SPACE: Review - Revell 1/48 Mercury/Gemini

Kit Review: Revell 1/48 scale Kit No. H-1834; Mercury/Gemini; 138 parts (137 in grey styrene, 1 clear acetate); price - currently OOP
but an early 2012 re-release
Advantages: nice, simple, accurate models of the two seminal American spacecraft
Disadvantages: molds date from the 1960s
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all American space fans
    As I recently noted, I was a big fan of the US Space Program in the 1960s as it inspired me and many other kids as to what we and our country could do when we got together. In 1964 I went into a drug store to pick up a magazine and found the original version of this kit sitting on their shelves (models were far more common in the 1960s than they are today) for $1.29.
    This was one of the most detailed kits to come out on spacecraft in the mid 1960s and a really fascinating model as it also came with a booklet about the Mercury and Gemini programs. As both programs were relatively mature (Mercury was over and Gemini just starting) Revell got top-notch cooperation on both of the spacecraft kits in the box and even got some things that were never used, such as the landing gear for the Gemini capsule (that was supposed to use a type of parachute that looked like a big paper airplane and land on the ground, not water).
    I picked up this re-release in 1996 and have held on to it for 15 years, but now Revell is preparing to re-release it once again this spring or summer. Alas, they no longer add the little booklet, but at least in its 1996 version they DID keep the original directions. These cover detailed assembly and painting directions as well as call out the names of each of the components, which is a good thing with the relatively complex Gemini capsule.
    Both spacecraft come complete in their launch configurations with the escape tower and rocket motors in place on the Mercury, as well as both their retro rocket assemblies. While the Mercury capsule comes with a loose-fitting hatch, those of the Gemini are hinged (as in real life, as the Gemini capsules were used for the first US space walks and the astronauts had to get out and in again).
    Both spacecraft come with a short stand using a modified version of the famous Revelling Ball mount which Revell offered on its aircraft kit for many years. But these are grey plastic and only about two inches high.
    As none of the Gemini missions had flown before the kit was released, it only comes with generic UNITED STATES and flag markings. The Mercury capsule comes with markings for Freedom 7", Liberty Bell 7", Friendship 7", Aurora 7" and Sigma 7".
    Overall, now that Revell has re-released the Apollo Lunar Spacecraft kit (85-5090) in this same scale, modelers can now put the first three American spacecraft projects together in one display.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

If you believe Glenn Johnson, neither of those two kits is actually very accurate: http://www.realspacemodels.com/html/48merpg.html http://www.realspacemodels.com/html/48gempg.html
And with the Appolo being the Block I that never flew, once again Revell denies us the chance of modern, tuly accurate 1/48 kits of these spacecraft ever being released.
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On Jan 14, 12:16am, <Jessie_C> wrote:

Other than the thermal shroud for the Gemini most modelers probably couldn't tell the difference in the upgrades or not.
But re-pops rarely change anything in the molds, and here only the directions have been changed (and not for the better).
I have often stated (at peril considering the snarls I get back) there are kit builders and there are modelers. Nothing wrong with being one or the other, but the former accept the kits as they are and build them.
Cookie Sewell
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

There's nothing wrong with that, it's just that Revell threw away a priceless opportunity to produce truly modern versions. Did the world really need a fantastically detailed but ultimately inaccurate Lancaster? Revell gave us one anyway. Does the world really need another B-17? Revell gave us one anyway.
Revell (especially Revell Germany) is being incredibly adventurous and ludicrously conservative at the same time. The same people who gave us the 1/32 Ju-88 and He-111 are giving us warmed-over space kits from 45 years ago. You really have to wonder if their Executive Decision Generator is a dart board...
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. The same people who gave us the 1/32

If they really want to do some warmed over stuff from 45 years ago - why not the XSL and the Space Station kits.They're both concept kits - so as accurate now as then. The Buzz Aldren kits seem to be targeting the young modelers who aren't that particular. I can remember two series back in the 80s. If the roket kit molds were in good shape - part of history makers, If the molds were shot - Young Astronaut series.
Now let's look at executive decisions - back in the late 60s Revell did a much anticipated Dolittle Raid B-25. It was cheap - and horrible. Tamiya did a Lanc (same scale) It was expensive and a work of art. When the llocal hobby shop owner asked the Revell rep why they couldn't have done the same - The answer - the cheap crappy kit fit their marketing. The Lancs sold like crazy - even the 5 & 10 had trouble selling the B-25.
Val Kraut
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Agreed, I always like the XSL-01 (which made it to a TV show - "Man in Space" or something like that starring William Lundigan) but as noted Revell said the Space Station molds were either lost or broken by Lodela. Sigh.
Cookie Sewell
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On Saturday, January 14, 2012 10:08:52 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

According to what I was told, the only molds lost were the ones for the clear plastic portholes and stand. The real reason that Revell isn't interested in renewing the kit is because when they did anything in the History Makers or whatever, the spacecraft stuff didn't sell enough to make a substantial profit. And profit IS the bottom line. Just because a few old farts like us want a particular kit (and I do want it, I do!), if they can't guarentee selling a couple of hundred thousand units, they won't make it. That being said, Fantastic Plastic has made a 1:72 (as opposed to the 1:96 original) XSL-01 with the full stack.
Regards, John Braungart
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"According to what I was told, the only molds lost were the ones for the clear plastic portholes and stand. The real reason that Revell isn't interested in renewing the kit is because when they did anything in the History Makers or whatever, the spacecraft stuff didn't sell enough to make a substantial profit. And profit IS the bottom line. Just because a few old farts like us want a particular kit (and I do want it, I do!), if they can't guarentee selling a couple of hundred thousand units, they won't make it. That being said, Fantastic Plastic has made a 1:72 (as opposed to the 1:96 original) XSL-01 with the full stack."
Regards, John Braungart
I've heard the same from folks who were trying to push Revell into a new release over the years. Sales is really what it's all about and I have to believe the Buzz Aldren hype is worth more than the kit subject or quality, although in a more perfect world, a space hero would have wanted the kids to get an accurate model and used some influence to get the molds corrected. Although when I think about all the crap my heros in the space patrol etc. got me to buy for 25 cents and a box top, not to mention having to eat the box top product for breakfast, maybe things haven't changed that much.
The same seems true in the military vehicles - mainly Renwal re-pops - they're concentrating on things with movings parts, working suspensions etc all at the expense of accurate detail.
On a positive note - the Fantastic plastic ship, plus some plastruct beams amd hopefully available plastic pipe - four after market Saturn engines - and you could have a great 1/72 model or diorama with vehicles and ground crew.
Val Kraut
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crystal ball with a budget committe.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

amen cookie!
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Block I didn't fly to the moon - it was designed for Earth Orbital Development test of the CSM. - But they did fly during the early tests.
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But never manned. Apollo 1 would have been a manned Block I flight but of course it never got off the ground.
--
Gordon Davie
Edinburgh, Scotland
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Val Kraut wrote the following:

Block, I didn't fly to the moon either! Who is Block? Sorry, I couldn't help it. It was just there and I couldn't let it slip by. :-)
- it was designed for Earth Orbital

--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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