Estes - Bull Pup 12D {Kit} (1270)

Contributed by Jon Revelle

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.33 inches
Length: 15.60 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 1
Style: Scale
Estes Bullpup 12D

This is a sport scale version of the Air Force's Bullpup Missile. A skill level 2 rocket but not that hard. It has been around for quite a bit now.

The kit comes in either a box or a bag (nowadays it comes in a bag) and mine had all of the parts. You get:

  • Nose Cone
  • Body Tube
  • Sheet of balsa
  • Tail Cone
  • Clay Nose Weight
  • Estes Bullpup 12D
  • Centering Rings
  • Engine mount (18mm)
  • Decals
  • Launch Lug
  • Engine Stopper
  • Shock Cord
  • 12" Parachute

The Bullpup has a set of 4 large fins and 4 canard fins at the top. Total of 8. I found the build to be neither too hard nor too easy and had it put together in about 2 hours. You need glue, scissors and knife. You start by assembling the engine mount and slide it into the main body tube. Then the tail cone is glued into place. Next you attach the fins and be sure they are lined up or your rocket could go unstable. That is followed by attaching the recovery system, which consists of the classic (but cheap) folded paper mount with the parachute tied to the nose cone. Coming down the home stretch, you attach the launch lug and apply fillets to launch lug and all fins for strength. Finally, cram all of the clay weight into the nose cone. The rocket needs the weight to fly stable, as I found that out the hard way. Assembly is now complete. .

Originally, my Bullpup was painted stock white with the peel 'n' stick decals supplied. But after one of its early flights, I decided to refurbish it with yellow paint and waterslide decals, so it looks much better now than it did at first. I also clear coated it to protect the waterslide decals.

Construction Rating: 4 out of 5

Estes Bullpup 12D

My Bullpup has had 5 flights. Here's how each flight went:

Flight one: Shock cord snapped. Lost nose cone and parachute. Called Estes and got new parts.

Flight two: As I said before I learned that you MUST put nose weight in the rocket. It got 8' off the launch pad and spiraled all over and crashed before the ejection charge fires. No damage.

Flight 3 is probably the weirdest flight ever! It caught the seam of my launch rod and it flew 50' into the air with the pad and lawn darted. Then when the ejection charge fired and the body tube got hooked with the rod.

Flight four I almost lost it. C6-3 has too short of a delay and it was lost for 3 weeks. Recovered it after a major thunderstorm!

After that flight, I stripped it completely. Everything from canard fins to motor mount. I re-attached the fins, got new nose cone and decals, new motor mount and completely repaired it. I then repainted it yellow. And when it was done, it looked beautiful!

Flight 5 I had my fingers crossed. Flew on a B6-4. Yes! I ended the bad luck streak! Beautiful flight. I love this rocket now!

Recovery is just fine on a 12" parachute. I lost it on flights 1 and 4.

Flight Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a great rocket now. Good for a first scale rocket.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5



