"To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

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#1 "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by luke strawwalker » Wed, 16 Jan 19, 02:58 am

SO I dropped in over on YORF yesterday evening (which I don't get to do as much as I used to, which is okay with me more or less) and in searching for "new posts" I stumbled upon an Estes "Cosmos Mariner" someone had for sale.

Now that's all well and good; the "Cosmos Mariner" was part of a line of several kits Estes produced during all the hype about the "X-Prize" when they were trying to bank off that surge of popularity engendered by the X-Prize competition, though some of their kits were hits (the "Canadian Arrow" basically put a "lengthened V-2" in everyone's hands again and was probably the best seller of the lot, though the "Gauchito" was probably a big seller too, since it's BT-52 size was rather unusual and basically was worth more for parts to clone various Saturn vehicles, since basically it was a longer version of the CSM tube off the 1/100 Saturn V IIRC). Some were "so-so" like the clustered two motor Thunderstar. Some were real dogs and got a reputation on the forums back in the day as such-- rockets like the Rubicon (which had a spotty reputation as best I can recall).

Then there was the "Cosmos Mariner", which was supposed to be a glide-recovery model of a rocket-propelled X-Prize contender. It developed QUITE the reputation on the forums at the time that persisted until it finally passed into obscurity, as leftover kits FINALLY pretty much disappeared from hobby store shelves and rocket vendor bargain bins... I remember quite well people complaining about unpredictable flights that were usually pretty badly underpowered, would attempt to part your hair, or the rocket basically deviating from the intended flight profile in some way... usually either refusing to eject the power pod, refusing to glide, or even if you DID get it to glide, it basically "glided like a brick" and usually ended up with a shovel recovery, disintegrating or being severely damaged upon impact at "landing". It was a fairly complicated kit, with a vacuum molded plastic upper and lower body shells, and then all the attendant stuff that goes with a glide-recovery rocket (large-ish wings, winglets at the tips, power-pod (IIRC), etc. SO, in short, you had to put a LOT of work into the thing to even build it and finish it to remotely look like the package art, and then once you committed it to flight, usually what you got back was either damaged or destroyed, which doesn't contribute to a high "happiness factor"...

SO, anyway, this individual posted over on YORF a Cosmos Mariner kit for sale. What REALLY caught my attention was the artistic language used to describe the kit and the completed model, including, "graceful, soaring flights" and such. The OP even followed up with a second post comment of what a great winter project it would be for the workbench, or something to that effect.

I was thinking about another post where someone was asking about Dr. Zooch kits and some other posts with people LOOKING for various rockets and asking opinions about them, and somehow it popped into my head that the OP was ASKING about the Cosmos Mariner and I thought they were quoting the flowery "sales-language descriptions" from the catalog or something in ASKING about the Cosmos Mariner, :clueless: so I quickly posted a short reply commenting about the fact that the Cosmos Mariner actually flew like a brick and usually ended in a shovel recovery... Again, facts well known in the rocket community and reiterated MANY TIMES OVER on multiple forums over the years from the time the kit came out until it basically "faded away" as it was no longer produced and disappeared from old stocks.

SO, I get around to checking on YORF this evening after feeding cows and what do I find?? A snippy reply about, "Thanks for that; hope I can help you out the same way when YOU have something for sale! :x " Then of course a couple other people "pile on" with similar comments... some of whom I wasn't surprised at; they're typically among the "usual suspects" I'd expect to make such comments, but one of the others rather surprised me. Oh well...

