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.
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.
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.
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.