After watching a documentary, my 12 year old son has taken a real interest in the X-15. I'm looking to put together a low power X-15 with him over the christmas vacation. Both Estes and Quest appear to do a kit version. Which of the two is the most realistic in appearance? Thanks. Kind regards, Dennis (UK)

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Hello Dennis:

I recently saw the Quest version at a local launch (Snow Ranch, Farmington California) and although it was a kit it seemed head and shoulders above the Estes pre-built kit. I bought the Estes X15 kit for my 6 year old nephew, AND IT "FLYS" LIKE A ROCK ! Which is bad, I mean it's crap. I once built a kit from a British firm several years ago and it was hard to build and it flew OK to subpar. In conclusion , get the Quest X15 kit and knock yourself out on the finishing.

Paul in Rodeo

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Hi ,

The Estes is a plastic ready to fly model and the Quest is a kit with paper and balsa parts.

the Estes looks more like the real thing, the Quest flys higher.

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Hello Dennis,

Well since you are in the UK, visit your local (in country) rocket supplier, Deepsky Rocketry. They sell a simply AMAZING scale X-15A-2 bird in 1/20th scale. Its modeled after the same vehicle that took Col. Pete Knight to Mach 6.78 (4520 mph) back in Oct of 1967. His speed record still stands today, not even Spaceship One has reached Mach 3.5.

I have 2 of these kits and they are among my prized kits. They build like a kit and yield a model like that of a molded plastic kit. I plan to go all out and configure my X-15A-2 with the pink ablative covering and the external conformal drop tanks. I might even go with R/C gear and landing skiis... its worth a try as the kit is fantastic. Here is a link to a review of the kit with very nice photos and build information. Paul Clark also makes an amazing V-2 kit. IMHO the best kit (scale) on the market today.

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Deepsky your UK rocket supplier is located at:

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Now there is an American chap who has an even larger X-15 kit on the market. Its very large and well isn't for most rocket people as its more of an aircraft kit than a model rocket. A lot of model rocketeers tend to fly small stuff, and don't brach out into R/C stuff. Once you are bitten by the R/C bug its hard to go back to model rockets.

Anyhow, here is a thread about a 1/13 scale R/C X-15. Its probably more than you and your son are looking for:

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If you just want to keep things simple and under say, 10 Pounds Sterling, why not buy BOTH the Quest and the Estes kits. This way, your son will work with his hands with one kit, and the other can be taken out of it's blister pack and flown immediately.

Anyway, there is alot of really neat stuff out there. I also have seen a Jet-X (also British) X-15 kit being sold currently, but for the life of me, I can't find the url.

IMHO, I would buy the Estes RTF kit, then make the Paul Clark 1/20th Scale bird a Father and Son project. Man I miss that stuff with my father...

Good luck,


P.s. the Gem> Hi

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Hi Lunar The Paul Clarke kit looks interesting although unusual construction materials. What type of adhesives did you use? Have you launched any of your models and if so, how did they perform? Thx Dennis

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I'm afraid I can't recommend the Quest kit. I built mine absolutely stock. The first flight was completely unstable. I then added four pennies worth of weight in the nose. The second flight was a success. The next two, again, completely unstable. It's final flight was three weeks ago. It flew straight for 1/2 sec, suddenly went completely unstable for 1/4 sec. then went stable again, flying downward (a power prang) into an erosion fence where it stripped all the balsa off the body and started the fabric part of the fence on fire.

All flights were on C6-5 motors-- 2 were Quest (including the successful flight), three were Estes.

The kit was a good build though. It is definitely "standoff" scale, not true scale.

Roy nar12605

DB4 wrote:

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Hey Dennis,

I haven't built the kits, just put them away for a rainy day :) The construction IS similar to his V-2 which I have built. You would think that foam and vacuuform plastic is flimsy, but when engineered correctly, it makes for a very strong and lightweight structure.

Let me say this,'if you have no patience, don't buy his kits'. It takes time and forethought. Kinda like building rubber powered stick and tissue kits. You have to be accurate. In the end, the moderate to expert modeleer will have a fantastic flying 'static' scale model.

I know I am hyping his kits, but they are worth it and I want him (Paul Clark) to continue making these things. Last time I spoke to Paul via email, he was in the process of moving and was hoping to get back to R&D and order filling near the last quarter of this year. I think I will send him another email and ask him how he is doing. I know he quit his day job to start making model rocket kits full-time. Never quit your day job for model rockets ;)

He is supposed to have an Orbital Pegasus near completion and working on an X-20 Dynasoar kit! My oh my!

Pete Knight was astronaut trained to be a X-20 pilot ... that got cancelled along with the military's Manned Orbital Platform (MOP) :( Oh, Robert Crippen of STS-1 fame was also to be a X-20 pilot and work up at the MOP.

I hate to say it and I don't know why, but Europeans tend to be better modeleers than Americans. I was once told that this was a result of the emphasis on vocational/engineering schools being pushed in Europe. Here in America we reward stupidity, so we get a lot of it :(

Lunar - 1 + 1 = 3 ... well at least I tried, and thats what REALLY counts in American schools today.

P.s. We (America) are such a super power not because of the talent we grow here at home ... its really because the world's talent comes here for the big pirvate sector payrolls. Lets see: William Teller, Einstein, Saulk, etc.; the great minds TEND to come from somewhere OTHER than America ... go figure. Once you are here after a few generations, familys start to lose their edge and just fade into the Great Melting Pot.

DB4 wrote:

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