The thing is, I wasn't TRYING to deliberately RUIN someone's sale; I honestly had a "brain fart" I suppose and thought I was just offering an HONEST assessment of the Cosmos Mariner to someone asking a question about it. I guess I glossed over the "for sale" part. BUT, here's the thing-- the OP wrote quite an ode to how wonderful the Cosmos Mariner is, which of course, to an extent, is just good salesmanship... BUT, describing it as performing "graceful, soaring flights" to me is just DOWNRIGHT DISHONEST. Now, it might have been *intended* to fly that way by Estes, and they might have printed something similar in their catalog at the time when they were first putting it up for sale, and their definition of "graceful and soaring" might have been a lot more "open to interpretation" than *most* model rocketeers, so *I* for one can forgive Estes for "playing it up for all its worth" in the catalog, if indeed they did at the time. BUT, given the experience of MANY, MANY rocket hobbyists over the ensuing years when the kit was still widely available and being flown, it became almost SYNONYMOUS with broom recoveries or shovel recoveries... SO, is it *FAIR PLAY* to represent the thing NOW in such flowery, sweeping language about how "wonderful" the thing is? I mean, I understand "putting the best spin possible" on something, or "good salesmanship" or whatever you want to call it, but at *WHAT POINT* does it become "misrepresentation", either intentional or unintentional?? Is it fair to describe a kit that has a terrible reputation for augering in, crashing and burning, and shovel recoveries as making "graceful, soaring flights" solely to sell it, probably to some unsuspecting person, newbie or not, who might not have the experience or know of the kits bad reputation?? Is it fair to sell the kit to someone who's *EXPECTING* a "graceful, soaring flight" and have them spend a lot of money on the kit, pour a lot of time and effort into the construction of it, and then "more likely than not" having it malfunction and crash or "glide" in like a brick and get busted up on landing??

Or am I just an A$$HOLE for "telling the truth" because I told the TRUTH (as documented MANY times on the forums over the years) and *God forbid* it MIGHT end up ruining someone's sale of the kit??

SO what say ye?? Is "all fair in love and war" and "buyer beware" even if someone chooses to describe something as "the best thing EVAH!!" when the product is actually known to be a turd, OR, Is there anything wrong with "reminding" people that the thing had a LOT of unhappy people who bought it and built it and crashed it back in the day, to the point it sort of became an "inside joke"... IS it fair to "play something up" just hoping to unload a turd flyer on a possibly unsuspecting newbie or someone who wasn't around "back in the day" to remember all the hoopla about how many problems this thing had?? OR, should I shut up and let us all go back to reading the "Ferengi Rules of Acquisition" and "once you have their money, you never give it back!"...

Honestly I get REALLY disappointed in people sometimes... I tend to think that rocketry folks, *MOST* rocketry folks, are honest and upright people who generally TRY to do the right thing... Then I see something like this that reminds me of a shady used-car dealer looking to screw someone over (my own impression of all this, after re-reading it all again today, NOT *necessarily* saying this WAS the OP's deliberate intention, ie "trying to skin a newbie" BUT *IMHO* it could certainly APPEAR that way! And, SINCE WHEN is telling the TRUTH about something, making a comment reminding people of the reputation that something had acquired over time, is a BAD THING?? I guess it's just different times now and it's acceptable to "stretch the truth" to the breaking point to sell something, and anyone who actually "looks out for the other guy" is some kind of a$$hole for telling the TRUTH and "upsetting their game"... Geez people suck nowdays...

Curious about what yall think on this one... *IS* it fair to 'take advantage' of someone who doesn't know any better or doesn't do "due diligence" to find out before they whip out their wallet, or am I just an a$$hole for telling the truth??

Later! OL J R :)
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#2 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by bernomatic » Wed, 16 Jan 19, 06:34 am

Oh boy, I need a few more :~beer: :~beer: before I take on this one.

I actually have a Gauchito Kit on my build wall ("Little Joe II Styling"), I did n't know it was such a wanted kit (for parts at least). It was sent to me by a model rocket acquaintance before he got upset at me for revealing some personal information. Well that's another story.

So, here's the scoop. No punches pulled as I am sure you are mature enough to handle it, unlike GH who just never came back (well he did once by request, but doesn't post here, so I don't know if he stops by to read stuff).

And the answer is...
*IS* it fair to 'take advantage' of someone who doesn't know any better

As long as all parties are mature and not reason impaired in some way, Yes it is fair. Caveat Emptor. Now, is it Respectable or the "gentlemanly thing to do"? No. I understand your sentiment, but we have had a few sellers who have not been upfront about the items they were selling in the rocket community. As long as it doesn't involve some life threatening choice, getting burned on a small matter can be good life lesson. That being said. I then believe the buyer has every right to complain loudly and vociferously if he does not receive satisfaction. You know, not everyone is like the clerks here at the Starport Sagitta. Hell we're so above board and straight forward, we don't have any items except the T-shirts in the Ship's Store to sell because we feel we can't give 100% percent satisfaction yet. When I made the decals for Blackshire last year, I spent more on waste alone than I made, just to try and get things right.

As to whether you are an asshole or not, in responding the way you did, no. You may have been able to word your response differently, or put links to those places that commented on the flight characteristics. That is not your responsibility. If you had first hand knowledge, you may have been on a stronger ground, but that is not necessary. The guy posted the for sale on a forum, a place where other people can enter there opinions (as long as the forum police think it pertains to that particular post). If he wanted comment free action, he should have posted the item to one of the auctions.
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#3 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by Rocket Babe » Wed, 16 Jan 19, 15:17 pm

As for the seller being upset, that's understandable.

Were you wrong in stating the facts as you know them, no. But to assume the seller is trying to take advantage in some way would require mind reading ability and I have to agree with Caveat Emptor. Kids don't frequent YORF, so the buyer should beware. I might want it even more, just to prove a great flight is possible.

Personally, if I wanted a kit, I'd get it regardless of reputation or negative comments simply because not everyone has the same skill set. I was told making an Estes 3 stage 11 engine Saturn V chad stage was impossible. It's not. It took 3 flights to get it right but I did it. Skill set.

Personally, I'm not a fan of any of the X-prize vehicles, models or real. I did pick up the Guachito for spare parts when we were perfecting Bad Girl ( 3 stage Saturn V) but that was just perfect timing for what I was experimenting with and the parts from the Guachito I could use for replacements.

Since I know you, in this case, I don't think what you posted was right, or wrong. I can see both sides.

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#4 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by bernomatic » Thu, 17 Jan 19, 01:23 am

I did that "prove everyone wrong bit" with the Renegade two stager. I was going to make the booster recovery safely, I had a great idea. I still think it's great, but the fact of the matter is the thing is to heavy and draggy for a 18mm C engine boost.
Could I have slimmed it down a couple of grams? Sure, but on the meantime I'm spending all my rocket time repairing the thing.
I did my research, looked into why such a beautiful rocket didn't last long.
So, on the end run, if a buyer was aware of the issues or just wanted the rocket as a shelf queen to complete his set, he can still contact the seller. And everyone knows there may be troubles if they attempt to fly it. No bad feelings or remorse.
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#5 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by luke strawwalker » Thu, 24 Jan 19, 19:23 pm

Well, thanks for the input. I appreciate it, and I can see the other points of view.

Yall have a point-- so long as it's not "life threatening" and DELIBERATE malfeasance, then "caveat emptor, pal" as our friend GH says...

I still think it's just disingenuous or plain old dishonest to misrepresent something that way, IMHO, but then again I guess (and have been accused of in the past) that I'm just "TOO honest". Oh well. Such is life.

The OP posted that "jerks will be jerks" and I told him to "walk east til his hat floats" and that drew a *ping* (warning) from scott... OH well... I wonder if he pinged the jackass that made the "jerks will be jerks" comment as well?? OR is he taking pages from the friggin' "Terribly Run Forum" playbook and playing favorites??

Oh well... back to your regularly scheduled program...

Why I don't post on the forums much anymore... I lurk more than anything anymore...

Later! OL J R :)
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#6 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by bernomatic » Fri, 25 Jan 19, 00:17 am

I'm not saying that deliberately misrepresenting something is Okay, but then I would have to be a mind reader and know the original sellers thoughts. That is a dangerous thing to start to do, believe you know someone's intentions without actually knowing that person, (recent viral videos regarding some young gentleman and a native American would definitely highlight such dangers to my thinking).


I find it a bit harsh to label you with the "rocket police" label though.
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#7 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by Commander » Fri, 25 Jan 19, 03:35 am

I found this listing on a facebook page Rocket Yard Sale
For sale Estes Cosmos Mariner Kit#2190. Asking $45.00 plus $9.75 shipping. Unopen in great condition. Will accept payment through PayPal.
The Estes Cosmos Mariner is a 1:67 scale version of the sleek rocket plane from the X PRIZE Lone Star Space Access team. The Estes boost glider rocket spans over one foot in wingspan is 18" long and lifts off 250 feet into the air using a mighty Estes D engine. The glider returns in a gentle, soaring arc while the engine pod floats back to earth on a colorful, fully assembled 18" parachute. Requires Maxi launch rod - sold separately.

