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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

Goonybird Rockets: “Zaniest Flying Freaks in the Universe”

Ed Chess & Mark Bundick

Fox Valley Rocketeers

Feb 7, 2009

goonybird background
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
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.
fred talasco loves goonybirds
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
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.
goony ghost
Goony Ghost

Designed by Fred Talasco’s Niece, Alexa

Now, for some fun and games…

Name the inspiration rocket!

der fat max1
Der Fat Max


Der Red Max

goony max1
Goony Max

Der Red Max, again!

honest goon1
Honest Goon

Estes Honest John


Estes Astron Trident


Estes Astron Apogee II

not so nice device1
Not So Nice…..Device

Estes Mean Machine

v 10 61

Estes V2

goonybird zero1
Goonybird Zero


Blue Bird


nike g1

Estes Nike-X

goony goblin1
Goony Goblin

Estes Goblin


Estes Mark II

iron wombat1
Iron Wombat

Estes Wolverine

mosquito mike s upscaled goonybirds
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.
other goonybird designs
Other Goonybird Designs

Goony Marc 2


other goonybird designs1
Other Goonybird Designs

Goony Marc 2



SR-71 Blackbird

more goonybird designs
More Goonybird Designs



Nike Goon

more goonybird designs1
More Goonybird Designs


(Estes Optima)


(Estes Sizzler)

Nike Goon

(Nike Hercules)

more goonybird designs2
More Goonybird Designs

Space Probe

AIM-54A Goonix

more goonybird designs3
More Goonybird Designs

Space Probe

(Estes Alien Space Probe)

AIM-54A Goonix

(Estes Phoenix)

more goonybird designs4
More Goonybird Designs



more goonybird designs5
More Goonybird Designs


(Estes Andromeda)

Estes Cherokee and

Cherokee Goon

more goonybird designs6
More Goonybird Designs

Goony Alien Space Probe

Goony LTV Scout

more goonybird designs7
More Goonybird Designs

Goony Alien Space Probe

(Estes Alien Invader)

Goony LTV Scout

(Estes LTV Scout)

more goonybird designs8
More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Disrupter

Goonie Vega 1

more goonybird designs9
More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Disrupter

(Estes Photon Disrupter)

Goonie Vega 1

(Estes Starship Vega)

more goonybird designs10
More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Viper

Goonie X-Wing

more goonybird designs11
More Goonybird Designs

Goonie Viper

(Estes Colonial Viper)

Goonie X-Wing

(Estes Star Wars X-Wing)

more goonybird designs12
More Goonybird Designs


Goontron Shrike

more goonybird designs13
More Goonybird Designs


(Estes USS Atlantis)

Goontron Shrike

(Estes Astron Shrike)

goonybird gliders
Goonybird Gliders

Sky Goon

SwingWing Goon

goonybird gliders1
Goonybird Gliders

Sky Goon

(Estes Sky Dart)

SwingWing Goon

(Estes Scissor Wing Transport)

goonyceptor by mark bundick
Goonyceptor (by Mark Bundick)





(Estes Interceptor)

semroc groonies
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
Semroc Saki

Saki Bomb

(original Goony concept)

semroc ruskie
Semroc Ruskie

Russian Interceptor

Original Goony concept

semroc gee hod
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

acknowledgments and references
Acknowledgments and References
  • Phred at
  • Mosquito Mike at
  • Jim Z’s Rocket plans at
  • Mark Bundick