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Goonybird Rockets: “Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”

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Presentation on theme: "Goonybird Rockets: “Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Goonybird Rockets: “Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”
Ed Chess & Mark Bundick Fox Valley Rocketeers Feb 7, 2009

2 Goonybird Background GOONYBIRDS were first released in 1973 by Estes Industries. They were described as the "Zaniest flying freaks in the universe". The idea was to appeal to kids, and they featured wacky designs. Wayne Kellner and Mike Dorffler have been attributed as the primary creators of the line that was in production only two years. Some love them, others hate them, but the GOONYBIRDS are a true oddity of model rocket history. 

3 The Original Goonybirds
Star Snoop Cloud Hopper Galaxy Guppy Zoom Broom Missile Toe Sky Shriek All six kits were about 8” long and featured a plastic nose cone, die-cut fins, quick-change mini-engine mount, parachute recovery, stick-on decals, and a unique, goofy design.

4 Pages from 1973 Catalog

5 Star Snoop

6 Cloud Hopper

7 Galaxy Guppy

8 Zoom Broom

9 Missile Toe

10 Sky Shriek

11 Fred Talasco Loves Goonybirds!
Fred loved Goonybirds as a kid, but his Dad wouldn’t let him own them. Thus the lifelong fascination started. Had the idea of finishing a Baby Bertha as a Goblin, and the resulting look spawned more ideas for “squat, mutated versions of older kits, dopey looking originals, and even squished 'scaled' models.” Built some prototypes and flew them at NARAM 46, where the phrase “you can build anything from a Baby Bertha” was heard a lot.

12 Retro-Bash at
Fred (Phred) sells Retro-Bash decal/plansets at his webstore. Retro-Bash decal/plansets are not kits, but decals, instructions, and patterns that allow modelers to kit-bash Baby Bertha kits (and a few extra parts) into models that have the flavor of the original Goonybirds. Some examples from Phred phollow.

13 Goony Ghost Designed by Fred Talasco’s Niece, Alexa
Now, for some fun and games… Name the inspiration rocket!

14 Der Fat Max

15 Der Fat Max Und Der Red Max

16 Goony Max

17 Goony Max Der Red Max, again!

18 Honest Goon

19 Honest Goon Estes Honest John

20 Goonydent

21 Goonydent Estes Astron Trident

22 Apogoon

23 Apogoon Estes Astron Apogee II

24 Not So Nice…..Device

25 Not So Nice…..Device Estes Mean Machine

26 V-10/6

27 V-10/6 Estes V2

28 Goonybird Zero

29 Goonybird Zero Estes Blue Bird Zero

30 Nike-G

31 Nike-G Estes Nike-X

32 Goony Goblin

33 Goony Goblin Estes Goblin


35 KRAM Estes Mark II

36 Iron Wombat

37 Iron Wombat Estes Wolverine

38 Mosquito Mike’s Upscaled Goonybirds
Missile Toe, Cloud Hopper, and Zoom Broom kit-bashed from Estes Fat Boy, which has the right height to width ratio, resulting in ~1.6X scale-up. Use everything except the engine mount, which is replaced with a “D-engine” mount. Galaxy Guppy and Star Snoop are based on 4.5” diameter tubing with 29mm motor mounts and fly on F and G motors.

39 Mike’s Upscaled Goonybirds

40 Other Goonybird Designs
Goony Marc 2 GR-71

41 Other Goonybird Designs
Goony Marc 2 (Bomarc) GR-71 SR-71 Blackbird

42 More Goonybird Designs
Optigoon Guzzler Nike Goon

43 More Goonybird Designs
Optigoon (Estes Optima) Guzzler (Estes Sizzler) Nike Goon (Nike Hercules)

44 More Goonybird Designs
Space Probe AIM-54A Goonix

45 More Goonybird Designs
Space Probe (Estes Alien Space Probe) AIM-54A Goonix (Estes Phoenix)

46 More Goonybird Designs
Goondromeda Cheroon

47 More Goonybird Designs
Goondromeda (Estes Andromeda) Estes Cherokee and Cherokee Goon

48 More Goonybird Designs
Goony Alien Space Probe Goony LTV Scout

49 More Goonybird Designs
Goony Alien Space Probe (Estes Alien Invader) Goony LTV Scout (Estes LTV Scout)

50 More Goonybird Designs
Goonie Disrupter Goonie Vega 1

51 More Goonybird Designs
Goonie Disrupter (Estes Photon Disrupter) Goonie Vega 1 (Estes Starship Vega)

52 More Goonybird Designs
Goonie Viper Goonie X-Wing

53 More Goonybird Designs
Goonie Viper (Estes Colonial Viper) Goonie X-Wing (Estes Star Wars X-Wing)

54 More Goonybird Designs
Goolantis Goontron Shrike

55 More Goonybird Designs
Goolantis (Estes USS Atlantis) Goontron Shrike (Estes Astron Shrike)

56 Goonybird Gliders Sky Goon SwingWing Goon

57 (Estes Scissor Wing Transport)
Goonybird Gliders Sky Goon (Estes Sky Dart) SwingWing Goon (Estes Scissor Wing Transport)

58 Goonyceptor (by Mark Bundick)
(underside) Goonyceptor (topside) (Estes Interceptor)

59 Semroc “Groonies” Bill Simon, formerly of Estes Industries, recently posted some original sketches of early ideas for the Goonybirds on a rocketry forum: more military, more “Mad magazine,” more “grown-up.” That led to the Semroc Groonies, Goonybirds that “grew up” with grown-up themes. Slightly bigger to fly reliably with available standard size engines (B and C). Have balsa nose cones and waterslide decals, along with laser-cut balsa fins and Kevlar shock cord mounts.

60 (original Goony concept)
Semroc Saki Saki Bomb (original Goony concept)

61 Original Goony concept
Semroc Ruskie Russian Interceptor Original Goony concept

62 Semroc Gee’hod The Gee’hod is the 3rd of the Semroc Groonies, and inspired by the insanity of 9/11 and its aftermath. Note that this is the Command Ship, and has wheels and a parachute so it can land. The rest of the fleet does not have wheels or parachutes, so for safety, this is the only one Semroc will release in the Al Qaeda series. Look for some future “Anti-Geehod” Groonies….Carl McLawhorn

63 More Original Goony Concepts (next Semroc offerings?)
MatterWerkens (V1 Goony) Sopwitter

64 Acknowledgments and References
Phred at Mosquito Mike at Jim Z’s Rocket plans at Mark Bundick

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