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

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Goonybird Rockets: “ Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”

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Goonybird Rockets: “Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”

Ed Chess & Mark Bundick

Fox Valley Rocketeers

Feb 7, 2009


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. 


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.


Pages from 1973 Catalog


Star Snoop


Cloud Hopper


Galaxy Guppy


Zoom Broom


Missile Toe


Sky Shriek


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.


Retro-Bash at Excelsiorrocketry.com

  • 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.


Goony Ghost

Designed by Fred Talasco’s Niece, Alexa

Now, for some fun and games…

Name the inspiration rocket!


Der Fat Max


Der Fat Max

Und

Der Red Max


Goony Max


Goony Max

Der Red Max, again!


Honest Goon


Honest Goon

Estes Honest John


Goonydent


Goonydent

Estes Astron Trident


Apogoon


Apogoon

Estes Astron Apogee II


Not So Nice…..Device


Not So Nice…..Device

Estes Mean Machine


V-10/6


V-10/6

Estes V2


Goonybird Zero


Goonybird Zero

Estes

Blue Bird

Zero


Nike-G


Nike-G

Estes Nike-X


Goony Goblin


Goony Goblin

Estes Goblin


KRAM


KRAM

Estes Mark II


Iron Wombat


Iron Wombat

Estes Wolverine


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.


Mike’s Upscaled Goonybirds


Other Goonybird Designs

Goony Marc 2

GR-71


Other Goonybird Designs

Goony Marc 2

(Bomarc)

GR-71

SR-71 Blackbird


More Goonybird Designs

Optigoon

Guzzler

Nike Goon


More Goonybird Designs

Optigoon

(Estes Optima)

Guzzler

(Estes Sizzler)

Nike Goon

(Nike Hercules)


More Goonybird Designs

Space Probe

AIM-54A Goonix


More Goonybird Designs

Space Probe

(Estes Alien Space Probe)

AIM-54A Goonix

(Estes Phoenix)


More Goonybird Designs

Goondromeda

Cheroon


More Goonybird Designs

Goondromeda

(Estes Andromeda)

Estes Cherokee and

Cherokee Goon


More Goonybird Designs

Goony Alien Space Probe

Goony LTV Scout


More Goonybird Designs

Goony Alien Space Probe

(Estes Alien Invader)

Goony LTV Scout

(Estes LTV Scout)


More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Disrupter

Goonie Vega 1


More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Disrupter

(Estes Photon Disrupter)

Goonie Vega 1

(Estes Starship Vega)


More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Viper

Goonie X-Wing


More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Viper

(Estes Colonial Viper)

Goonie X-Wing

(Estes Star Wars X-Wing)


More Goonybird Designs

Goolantis

Goontron Shrike


More Goonybird Designs

Goolantis

(Estes USS Atlantis)

Goontron Shrike

(Estes Astron Shrike)


Goonybird Gliders

Sky Goon

SwingWing Goon


Goonybird Gliders

Sky Goon

(Estes Sky Dart)

SwingWing Goon

(Estes Scissor Wing Transport)


Goonyceptor (by Mark Bundick)

Goonyceptor

(underside)

Goonyceptor

(topside)

(Estes Interceptor)


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.


Semroc Saki

Saki Bomb

(original Goony concept)


Semroc Ruskie

Russian Interceptor

Original Goony concept


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


More Original Goony Concepts(next Semroc offerings?)

MatterWerkens

(V1 Goony)

Sopwitter


Acknowledgments and References

  • Phred at www.excelsiorrocketry.com

  • www.semrocrocketry.com

  • Mosquito Mike at www.personal.umich.edu/~mbear/rockets

  • Jim Z’s Rocket plans at www.dars.org/jimz

  • Mark Bundick


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