My Nike-K is actually very old, having been built in 1992, but I feel this reflects the the overall quality of the design. I have bought a new kit to compare the two, and it is pretty much identical to the early one. Quest packages their parts separately so it is easy to find parts for subassembly.
This kit has standard paper tubes for the body, payload section, and motor mount. The nose, fin unit, and transition are all molded of a very rugged plastic, and the shock cord is a combination of tough Kevlar® and fabric elastic. This is one of the few manufacturers that actually includes enough shock cord material!! All the parts were there and in good shape.
The instructions are very simple and well arranged, and I feel anyone could build this kit after one or two more basic kits. The motor mount and centering rings are color-coded to ease identification. This kit built very nicely with the exception of the fact the top plastic ring of the fin unit fit very tightly and I creased my motor mount tube trying to press it on. Sanding the fin unit and the two plastic rings are a good idea.
Only basic supplies are needed (white and plastic model glues), and the only tools I used were a 6" ruler and a hobby knife. The shock cord mount is not difficult to do, but pay careful attention to the instructions and make sure you do it right.
Finishing this kit is a snap. Quest colors the body tubes gloss white and the plastic is molded in a high-visibility orange. I painted the tubes with Testors gloss white to seal them, and did the plastic parts with Pactra fluorescent orange. The decals need a lot of trimming, and you must be careful to avoid smearing the ink (like I wound up doing.) The entire rocket got a coat of gloss clear to protect the decals and finish. This is a sharp-looking bird and would look terrific with no additional finishing at all.
Construction Rating: 4 ½ out of 5
I have been flying this rocket mostly with b6-4's, although I have also flown it with b6-2's, b8-5's, and c6-7's. It normally shows little tendency to weather cock, but WATCH OUT on windy days with c6-7's! I had to go about a half mile downrange after it tipped over and flew nearly horizontally during the coast phase. It was spectacular with the b8-5, although the delay is too long for windy days.
Prepping is standard with wadding used. Dust the 'chute with a little talcum as it is a bit stiff and will deploy better if treated this way. The motor is retained with a steel clip that looks a little thin, but I've had no trouble with it at all.
The Quest motors' Tiger Tail II igniters install easily and work very nicely. Just be careful to follow the instructions on how to set them up. They do use more current then Estes igniters, so make sure your batteries are fresh.
Quest recovery systems are sort of a mixed bag. The materials are some of the strongest I've ever seen in model rockets, but I dislike the method used for attaching the shock cord to the fin assembly. Mine was burned through at ejection on the fourth flight, dropping it to the ground and ruining the main body tube. However, there was no other damage and it's good as new after replacing the tube. I epoxied the Kevlar® in a loop near the top of the tube and tied the elastic onto it. It's been trouble-free for nearly 7 years in this configuration. Other than that, the only problem is that the 'chute is inclined to open pretty slowly due to the stiffness of the material. Be sure to pack the recovery system carefully and this should cause little trouble. The system is extremely tough and has survived a couple of late ejections with no damage. My Nike-K has a fair amount of wear, but it has a lot of flights on it and has held up better than normal.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
The Quest Nike-K is a very well made kit that flies very well on a variety of motors. It gets good altitude and the speed is exciting with the b8-5 motors (if you can still find them). It is attractive and really durable.
The price is reasonable, especially considering the features it has compared to the competition. The recovery system is exceptionally tough, but some attention to prepping is required to avoid deployment trouble. I personally dislike the method of attaching the Kevlar® line, and instead recommend using it as a high-strength anchor in the body tube. I also recommend coating the inside of the motor and body tubes with thin CA and sanding them to make them smooth and toughen them. (I do this with ALL paper tubing). This is a great kit that just needs a little attention to detail.
I'm very fond of Quest kits and have found them to be rugged, but the Nike-K taught me that plastic subassemblies call for just as much attention as paper, you can't assume that it will just go together.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5