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  #11  
Old 11-21-2018, 12:22 PM
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Ltvscout Ltvscout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Fish Named Wallyum
I cloned a Lambda 8, Phobos, Theta 37 and Zeus recently. They're simple designs, but always get a "What?" when they're announced at the pads. Perfect B6-4 Field flights on an A8-3. Got any more MRI plans, Scott?

I have the plans and fin template for the Zeus, but you already built that one. I'll put it up here shortly.
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2018, 12:06 AM
SCooke123 SCooke123 is offline
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I still have a Theta-37 I built back in the '60s. I painted it an ugly blue with black fins and nose cone. Never flew it but at least I still have it along with an Estes Arcas and Saturn 1B I built around the same time.
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2018, 10:24 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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It is cool that one MRI kit, the Zenith, is still in production by Quest. Has a clear payload section and plastic cone now, but pretty much the same design.
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by stefanj
It is cool that one MRI kit, the Zenith, is still in production by Quest. Has a clear payload section and plastic cone now, but pretty much the same design.
This is a corner of model rocket history that really needs to be illuminated. I also have a question, which Bill's posting inspired--I've included it below. Now, I had thought (apparently in error, at least partly) that Quest's kits--the old-design ones, which pre-dated Quest's creation--had all begun life in the late 1960s and/or the early 1970s (I welcome any corrections, additions, and/or clarifications), and had gone through roughly three phases, as follows:

[1] MPC offered model rocket kits (made of balsa-and-paper, at least some of which had builder-customize-able options, such as alternate printed-on-sheet-balsa-fins), which used 18 mm motors. (I don't know what their earliest launch pads and launch controllers were like--I *think* their plastic launch pad and their car cigarette lighter-powered, "Lunar-Lectric" launch controller [someone should offer 3D printed, working replicas of these! *Hint, hint...*] came later, during their "Stine era"). Then:

[2] After MPC hired G. Harry Stine as a consultant (was this perhaps in 1971?), they added to their product line new kits that used 18 mm motors, and also "Minirocs"--smaller, high-performance models that used "Minijet" motors (which were 'long' [compared to Estes's mini motors] 13 mm "A" and "B" motors). The Miniroc kits, which included sport, competition, scale, scale-like, and boost-glider models, used 15 mm diameter body tubes--which Quest still uses today--with "internal sleeve-fitting," BT-5-size motor mount tubes, and two different balsa nose cones (a 5:1 tangent ogive and a 1.75" elliptical nose [which was only used in their Pipsqueak kit), and:

The MPC Miniroc kits (most of which used 10" parachutes--their 15 mm body tubes had sufficient room inside--while a few had streamers) included an injection-molded plastic detail parts set, some of which were aluminized. The Miniroc kits were packed in a card-backed, clear plastic "blister pack," which could be either hung on a wall display rock, or stacked in a counter-top display box. The flattish, rectangular plastic "blister" also included molded-in corrugations (like those seen on Jupiter and Saturn rockets), canopies, and other small details on its edges, which could be cut out and glued to the rockets using epoxy or contact cement, if desired. Also:

The larger (18 mm motor powered models), which were intended to be sold through department stores as well as hobby shops (like Estes's Citation series of kits [other YORF members can recount MPC's model rocketry travails with K-Mart better than I...), were packed in shrink wrap plastic-sealed boxes for shelf display, just like plastic model airplane and model car kits. These model rocket kits had injection-molded plastic nose cones (and often also molded plastic fin units [or plastic fins and locking rings] and transition sections); those with balsa fins came with printed fin sheets. These kits included--but were not limited to--scale models (the Nike-Smoke and single-stage Tomahawk, and scale-like kits that used their parts). Finally:

[3] While it's possible that they might have intended to release a more extensive line of the following type of rocket kits, MPC's last two model rocket kits were "display or fly" scale models of the Titan IIIC and the Vostok. Those who have built and flown them have reported that they are better "display" than "flying" models, being heavy for their size, under-powered with their recommended motors, and doing best with high-thrust/short delay motors. (It has also been mentioned that the parachute compartment volume is uncomfortably small--and that the heat from ejection charges [and the flame from "post-ejection residual delay charge burning," in composite 18 mm motors] will warp and even melt the models' plastic bodies in that area, unless special precautions are taken. Using an aluminized Mylar parachute makes for a looser fit, and the inside walls of the parachute compartment can be lined with Nomex felt or "stone-ized," stage coupler "fish paper," or both [those who have successfully made and flown such modified models could provide more details].) Not very long after these two kits were released, MPC got out of the model rocket business (there was a motor plant explosion that resulted in one or more fatalities, which others here could describe better than I), and at some point after that:

If I have the history right (which, I freely concede, I may not), the late Myke Bergenske acquired the MPC inventory (including, apparently, their motors and their motor-making equipment [although he might not have come into the picture until AVI became AVI Astrport; I just don't know]). I have read, elsewhere here on YORF, that the kits and motors were stored for several years in a number of semi-trailers sitting on a lot, in non-climate-controlled conditions. (I can readily believe that, judging by the "puffed-up" appearance of several of my Miniroc kits' balsa nose cones, and by the "black 'rot' infection" [like what I've seen on a dead tree] on one of their body tubes.) Plus:

AVI offered some of the MPC kits, and/or kits of their own that used the MPC plastic nose cones and fin units. They also offered new motors (which were provided with thin heat-protective outer liners), and introduced glued-in variable-delay modules (I wish that innovation had been accepted and caught on!). The original-production MPC motors--18 mm and 13 mm--were apparently virtually "guaranteed to CATO," due to having been stored as haphazardly as they were (with regard to temperature and humidity changes) for so long. That could explain AVI's new motors, and why--due to the cost of developing, certifying, and producing their new motors--the company folded not long afterward (those were the post-Apollo, but pre-Shuttle, "slow years" of the hobby). Finally:

After a few years of a wraith-life existence (under the name "AVI Astroport," which I last saw listed in the model rocket products manufacturers listing in a 1978 issue of NASA's employee magazine), it disappeared. Not until the early 1990s, when Quest opened, did I see such kits and parts (including the MPC injection-molded plastic detail parts, and their plastic airframe parts) offered for sale to the general public again (although ACME Rocket Company had some old Centuri and MPC kits a bit before--and perhaps after--Quest began operatione). Now, regarding the question that Bill's posting had inspired:

He wrote that his old kits, which were/are, directly or indirectly, connected with MPC/AVI/AVI Astroport/Quest, were originally made by MRI (those letters stand for "Model Rocket Industries," yes?). Did MPC--or maybe AVI, and/or AVI Astroport--buy out MRI (or buy their inventory, and then later make more, new-production kits under their "new" [post-MRI] name)? Other than knowing the names and the appearances of a few of these kits (from the AVI Astroport "fire sale" catalog [they didn't *call* it that, but it sure connotes that feeling!] on the Ninfinger Productions website), I have no idea about their history.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help! (I'm sure there are other YORF members who are also interested in these and other obscure kits's histories [Roto-Rocket is another little-known--other than its name--model rocket company...])
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  #15  
Old 12-22-2018, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Fish Named Wallyum
I cloned a Lambda 8, Phobos, Theta 37 and Zeus recently. They're simple designs, but always get a "What?" when they're announced at the pads. Perfect B6-4 Field flights on an A8-3. Got any more MRI plans, Scott?
These "sleeve tube motor mount" rockets (like the MRI Icarus: http://plans.rocketshoppe.com/mri/m...5/mri3-7205.htm ) not only look sharp, and are aesthetically different (and sometimes, "less is more"--give me a simple black-and-white checkerboard roll pattern like the Icarus's over today's kiddish-looking, 'toddler-art color blobs' any day!), but I'd wager that they perform well on low total impulse, too! The motor selections in MRI's 1969 catalog (see: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/ca...9/69mricat.html ) suggest this:

They had only four motor types (all 18 mm--and their body tube sizes were metric [their nose cones and transitions also matched several of MPC's, AVI/AVI Astrport's, and--in balsa--Quest's]): the A3-2, B3-3, A3-0, and B3-0. Their most massive kit, the Zenith Two, was 1.5 oz., (and was [and still is] 18" long), and their largest rocket--the 21" long Theta 37--weighed 1.3 ounces. For these and MRI's other kits--most of which were in that same mass/length/drag "ballpark"--to perform well on A3 and B3 motors (and they were rated in newton-seconds rather than the pound-seconds of the earliest model rocket motors)--they had to have been aerodynamically efficient. Also:

MRI's kits--including the Icarus--would make great school and youth group kits, including for Industrial Arts/Technology classes, which involve workmanship. In addition to the rockets themselves, the students (or youth group members) could also build their own launch pads and launch controllers (instructions and a schematic for which are in the Icarus instructions [and a drawing is in the 1969 MRI catalog], in both of the links above).
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  #16  
Old 12-23-2018, 10:55 AM
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hcmbanjo hcmbanjo is offline
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To clarify, Myke Bergenske started M.R.I. It did stand for Model Rocket Industries.
MRI was bought by MPC. Myke was brought on to run the model rocket division of MPC.
MPC got out of rocketry, MYke purchased the inventory and engine making machinery.
AVI was then started selling AVI "sticker re-branded" MPC kits and supplies.
Towards the end of AVI you could get kits and engines very cheap.

Here's some more information on MRI from a phone call to Myke Bergenske himself in 2011 -
http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search?q=mri

He led me to believe that General Mills (the parent company of MPC) got rid of MPC
rockets. In their eyes, model rockets didn't make enough money to justify their continued production.

Myke Bergenske probably doesn't get enough credit for his contributions to the hobby.
He was one of the few to build large production engine making machines.
For a short time, MPC sales exceeded Estes! MPC had great distribution already from their plastic model kit sales.

Around 1973 and 74 I built quite a few models for MPC. I got to know the Bergenske's through correspondence and at the NARAMs.
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  #17  
Old 12-23-2018, 11:05 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Bergensky's pre-MPC rocketry business was MRI.

His post MPC business was AVI; I believe it may have operated in parallel, based on some catalogs I've seen.

I don't recall reading about a MPC motor plant explosion. Cox's short-lived rocketry business did suffer one; perhaps these events were conflated?
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  #18  
Old 12-24-2018, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcmbanjo
To clarify, Myke Bergenske started M.R.I. It did stand for Model Rocket Industries.
MRI was bought by MPC. Myke was brought on to run the model rocket division of MPC.
MPC got out of rocketry, MYke purchased the inventory and engine making machinery.
AVI was then started selling AVI "sticker re-branded" MPC kits and supplies.
Towards the end of AVI you could get kits and engines very cheap.

Here's some more information on MRI from a phone call to Myke Bergenske himself in 2011 -
http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search?q=mri

He led me to believe that General Mills (the parent company of MPC) got rid of MPC
rockets. In their eyes, model rockets didn't make enough money to justify their continued production.

Myke Bergenske probably doesn't get enough credit for his contributions to the hobby.
He was one of the few to build large production engine making machines.
For a short time, MPC sales exceeded Estes! MPC had great distribution already from their plastic model kit sales.

Around 1973 and 74 I built quite a few models for MPC. I got to know the Bergenske's through correspondence and at the NARAMs.
Thank you, Chris! The correct timeline (and the linked-to information on your blog) does clarify things--and I hadn't known that Myke Bergenske *started* MRI. (My impression is that the "second generation" model rocket companies such as MRI/MPC/AVI, Bo-Mar, and Semroc rose--and later sank--as public and educational interest in Apollo and the space race peaked and then waned.) Also, I would never have suspected that MPC ever exceeded Estes in sales (as they did in 1970)! Also:

Stefanj's account about Cox having a fatal motor production accident is correct. The account that I had read, somewhere here on YORF, about MPC's accident (which I may be confusing with Cox's), involved black powder "dust" accumulating over time atop one or more beams of the building, above the motor-making equipment. At some point this fine black powder was ignited (by static electricity?), touching off a large explosion. (Estes' motor production set-up is very wisely thought out. Spreading it out among several widely-separated, isolated little "shacks" with 'blow-off roofs' avoids having any single large amounts of black powder, ensuring that no explosion will be large and powerful.)
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