MacStar, revisited…

Image courtesy of Willy LugoThe first version of the kite that became the MacStar came to be in 1993. It was primarily an experiment in alternative forms and techniques. I found myself fascinated with the idea of using a basic building block to create very different kites. The first kite was pretty close to the current MacStar, but I also used the same idea to make a couple of cellular kites and even a quad-line. I taught it in a class and made a couple for myself, but never did a production version until about ten years ago. Since then, the star has come and gone a few times.

The star has “traditionally” been matched with a custom “streamer” tail, made from panels much the same as the kite’s body. The tail, when made in this fashion adds a lot of panels, which means a lot of time, and as the saying goes, time is money. If we count the panels in the body of the MacStar, you’ll see 36 panels, making up the twelve sail sections. Each of these 12 sections has a significant amount of detail work. After doing a time study, I estimate that in its simplest version, just the body of the MacStar (without a tail) should be priced at about $475. That is fabric, frame, the whole finished deal.

MacStar with the optional ribbon tailsThe tail, as it’s been made over the last several years, consists of 57 Individual panels! The construction of the streamer tail is simpler and quicker than that of the body, but it uses considerably more fabric, and still quite a bit of time. My calculations tell me that just the stand-alone streamer tail should be priced at about $410. Combined, the body and tail come to more than I charge for the Ichiban, but the fact is that I have more time and materials in the MacStar than I do in the Ichiban!

I’ve never flown the star totally without a tail, but I’ll be testing that when I fly the personal MacStar I have on the table. I have flown the kite with a simpler tail, as well as multiple ribbon tails. I was very happy with the kite’s performance with three 26ft ribbon tails, which can be made considerably less expensively than the streamer. Truth be told, if price is an issue, you don’t need my tails at all! You can supply your own ribbon, streamer, or fuzzy tails, either self-made or factory-made.

2 thoughts on “MacStar, revisited…

  1. I am a firm believer of the multiple tails on this kite makes a great presence and flight.
    I have done U tails (looping the tails I have back to another point) and that gives more drag if needed, but def the single tails are my go to.
    The original banner tail is a line banner that matches beautifully!

    1. Rob, one of my experiments with the banner/streamer tail will be to add loops for a Della Porta frame and bridle, which (hopefully) will let it be flown independently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *