I would make is to turn the "yellow spacer tube" supplied in the kit into an ejection baffle. I used the extra balsa wood from the fins to make a plug for the tube, cut holes all around the top inch of the tube, then glued it into the top of the motor mount, resting on the thrust ring. Works like a charm, and doesn't go through 30 pieces of wadding per launch.
C.V.H. (November 19, 2001)
I did this rocket after I got it as a factory reject. The fins were missing but I got the pattern from a friend and I put it together stock except I added another 24mm mount and used 1/4 nylon for the shock cord. First flight was on 2 D12-5's. It was a perfect flight and it came down on a 24'' nylon chute. Next I will try 2 E9's or reloadable E11's. Hmmm, I wonder what 2 F39's will do. :)
T.W. (June 3, 2008)
Save yourself about thirty bucks and DON'T BUY THIS KIT! The balsa fins are flimsy and prone to breakage (thru-the-wall construction can only help so much). The shock cord and mounting is outdated. And the plastic parachute is cheap and ugly. I was told that the legendary Matt "The Man Of" Steele designed the original Big Daddy for Estes. But I find it hard to believe that the man who spearheaded North Coast Rocketry could've had ANYTHING to do with a bungholeo of a kit like this.
A.H. (June 7, 2008)
The Big Daddy has enough appeal by now to be considered an Estes classic. I papered the fins on one of mine and regularly fly it on G motors. I found the parts in 3 kits so far, to be quality materials.

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