Length: 18.0" (46.0 cm)
Dia.: 1.637" (41.6 mm)
Weight: 8.6 oz (243.6 g)
Recovery: 18" parachute
Fins: Die cut balsa
Max. Altitude: 250 feet (122 m)

Recommended Engines:
D12-3
That does sound like a catalog blurb or description on the package. I couldn't tell if it had sold as there were no responses on the post and two likes.
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#8 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by BARGeezer » Wed, 30 Jan 19, 13:51 pm

Normally I just lurk, but I feel compelled to respond since I've built the Cosmos Mariner (not yet flown) AND I've purchased kits from the OP in the other thread on YORF.
1. Don't think the OP intentionally misrepresented the kit. Probably did not build it and was unaware of it's reputation. When he put up an Estes X-15 for sale a long while ago he promptly pulled it when other users informed him that it had been recalled and had been involved in a serious accident.
2. There are dozens of kits being sold by major manufacturers and vendors that are poorly designed flying bricks. Do you take it upon yourself to "warn" unknowing consumers every time you see one of these being sold in a forum, on eBay, on Amazon?
3. Taking at your word that you had a "brain fart", "blonde moment", whatever, still what you effectively did was sabotage his sale. Yet I don't see anything in the YORF thread that you made this mistake, unlike here. Perhaps a bigger man would offer his regrets? Just a thought.
4. As for the CM design, the model is supposed to roll off the pad, helping stability. But the instructions do not explicitly mention this. It is a complex design, and instructions could have been made clearer. Also on a rather spectacular YouTube video the rocket does a U turn into a cornfield. But if you look closely it takes the launch rod AND pad up with it. How did it get hung up? This smacks of operator error (poorly aligned lugs, bent rod, pad not staked down, etc.). The balsa under fins, however, clearly are asking to be snapped off at landing.


You asked for opinions, I offer you mine. May not have been what you wanted to hear, but just being honest, buddy.


Cheers. :D

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#9 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by luke strawwalker » Wed, 30 Jan 19, 18:11 pm

bernomatic wrote:
Fri, 25 Jan 19, 00:17 am
I'm not saying that deliberately misrepresenting something is Okay, but then I would have to be a mind reader and know the original sellers thoughts. That is a dangerous thing to start to do, believe you know someone's intentions without actually knowing that person, (recent viral videos regarding some young gentleman and a native American would definitely highlight such dangers to my thinking).


I find it a bit harsh to label you with the "rocket police" label though.
Yeah, I see your point...

I just am not a fan of people who will do a "hard sell" on something that's "not all that", ya know?? Basically "shady used car dealer" tactics to me, which I put that sort of thing "lower than whale sh!t" in my book...

Appearances can be deceiving, sure enough, but "where there's smoke, there's fire"...

As for the "rocket police"... Well... LOL:)
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Later! OL J R :)
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#10 Re: "To Tell the Truth" vs. misrepresentation/taking advantage?

Post by luke strawwalker » Wed, 30 Jan 19, 18:50 pm

BARGeezer wrote:
Wed, 30 Jan 19, 13:51 pm
Normally I just lurk, but I feel compelled to respond since I've built the Cosmos Mariner (not yet flown) AND I've purchased kits from the OP in the other thread on YORF.
1. Don't think the OP intentionally misrepresented the kit. Probably did not build it and was unaware of it's reputation. When he put up an Estes X-15 for sale a long while ago he promptly pulled it when other users informed him that it had been recalled and had been involved in a serious accident.
2. There are dozens of kits being sold by major manufacturers and vendors that are poorly designed flying bricks. Do you take it upon yourself to "warn" unknowing consumers every time you see one of these being sold in a forum, on eBay, on Amazon?
3. Taking at your word that you had a "brain fart", "blonde moment", whatever, still what you effectively did was sabotage his sale. Yet I don't see anything in the YORF thread that you made this mistake, unlike here. Perhaps a bigger man would offer his regrets? Just a thought.
4. As for the CM design, the model is supposed to roll off the pad, helping stability. But the instructions do not explicitly mention this. It is a complex design, and instructions could have been made clearer. Also on a rather spectacular YouTube video the rocket does a U turn into a cornfield. But if you look closely it takes the launch rod AND pad up with it. How did it get hung up? This smacks of operator error (poorly aligned lugs, bent rod, pad not staked down, etc.). The balsa under fins, however, clearly are asking to be snapped off at landing.


You asked for opinions, I offer you mine. May not have been what you wanted to hear, but just being honest, buddy.


Cheers. :D
Sure! Welcome and thanks for your input!

You shared your opinion, and that's cool. That's basically all I was doing in the thread on YORF about the kit. *I* don't have a problem with that, in fact *I ADMIRE THAT*, BUT some folks simply cannot handle any viewpoint that disagrees with theirs.

