Troll fodder

It’s not unambiguous to count up the number of rockets in various skill level categories in an Estes catalog. Do you count the crayon rockets as one or twelve? What skill level are the Pro Series II rockets, or should they be counted as outside of skill levels? What about the Pro Series II E2X rockets; count them as the same “skill level” as E2X non Pro Series kits? And so on.

Some kits change skill level from one catalog to another. Some years ago a bunch of kits appeared with a lower skill level than previously. Some have gone up. One went from E2X to Level 2 (or maybe it was vice versa, I’m not sure).

Anyway, by my count, here are numbers of rocket kits in the Estes catalogs from 1963 to 2014 that were not designated RTF, ARF, or E2X (Pro or otherwise) — “builder’s kits”, I’ll call them, though some people might want to use that term differently. Of course from 1963 through 1970 there were no skill levels, but all rockets in those years (and all years through 1988) count as builder’s kits.chart_2 (1)

In recent years the fraction of all Estes kits that are non builder’s kits has risen to roughly 50%, a fact much bemoaned on the forums. I prefer to think of that as an okay thing, if it brings people into the hobby who would be put off by having to build and paint; some of them will become builders later on. But for the present-day builders, just ignore those kits and look at the rest. There are about as many Estes builder’s kits now as there were around 1990, and more than at any time before the late 1970s.



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