Wanting something for home and not wanting to drag my 18" home after every use, I had looked for something in the 10" - 12" range. I finally settled on the 12" Apertura. It offered decent aperture at 12" and a lot of bang for the buck.
I ordered both accessory packages - The Tweaker's package and the Pre-installed setting circles with the telescope. This was on Sunday. I received the base first this afternoon. It had apparently gotten separated from the tube. I went ahead and assembled it with no issues and figured I would have the tube by tomorrow. I was wrong. The truck pulled up a couple of hours later and dropped off the tube so it was off to the races.
Between the two, I don't think I had but around 90 minutes in assembly time. The base and tube were both in excellent condition with no scratches, dings, scraps, etc. Collimation went smoothly but I need to shim the focuser some.
The Tweaker's package includes flocking. Did I say it was black? I've never seen the inside of any telescope that looked as black as the inside of this tube. Until you actually see it, you can't really imagine how dark it is inside the tube. The edges were smooth and overall looked great.
I originally set the balance up a little heavy in the front. I removed the tube from the base, adjusted the mounting system and tried again. All the eyepieces seem to hold the balance now with now problem. I still need to mount a Rigel Quickfinder but they're light and I don't see a problem.
I was surprised at how smooth the motions were in both axis. However, the tube takes a second or two to settle down after a focus adjustment. I'm not used to that.
First light on the day I received the telescope. How's that for luck? I used the compass and set the base towards north with the azimuth zero'ed out and pointing west. I used Vega as my alignment star and set the base to the proper degree. Using Sky Safari Pro on a tablet by the way. First DSO was M57. I popped in a 17mm Astro-Tech and took a peek. Lo' and behold, there it was and looking good in spite of the moon tonight. Hey, this system works pretty good so I looked at M13. Not too shabby I thought. Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see if I could split the Double-Double. Exchanged the 17mm for an 8mm Delos and swung it over. My, my, I could just split both of them. Well the moon was out and I just wanted to give this a shakedown so I packed it all in.
A couple of Items
1. I mentioned the focuser, I couldn't get the secondary to line up exactly right. So in a couple of days, I'm going to take all that apart and do a proper alignment between the tube, focuser and secondary.
2. The digital level that's included is light on the batteries. I was putting this thing away and noticed it sliding down the tube.
3. I didn't order the leveling feet. I didn't like the looks of them and thought that wobble might be an issue. What I am going to do is build my own from hockey pucks. They're three inches or so across versus the inch and a half of the factory leveling feet. I've done this before on another telescope and it worked out really well. However, I bought the practice pucks. They're made of hard rubber - just right for my purpose. Getting the telescope level will increase the accuracy of the setting circles.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. I can wheel it out during the week without a lot of fuss, observe for a couple of hours and call it a night. Plus with the aperture I can beat the light pollution in my semi-urban back yard and get my fill of DSO's and some double stars.