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  #11  
Old 01-12-2007, 12:21 AM
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Good suggestion. I forget about dialup (until the DSL goes down!)
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2007, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
Carl, though, is using an older concept of a model rocketry company that caters to builders and designers, not impulse buyers; that requires a much larger variety in the parts he offers. Estes (and Centuri) started off that way .........A hobbyist-oriented model rocket company.

I've seen it at its worst already. Carl is trying to counteract the damage, and that's a good thing.


This is the bottom line and I believe why most of us are here.

Too many potential rocketeers are quickly bored, stating " yeah, they're fun, but I already launched a rocket!!!" They think its about the launch. They are usually too young to graduate to the higher power kits (which seems like the natural progression - send one higher). Right now, interest is lost when they see there is little else to excite them. They know little of developing a hobby skill. It is the idea of new "builders" kits to graduate to, something to excite or challenge and develop skills that I believe has the most potential. But there must be exposure as well.

In this respect, let Estes and Quest snag newbies with their RTF and quick kits at the mega-store .

That's why the LHS move is a good thing for SEMROC and rocketry.

A Saturn 1B on the shelf might scare some away, but it will make others pine for the skill to be able build one. In the meantime, new innovative designs and builders kits will bridge the gap.


Lets give them something to really grab and maintain their interest. Soon, they will be waiting for a new release as if it was new video game or platform!

Bob
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2007, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thomas
...Too many potential rocketeers are quickly bored, stating " yeah, they're fun, but I already launched a rocket!!!"... interest is lost when they see there is little else to excite them. They know little of developing a hobby skill....In this respect, let Estes and Quest snag newbies with their RTF and quick kits at the mega-store...Lets give them something to really grab and maintain their interest...


I think one thing we have ALL got to start doing, whether we are in this as a business or as a devoted hobyist, is to demonstrate how easy a model rocket is to build. Granted, the S1B and LJII are high-quality, skills-needed models, and even some of us old-timers have difficulty building them. But they are not typical model rockets.

Something we need is a complete package similar to the old Estes Electro-Launch or Deluxe Starter Kits from 1971. These kits had the full-build Alpha instead of the Alpha III. This starter set should be developed to introduce to the newbie each skill needed for building models. Flying their model is "the icing on the cake"; unfortunately most starter sets don't teach you how to bake the cake.

SEMROC has numerous designs available that would be ideal for such a package, including but not limited to the Astro-1. If we wanted to use smaller motors, the BARCLONE Eaglet is available, as is the SEMROC Astro Jr.

The instructions would be more detailed than what we're used to. Possibly they would need actual photographs showing each step of the process. If you look at well-thought-out RC airplane instructions, you get not only a set of plans to work on, but a thick booklet with lots of photographs to look at and compare against. Our starter set needs to follow this pattern. It would take the newbie through the entire sequence, from opening the bag of parts and checking the contents, through finishing and painting, and finally flight preparations.

What kind of launch pad would we include? I've seen some inexpensive camera tripods selling for about $10; what could one be manufactured for? If we had a simple adapter head that attaches to the tripod, our launch pad would look "cooler" and be more stable than the other offerings. One additional advantage -- it gets the rocket (and the rocket's exhaust) up off the ground by about 18-24". Easier to work with, less of a fire hazard.

How about the launch controller itself? Another manufacturing issue, but one I think needs to be looked into.

Bottom line, SEMROC needs to have in-place all of the elements required to build and fly model rockets. It presently has the components for building the models down fine, and it's working on motors. SEMROC should not have to rely on any other model rocket company for any support item. It needs to have its own branded line of support equipment. Let's go after all the newbies, and all the BARs, and all the Neverbars. Let's get them in our fold, and show them what the hobby is really like.
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2007, 06:14 PM
rocket_james rocket_james is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
Something we need is a complete package similar to the old Estes Electro-Launch or Deluxe Starter Kits from 1971. These kits had the full-build Alpha instead of the Alpha III. This starter set should be developed to introduce to the newbie each skill needed for building models. Flying their model is "the icing on the cake"; unfortunately most starter sets don't teach you how to bake the cake.

The instructions would be more detailed than what we're used to.


That as an option, I agree, Craig. The "cheap" starter set is still good for getting folks in the hobby, too. Not everyone can afford the full deal. I also think both should include a catalog, a basic concepts booklet, and a "send a friend a catalog" postcard. I wonder how many of us got in the hobby because of a friend or teacher? That usually meant some level of competition between friends - fly higher, get the bigger rocket, have the latest rocket, etc. Part of what's missing for the newbie rocketeers is a bonding between the rocket company and the rocketeer. BARS automatically seek that bonding because we grew up with it. The newbie has never made that connection - it's more the "me" thing, self gratification , or whatever. Easy to get bored, or distracted by whatever next thing is "hot." Nothing is in the kits today that promotes that bonding or encourages the person to stay with it, to seek the next challenge. No MRN copies to see what others are doing, or to get further encouragement from the rocket company. I think it really takes a whole package, just like what we grew up with. Well, a nice space race would help too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
What kind of launch pad would we include? I've seen some inexpensive camera tripods selling for about $10; what could one be manufactured for? If we had a simple adapter head that attaches to the tripod, our launch pad would look "cooler" and be more stable than the other offerings. One additional advantage -- it gets the rocket (and the rocket's exhaust) up off the ground by about 18-24". Easier to work with, less of a fire hazard.
How about the launch controller itself? Another manufacturing issue, but one I think needs to be looked into.


