Sunday, October 19, 2008

Codes and Classic Rockets!

Two interesting but completely separate things.

First, I figured out the code in this comic. The code is simply letter reversal: a switches with N, B switches with O, etc. The decoded comic is:

AJ: WELL, IT LOOKS LIKE THE Y2K BUG DIDN'T REAR ITS UGLY HEAD.
Mike: YEP. THE DOOMSAYERS HAVE BEEN PROVEN WRONG ONCE AGAIN.
(Silent panel. Characters look up.)
AJ: DID YOU SEE THAT TOO?
Mike: HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

Second, it looks like Estes will be releasing a bunch of its old kits in 2009. We're talking 40 old/new kits added to a line of about 90. Most don't hold a lot of interest to me since I wasn't around to see them the first time, but I fully support the idea. There have been a few hints of this with some classic kits like the Nova Payloader, Mean machine, Astrocam, Super Neon, and Scissor wing transport. If this actually goes through, I probably will buy a few, especially now that I have a job. It also appears that they might be releasing the A8-0 and A10-0T booster motors.
This is great news for two reasons. First, the small booster motors make it easy to fly 2-stage rockets in small fields. The A8-0s would be perfect for my Commanche-3 and Mongoose.Secondly, this shows a HUGE change is direction for Estes. In recent years, they've been heading towards the Wal-mart market, with cheap, plastic, no-assembly kits and a smaller selection of motors. (See next post) By releasing the older kits, which are better but require more assembly, they're showing that they still want the loyal hobby market and not just Wal-mart. I personally like some Estes kits, like the SS1 and Comanche-3, but recently Quest kits seem to be a better value for scratch-building - Mach My Day and the Screaming Yellow Zonker are both mods of the Quest Pipsqueak and Totally tubular kits. The rerelease of the motors is awesome too, because Estes has seemed to drop their low-margin motors like the B6-0 booster and the C11-0, C11-5, and C11-7 motors in favor of higher-margin engines like their 6-bucks-a-flight E9s and the A10-PTs for rocket cars. Even though these low-power boosters are less profitable, they are a great way for Estes to win back its loyal consumer base.
Wow, that short update turned out to be a very long happy rant.

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