I made the Echostar into a fun sport rocket by doing the following:
I scrapped those fins that are on the very top, took out the adaptor and second stage, added an extra length of tube, and found a new way to attach the shock cord: I looped one end the shock cord through one of the upper fin slots (about 1/4 inches long), and tied the other end to the nosecone. I then wrapped a few long pieces of tape around the holes to make this a very effective, easy to replace mount. I have flown it about a dozen times like this and it has yet to fail on me. I did everything else normally. The engine hook came out on flight number eight, so I use the friction fit method now.
Through the wall fins, two tubes, a nose cone, a bit of shock cord, and a homemade chute.
All the parts were in the original kit. No real alignment issues. I modified the rocket so much that I did not use the instructions included with the kit.
I used a 15 inch homemade nylon chute and it was perfect. I made the tube coupler tough enough not to come apart at ejection, but easy enough to come apart with a bit of a pull so that I can easily put recovery wadding in after the parachute. I did not originally plan on this, but I figured it out before flight number six during CMASS Space Day in 2003.
Easy build and finish. A fun rocket with no real cons.