Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mini Review of the Anigrand 1/72nd Scale 'Blue' Gemini

by Doug Jones

Build up of the Anigrand 1/72nd scale Gemini

To start this review I will assume that any readers of this blog will already have a rudimentary knowledge of Gemini spacecraft that flew in the 1960's. Nominclature used in the review will reflect that assumption. If the reader is unfamiliar with the 'workings' of a NASA Gemini I would refer you to http:// www.astronautix.com for a start.

Asian 'garage kit' Anigrand has been busy over the past 6 years producing some amazingly detailed aircraft, x-plane, and space-related kits. Taking a step up from typical garage-style vacu-formed products Anigrand has released some highly detailed resin space kits in recent years. One of the more recent additions is their 1/72nd scale 'Blue Gemini'.

Even from the box art it is clear this model is a NASA Gemini!

To date there has been quite a bit of information released on the proposed U.S. Air Force "Blue" Gemini and the Manned Orbiting (or Observation...) Laboratory. Below is a photo of the Gemini B or "Blue Gemini" the Air Force was set to utilize in the late 1960's.

Anigrand's Gemini does not fit the contours of the Gemini depicted in the above photo. Of note is the shorter "adapter" stage that has no RCS thruster packs.

As one can see my build-up of the Anigrand Gemini resembles the NASA version. Note the standard adapter section.

Now that we have established that the Anigrand Gemini is a NASA version, I do want to point out some of the pros and cons of this kit. Over-all the detail at 1/72 scale is phenomenal. The shingles on the re-entry module are finely detailed and fairly accurate. The one glaring inaccuracy are the "scalloped" window areas. It appears as though the designers of this kit used the venerable Revell injection incarnations of the Gemini as a template.
As far as the retro and adapter modules the folks as Anigrand seemed to have gotten those correctly.
The basic module parts

'Bays' for a "Ragolo-type" landing gear are molded into the re-entry module

The re-entry module has Ragolo-style landing gear bays molded into the surface. This gives the modeler an opportunity to depict a Gemini with landing skids.

Looking to the rear of the adapter module you can see from the photo below that Anigrand again chose to reflect the old Revell kit with an opened area to view the fuel cells and other "plumbing". NASA vehicles actually used thermal blanketing to cover the rear of the adapter module. At 1/72nd scale I felt that the detail was just too nice to cover with reflective thermal blankets (candy wrapper foil for modeling purposes!).

Rear unpainted view of the adapter module tanks

The rear after painting

What sets this kit apart from other solid resin spacecraft kits is the feature to have "clear" windows, positionable hatches, and a basic open cockpit.

The hatches were molded in clear resin to allow for realistic windows.

The cockpit is essentially bare of much detail. I ended up purchasing 1/72 jet aircraft photo-etched sets (at clearance prices!) at my local hobby shop to detail out the cockpit. There were also extra detailing that had to be made to the hatch. The astronaut figures came from the "obligatory" spares box.

The interior work-in-progress show. Note the PE panels.

A peek at the control panel

The Anigrand ejection seats are highly detailed and one of the more accurate parts of the kit. Each seat is molded in the proper contours of the real thing.

A close up of one of the Gemini ejection seats. This is about the size of a dime!

The decals for this kit reflected the U.S. Air Force version. Again this kit in reality depicts a NASA Gemini. I had to use white model railroad letter decals to add "United States" and use very tiny American flags.
The kit decal set....

In conclusion my Gemini makes into a nice display. The plus of having an interior overshadows the kits inaccuracies. At $38.00 plus S&H it is not too pricey for what you get. This kit does require one with slightly above-average skills to make the necessary minor corrections. To fully accurize this kit will require advance modeling skills.

I displayed my Anigrand Gemini with the RealSpace 1/72 Agena target vehicle. Overall it makes for an interesting piece.

The final product with an Agena docking target

Below is the link to Anigrand for more ordering information. I purchased my kit through Ebay.

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