I didn't achieve my goal of finishing this build before the New Year, however, it is now pretty much done. Rather than buying some gloss white paint, I opted for a couple of clear gloss coats over the flat white primer. I didn't do this to save the money for the paint but the short painting windows that materialized didn't allow for a run to the store. This method seems to work out well enough considering my low standards.
The kit came with a lot of decals, including the 'Rocket Babe' set. The decals are high quality. That is, they didn't require pre-treatment and none of them broke as I tried to apply them. Even though the instructions say the decals do not need to be coated, I decided to do so. Here is where I ran into a problem. When I shot the Rustoleum Painters Touch clear coat onto the decalled nose cone, it left the black 'DSSF' insignia cloudy (think gray instead of black) and dissolved one small decal, leaving the pieces skewed. I will leave the theorizing to the reader but will point out that the temperature was in the low 40's and I shot pretty close to the cone as it was a little windy. For the body, I opted for Pledge Future Shine, which worked just fine.
I had mentioned that I added lead shot into the provided clay nose weight to account for the Estes retainer. The resulting CG did not agree with the RockSim that I found on rocketreviews.com but I decided that there was plenty of margin from the CP provided by that model. There is only one way to tell for sure :) I guess the maiden flight will be on a D12 and I'll go from there.