This is a single stage, plastic nose cone, three fin rocket and it utilizes an eighteen inch parachute for recovery. The fins are balsa and there are two recommended motors, the D12-3 and the D12-5 which are secured by a metal motor retaining clip.
The body tube of the rocket is in two pieces, with the lower tube only three inches long which houses the motor mount. The tubes are the standard cardboard material used in most low powered rockets. The nosecone is plastic and is approximately eight inches long, including the section inside the body tube. It has three fins made of balsa and a 3/16 inch launch lug. The shock cord is 1/4 inch elastic which is attached to the body tube with the Estes tri fold method. The instructions says it needs twelve to fifteen sheets of wadding for flight. It has a standard design motor mount similar to the Estes type, with cardboard centering rings. The motor mount is placed in the three inch lower body tube which is later attached to the longer upper body tube.
The instructions were easy for me to follow. It is a straight forward model to build. You'll need basic building skills and use white or carpenter glue for fillets for the balsa fins. The three inch body tube is painted red (with fins), the nosecone red and the main body tube white. You can paint all these segments before connecting them all together which means there is no masking before painting. The decals were of the pressure sensitive type and went on easily. After assembling the body tubes, nosecone and applying the decals the rocket may be given a coat of gloss clear paint to finish things off and give the rocket a uniform shine over it's total length. Make sure you give the paint enough time to dry before applying the gloss finish. This time could be a few days long depending on the paint used. I found it an easy rocket to build. The only thing I can think of that is a problem is that the inside edge of the fins can get slightly damaged by the motor exhaust heat and may need to be touched up a few times with paint. I've had to touch mine up with red paint two times already. This can be minimized by using a clothes pin on the launch rod to give the rocket a little more room between the blast deflection plate and the bottom of the rocket.
Because the sections of the rocket are finished separately, and then assembled, the painting of this rocket is simple with no masking needed, except for masking off the shoulder of the nose cone so it will fit inside the body tube. Be careful when taking the tape off the nosecone after painting it since it may have a tendency to flake off on the section you want to keep red. Taking the masking tape off the nosecone before the paint is fully hard minimizes this I think. The decals are nice and went on easily. The gloss paint finish will help keep them from peeling. I feel the rocket looks pretty nice when finished. I modified my rocket by using a blue nylon parachute instead of the plastic one provided. I wanted to treat this one a little special since it is one of the larger rockets in my fleet. With the large body tube it will fit a nylon parachute easily.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
The recommended motors are the D12-3 and the D12-5. I've only flown it with D12-5's so far. For me, it gets decently high on the D12-5. It's hard for me to tell where the ejection is at the apogee since it is so high. For all my flights, it has flown well and had soft landings. I use both Estes and Quest wadding, using two sheets of Quest wadding first, then about ten sheets of Estes wadding. The Quest wadding is a little bigger and somewhat tougher than the Estes.
I used 1/4 inch elastic for the shock cord. For my rocket I used a longer length, I think about six foot long, to avoid any problems with the nosecone bouncing back and hitting the rocket body during ejection. So far I have had no problems with the nosecone hitting the rocket. The fins seem to get slightly damaged on the inside edge by the motor exhaust heat and may have to be touched up periodically with paint (the paint seems to bubble). After five flights the finish is starting to show some wear from scratches. The parachute descent may be a bit slow, but is acceptable for me. I've never timed it, but It flies so high it may need over a minute to come back to the ground. It's just an estimate.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
It's a great rocket. The assembly is easy, painting is simple, and it flies straight and smooth. It looks really nice once assembled. On the other hand, it only uses D12 motors, the plastic which the nosecone is made of may cause the paint to flake off if you are not careful, and the paint on the inside edge of the fins may bubble from the motor exhaust heat. On the whole I really like this rocket and try to fly it as much as possible.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Simple to build and has a lot to offer for the price.