SPACE: Review - Revell 1/110 Atlas Mercury Booster

Kit Review: Revell 1/110 scale Kit No. 85-1833; =93Everything is
Go!=94 (Atlas Booster with Mercury Capsule); 164 parts (163 in grey
styrene, 1 cloth patch); OOP but noted for re-release in 2012
Advantages: =93Diorama in a box=94 with ground support equipment and
numerous optional positions
Disadvantages: early 1960s kit somewhat generic and details soft due
to small scale
Rating: Recommended
Rating: for all fans of the early space races
In the early 1960s Revell was hitting its zenith and some of the
neatest models produced were their H-18xx missile series. Many of them
came with ground support equipment and even figures so they could
produce a nice =93set-up=94 or =93display=94 - nobody used the term =93dior=
ama=94
in those days. One of the most popular was their well-timed orbital
Mercury set that was released in 1962 to honor John Glenn=92s first
orbital mission.
The model came with a modified Atlas launch vehicle, a Mercury
capsule with astronaut, the mobile erector/transporter trailer with
bracket to attach it to the launcher, fuel and oxidizer trailers, a
truck tractor, and other ground support and test equipment. It all
centered on a large (about 15" long which was huge for the time)
launch position similar to those found at Cape Canaveral (but missing
the gantries we all soon noted on the actual launching pads used for
the missions).
This kit has been re-released several times over the years and this
particular version was re-released in 1998 to commemorate John Glenn=92s
return to space onboard one of the missions flown by the shuttle
Discovery. As such it adds a special =93collector=92s patch=94 (made in
Taiwan!) for that occasion, and the kit currently goes for $125 or so
on eBay or from kit collectors. (I got this one for $15 so =93prices may
vary=94.)
As it comes with a plethora of parts it is nice that for this re-
release Revell-Monogram used the original 1962 directions with only
minor changes to the painting directions and an update blurb on
Glenn=92s second space mission. But the original came in multiple colors
of plastic whereas the re-release is only in medium grey.
For some reason best known to their engineers Revell seems to have
preferred an odd scale of around 1/108 (1 inch equals 9 feet) for many
of their kits in this period such as this one and Atomic Power Plant
among others. As a result it becomes a stand-alone model as it is
incompatible with most other kits which were 1/48 or 1/96 (and the new
1/72 ones from DML).
The kit is somewhat better detailed than its contemporaries such as
the Monogram 1/128 US Missile Power set or their 1/192 space orbiter
launchers. The Atlas launcher consists of eight parts =96 rocket bells,
bulkhead, sides, fuel bleed pipe and adapter. The booster cannot be
separated from the main body. The capsule consists of another 10 parts
to include a Glenn figure but is so tiny there is minimal detailing,
and the only way you can see the figure is to leave the capsule body
separate. Detail on the escape tower is sketchy and the parts are
quite heavy.
The ground support equipment consists of a test stand, generic 10-
wheel truck tractor, =93gasoline=94 tanker trailer, liquid nitrogen
trailer, and the mobile erector/transporter trailer (called a =93booster
trailer=94 in the directions). The latter is rather complex (especially
for the early =9160s) and parts are of necessity somewhat heavy. Note
that this trailer was only for the unfueled missile and could not
support a fueled and ready missile.
The next few steps in the directions cover the loading ramp and
launcher pad base building assembly, which is also complex. There are
numerous platforms and ladder stages to be assembled and as many are
hard to reach the directions call out basic painting directions.
Finally it notes that there is a garage built into the pad as well as
other fittings for the fuel and oxidizer passthrough for loading and
fueling. Once the basic parts are completed there are numerous small
details to be added to include a traffic light shaped signaling light,
fire extinguishers, work benches, fire hose nozzles and stand pipes
(around the deflector and flame wash assembly) and other details.
The last step calls out final assembly, where a total of 12
subassemblies are snapped or placed together to complete the model.
Other than the astronaut figure no figures are provided with this
model.
A decal sheet is included with =93instrument panel=94 markings, stripes
for the ramp and launcher platform, fuel and flammable warnings, and
markings for =93Friendship 7", Glenn=92s capsule.
Overall this is another great nostalgia kit and at least a re-release
(probably in the $25-30 range this time out) at least avoids having to
pay kit collector prices.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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