Sunday, February 14, 2021

Estes culls the herd...

The 2021 Estes catalog is now out - there are some pretty cool things in there, like an upscale, 24mm powered Mars Snooper (super excited about this!), a rather strange looking addition to the Space Corps line (the DARC-1) and the Antar, a new member of the signature series based on a non-flying model G. Harry Stine built back in the 1950's. The Antar looks awesome - I am eagerly awaiting this kit! Lots of goodies from Estes, and you can hear about them (and great offerings from other rocket vendors) in the NARCON Manufacturers' Forum posted here.

G. Harry Stine holding the Antar (Click to enlarge).

I am so excited about the new things in the Estes catalog that I never notice the discontinued stuff. Never notice, that is, until they become unavailable. However, folks over at Ye Olde Rocket Forum have pointed out that Estes has dropped over 20 kits this year, which seems like a pretty big number! So a few days ago I did a little research and put together a list of the discontinued kits (there's also one on YORF) - 23 in all:

This year's discontinued kits (Click to enlarge).

Some of these are not going to make rocketeers happy - the scale kits are quite popular with old  rocketeers like me. I kinda get the V-2, as there are a lot of these offered by other vendors, in all sizes. However, the Black Brant 3, the Nike Smoke and the Nike Apache are surprises, especially since Estes has been prominently advertising their line of scale models over the past year. I suppose sales of these kits were not so great, and ultimately we have to realize the Estes is a business. Poor sellers have to go bye-bye in order to make money.

So, in the midst of our celebration of the new arrivals, let us take a moment to mourn the dead. They will be missed...


  1. Mourn the dead? Maybe. Celebrate the clearance sales? Yeah, baby!

  2. You always see the bright side of things :)

  3. Scale models tend to sell well for 2-3 years, then really drop off. Not a surprise.
    Also, there are only so many Estes models a hobby shop can carry at one time. Dropping the slow sellers makes room for new products.
    Bottom line- if you want it, get it. There are very few kits that are available for an extended period of time.

  4. I don't know that "not advertised in the catalog" == "dead" If a model was gone from both the catalog and the website, now that I could reckon as "gone to the great beyond".

    (And, of course, could return any year)