My wife gave me the Estes Flash as a retirement gift from my second job. The Flash is one of Estes E2X tm (Almost Ready to Fly tm) kits and has a prismatic payload section. This translates to fast assembly and no painting. I haven't informed my wife that I really don't like E2X kits. Tell a wife bearing a rocket as a gift you don't like it.....I don't think so. I do, however, I do, however, prefer to work with balsa and white/yellow glue.
This kit was packaged in plastic and came in a box and was probably around $12.99. All the parts were included and none were damaged. The instructions were typical Estes and were excellent. If you like building challenging rockets stay away from the E2X kits. The kit contains plastic Estes chute, fins and nose cone and engine mount, along with all the other standard Estes hardware.
During assembly, make sure to scrape away the flashing on the plastic engine mount and dry fit to the engine tube. Carefully follow the instructions on assembling the engine mount, especially if you're using CA. Another thing to be wary of is alignment of the fins since they use through the tube mounting. If you glue the launch lugs into the proper area of the engine mount through the tube you will be just fine. Tools needed for this kit are an exacto knife and CA or plastic cement.
I used plastic cement and assembled all the parts and let them dry overnight. If you used CA you could probably assemble this in an hour or two and launch the same day. The following day I slapped on the decals and painted the nose cone (to hide scrape marks). I also made a modification to the recovery system. I modified the shock cord mount due to a bad experience with through the BT mounting. I cut out a similar shape of the standard Estes shock cord retainer and glued the shock cord inside it and folded it. I then glued the retainer inside the BT over the plastic area of the through the tube mount. Although over 2 feet, the rocket was pretty light, so I decided to go with a streamer.
I rate construction of this rocket 3 points on the Essence scale since I don't like working with plastic on model rockets.
I launched the rocket in July on a slightly windy day (0-5 from the NE). This rocket flew high and straight on a C6-5. This rocket flew high and straight on a C6-5. Recovery was not so pretty. The streamer came out after ejection but I could tell the rate of descent was too fast. I think I needed more streamer or a chute because the rocket landed pretty hard and one of the fins popped off. I repaired it and replaced the streamer with the 12 inch chute.
I rate flight and recovery 3 points on the Essence scale thanks to my own stupidity.
For an E2X kit this turned out to be a pretty slick looking and flying rocket. Overall I rate this kit 3 1/2 points on the Essence scale.