Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Friday, February 13, 2009

The History of Manned Spacecraft in 1/72nd Scale
Part One: American Spacecraft
Doug Jones, OVSMA#1

It wasn't until the 1990's that the real space modeler did not have the option to build an entire collection of manned spacecraft in one particular scale. Thanks to cottage industry model companies such as RealSpace Models, New Ware, and Fantastic Plastic those of us who love building factual spacecraft now have the option to construct the entire history of spaceflight in a constant scale. Albeit we are presently limited to 1/72 scale I have high hopes that sometime in the near future options larger scales of a complete collection of manned spacecraft can be realized!

I began about five years ago collecting 1/72 spacecraft kits and am continually adding as new kits become available. Glenn Johnson's RealSpace Models out of Tallahassee, Florida is the perfect company to start off my collection http://www.realspacemodels.com/. RealSpace offers kits of every flown manned spacecraft (with the exception of the space shuttle) in 1/72nd scale. I started with the RealSpace Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo set.

The RealSpace Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo set.

Other than some tricky work with the photo-etched parts the kits are rather straight-forward to build.

The tiny Mercury Spacecraft with astronaut figure.

Another view with a quarter for size comparison.

The Gemini with the correct window 'scalloping'!

The Apollo CSM with the Airfix Lunar Module

I also included a couple of rocket-planes in my collection. Although Chuck Yeager's X-1 never left Earth's atmosphere it was the "granddaddy" of the modern space shuttle. This is an injection kit by Hobby Craft.

Hobby Craft's detailed X-1 injection kit.

The X-plane that did on occasion enter the realms of space would be the pioneering X-15 rocket plane. The kit below is the Monogram X-15-2A a very nice injection kit.

A close-up of the pilot figure for the Monogram X-15-2A

A top view of the same kit.

The final x-plane in my collection is a scratch-built X-24 Dyna-Soar. This one is a factual concept spaceplane that was under consideration by the U.S. Air Force in the early 1960's

The X-24 Space Plane

The largest model in my 1/72 scale spacecraft collection is the Monogram space shuttle with several after-market products. The cargo bay is by RealSpace Models, SSME's are Cutting Edge 1/72, and the decals are Cutting Edge shuttle tiles and markings.

The Monogram Shuttle with the RealSpace cargo bay upgrade.

Close-up of the windows. The RealSpace kit came with a P.E. window-frame!

A view of the cargo door radiators- RealSpace

A closer look into the cargo bay. The bulkhead is a highly detailed resin part from the RealSpace kit

A view of the resin Cutting Edge SSME's

In looking to the future the next model is a Crew Exploration Vehicle pre-2006 concept by Lockheed. The re-entry module is by Scott Lowther and service and propulsion modules are kitbashed.

An early Lockheed CEV concept as it appeared in Popular Mechanics Magazine.

From concept to design development the next kit is by Fantastic Plastic of the Orion 606.

The Fantastic Plastic Orion 606.

Below is a photo from a 2005 local model show featuring part of this collection. It is quite interesting to see all these spacecraft in a constant scale for references to their size in relation to one another.

In my next installment I will feature Russian and Chinese kits in 1/72nd scale!

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