Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hobbico aquires Estes

And there was much rejoicing.

Not really, but the news did provoke some positive reactions on TRF.

Recently, to the chagrin of many, Estes seems to have been heading down the road of 3FNC - easy-to-build, mostly-plastic kits with 3 fins and a nose cone for beginners.

It used to be that Estes was always the forefront of model rocketry, with innovative kits for skilled modelers, and even their beginner kits were like the Alpha - kits with balsa fins and cardboard motor mounts that taught the beginner how to cut balsa, construct a parachute, paint a rocket, and FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. And hey, they liked it, because they felt a pride in what they made, and those kids from the 60s and 70s and 80s make up most of rocketry today. And those skills, and that pride, it's just so lacking in the plastic made-in-China almost-ready-to-fly 'kits' that make up an alarmingly high percent of their product line today.

Dang, I sound like I'm old.

I'm not saying that Hobbyco buying Estes is going to immediately restore Estes to the prestiged status it once held. But they're a leader in producing high-quality kits across a wide range, including their Revell plastic model kits which are really no different than they were 30 years ago, and probably even better. Someone on TRF said that he has ...connections in the industry, who told him that Hobbyco would likely carry through with the Classic Series and possibly a new Saturn V.

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