Estes on steroids

by Bill Cooke

Mention Estes to a rocketeer these days, and you usually get a smirk; they are famous for Ready-To-Fly (RTF) and other easily built low power kits. Not much thrill to many in flying birds using 13 mm, 18mm, and 24 mm motors (1/4 A to E impulse). But that’s changing… 

Estes Der Mega Red Max

The Big E has introduced its Pro Series II line of mid power kits, featuring plywood fins, slotted body tubes, 29 mm mounts, and nylon parachutes. The first offerings were okay from an excitement point of view – pretty conventional 3FNC or 4FNC designs, though I did make a point to get their mid-power Nike Smoke, a personal scale favorite. Still, nothing to give Aerotech or Madcow reason to take note. At least, not until recently.

Many of us geezers – and some of the newer generation – are familiar with the Estes Der Red Max, in both its classic and re-released forms. Featuring sleek lines, an awesome red and black paint scheme, and, above all, humorous decals with Jolly Rogers, it has been a popular crowd pleaser for decades. Even HPR rocketeers often have this 18 mm rocket tucked away in between the 4 inch monstrosities in their collections. Der Red Max is so popular that last year Estes released a 13 mm version, called the Mini Max, for small field flying.

But many rocketeers think bigger, not smaller – And Estes has answered the call of these impulse-seeking Tim Allens. Imagine, my friends, a 4″ diameter Red Max…

Actually, you don’t have to imagine. It’s here – and I have one!

First thing that crossed my mind when I pulled it out of the box was “This CANNOT be an Estes kit!” I mean, it is huge! 4″ diameter, 40 inches in length with a beefy plastic nose cone, thru-the-wall laser-cut plywood fins, 29 mm motor mount and screw retainer, and an enormous decal sheet. Specs say it will get to 500′ on a G-40, and the smallest recommended motor is an F. Is this the Estes we have known all this time? They are making a serious move into mid power, and I for one am happy to see it. Way to go!

Der Mega Red Max retails for $89.99, but you can get one at places like AC Supply for $53.99 (%40 off). Go grab one!

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