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Old 03-24-2018, 02:56 PM
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BEC BEC is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
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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 (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.
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Bernard Cawley
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Old 03-24-2018, 04:41 PM
rraeford rraeford is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 236

I only have one of these and never noticed the difference. Good observation.
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