Yeah, those plastic Estes and Quest launch pads are horrible. Low to the ground and easy to break. Of course, low to the ground is good for the little kids that like to put their rocket on the pad. A pad that lets the rod down horizontally to allow the rocket to be slipped on would be nice. Then you get the heigth without cheating the little kids from putting their own rocket on the pad. Kids today seem to want things to be of fairly decent quality. Too many failures and they'll give up on it. We've taught them that. I always liked the launch controller that could be hooked up to the car battery. Unfortunately, there probably aren't many launch areas available that allow the car to be pulled up to it. Most mom and dads aren't going to lug a big 12 volt battery around and recharge it either. Big dilemma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
SEMROC should not have to rely on any other model rocket company for any support item. It needs to have its own branded line of support equipment. Let's go after all the newbies, and all the BARs, and all the Neverbars. Let's get them in our fold, and show them what the hobby is really like.


I agree, Craig. It's that whole bonding thing!
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2007, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket_james
...The "cheap" starter set is still good for getting folks in the hobby, too. Not everyone can afford the full deal. I also think both should include a catalog, a basic concepts booklet, and a "send a friend a catalog" postcard. I wonder how many of us got in the hobby because of a friend or teacher?


I had a chance to talk to my LHS contact today, and casually asked him what trends he was seing in the hobby industry. His opinion was that the RTF items - rockets, RC aircraft, RC cars, etc... - really did bring a lot of people into their respective hobbies; but that these customers were also coming back to look for the more sophisticated items, like kits that require building and finishing. This was across the board. These customers were hitting a roadblock because those same companies were not following up as well with more construction-style products.

Has anyone noticed one of the "new" product lines Estes has brought out? Fully-assembled rockets in those conformal heat-molded blister packs. No motors, no pad, no launch controller, just the rocket -- fully assembled (maybe you have to attach the parachute...) and ready for launch. Wal Mart is selling them for $10. I looked at two: a 3FNC and a 4 FNC. The 3FNC used a gold-plated* Alpha III fin can, a gold-colored pre-wrapped body tube, and a gold-plated* PNC-50Y nose cone. The 4 FNC used a fin can which I don't think has been used before. The packages look like they cost as much to make as the rockets do, BTW...

I whole-heartedly agree with the inclusion of a paper catalog, especially one that has a full line of components and accessories. Those were the catalogs we all used to drool over. It wasn't just the rockets, but the idea that with those components you "could do anything". Those pages were like the old Edmund Scientific catalogs, or the Heathkit electronics catalogs.

Something I once thought about for a Deluxe Starter Set was to include a copy of "The Handbook" as a premium. That might be something to consider for educators wanting to include rocketry in their classrooms.

[*Gold-plated in the sense that they were plated with a gold-colored metallic coating...]
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2007, 09:59 PM
foose4string foose4string is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw

I whole-heartedly agree with the inclusion of a paper catalog, especially one that has a full line of components and accessories. Those were the catalogs we all used to drool over. It wasn't just the rockets, but the idea that with those components you "could do anything". Those pages were like the old Edmund Scientific catalogs, or the Heathkit electronics catalogs.


[*Gold-plated in the sense that they were plated with a gold-colored metallic coating...]


I remember drooling over those catalogs too, and it's still nice to have some bathroom reading material, nothing beats a hard copy. But just remember, those were the days before the internet, it may not be as crucial as it once was. On the other hand, the more material floating around with the Semroc logo on it, the better.
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2007, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by foose4string
I remember drooling over those catalogs too, and it's still nice to have some bathroom reading material, nothing beats a hard copy. But just remember, those were the days before the internet, it may not be as crucial as it once was. On the other hand, the more material floating around with the Semroc logo on it, the better.


Oh, the internet is nice, and we couldn't do what we're doing now if we didn't have it. But as much as I like the internet, I still want hard copy to actually read. I hate having to read from my computer screen, especially when I'm trying to work with an image, or do some coding, or do something where I need both a printed page and a work screen to figure out. I hate having to switch windows in the middle, toggling back and forth.

