Estes Snapshot RTF (remake of the older Astrocam) in a starter set with controller and launch pad.
This rocket has very similar components to the other Estes RTF rockets with the obvious exception being the nose cone camera unit.
It uses a standard Estes elastic shock cord and plastic parachute. The camera unit is basic and takes 110 film.
No construction was needed as this is an RTF rocket. The Estes Porta Pad came in parts that are slotted together at site. The camera required the film to be inserted and wound on to the first frame. I replaced the provided plastic chute with a mylar one as I don't want to rely on the original to bring the camera back safely.
Bright colours that stand out well and aid recovery. It looks good sitting on the pad.
All instructions were very clear and well laid out. This was my first rocket and I had no problems understanding the basic principles involved, how to pack the parachute, etc.
The camera can be a bit dodgy when winding on to the next frame. I had to go to frame 4 before it would settle in place. I've heard people winding on two frames at once to avoid double-exposure, but personally I don't know how necessary this is as I haven't developed a film from it yet.
Construction Rating: 5 out of 5
I have had two flights so far, both on C6-5s. This is the only motor recommended by Estes so that the camera should be pointing in the right direction when it takes a shot at ejection. However, I have seen people recommend C6-7s to get more of a downward angle (the C6-5 can result in horizon-level photos).
Both flights were on a day with 5-10mph wind and occasional gusts. Both time it weathercocked quite badly at an altitude of about 50-60 feet and then flew almost horizontally. However ejection ocurred as it was losing height and hopefully there are a couple of good photos there.
Ejection ocurred as it was losing height but the chute came out fine and no damage was caused. I believe part of the problem to be the two-part launch rod wobbling too much in the wind and with the weight of the rocket.
I can see the motor retainer getting slight damage from the engine heat as it had a lot of powder residue on it. No damage so far though.
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
I enjoyed flying the Snapshot and look forward to seeing if I got any decent photos. It is very easy to set up and fly and the starter set gives you everything you need to start flying except motors.
The Porta-Pad is serving me well so far for other rockets but I will be upgrading to a bigger one-piece steel rod.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
F.C. (January 2, 2007)