I'll try to address your points since you took the time to respond...

1. Okay, I can see that point of view. Maybe I kinda overreacted about the "misrepresentation thing". Particularly since others have pointed out that, more or less, the language used to originally sell the kit was fairly verbatim what the OP put in his post... and it's "impossible" to know the real motivations or thought process behind what the OP was intending. Honestly can't fault anyone for "putting their best foot forward" and trying to represent something they're trying to sell in the 'best light possible', even IF it turns out to be "less than fully truthful" in the end... At least, it wouldn't be honest to slam this guy on it and NOT slam Estes for the same thing, since basically they used the SAME FLOWERY LANGUAGE to sell the kits in the first place. Not a fan of "sleazy used car salesman" tactics, but again, this probably wasn't the intent, and *I* have no way of knowing, so basically, I overreacted and went too far with that one. Sorry.

2. Yes, there are, sad to say. There's also a HUGE variation in builder skills and sometimes folks deviate from the instructions, which, IF they *don't know exactly what they're doing*, can have some pretty bad consequences for the final product, PARTICULARLY on a "knife edge of being bad" kit anyway. Gliders are notoriously finicky in their finishing and trimming requirements, and basically subtle nuances of the builder's choices and skills can make the difference between a "soaring flight" and a "part your hair glide like a brick lawn dart", particularly on a kit that's in that "gray area" between good and bad anyway. Manufacturers tend to take heat on things from *somebody* no matter what they do... I've heard people really badmouth "The Launch Pad" kits, for instance, when I've built some and found them to be decent kits, for what they were, (ie NOT a hardened HPR anti-tank round like most "HPR" builders seem to prefer). Course, some criticism *IS* deserved, and rightfully so... having seen the molds they were using on some of the "Sheri's Hot Rockets" kits back in the old days, I can see WHY people complained (worn out molds, half the detail missing from molded parts due to worn out molds, detail worn off. Then of course there's the reputable manufacturer (like Estes) that occasionally comes out with a "turd", like "The Dude", the infamous X-15, and (arguably) the Cosmos Mariner...

2b... No, I don't run around warning everybody about everything, like on Amazon or Ebay or whatever. If I see something or someone ASKS, though, I'll give an honest opinion and evaluation from what I know, have read, or have experienced personally. Thing is, A ROCKET FORUM *IS NOT* Ebay or Amazon... folks go to Amazon or Ebay for the cheapest thing they can find OR for something hard to find they want... either way, they either 1) don't really care if it's "off kilter" so long as it's the cheapest thing they can get, or 2) already know what they're getting because it's what they're looking for. Of course there's also "newbs" on there that unwittingly buy stuff that they probably would have been better off NOT buying, but you can't protect everyone.

IMHO a "rocket forum" is for discussing rockets, and sharing information with OTHER ROCKETEERS, and that INCLUDES newbies who might not understand the reputation of a given kit, particularly when plastered with flowery language. Rocketry is NOT a big nor particularly growing hobby at any rate-- IMHO it's in our best interests to SUPPORT newbies coming into the hobby, so they STAY in the hobby, rather than have them mistakenly buy something and put a lot of effort into it *THINKING* that they'll get "graceful soaring flights" when the odds are it'll be substantially less fulfilling than that, and have them get disgusted, upset, and quit rocketry for something else... maybe a stretch, granted, but it's a valid point.

3. Okay, point taken. Maybe I should have explained my thoughts better over there, but I thought "what's the point" once they started "piling on" and of course the OP got pretty sh!tty in his responses, so I don't waste time on asshats once they get that way. Might as well argue with a rock... LOL:)

4. Yes, agree... complex kit, and on the "knife edge" between good and bad to start with. If it weren't part of their "marketing ploy" to benefit from the X-Prize hoopla, it would have probably never come to market, or been developed in the first place. Good idea, not so good execution, and once you put it in the hands of various rocketeers with varying levels of skill and abilities, well... some folks can mess up an Alpha III LOL:) Mistakes happen, and incidents occur, even with *legendary* kits that would seem "near impossible" to screw up. Course, that said, *SOME* kits DO get a well-deserved reputation of being "stinkers", and Cosmos Mariner is one of them... more bad experiences out there (at least anecdotally) than good ones...

Again, thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Have a good one! OL J R :)
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