Give me a paper catalog, which I can look at without having to crank up the computer. I'm old-school. I like books. Nothing has adaquately replaced the book yet, and I don't think it ever will. There's a personal connection with the printed page that you just don't get with a monitor. Just don't try to take away my computer, though. Death would be too good for you...
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2007, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
Has anyone noticed one of the "new" product lines Estes has brought out? Fully-assembled rockets in those conformal heat-molded blister packs. No motors, no pad, no launch controller, just the rocket -- fully assembled (maybe you have to attach the parachute...) and ready for launch. Wal Mart is selling them for $10. I looked at two: a 3FNC and a 4 FNC. The 3FNC used a gold-plated* Alpha III fin can, a gold-colored pre-wrapped body tube, and a gold-plated* PNC-50Y nose cone. The 4 FNC used a fin can which I don't think has been used before. The packages look like they cost as much to make as the rockets do, BTW...[/i]]


I have seen them. I wonder if these are geared towards someone that purchased his first RTF rocket or a starter set and possibly lost the rocket that came with the set? Instant gratification for the "non-builder" that needs to get back out into the field to launch again. Possibly lacks the time or design skills to build his own. Perhaps this is the market Estes is trying to reach?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
I whole-heartedly agree with the inclusion of a paper catalog, especially one that has a full line of components and accessories. Those were the catalogs we all used to drool over. It wasn't just the rockets, but the idea that with those components you "could do anything". Those pages were like the old Edmund Scientific catalogs, or the Heathkit electronics catalogs.[/i]]


One would think I was trying to memorize those first model rocket catalogs I had by the amount of time I spent staring into them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
Something I once thought about for a Deluxe Starter Set was to include a copy of "The Handbook" as a premium. That might be something to consider for educators wanting to include rocketry in their classrooms.



[*Gold-plated in the sense that they were plated with a gold-colored metallic coating...]


I still refer to my two copies. I agree. If there were one piece of literature I could put in the hands of the guy buying his first starter set, this would be my choice. When I first started in model rocketry that was the reference materials I needed to show me model rocketry and all it encompassed.

The Handbook as a premium is a very good idea.

.
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  #19  
Old 01-13-2007, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by snaquin
I have seen them. I wonder if these are geared towards someone that purchased his first RTF rocket or a starter set and possibly lost the rocket that came with the set? Instant gratification for the "non-builder" that needs to get back out into the field to launch again. Possibly lacks the time or design skills to build his own. Perhaps this is the market Estes is trying to reach?


Maybe I'm a little jaded , but I don't think it's meant as the "replacement" rocket so much as it is meant to be the second (or even third)rocket. I don't believe Estes is pushing their customer base in the "model" direction at all, but simply toward more RTF product. In fact, most of the "new" Estes products I've seen lately, even those meant for LHS's, have been RTF foamies. I have not seen an Alpha or a Big Bertha on a peg wall for some time; and when I hear of Hobby Lobby putting Outlanders on sale as "discontinued" or "closeouts", I think Estes may actually be encouraging the demise of kits altogether. Fits in with what my "Deep Throated Nozzle" contact at the the local shop told me earlier about companies "falling down" on the follow-up items. Estes may not be the only ones that have fallen down that hole, but they're certainly not making any visible effort to climb back up, either...


Quote:
One would think I was trying to memorize those first model rocket catalogs I had by the amount of time I spent staring into them!


Been there, done that... Way too often; coulda floated a missile cruiser from the spittle...


Quote:
I still refer to my two copies. I agree. If there were one piece of literature I could put in the hands of the guy buying his first starter set, this would be my choice. When I first started in model rocketry that was the reference materials I needed to show me model rocketry and all it encompassed.

The Handbook as a premium is a very good idea.


I'll start a new thread on "Items Needed in a Deluxe Starter Set", so we can focus on this discussion. Maybe we can develop some of the printed literature there ourselves...
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2007, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPMcGraw
Maybe I'm a little jaded , but I don't think it's meant as the "replacement" rocket so much as it is meant to be the second (or even third)rocket. I don't believe Estes is pushing their customer base in the "model" direction at all, but simply toward more RTF product. In fact, most of the "new" Estes products I've seen lately, even those meant for LHS's, have been RTF foamies. I have not seen an Alpha or a Big Bertha on a peg wall for some time; and when I hear of Hobby Lobby putting Outlanders on sale as "discontinued" or "closeouts", I think Estes may actually be encouraging the demise of kits altogether. Fits in with what my "Deep Throated Nozzle" contact at the the local shop told me earlier about companies "falling down" on the follow-up items. Estes may not be the only ones that have fallen down that hole, but they're certainly not making any visible effort to climb back up, either...




Been there, done that... Way too often; coulda floated a missile cruiser from the spittle...




I'll start a new thread on "Items Needed in a Deluxe Starter Set", so we can focus on this discussion. Maybe we can develop some of the printed literature there ourselves...


Estes now has a moderated forum. According to the forum moderator, they are supposedly climbing out of that hole within the the next year or two. We'll see. I think they finally realized how many old and potential customers they have alienated by not offering more product and discontinuing many of the builder's classics. The odd rocs are a sore spot for me too. Too many, IMO. I think those are the very reasons why Semroc(among others) has done so well, not to mention the great service and pricing. If Estes wants to continue in the toy business, that's fine too. Just opens the door for someone else, namely Carl!
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