The absolutely improved, modern version of the semi-dangerous red water rocket toy I loved so much

Originally published at: The absolutely improved, modern version of the semi-dangerous red water rocket toy I loved so much | Boing Boing


YES! These screw-on wings are awesome, and the 2 liter bottle makes a fantastic water rocket. Have many, would buy again.

It’s kind of amazing how high you can get these to go with a bike pump and really basic mods, even the screw on wings alone.

(They also sell parachutes, cameras, etc for accessorized water rocketry fun. We added a parachute guy in the nose cone, so it’d launch, reach apex, fall over, nose cone cover would come off (with streamers!) and the parachute guy would emerge & drift down. :raised_hands:)


You can also make one by taking a rubber stopper and drilling a small hole through it. Then push a bike pump needle through the hole. The stand is just a metal rod stuck in the ground. A section of straw taped to the side of a 2L bottle keeps it on the pole.

To launch fill the bottle about 1/2 full of water (experiment with different amounts to see what works best) and pump it until the cork pops off the bottom and the bottle goes flying. The fins aren’t necessary, the bottle tends to keep a fairly straight trajectory in my experience. Plus, an empty 2L bottle is no danger to anybody as it tumbles out of the air.

Fun for the whole family!


Protip: have safe search on before googling “red rocket pics”

This is the one I had in the 80s. I don’t remember them being dangerous but I also grew up without a lot of friends. Or rather with friends who were so nerdy that hurting one another was not considered fun.



…bottle end-affixing valves that are compatible with bicycle pumps.

pumps?: dry-ice, mentos_n_cola, hydrogen_peroxide and potassium iodide (or, i hear tell: yeast instead of potassium iodide)


Yeah the clear red ones were classic, archetypal… but I can’t find them on Amazon.

“StratoFins” is the brand we used and they have tons of excellent water rocket stuff on their site:


and here ya go - the internet provides…

and an amazon flavor

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You don’t even need a kit. Just a wine cork and a ball pump needle.
Make the fins out of scrap card and gaffa tape :slight_smile:
A stand-up pump is good for putting in a lot of air quickly.
Oh, and be sure to spray all the water out of the pump when you’re finished, or it’ll rust very quickly.

I just wonder where the hell most of them went off to when they went out of sight, really perplexing.


Same place all the Xmas drone gifts went to.


This, see below, has been one of the best kits I have built with my young kids. Bassicly it turns the the rocket on its side, adds wheels, thus making an air and water powered juggernaut. My kids have seriously had it going down the driveway fast enough to crack the wheels. No affiliate link, Amazon: Kidz Labz 4m Rocket Race Car
, (Opinion: It’s worth $10-20 U.S., not $45.00 as shown.)

Source: Me, 2021 02 22


My first exposure to this kind of rocketry was Johnny Jetpack


This one is not as joyous… or safe:


It’s crazy how just seeing that pic can bring a flood of childhood memories rushing back! I even have the muscle memory of pulling on the trigger to release rocket.

This got me thinking about another toy of my childhood - The Estes Land Rocket. I think they used bottled freon and really have little to do with what you posted, but hey, I’m just strolling down this little rabbit hole of my youth and thought I’d share it.


So cool and environmentally friendly too.

I found video for you, and I bet that you could get one to run on butane (at least that’s what I would try, then again I don’t know how the valve looks, or if that would be safe.)

I found a video:

Source: Youtube video posted by Steve Duffy on 2018 08 11

If I can find the instructions for the RadioShack aeronautics kit I’ll post a link. I believe the progression was land sail racer, rubber band powered racer, and then a land rocket that you put a model rocket engine into. that is quite possible that that dangerous contraption was completely of my own idea. I bought a number of the kits well after RadioShack was done producing them. they came with a helium tank, And that was worth a good deal to me. I tended to hack everything in those days, as a sidenote, not a single one of the rocket vehicles I built with those kits ever flew straight, and I’m not 100% Sure it was lack of workmanship.


I had the Screamin Eagle and the Scorcher. They were sooo much fun. I’ve still got the aluminum engines with their really cool machined rocket nozzles laying around somewhere. Wonder what I could use as propellant in place of the discontinued Estes Cold Power®️


Butane for lighters? That’s what I would try, but I have no expertise.

Edit to add I have no expertise.

Wouldn’t think so. These weren’t really “rocket” engines. More “cold gas thrusters”. Just a tank filled with high pressure inert gas that shot out a nozzle when you popped out the filling tube. It looks like the guy in the video above is just using duster spray. Which, now that I think about it, should work just fine :grin: