This is a 5x upscale of the Estes Mosquito suitable for mid-power motors. It is an excellent first mid-power rocket.
The parts list:
The instructions were very easy to follow for someone who's already built a few rockets (okay, 40 other rockets). The illustrations were not Estes-grade but clear and functional. I wouldn't recommend this as a first rocket as the instructions assume previous knowledge of building rockets. If you use wood glue as I did, then it's a skill level two rocket. If you use epoxy, then perhaps a three.
All the parts were very high quality and fit together nicely with only a bit of sanding (1 min total) to have the fins fit perfectly in the pre-cut slots, and the centering rings fit cleanly. The body and motor tubes are thick-walled. The wood parts are all 1/8" ply, and the shock cord is thick Kevlar® and nylon. This is more of a scaled-down HPR rocket than an up-scaled "Questes" kit.
Although the instructions recommend epoxy, I built it just fine with wood glue. The fins have plenty of surface area and are TTW so they hold just fine with wood glue. The instructions recommend epoxy to ensure that the nut will hold onto the screw eye permanently. I didn't have epoxy so I soldered the connection, which was probably overkill. The nut fits tight enough on its own and a single drop of CA would be sufficient. It took perhaps four hours over four days for building, but an experienced builder could be done in an hour with 5-minute epoxy.
The provided motor mount tubing is several inches longer than needed. I recommend cutting it off about a quarter inch above the forward centering ring to leave more room for the chute.
No 29/24 adapter is included, but if you wish to use D12s and 24mm E motors, it's easy to make one. I used 4" of 24mm tubing, two 29mm centering rings, and part of the leftover motor mount tubing as a thrust ring.
There's only one gotcha with the whole kit. No nose weight is included, but none is really needed unless you plan to use the larger Gs or even 29mm Hs. If you do use nose weight though, you have to install it (in the helpful space provided in the nose cone) before you attach the nose bulkhead and screw eye.
Finishing is pretty easy for the Mozzie. The only hard part is sealing the nose cone. I did not seal it and it's a bit fuzzy and off-color. If you're building a rocket of this size though, you probably have the skills to seal it.
Painting is pretty simple--all yellow then mask off the one fin and paint it red. (The instructions show a black fin instead of yellow, but I went with the classic mosquito color scheme). You could use a primer if you want, but it's still a very simple--and striking--paint scheme.
There are no decals with it, but it doesn't need any. This huge red rocket is bright enough on its own.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
Madcow recommends the D12-3 and a selection of 29mm E-G motors. However, 24mm Es and Fs work just fine with an adapter. Don't use the E9, E11J, or F12J though--they don't have enough thrust to get it stable, and the D12 is only for use on calm days.
The body tube is just big enough for a 29/180 casing, so if you're truly crazy you could fly an H in it. If you're considering an H or high-thrust G though, consider glassing the fins as they're big and only 1/8" ply, which is fine for regular use but may flutter at high speeds.
Motor retention is not included, but masking tape seems to work just fine. If you were so inclined, you could use Aero Pack retainers or a threaded rod.
Both my first and second flights were off an Estes Porta-pad using a 3/16" rod. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. Even though this is a big rocket, it can still be flown on pretty small fields.
My first flight was on an Estes D12-3. I used my homemade 24mm adapter and masking tape for retention. The 9" chute protector is nice--you don't have to use wadding, which is a big plus in my book. It flew straight and slow to about 280 feet and ejected right at apogee. The 18" nylon chute brought it down perfectly.
My second flight was also on a D12. On this one though, I packed the chute far too tight, and the nose cone popped off but the chute did not. The rocket, weighing 11oz with the motor casing, fell 300 feet onto one fin and bounced. Total damage: one tiny dent in the nose cone. This skeeter is tough!
Third flight was on an E15-4W off a proper MPR rod. It went fast and loud to about 800 feet with ejection near apogee. It drifted about 800 feet and came down unharmed in a neighboring field.
The shock cord is almost 7' long and made of Kevlar® and nylon. It shows no sign of damage. It was pretty easy to assemble--just tie the two together, tie the Kevlar® around the motor mount Quest-style, and tie the nylon end to the nose cone.
The 18" chute is a good fit for the rocket. It provides a descent rate of about 20 fps and its dark purple color is easily visible against any sky.
The 9" chute protector included is very helpful and so far the entire system has worked perfectly except for operator error.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a great rocket. It's my personal favorite, since it's big, fun, and can be flown on anything from a D to a G.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5