Modification Estes Vampire from Estes Jynx Modification

Contributed by Bill Eichelberger

Construction Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Published: 2020-07-31
Manufacturer: Modification


My first Estes catalog was the 1977 version, which I got in mid-July and read to tatters by the time school started back.  Much of my cloning has centered around this catalog and the rockets therein, mostly those I never saw or couldn't afford.  I never saw an Estes Vampire, and if I did, I probably couldn't have afforded it.  These days I could afford a Vampire, but again, there's that question of seeing one.  As I approached forty years in the hobby I still had never seen one, so I did what any BAR would do and figured out a way to recreate one using another currently unavailable kit, the Estes Jinx.


  • Jinx rocket
  • engine hold-in ring
  • ring tool
  • parachute


Rarely is a project as simple as this one.  The Jinx is entirely preassembled.  I did lengthen the shock cord, but that was a simple act of cutting the original and tying a longer piece of 1/8" elastic in place.  This was attached to a snap swivel, as was the parachute.  I did more work on the Moon Mutt.


Finishing was almost as easy as construction.  The Jinx reminded me of the SSP Laker Special that I had as a kid.  Same semi-brittle purple plastic, at least in my mind.  That lasted about as long as it took me to open the package.  I sprayed the whole rocket (not the bottom where the engine retainer screws in,) with a plastic friendly Rustoleum primer, then two days later I sprayed it again with gloss black.  Decals are from Excelsior and needed minimal trimming to look fantastic.

Construction Score: 5


This is a fantastic small field bird.  Rugged, great looking and mini-engine powered, it's perfect for flying at small fields like the one I seem to be doing most of my flying on lately.  To date, I've only flown it on 1/2A3-2T motors, but it's light enough that these flights get the point across.  I'm tempted to try it on an A10 if I get a calm day, but I really don't want to risk hanging it in a tree. 


Recovers safely on the small parachute.  Tempted to switch it our for a 6" chute the next time I'm on an all-grass field.

Flight Rating: 5


Pros: One of my all time favorite cloning projects, I'm thinking about an upscale.  A BT-60 seems like it would be about right if I could find a nose cone with the correct profile.

Cons: Estes doesn't sell the Jinx anymore.  Excelsior doesn't do decals anymore.

Overall Rating: 5
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