Ye Olde Rocket Forum

Go Back   Ye Olde Rocket Forum > Weather-Cocked > Current Kit Talk
User Name
Password
Auctions Register FAQ Members List Calendar Today's Posts Search Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-24-2018, 02:56 PM
BEC's Avatar
BEC BEC is offline
Master Modeler
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,049
Default Alpha III positive/negative livery - how long has it been going on?

I may be the last one to notice this, but there are two versions of the orange/black Alpha III livery formed by the peel-n-stick markings. One has the lower roll pattern look to be formed by black blocks (by using thin orange frames) and one formed by orange blocks. The upper roll pattern versions are also negatives of one another.

When I noticed this - looking at an Alpha III I’d just assembled for a demo and the box art on the most recent version of the Alpha III launch set (the one that makes an Alpha III “level two”) and thought “They changed the stickers - I wonder when?”.

So I did what any obsessive person would do and got on estesrockets.com (and ninfinger) and started looking at old Estes catalogs. What I found was that the livery on the launch set - which was a negative image of that on the model I’d just built - goes all the way back to when the orange/black color scheme replaced the red/white/black color scheme in 1993! Or at least the art in the catalogs have shown it that way since the color change 25 years ago.

So then I wondered “where does this version I have come from?” This model was from a late 1990s vintage Alpha III bulk pack (all but the parachute made in the USA), and all the Alpha IIIs I’d built were from that batch. So I looked at some slightly more recent (all made in China) bulk Alpha IIIs that my club has as a choice for a sign-up favor and they have the same version as the ones I’d built.

Then I opened the launch set - and two other older (but recent) ones I have around - and found that THEIR stickers match the box art. And just now I opened the mid-90’s vintage Alpha III starter set (#1406) I have and its stickers match my models - it will yield a negative image of the box art roll patterns when applied, matching my built models.

Now I realize that most of you don’t even really care for the “Halloween” Alpha III, even though it’s been around now longer than the original red/white or red/white/black versions, but it does interest me that there are two versions of it, that I never noticed it before, and that there (so far) seems to be no clear driver for one being in a kit over the other. I have not examined any retail single Alpha III kits - I will do that when I can - just to see if there is some kind of pattern (no pun intended) here.

So am I just slow to the party here? And does anyone (Initiator001, I’m looking at you, for example) have any idea when the negative-of-the-catalog-art version came around and what rationale there may be for including one over the other in a given package?

I’d ping Mary Roberts about this - but I suspect they’re distracted enough right now in Penrose with the Hobbico auction/break-up that they don’t need me bugging them about really geeky questions right now.

Attached are views of the two different sticker types and a model vs. box art picture.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:  20D9470C-694C-4231-A586-3FDE2608AF08.jpeg
Views: 91
Size:  1.44 MB  Click image for larger version

Name:  95C517F8-E16C-43B7-935A-76DADCEF7D28.jpeg
Views: 97
Size:  1.02 MB  
__________________
Bernard Cawley
NAR 89040 L1 - Life Member
SAM 0061
AMA 42160
KG7AIE
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-24-2018, 04:41 PM
rraeford rraeford is offline
Craftsman
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 405
Default

I only have one of these and never noticed the difference. Good observation.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-11-2021, 11:23 PM
BEC's Avatar
BEC BEC is offline
Master Modeler
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,049
Default

I want to bring this thread back up to the top first of all to see if anyone else has any insight on these two versions of the roll patterns on the orange/black Alpha IIIs. Anyone??

I also want to bring it up to note that this is the 50th anniversary year for Mike Dorffler's Alpha III, a great riff on Bill Simon's original Astron Alpha. Alpha III first appeared as 711-K-56 in the 1971 Estes catalog, and so far I haven't found any mentions of it in earlier publications. That makes it, I think, the third-longest continuously in-production model rocket kit after the K-23/1223 Big Bertha and the K-25/1225 Alpha.

I had half hoped that Estes might create a golden anniversary Alpha III, perhaps plating the fins and nose cone gold in the fashion of the Estes 60th Alpha VIs of a couple of years ago, but now that the 2021 catalog is out, I am pretty sure they didn't take that suggestion.

The Alpha III's confighration has been amazingly stable over that 50-year period with really only the change being from the original style motor hook to the one with the tail which took place at the same time as the color change from red/white to orange/black, both occurring in the 1993 catalog. So by now the orange/black Alpha III has been in production longer than the red/white version was.

It's reliable and consistent and one of the few Estes models that will actually reach the projected altitudes shown on the face card on the recommended C motor. It's no wonder it's still with us, 50 years on.
__________________
Bernard Cawley
NAR 89040 L1 - Life Member
SAM 0061
AMA 42160
KG7AIE
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-12-2021, 07:20 AM
jadebox's Avatar
jadebox jadebox is offline
Roger Smith/JonRocket.com
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Oviedo, FL
Posts: 978
Default

After designing the Cineroc, the Alpha III was probably not a challenge for Dorffler, but I still find the way that the Alpha III design eliminates gluing plastic parts to non-plastic parts to be ingenious.

I don't think the Alpha III would be so popular and have such longevity if you had to try several different adhesives to find one that worked.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-12-2021, 08:20 AM
Flash's Avatar
Flash Flash is offline
Semi-Pro Rocketeer TRA 10484 L2
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 343
Default

The Alpha non 3 was my first rocket in 1968. Cut the fins out incorrectly with the grain in the wrong direction, Lol. 10 year old totally on my own.

Every time I launched that rocket it broke a fin on landing. But I learned from the mistake, never cut fins out incorrectly again.

I like the Alpha III but I really don’t understand why Estes has it over priced in comparison to other rockets.

For several years I use to take the lead in having a model rocket launch at a elementary school. We would fly over 130 rockets, over 1/4 of the students. But I always got as good of a price on the 12 pack crayon rockets, plus they were 1.64 size making for better recovery performance as compared to the Alpha III.

Alpha MSRP is $21.99 ea.

Didn’t notice the crayon rockets at AC supply lately either

I would have gotten the alpha for A8-3 burners, since I had allot of those motors, but didn’t want to pay that price at the time. As far as building goes, it is perfect for elementary school programs.
__________________
=======================
If the Sky is the Limit, then,
why is there Footsteps on the Moon?
=======================
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-12-2021, 12:17 PM
BEC's Avatar
BEC BEC is offline
Master Modeler
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,049
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jadebox
After designing the Cineroc, the Alpha III was probably not a challenge for Dorffler, but I still find the way that the Alpha III design eliminates gluing plastic parts to non-plastic parts to be ingenious.

I don't think the Alpha III would be so popular and have such longevity if you had to try several different adhesives to find one that worked.


I agree that that feature (which has subsequently been reused for some other E2X types) is a key design point. Whenever I'm doing a group build I always emphasize how important that upper-centering-ring-to-body tube joint is, as it (and the ring to motor tube joint) hold the whole thing together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash
I like the Alpha III but I really don’t understand why Estes has it over priced in comparison to other rockets.


Yeah, that bugs me, too. Especially since today I could go to my local Hobby Lobby and buy an Alpha III launch set for $17.99. Not that I need yet another Porta-Pad II and Electron Beam....

The regular 1225 Alpha's current MSRP is $18.99, which makes about as much sense to me [not] relative to other models with similar parts counts and such.
__________________
Bernard Cawley
NAR 89040 L1 - Life Member
SAM 0061
AMA 42160
KG7AIE
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:34 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Ye Olde Rocket Shoppe © 1998-2021