A.G. (November 1, 2000)
I found this kit to be a well designed kit. I liked the boat-tail feature and nose cone as well. It flies nearly out of sight with A8-3's and despite parachute shroud line failings (ripped from the now brittle parachute) it has survived well. The friction-fit motor mount stinks though and the shock cord needs to be replaced with a much longer one. I found this review to be right on the money.
C.T. (January 1, 2001)
Picture provided by Ted Cochran Got at Walmart for $9.99. Good Kit. It's a little tough to align for a beginner. A lot of people tore those little forward fins off because they make it unstable, but mine flies great. Straight as an arrow.  However, I also added extra nose weight to be on the safe side. I made exactly according to instructions and painting according to box and it turned out rather nicely. Looks really nice a great sport scale kit I used this at NARAM-40 when I could not use my blackbird.
M.T.S. (January 1, 2001)
In my opinion I believe that the Estes Bullpup 12D is a very well designed kit. I picked mine up at a local Walmart for $ 9.99. I got to work on it quickly and finished on the the same day as purchased (except for the paint), with the help of some fast drying R/C plane glue I was ready to launch it in about 1 hour. My first launch was with an Estes B6-4 and it flew perfectly. Since then I have logged 30 flights on it and its still in mint condition. The rocket itself is very strong and sturdy and its lightweight construction enables it to have fast and high altitude flights. Overall I really enjoy it. The only thing I would change in the kit is the engine mount. On several flights the engine actually blew out backwards and almost pegged me off in the head.
M.K.H. (October 27, 2001)
This is a pretty nice rocket. Estes appears to have slightly changed the kit, which renders the instructions obsolete. However, the changes mostly are to the parachute and fin stock, and so it does not matter to much. You just have to use your head. Watch out for misalignments in the fins. This is very easy to do. Model looks really nice. I haven't flown it yet, but it will be soon.
W.S. (January 18, 2002)
The reason that I bought the Bull Pup was because of its military history. When I built this rocket I had no problems. I had panted it like it had told me to do, and the decals were a little tricky. The first time that I launched it was with a B6-4. A picture perfect launch! The second launch I used a C6-5, another perfect launch! About the fourth launch I had used a C6-7, the recovery cord separated and that I never saw that pup again. Overall I liked it so much that I bought another one, and is waiting to fly it.
K.R.E. (June 16, 2003)
Totally awesome rocket. First flight was on a B6-4 and the flight was beautiful, straight and impressive. Make sure, like any rocket, that you use enough wadding or create an ejection baffle. Some rockets just seem to fry chutes more than others and this one is a fryer! A little scary was when the chute melted and the Bull Pup came down clay filled, sharp nose-cone first. Ouch, glad it landed in the grass!
D.B. (February 23, 2004)
Great kit! This was probably the coolest low power project I've done in a long time. Due to multiple fin alignments, this kit should probably be done by someone with a little experience first. The parts were good quality, although a motor clip (not included) would be preferred to the friction fit motor mount. Instructions were good, except for the reference to decals. The instructions stated that the decals were the water-slide type, however, they were self adhesive. I found this out after trying to soak one of the smaller ones! This destroyed the adhesive, so I had to use some white glue to repair that one decal. Apparently, this kit may come with either type of decal, so be sure of the type you may get! Looking forward to a spring launch, mostly due to the amount of snow here, and the possibility of having to find a white rocket I lost sight of!!
R.L. (February 27, 2004)
I recently built the 'Pup' after a 34year absence from rocketry. The rocket was constructed following the instructions except for finishing. I found the instructions to be very good however, with my kit a few of the instructions didn't match the drawings and some of the parts were different than pictured. One of the centering rings was factory notched to support the installation of an engine clip that wasn?t in the kit or mentioned in the instructions and the Parachute came already cut with the shrouds installed. I didn?t follow the instructions for finishing. I tried some Krylon paint for plastic. The can suggested that no priming or sanding was required before application. My thinking was that this paint was a thicker paint than the other Krylon paints so, I wouldn?t need to fill the spirals or prime. Wrong! The paint didn't cover any better and in fact the nozzle tended to drip and the drips would get sprayed onto the rocket requiring more aggressive sanding between coats. The first flight of this rocket was a disaster! On the way to the pad two of the fins fell off, poor construction on my part. Over the years I had forgotten that most glues do not stick to the glassine layer on the body tubes. A quick application of some CA and I was back in business. I launched using an A8-3 as specified in the instructions. It didn't go very high, but it went straight and had a good deployment of the 12" chute. It landed about 100 feet from the pad would have been a successful launch except when it hit the ground all the fins fell off except for those attached with the CA. I was hoping to attempt the streamer and parachute duration for NARTREK using the pup. I wish I had known about this website before starting this project. There are so many good suggestions that would have made the project so much more satisfying. I wonder why Estes hasn't incorporated some of these in their kits. My Bull Pup will fly again, with many of the suggested modifications. My thanks to everyone that submitted suggested modifications to this kit and others.
