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  #1  
Old 12-20-2018, 08:50 PM
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Gus Gus is offline
7/21/61
 
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Default Original Estes K-44 Birdie

I want to share some photos from an Ebay auction that just closed. Perhaps one of the very rarest Estes kits, the original issue K44 Birdie. Gerry Fortin's site doesn't even have a photo of one, and lists no sales. I've never seen one come up for sale either.

There were four versions of this kit. It began as an Estes Design of the Month in October 1968. The design was very simple, a shuttlecock, a short piece of BT-20, an engine block, a short launch lug, and a centering ring. For stability reasons it was meant to fly only on shorty motors.

Shortly after the publication of the plan, Estes began to offer it as a kit, the original K-44. The "instructions" were simply a reprint of the DOM plan (below). The ebay sale was for one of those original first year kits. The K-44 Birdie was offered that way for a year, then changed to the "Astron Birdie," in a double oval header design, with more normal instructions.

In 1972 the kit changed again, to the TK-44, using 13 mm motors. Gerry Fortin gives a nice description of the kits here. And as Fortin points out, even those kits are extremely rare.

Subsequently the TK-44 became part of the Mini-Brute line.

I hope this adds a bit to the history of this very early oddroc. I was really surprised to see one show up on ebay and didn't want to miss the chance to capture and share the photos.

Steve
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Old 12-20-2018, 09:49 PM
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LeeR LeeR is offline
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I didnít see the listing, how much did it go for? I see clones listed for $6.95, which seems really expensive, even before the $8.00 shipping!

I think Iíd just go buy a shuttlecock at a sporting goods store, and use some of the parts I have on hand.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2018, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeR
I didnít see the listing, how much did it go for? ...

I think Iíd just go buy a shuttlecock at a sporting goods store, and use some of the parts I have on hand.
It went for way less than I would have thought, $129.50. I was figuring $400+ considering what the later models sold for. Really, really rare kit.
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Old 12-22-2018, 06:57 AM
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5x7 5x7 is offline
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There is another picture of one from the Almond collection:

http://vintageestesrockets.com/k-kit-registry/index.htm
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x7
There is another picture of one from the Almond collection:

http://vintageestesrockets.com/k-kit-registry/index.htm


Thanks so much for the link! Really good pictures.
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2018, 12:04 PM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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I'm not surprised at that price; the TK-44 Birdie was around for a shorter time.
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Old 12-22-2018, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus
It went for way less than I would have thought, $129.50. I was figuring $400+ considering what the later models sold for. Really, really rare kit.


Wow, I guess Iím just getting too old to get interested in collecting for the sake of collecting.Iím trying to build out my inventory of kits, and should really sell off those I know Iíll never build. Iíll likely donate a bunch of stuff to our club to use to raise some funds.

2. Maybe the biggest reason not to collect more ó we are trying to seriously downsize. We need to find a place with minimal yard, a lot less square footage, and a monster basement for my wood shop. And new, so there is no remodeling required. That kind of narrows the options a bit. I think it means buying a lot, or land, and doing a custom build.
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  #8  
Old 12-22-2018, 09:37 PM
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I ordered and received my Birdie from the 1969 Estes catalog (page 128) and still have that model. Most recent launch using the 13 mm engines (with streamer taped to the engine to allow fit in the 18 mm engine body tube).
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Old 12-23-2018, 09:37 PM
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On a trip to Indonesia several years back, came across some real shuttlecocks - made from honest to goodness feathers (badminton is a big game there).
So I brought a couple home with the idea of making a birdie clone but it's still on the to-do list.
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  #10  
Old 12-24-2018, 12:47 PM
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Steve, great post as always. The Birdie is one of those kits that is interesting but easy to clone. The birdie that Estes used was different than most with its white nose and swirling ribs. I've made a few with whatever birdies I could find. I really wanted one like the Estes Birdie. So, I've spent the last several years searching for ones like Estes used. Not desperately but, occasionally looking. For many years. So it's weird that you post this in the same time frame that I found a canister of the Estes style Birdies. It's the little things.
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