Estes Renegade

Estes - Renegade {Kit} (2109) [2003-2013]

Contributed by Bob Bernatchez

Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Manufacturer: Estes

Estes RenegadeBrief:
Very cool looking, two stage design. The upper stage can also be flown as a single stage rocket.

There are a fair number of parts in this kit. Tubes included are two BT-60 for the airframe, two BT-50 side pods for the booster, two BT-20 for engine mount tubes, and two short lengths of BT-5, again for the booster. Also included are various couplers, adapter rings, centering rings, two die cut balsa sheets, a decal sheet, clay weight for the upper stage nose cone, and seven nose cones. All parts were of standard Estes usage and quality with one exception. The PNC-50KA nose cones (part number 71028) had a noticeable lengthwise offset between the two halves. This does detract somewhat from the look of the model.

The instructions follow a fairly logical order; building up various sub-assemblies and then assembling these into a finished unit. I used epoxy for most of the construction as I expected the booster would take quite a bit of abuse.

I did have one problem with the fin pod tubes. You are to glue a PNC-5A nose cone into each end of a short length of BT-5 body tubes, however, the BT-5 tubes were shorter than the length of the shoulders of the 2 nose cones butted together. I had to grind down the shoulder on one cone for each assembly to achieve the proper fit.

One thing I would change about assembly in retrospect, is to wait and install the booster tubes until the booster and booster tubes have been painted. This would make it easier to paint them a contrasting pattern.

Two things that I changed were substituting a 3/16" launch lug for the provided 1/8" lug and using a longer shock cord that what was provided.

I used my standard finishing method for this kit. I followed the box art fairly closely with respect to colors, etc. The decals were the standard stick on decals that Estes uses. The two large yellow "Renegade" decals that go on the booster were so thin that the yellow doesn't fully cover up the underlying black paint.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

While building this kit, I became quite concerned about the weight of the booster and the prospect of flight damage. The booster has five fins, two booster tubes with nose cones, and two fin pods with two nose cones each in addition to the main BT-60 body tube. That is quite a bit of mass to fall from the sky. As it turns out, my fears were well founded.

The instructions call for you to tape the two motors end-to-end and then friction fit the motors into the model. I found this to be somewhat cumbersome. What I've done is to install each motor separately, and then add tape to the stage coupler to hold the stages together during staging. So far, this has worked quite well.

My first flight was a B6-0 staged to a B6-6. Liftoff was slow and graceful, with staging occurring at a relatively low altitude. The combined rocket was very stable, but I am glad that I used a bigger launch lug and therefore, a bigger launch rod. The sustainer ejected about 2 seconds past apogee, which suggests that a shorter delay would be more appropriate with a B booster. Both booster and sustainer were recovered without incident.

Second flight was a C6-0 staged to a B6-6. Liftoff was again slow, but the model reached a significantly higher altitude and velocity before staging. This time, the sustainer ejected near apogee and was recovered without damage. Unfortunately, my fears about the heavy booster were realized when one of the booster fins broke off upon impact.

The booster is too heavy to "tumble recover". The ROCC flying field is a farm bisected by a grass airstrip. The booster landed on the airstrip and still broke a fin. I would hate to fly off of a hard packed surface or asphalt. I may try adding parachute recovery to the booster soon.

There is plenty of room in the sustainer for wadding and to place the parachute, allowing the sustainer does recover quite nicely on its supplied 12" parachute.

Flight Rating: 3 out of 5

This is a great looking rocket that suffers some from poor quality in a couple of the parts and from having too heavy a booster that is overly prone to breakage. Both of these are correctable problems. The booster should recover via parachute, and quality engineering at Estes should take a look at the problem parts. Anyone building this model would be well advised to consider these upgrades as well.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Other Reviews
  • Estes Renegade By Duane Boldt (November 9, 2009)

    Brief: The Estes Renegade kit is a very sharp looking 2-stage kit that looks great in any fleet. It looks good on the shelf and it looks good in flight and staging. It flies on 18mm motors and used tumble recovery for the booster and a parachute for the sustainer. Construction: The Estes Renegade kit contains the following parts: 1 - BT60 x 18" Body Tube 1 - ...

  • Estes Renegade By Robert Davis

    The Renegade is a cool staged rocket featuring a tumble recovery for the booster and a parachute recovery for the 2nd stage. It also flies great as a single stage rocket. The kit came with a whole lot of parts, including two lengths of BT-60 body tubes (one of them was much shorter, of course, for the booster section), a tube coupler, a couple different types of nose cones, two BT-20 engine ...



J.L. (August 17, 2004)
The instructions for gluing the motor mount into the top stage are poor. They don't leave enough room behind the motor mount for the first stage coupler. I had to trim the coupler so it only extends 3/16" into the top stage, resulting in less-than-ideal stability in the joint. The motor mount must be moved forward from the recommended glue points. Preassemble... The booster not only is too heavy, it's somewhat stable, with my first flight lawn-darting after partial engine ejection. Fortunately the ground was very soft, and no parts broke. One of the COSROCS veterans recommended adding a streamer to the booster, which will be done for the second launch. There's plenty of room for it. Launched in 10mph wind, the rocket weathercocked severely, which was exacerbated by the B6-0 booster. The top stage engine was a little late firing, so it flew almost horizontally (apogee at around 300 ft), but ejection occurred in the air because the top stage is fairly light. This is a nasty looking rocket and drew lots of attention on the pad. Recommend flying with a C booster and launching on a calm day straight up if possible.
D.S. (November 22, 2004)
I read this review prior to building my Renegade. I didn't modify it at all, but too found that gluing the boosters on after painting would be a good idea. I used Elmer's on the entire rocket, which was fine. The fins are all still on and have never cracked. However, the booster section took a beating every time it came down. It is supposed to tumble, but it is too stable and on the last flight the motor mount assembly totally failed upon landing. It can be rebuilt, and I think I will build it to accept a D motor to help speed up that slow lift-off.
K.L.M. (January 28, 2006)
I am currently building this kit. I too was concerned about the booster stage being damaged after falling to the ground, so I decided to convert mine to a single stage, "D" powered rocket. I currently have both stages glued together with the set of 3 fins in line. I am very anxious to finish this kit and get it in the air.
Eric Lofgren (August 18, 2022)

@J.L My instructions show the aft centering ring in the sustainer engine mount positioned 1" from the aft end, which gives plenty of room for the coupler. To be safe, I put two engine casings in and used the booster to push the upper engine mount into position. The result was actually that the upper engine mount protrudes about 1/4" from the bottom of the body.

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