Model rocketry starting kit?

I’m thinking of getting a model rocketry starting kit of some sort for some teenage cousins for Hannukah (already cleared it with their parents). Ideally it would be some all-in-one-box thing that contains everything they need for their first few launches. Can anyone recommend one that is good?


Anything by Estes. If you mean the kind that actually launch. But honestly, it’s not that hard to make a rocketry kit ‘good’. They are basically like paper towel roles, only thicker cardboard, with balsa wood fins, a plastic nosecone, a mounting for a gunpowder engine and a parachute stapled or glued to the inside.

Basically for their first rockets, I’d avoid any multi-stage rocket kits. Get them single stage. Basically the difference is that the multi-stage have a charge that shoots up to ignite another engine whereas the charge on a single-stage engine is concussive in order to force the parachute out. The multi-stage rockets are harder to do, and they can often change trajectory by having the engines light improperly. Having a three stage rocket go horizontal is not uncommon. But if you do it right, they fly really high.

This one looks good and simple.

Remember though that the rocket doesn’t come with the launch pad and such. Though you could probably find a kit that does.

I always liked the models of the missiles when I was a kid. It looks like they’ve discontinued my favorite one, but this one is similar.

What separates the ‘skill level’ is essentially that it has more fins. More fins means the alignment has to be more precised. Also there are different powers of engines.

Just bought my sone this kit for Christmas:

Like you I know nothing about model rockets but this kit brings everything you need except for the engines. Picked it up at Wal-Mart for around $30.

Just a tip for the beginner. Start with the smallest recommended engine. You can use larger engines on later launches.

The huge mistake that is typically made is that the beginner is eager to launch the thing into the stratosphere so they buy the most powerful engine they can get. They put the work into building the rocket, launch it, say “Wow” and then never see the rocket again because it drifts out of site on its descent. Which leads to tip #2 - You probably need a much bigger open space than you think you do.