Estes - Red Nova (7266)

Contributed by Ty Bliss

Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Published: 2020-07-28
Diameter: 1.64 inches
Length: 21.60 inches
Manufacturer: Estes


Red Nova is a scale-like model of a missile that stands 21.6" tall. The rocket's design includes a uniquely shaped nose cone, two sets of four fins, extra body tube detail pieces, and a 24mm motor mount. When well-finished, the Red Nova is a great looking, high flying D-motor powered rocket. 


Components include:

  • 3.75" Two-tiered molded plastic nose cone.
  • Clay nose cone weight.
  • 18" long x 1.64" diameter (B-60) body tube.
  • Eight laser-cut 1/8" balsa fins.
  • 11" balsa wood strip used for body tube detail.
  • Waterslide decals.
  • 24 mm x 70 mm Engine Mount with retainer hook.
  • 15" Purple & white plastic parachute.



Kit instructions are easy to follow, but could be more detailed in one important aspect of the build. 

All parts fit together well.


The balsa wood fin stock was too warped to be used when I opened this kit.  It took several days to sufficiently flatten the wood before the fins could be safely cut out, shaped, and glued to the rocket. 

Note: Several balsa wood flattening techniques can be found on the Internet. However, not every kit builder may be willing to put in the time and effort required to flatten warped balsa because no technique is guaranteed to work.

Two sets of four fins must be aligned as illustrated, but the kit could be improved with more "how to" instructions or building tips given that fin alignment is a critical element of the rocket's final appearance.  


The balsa fins should be sanded, the wood grain filled, and fins re-sanded at least once to get get a good scale-like look.

Achieving the best look requires careful cutting, shaping and placement of balsa wood strips on the body tube.

The recommended two-color paint scheme is not too difficult to accomplish using high-quality sharp-line painters tape.

The waterslide decals add a lot to the realism to this model when carefully applied.  However, the decals are typically fragile and the kit does not include any spares if one gets ruined during application.

A clear coat finish is recommended after the decals are applied.


The Red Nova is easy to prepare for flight given its large diameter body tube and engine hook.

Estes recommends the use of 24mm D12-5 or D12-7 motors which are meant for flying in larger-size open fields.

Reviewer's Note:  Weighing an estimated 3.0 oz. without a motor, Red Nova can also be flown in medium-size fields using a 24mm C11-3.


The 15" plastic parachute is adequate for a safe descent in light to no wind.

If flown in windier conditions, I recommend a cutting 3" diameter spill hole in the parachute to modestly increase descent speed and decrease downwind drift. 

Flight Rating: 4


The Red Nova flies high on relatively inexpensive 24mm D-motors.

It is also a very nice display model. 

Overall Rating: 4


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