SPACE: Review - AMT 1/200 scale Man in Space Set (5 Manned Rockets)

Kit Review: AMT (Round2Models) 1/200 scale kit No. AMT700-06; Man in Space =
- Saturn V Rocket and Apollo Space Craft: 5 Complete NASA Rocket Kits; 162 =
parts (151 in white plastic, 11 cardboard base section parts); price around=
Advantages: nice re-release time to match the 50th Anniversary of the John =
Glenn mission
Disadvantages: somewhat off scale, compromises made for =93working=94 featu=
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all US space buffs
This year has seen a number of re-releases of space kits which were very p=
opular in the mid to late 1960s and tracked the development of the US Space=
Program. The latest to be released is a verbatim 2011 re-release of the AM=
T Models =93Man in Space=94 kit which combined same scale kits of the first=
five American projects: Mercury/Redstone, Mercury/Atlas, Gemini/Titan, Apo=
llo/Saturn IB, and the Apollo/Saturn V which went to the Moon.=20
AMT was best known for those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s as t=
he best manufacturer of 1/25 scale car kits - updated every fall when the n=
ew models came out - and an evolutionary company who added details like eng=
ines and chassis parts as modelers became more sophisticated. They also dab=
bled in other genres but were not as successful (their 1/48 aircraft kits r=
arely rate better than plain awful in kit collectors=92 guides).=20
But this kit was different =96 not a fantasy kit like their enduringly pop=
ular =93Star Trek=94 kits but a real attempt at modeling the =93Big Five=94=
Due to the scale the models were by necessity simple: there are only six p=
arts to the Mercury Redstone model as a point of fact. They also were desig=
ned to =93stage=94 so that the builder could envisage how they got into spa=
ce and what they delivered once there. As a result, many of the sections we=
re dry-fitted together to ensure separation.=20
The Mercury Redstone has a separate capsule but the escape tower (one piec=
e and solid to boot) is fixed to the capsule.=20
The Mercury Atlas has an identical separating capsule but the first stage =
(booster engines) of the Atlas are fixed and do not separate.=20
The Gemini Titan II has two separating stages with all rocket engines and =
a separating capsule with adapter section. Note that the directions are not=
real clear about what cements to what and what is not cemented!=20
The Apollo Saturn IB has separating first and second (S-IVB) stages as wel=
l as a LEM housing, adapters, and the Apollo capsule, which can be opened t=
o show the three astronauts in position. The escape system is apparently re=
movable to permit =93docking=94 with the LEM assembly.=20
The Apollo Saturn V uses the same capsule and LEM assembly with separating=
first, second and third stages.=20
None of the missiles have any support or display bases per se, as the fold=
ing cardboard =93launching pad=94 with gantry is to provide the base for th=
Finishing directions are rather, um, sparse... A large sheet of decals is =
provided but little else. Painting is apparently accomplished by monkey-see=
-monkey-do from the box art. As all of the missiles are basically a combina=
tion of black, white and silver masking is a skill the modeler must have to=
successfully complete the task of making them look accurate.=20
A nice display can be built from this kit with some work; one chap combine=
d it with a 1/200 scale Space Shuttle from Hasegawa for a theme entry at th=
e 2012 IPMS USA National Convention and it was a striking model.=20
Overall, if one accepts the fact this is a 40+ year old kit and was design=
ed more for science teachers than scale modelers it is a fun kit and brings=
back many memories!=20
Cookie Sewell
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One major disadvantage is that the Apollo CSMs are the Block 1 version which never flew a manned flight. You need to sand off the incorrect radiator corrugations and carefully build the Block 2 radiators instead, and move the electrical umbillical housing to the other side of the spacecraft. If you make a proper umbillical, you won't be able to separate the Command and Service modules.
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