K. W. (July 26, 2004)
I just love this kit. The only issue I have with it is the lack of a motor retaining clip. The rocket flies higher and is a lot faster off the pad than I thought it would be. I've flown it ~5 times using A8-3 and B6-5 motors and have not had the burn issues others have mentioned. Recovery on the stock parachute has not been an issue.
Willy (September 26, 2004)
Great flying model...Have built 2 this year with varying paint schemes. I also had a beef with the lack of engine hooks with this particular kit. In attempt to head off any crisis before they got a chance to prevent themselves, I modified the engine mounts/tailcones to install a engine hook. A braided Kevlar® cord, about 20" long in conjunction to 36" of shock cord is employed to handle ejection tasks. I also use a 12" ripstop nylon chute with Kevlar® shroud lines....We have sans ALL plastic chutes from ALL models in the fleet. No matter how careful, no matter how much or how little the wadding is packed, the melt togethers and burn holes in plastic chutes are irratating to say the least! Good Flyin'
K.G.D. (October 4, 2004)
This is a really cool rocket - inexpensive and fun to build, and it looks really good when you're done. I wish I'd known about this website before I built it, because I used the stock shock cord, gluing it near the top of the BT. After I found this site, the first thing I did was order some Kevlar® shock cord and that is the only way I will make a recovery system from now on. Anyway, when I fired this rocket on a B6-4, the flight was perfect but it pretty much blew out the shock cord and scorched it. I'm probably going to build a scratch Pup now that I know a bit more about how to build this and how to do a recovery system.
W.M.R. (October 27, 2004)
This is my 2nd Bullpup, first one lost in trees many yrs ago. Kit has changed little, shock cord is not rubber and chute is pre-assembled. Constructed as per instruction. First flight: B64 engine. Flew straight and true. Chute was burned on ejection charge and failed to deploy properly. Had Slight damaged on paint upon impact on side of building...almost on the roof. Second flight: C65 engine. Flew straight again but drifted 500 feet where it landed on a roof of a house. Recovered latter to see more chute damage from ejection charge and scraped fins. I will use more wading than the instruction suggest next time, after a new chute is installed.
C.M. (February 5, 2007)
As a B.A.R. I've been re-introducing myself back into the hobby. I've always liked the BullPups and wanted to build a small one before trying an "upscale" Q-Modeling kit. As I couldn't find the Estes kit at Wal-Mart, I ordered it from Rocketry Zone online. The kit came quickly and well packed just two days after the online order. I have some observations about the kit and its construction. The Shock cord seemed too short and was made of sewn elastic, not the rubber band style shown in the directions. The centering rings were notched for a engine hook, not included. I received two small squares of clay weight. The instructions show the installation of one square, but say to use all the weight. At step five the full size fin illustration didn't match my die cut fins. My kit fins were 3/16" short on the leading edge and cut 1/8" short on the tip side. The upper fins were the correct size shown on the plan. I was very disappointed to find "press-on" decals in the kit. The instructions give directions for applying the water-slide type. The parachute was also pre-assembled. The kit gave directions for parachute assembly. Some of the knots slipped at I tried to pull them tight. I know now that the Estes kits are bagged in China. This is certainly not the attention to the kit's parts I was used to in the late 60's and through the 70's. These discrepancies might hurt a first time modeler's rocketry experience. I will try to send a copy of this review to Estes. Thanks for reading my review and good luck! Chris Michielssen
S.W.M. (March 22, 2008)
The Bull Pup 12D is probably my favorite of all model rocket. this was the first rocket I bought as a kid when I got into rockets back in 87 or 88 and I launched it countless numbers of times. I burned up several parachutes in it and even shot the motor mount almost all the way out of the body tube once, but repaired it and kept flying it until I got out of the hobby and eventually broke the model and had it lost as I grew up. I have since bought a new one in my re-birth in rocketry and can not wait for the paint to dry so I can take it out and fire it into the sky. In my opinion it is one of the best rockets you can get for a first time out.

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