001948 – Big Bertha®

(62 customer reviews)


Intermediate Skill
(Formerly Skill Level 1)

The Big Bertha gives you a slow, realistic liftoff. What a thrill it is to watch! Propelled by powerful Estes standard model rocket engines, this beauty travels to 500 feet. In one afternoon your Bertha is ready for an exciting time at the launch field!

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Intermediate Skill
(Formerly Skill Level 1)

Big Bertha is an Estes original! She’s an all-around Estes favorite that has truly withstood the test of time. Over the decades, Big Bertha has been most modelers’ first big build. If you’ve never flown a Bertha, get one and launch it. Once you’ve flown it, you’ll take it to every launch!

The Big Bertha gives you a slow, realistic liftoff. What a thrill it is to watch! Propelled by powerful standard Estes engines, this beauty travels to 500 feet and comes back to Earth with an 18 inch parachute. Quality Estes body tubes, laser cut wood fins, molded plastic nose cone and easy to apply waterslide decals makes this rocket kit a perfect companion for an afternoon of building enjoyment.

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUILD: Scissors, pencil, ruler, fine sandpaper, carpenter’s glue, hobby knife, masking tape, primer (white) and paint (black, yellow). (Tools, construction and finishing supplies not included.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO LAUNCH (sold separately): Estes Porta-Pad II Launch Pad and Electron Beam Launch Controller, Estes model rocket engines, starters and recovery wadding. Four 1.5V high quality AA alkaline batteries are also required for launch controller (not included).


Additional information

Projected Max Altitude

500 ft. (152 m)

Recovery System

18 in. (45.7 cm) Parachute


24 in. (61 cm)


1.64 in. (42 mm)

Estimated Weight

2.5 oz. (70.9 g)

Estimated Assembly Time

1 Hour (painting and glue drying time not included)

Fin Materials

Laser cut wood

Decal Type


Launch System

Porta-Pad II and Electron Beam Launch Controller

Launch Rod Size


Age Recommendation

Estes model rocketry is recommended for boys and girls ages 10+ with adult supervision for those under 12, and rocketeers of all ages.

62 reviews for 001948 – Big Bertha®

  1. Kevin O’Keefe

    Big Bertha was my sons and my first real build. We had a great time building together. First flight was a great success with the recommended first flight engine of B6-4. Followed by two successful flights with C6-5. Bertha flew straight and true! I’d recommend Big Bertha to anyone starting out in model rocketry. Lots of fun!

  2. Rocket Guru

    Looking through all of the previous reviews, nobody mentioned Estes Big Bertha’s beginnings, as the Estes Astron Ranger, same rocket, with clustered 3x 18mm motors. A simple single 18mm motor Astron Ranger, came out in the late 1960’s renamed ‘Big Bertha’ was born. The clustered Astron Ranger became the Astron Scrambler and was an egg lofter, with 3 fins instead of 4. The Scrambler was later scaled down to the single 18mm motor Estes Quasar. I have built all the Bertha’s, Mini through Maxi, including Baby Bertha too and scaled down/built my own Mini Baby Bertha. Next, I will probably purchase/build the Boosted Bertha. Tempted to build another Astron Ranger that leaves the Big Bertha in the dust, with 3xC6’s, or 3 composite D10’s. If you have enough area, for recovery, dare this mod, but install an ejection baffle and use Pro II shock cord and you’ll have a better chance at recover. Hint, Hint..,more ‘Mini’ releases for small venues and thanks Estes, for the memories

  3. Bob D

    Launched the big Bertha with my sons scout troop. It was the most launched rocket of the trip.solid every time. With a B6 I never had to walk far to retrieve it

  4. John A.

    Fantastic rocket. Built it as a kid and just build another one 30 yrs later. Estes, don’t ever let there be a time that Big Bertha is absent from your lineup.

    One small change request. Incorporate a baffle system so we don’t need to use wadding. I’ve flown this model so many times I bet I’ve put 10 packs of wadding in it over the years. I’ve added on to my new build and love it even more.

    • estesrockets (verified owner)

      Thank you John, as Vern Estes’ favorite rocket, we don’t see it going anywhere! Also if you love the Big Bertha, be sure to check out the brand new Boosted Bertha, with the same Bertha feel in a multi-stage package.

  5. Scott

    One of the best all time!

    One of the best rockets of all time in the Estes rocket collection! A must have for any rocketeer.

  6. george (verified owner)

    Bertha Baby!

    I got back into model rocketry to keep my grandkids entertained and have to admit, I’m hooked again, I built a Big Bertha recently and launched on a C6-5 with a keychain HD camera (which we didn’t have back in the day) and got some awesome video…try it! Since I built Big Berta I’ve just finished the Mercury Redstone and have a V2 on order. We are lucky to have a big field at a local county park very close, so we are launching rockets on a regular basis…it’s fun!

  7. Michael

    One Of A Kind

    I had Big Bertha and I really liked it. Most rockets launch fast but I liked how Big Bertha had a really realistic launch

  8. Andrew

    Classic rocket

    I used to fly this rocket when i was a kid, just got one for my kids. Very easy build and great in the sky. Very durable rocket

  9. Andrew


    flies straight. loves the C6-5. Big tube is easy to pack. love the huge chute it comes with, but I might refrain from using that on a windy day… Good predictable flights. pretty easy build and I love the look of it. If I ever lost this one I would get another to replace it. one of my favorites and a classic for a reason (its great)

  10. Dean

    A true classic.

    I built and flew a Bertha kit when I was a kid some 40 years ago. This is a time-proven classic that still generates excitement when brought to the launch pad. I modified my current Bertha to include an E-sized motor mount and ejection baffle. It’s a great flier on D12-5s, but I’ve never gotten up the nerve to try the E. The C11 option gives a little more kick off the pad, too. Everybody should have a Big Bertha in their fleet.

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