Friday, August 4, 2017

Estes Firecat, #0821 a SPEV or Kit-Bash?

This was an interesting model, available only to members of the Estes Aerospace Club or E.A.C. It appears it was designed using pre-existing kit parts.
The Firecat had an Honest John style nose cone, but not the nose cone from the Estes K-27 Honest John kit. This nose cone was one piece balsa like the Centuri Honest John, not a shrouded base as in the Estes kit.

Honest John kit fins were from a die-cut sheet but the builder had to cut them up after removing them from the sheet.

The decals came from the Bandit kit. The instructions mention the (optional) delicate antenna on top of the raceway strip cutting pattern. 
To see the instructions: CLICK HERE

The ramjet tube (Part N) is a BT-48BE tube at .928" diameter. I scanned the body tube lists and couldn't find it in any other kit: CLICK HERE
Does anybody recall in what other kit the BT-48 was used?

I was a member of the Estes Aerospace Club and had the first club model, the Viper. (That was not a fun model to mask, let alone find the right color shades to match the decal colors.)
Estes had mentioned there would be models available only to E.A.C. members. I only remember two EAC "Members Only" kits, the Viper and the Firecat.


  1. I would love to see you build this. I failed pretty badly when I tried to build it when I was a kid. I hope to try again someday.

  2. Chris,

    the BT-48 was used with the Estes designed Coldpower kits as a "Pisten Tube" and was part of the piston mechanism to eject the parachute. It slid over the Coldpower motor and was held in place through friction fit while the motor was under pressure. When the pressure was completely released the piston would release and push out the parachute for recovery.


    1. Thanks Leo!
      Leave it to you to know the answer. I didn't even think of the Coldpower rockets. I had one but didn't like how the parachute tube and spring stuck out of the body when it was on display. Looked like a broken wind-up toy.

  3. Chris as a former EAC member I started to clone this also. Not being able to find the BT-48 I took a section of BT-50 and sliced it down lengthwise with a zona saw to about where it was the about diameter of a 24mm motor. I believe the finished diameter was 23.5 mm. Exact no - but close enough for me.
    The parts are bagged up around here - I lost momentum of not being able to find the decals.

    1. Hi Moontana,
      I agree - "Close enough for me!" You could probably get the decals from They make a Bandit kit, the Firecat used the Bandit decals.

  4. A facsimile of the kit can be made from an Mini Honest John Kit. MMJR

    1. Hi Manuel,
      That's a good idea! One way to get the nose cone shape.

  5. I can't believe how cool this rocket looks. The idea that this is a HoJo SPEV knocks me out; if the cut and realigned HoJo fins/finlets look half as neat in three dimen... *dead*