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Model rocket kits are often categorized based on the skills involved to build and fly the rocket using a scale of 1 to 4 (or 5) known as the "Skill Level." Usually, the Skill Level is based on the difficulty of building the kit. Sometimes, the Skill Level will be influenced by other factors such as the complexity of preparing the rocket for flight or the need for greater safety precautions when flying it.

Skill Level 1 kits are the easiest to build. Skill Level 4/5 kits present the greatest challenges. Ready-To-Fly (RTF) and Almost-Ready-To-Fly kits, which require little or no assembly before flight, are often referred to as "Skill Level 0" kits.

The categories we use to classify kits by Skill Level are listed below. These roughly correspond to Skill Level 0 through Skill Level 4/5. The Skill Level ratings from different manufacturers are not exact equivalents and some manufacturers do not assign a Skill Level to their kits. And, in a few cases, the Skill Levels assigned by a manufacturer are not realistic. So, the category we have chosen for a kit may not match the manufacturer's Skill Level.

RTF/ARF - Ready-To-Fly and Almost Ready-To-Fly kits require little or no assembly or finishing. Usually, you can take the kit out of the box and it's ready to prep for flight. Even if labelled "Ready-To-Fly," some RTF kits do require a minor amount of assembly, such as attaching a streamer or shock cord.

Beginner (Skill Level 1) kits are easy to build. They usually include pre-cut fins and simple-to-follow instructions and require no special skills to build or fly.

Experienced (Skill Level 2) kits are usually a little harder to build than Skill Level 1 kits. Sometimes they require that fins be cut from supplied stock. A Skill Level 2 kit may present new challenges to a beginner such as requiring shaping of fins or wings or flying on a larger motor.

Advanced (Skill Level 3) kits may include instructions which assume that the builder has experience building rockets and does not need as much explicit instruction. They often include features, such as paper shrouds, which require more skill to contruct.

Expert (Skill Level 4 and Up) are designed for experienced modelers and present the greatest challenges. Skill Level 4/5 kits are often scale models which require the builder to craft details and carefully mask areas to be painted.

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