Verna & Randy's Rockets

Fire & Smoke!

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FIRE & SMOKE!     Waving USA Flag 2 - Animated

September 2020


"Do or do not, there is no try!"


Variations On A Theme


There are 2 ships above, one stealth, one in plain sight.

Do you always build and finish according to Hoyle, Estes or NASA? Most people do and there’s certainly nothing wrong with building a perfect replica of a scale or fantasy rocket, we’ve seen many well done models of just about every NASA, Estes, etc. etc. etc. and admire the skills of those who painstakingly assemble and dress to the last detail.

However, when you’ve been in this hobby as long as we have there comes a time when your rocketry enthusiasm either dies or levels up. That’s usually when flyers begin modifying, kit bashing or designing their own creations. Kit bashing simply means taking parts of multiple kits to make a hybrid from most of the parts. Of course there’s HPR but for this post we’ll keep it within most people’s skills and pocket books.

It’s a lot of fun to tweak kits and come up with an exotic paint scheme. If you’ve visited the other pages of Verna & Randy’s Rockets you’ve seen some of our efforts with mods and paint schemes. Spaceman Spiff’s Rocket of Death (3 Estes Bullpups with a payload bay) Dorothy (4 Estes Loadstars with payload bays) and Armageddon Shuttle (Estes Shuttle with a pair of Yankees) are all multiple kits combined to make something you won’t see at most launches, if at all.  


Above is a better look at the Sirius, USS Cestris painted black. Currently I'm considering building a slight upscaled Cestris detailed as above, maybe even with permanent running lights and boat tails.

Some will no doubt say, "I bet that will be heavy" and they'd be right but bumping the power to 3 D engines will do nicely. We never fly for altitude, we fly for effect. I like to see the entire flight and I don't want to walk miles to recover.


Clustering brings it's own challenges. Anyone can simply use a larger engine. 


We really liked Lee Reep's, Saturn Max. Now that's something you don't see at every launch and his is clustered too.


One of our favorite modified Saturns; the USS PANDORA - a 5 engine cluster. 

If you're wondering if we've ever heard comments like 'Sacrilege!' yes we have. Most often, "How could you put wings on a Saturn V?" Easy, you get some balsa and wood glue and go to work. To us that's all it is, balsa, glue and paint and if you use enough paint, you don't need glue. ROFL! The comments remind me of Rudolf and Yukon Cornelius. "You eat what you like and I'll eat what I like."

Over the years we’ve been proud and humbled to have shared and occasionally inspired other flyers to try their hands at something outside the norm. It’s surprising how many hobbyists progress along the same lines.


Of course, we can't take credit for being the first to try a variation on a theme. NASA was doing it a long time ago, just take a look above and below. Basically the same rocket but a striking difference in appearance for the Mercury Atlas.


So, what's the point to all of this? Just that there are things you can do that up to now you've only daydreamed about. Most hobbyist have an idea in the back of their head they haven't shared with anyone because they're not sure how to make it work. The best advice I have for those flyers is, don't be afraid to fail. Start where you are and take a leap of faith. We learn by doing and remember, it's only balsa, glue and paint.



Looking for something entertaining and fun to read?

If you'd like something entertaining and fun to read, get your copies of the entire Rocket Babe series, paperback or Kindle. Here's how...

Get The Entire Series On Kindle!

Just click the Amazon links below:


Rocket Babe: Reflection


Prefer Paperback? No Problem!

Signed / personalized paperback copies of Rocket Babe - Dust Storm, Rocket Babe - Fallen Angel, Rocket Babe - Ant Men and Rocket Babe - Reflection are all available directly from the author!

Books are great gifts for any occasion! Holidays, birthdays or just because!

Dust Storm $10.00
Fallen Angel $12.00
Ant Men $13.00
Reflection $13.00

Standard book rate shipping: $4 for 1st book; $1 for each additional book per address in the same order. Please allow 7-10 days for shipping, longer during the holidays.

*Special "Set" pricing! Get all 4 books for $46.00 includes shipping within the continental U.S.! Saves over $10 off the regular price and shipping!

*Shipping outside the USA available. Contact us for a postage quote before placing your order.


Send your email order to Verna at: with BOOK as the subject.

List each dedication separately and clearly. Be sure to include the full shipping address.

Verna will reply with how to send in your money order. Sorry, money orders only.

If you have any questions PLEASE email us:


Above you see a rare photo of Dave Miller, appropriately dressed in black as owner of the clandestine black ops organization known as Sirius Rocketry! What does he do in his spare time? He reads Rocket Babe, what else?

That's a nice looking Cestris Fighter he's holding too! Get yours from


Verna Starr Cestris Fighter!


This is our favorite Sirius kit, the Cestris. The kit is intended to fly on a single engine but it was easily modified to a 3 engine cluster complete with Verna Starr fighter decals, also available from Sirius.



Just click the BLUE link below the banner!




She'll go with you anywhere! Kevin, owner and moderator at the Alien Soup  sci-fi forum, enjoys Rocket Babe - Dust Storm between innings at a recent ballgame!


Visit Kevin at Alien Soup and tell him Verna sent you!





Bones says...

"Try and don't be afraid to fail!" 


Verna & Randy's Rockets is proud to have been featured by:


Darrell Mobley's Website Review on Rocketry Planet


Dick Stafford's The Original Rocket Dungeon


Apogee E-Zine Peak Of Flight issue #155


April 2006  Finishing Touches
And Virally In Ezines Like:
Hobby Media Italy


You never know who will show up on Fire & Smoke!


Sulu never misses Fire & Smoke!


Who do you fly with? Fly with family!




Graphics by Doc's Patriotic Graphics

Thanks for stopping by! Check back soon for a new feature on FIRE & SMOKE!
Verna & Randy

*Don't miss Verna's Photo of the Month


Go To Bad Girl Saturn V

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