Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Some Estes / Centuri Saturn V Comparisons

With the re-release of the Estes Saturn V, I thought it would be interesting to do some quick comparisons between the original Centuri and Estes kits.

Estes and Centuri both debuted their Saturn V models in 1969.
Both were 1/100th scale and at the time both used a three engine cluster of C6-3s. Centuri claimed: "It will reach altitudes of 500 feet." Maybe not!

When comparing the two different catalog pages they didn't look that much different.
There were differences in the two kits -
In 1969 the Centuri Saturn V was $15.95, the Estes Saturn V was $9.95.
I wonder how many more Estes kits were sold because the Centuri Saturn V was $6.00 more!

For 1969, the Centuri instructions were clearer and better drawn. CLICK HERE

The Estes kit used embossed cardstock wraps. By the time the glue soaked into the cardstock some of the embossed ribs would disappear.
The Centuri wraps were vacu-formed thin plastic, the same molds are used today in the reissued Estes kit. The vacu-form wraps took more time to cut out and apply. Centuri did think ahead, some of the masking lines didn't have corrugated recesses.

The injection molded plastic F-1 bells used now are the old Estes style. Centuri engine bells were two part vacuform.

The old Estes fins were balsa. In 1969 Centuri introduced the infamous two piece vacu-form fins.
Check out the copy from the first page of the 1969 Centuri instructions: "New hollow core stabilizer fins are faster and easier to attach and finish, and will withstand 10 times as much landing shock as balsa." Really . . . really?

Both Estes and Centuri kits had clear plastic oversize fins that slipped on for flight. The recent Estes Saturn Vs don't use the clear fins.
The old Estes clear fins were a two layer envelope cut from plastic sheet, the edges glued together with clear dope.
The Centuri clear fins were one piece with a slit that allowed them to slide on.

The Estes parachutes were ejected all the way at the top right under the command module. The Centuri Saturn V ejected at the mid-point of the rocket.
It now breaks below the first transition like the Centuri kit did.
Even though the Estes name is in the center of the parachutes, that is the older Centuri gore print.

It looks like the capsule and tower are made from newer molds. Plastic molds don't last forever. The current tower tree layout don't resemble either the older Estes or Centuri kits.

The new Saturn V uses parts from both the old and newer Estes and Centuri kits. To me it has evolved closer to the Centuri design.

1 comment:

  1. That is a nice comparison Chris. My kit should arrive tomorrow. It won't get built for a while, but I can't wait to crack it open and check out all the parts and read through the instructions. I just started the Estes Shuttle, so I will watch any build threads on the Saturn V for any gotchas, like happened with the Little Joe.