Centuri Bandito Clone
Order: Newest First
Completed, At Last
September 19, 2007

Well, here I am almost a year later, and my Estes-based clone of the Centuri Bandito is finally completed. I used my standard Miracal Gray primer, topped it with Kilz CraftCoat Yellow and Apple Red, and, after applying artwork printed on transparent mailing label material, I clearcoated it with Wal-Mart ColorPlace clear spray paint.

I hope to get one more launch in this year, and this model will certainly be in the lineup.

Click here for the fleet page entry for this rocket.


Just for perspective: The Bandito was my second rocket ever. I got into the Model Rocketry project in 4-H in 1976; the manual listed addresses for both Centuri and Estes, and guess which catalog I got first? Yup. I got the Eagle Power Outfit for $11.00. This qualified me for a free bonus item, according to the order form in the Rocket Times; I could have chosen the Twister, but I liked the looks of the Bandito better. Comparing the Screaming Eagle and Bandito, the lowest-powered engine they shared in common was the B4-6, so I added a pack of them to my order for the princely sum of $1.60... gosh that seems cheap now, but it was sure a lot to me back then.

SO... fast forward a few months. The weather was pretty cool in this part of the world when I had the two rockets built and ready to fly, but a calm day came along, and I got my parents and my brother to suit up and we went out to the pasture. I launched the Screaming Eagle first, on the included A8-3 engine, and was suitably impressed (if I remember rightly, the ignition even went perfectly the first time). I think I relaunched it on a B4-6, and that was pretty cool. Then I put a B4-6 in the Bandito... I didn't think I would ever see it again. I was surprised how far it drifted on its crepe paper streamer.

I think that experience is what hooked me for good. Had I just launched the Screaming Eagle, I might not have been impressed enough to stick with it another year (much less doing it for six or seven years in 4-H, then returning to the hobby after more than 25 years).

Sadly, like most of my rockets, that original Bandito (and its twin sister acquired a couple of years later in the same sort of deal) no longer exists. I had to build a replacement... and here it is!

Cloning the Centuri Bandito -- Fin Pattern
October 20, 2006

Anyone wishing to build a clone of the classic Centuri Bandito (as I do) will need a fin pattern; since that rocket had paper fins, I created a handy PDF file suitable for printing on cardstock for just this purpose. Click here to download it.

The original Bandito consisted of a 3" long plastic nosecone (not counting the shoulder), an ST-73 for the engine tube (3" long #7 body tube, equivalent to Estes BT-20 tubing), an ST-79 (9" long #7 body tube) connected to it by a coupler that doubled as the thrust ring, and a relatively thick fiber lock ring to hold the engine hook in place. I think I will start with a BT-20 Estes kit like the Star Dart, which would get me some of the BT-20 needed; the retaining ring for the engine hook is mylar in those models, but I think I'll use it instead of buying an engine mount just to steal the ring.


Contents Copyright © 2006 Chris Gonnerman. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated 10/08/2015