There are four (4) body tubes, a standard 24mm motor mount, four (4) balsa fins and a plastic nose-cone. I deviated from the standard paper shock cord mount.
I bought this kit and let it sit in a closet for about 4 years. Went to my first HPR launch and got the bug again. The instructions were simple, but I deviated a bit from the sequence by skipping ahead while waiting for other parts to dry/set. The illustrations were easy to follow. I used the standard 24 inch Estes plastic parachute. Instead of attaching the shock cord to the body tube via the paper mount, I cut two small slits about an inch below the top edge of the body tube, parallel to the top edge, about a half inch apart. This required a bit of work with needle nose pliers and hemostats to work inside the small body tube, but the end result was worth five minutes of wrestling with it. The kit was missing one of the tube couplers, so I made one from the cardboard backing of a blister pack. I curled it into a tube, put some adhesive on it, put it in the tube and let it expand. It worked great. For the entire kit, I used LocTite Gel CA. It has all the strength of CA, but it is a thick consistency and doesn't run at all. The fit of all the parts was good.
I can't stand trying to find a black rocket at some launch sites, so I painted mine international orange (BRIGHT orange) with a chrome nose fading back into the orange. Dubbed it "Burning Chrome" after one of my favorite William Gibson novels.
Finishing Pro's: Straightforward. Con's: Long body tube a bit tricky, would have been much better with just two pieces instead of four. Separation should have been in center instead of at nose cone due to difficulty working with a rocket 78 inches long. Hard to safely move and transport.
Construction Rating: 3 out of 5
I lucked out and bought one each of (Estes) D12-3, D12-5, D12-7 and an (Aerotech) E15 from another flier at the field. It was nice being able to compare all these engines the first time I went out to fly this model. D12-3 was too short of delay, ejection just after thrust. D12-5 was better, but rocket was still ascending. D12-7 was perfect, rocket just nosed over when ejection blew. E15 was a great kick in the pants for this model, but the long body tube was slightly bent by the thrust. (This also happened to another person with an identical model that day) Bend isn't pronounced, but I will want to try and straighten a bit before I launch it again. Eyeball estimates of altitude was somewhere between 1500 and 2000 feet, though this method is unreliable. Our club uses a kind of paper/cellulose insulation for wadding, it worked great. No problems with motor hook, until I got home, then it fell out! Will have to try and de-mount motor mount to re-glue it.
Recovery Pro's: 4 Launches, 4 Recoveries. Con's: I'd never use a D12-3. Cut the circle out of the center of parachute, or this model will drift way too far. I had zero damage with it removed, and for all the D launches it was a short walk to recover. The E put it so high I had about a 1/2 mile to walk.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
It's a good kit, but could be great if you make your separation point in the center (easily done with a few parts).
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
This is a classic Estes kit that has been in production for quite some time. It is a single staged rocket with a large length to width ratio and the launches are impressive for a low power kit. The long airframe is built by coupling four standard BT-60 body tubes. The kit comes with four die-cut balsa fins and two cardboard centering rings. Recovery is done with a 3/16" shock cord nearly 3 ...
(by Jordan Hiller) The most attractive thing about the Estes Mean Machine is its size. While it's only a BT-55 body tube, the rocket is about 6 ½ feet long! Building is quite simple, since this is just a very long 3FNC model. The instructions are straightforward, and the only tools you really need are the ones you need for every other rocket (sandpaper, hobby knife, glue, etc.) ...
Construction: Rating: 4 out of 5 points This is a great 1st D engine kit. It's over 6 feet tall. The overall construction was a snap. This kit was pretty simple to build. Just take your time when gluing the coupler and body tubes together. THEY HAVE TO BE ALIGNED PERFECTLY! The couplers were EXTREMELY hard to fit in the body tubes, and because of this my tubes are kind of bent. ...
( Contributed - by Jim Zamecnik) Brief: Modified for use with the PerfectFlite microAlt 4600 dual deployment altimeter. Added a 6" long altimeter bay and a 12" long forward main chute bay to the lower half of the Mean Machine. (new section made from recycled tubes and couplers from a SuperNova Payloader) Modifications: The lower half is a stock Mean Machine (a bit shorter due ...