Estes Vagabond

Estes - Vagabond (003217)

Contributed by Douglas Hurstell

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Published: 2011-08-15
Diameter: 1.64 inches
Length: 35.25 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 2
Style: Sport


003217 - Vagabond Description

Skill Level 2

Standing almost 3 feet tall, this amazing rocket can reach heights of 1275 feet. Launched on D and E engines, this rocket is sure to be a crowd pleaser.


Estes brings back the very long ogive BT-60 compatible nose cone (plastic)

  • 2 body tubes
  • 3 x 3 piece laser cut balsa fins.
  • Standard rubber band shock cord. 
  • 28mm motor mount with 2 cardboard centering rings
  • cardboard engine block
  • metal spring motor hook
  • E motor tube with an adapter that allows for C11 or "D" flights


Assembling this kit was more fun than any other in memory. 

Instructions were standard Estes fair.  The toughest part is assembling each fin and keeping all the pieces in line while keeping the combined root edges flush.  This is because the laser-cut balsa was not always a perfect cut straight through, there was a very small angle on one of my fin cuts, so some sanding and shaping is required.


Finishing the kit could present challenges if you dont get the fin assembly correct, but overall it was fairly standard.

Priming and painting was the same as any other.

Decals are water-slide, and seemed ok under a layer of clear coat.  However due to some of my painting clumsiness, I accidently peeled them off under some masking tape.

Construction Score: 4


The flight was fantastic!

Flew straight as an arrow (and a good deal higher than I expected) under moderate wind conditions on a D12.  Due to the largish fins, I was expecting some weather-cocking so I was flying on a 3 second delay... but on a completely straight flight, I'd recommend the 5 second delay.  Due to some damage I'll explain in the next section, I was not able to fly on an "E" impulse motor.

Finally flew on an E9-6.  It was beautiful.  If you dont own this model, you need to.

 I can't think of any cons


Rubber band shock cord

I believe the 18' chute is adequate, but make sure to put a small hole in the center.

The stock shock-chord was not adequate and the force on the chord ripped a gash in it about 1/3 the way through.  There was also some mild damage to the top of the body tube due to snap-back of the nose cone.

So, due to the damage to the shock-chord she was finished flying for the day.  I just finished installing a 9' nylon elastic chord.

Flight Rating: 4


With a slightly better recovery system (longer shock cord), I'd rate the kit a 5.0 for the fun of building and the nice flight.

Overall Rating: 4


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