Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Von Braun's Designs for Disney's 'Man in Space': part three

1/300 Scale Atomic Space Station

In part three the 1958 Strombecker/Glencoe issue of the Disney Atomic Space Station will be featured as seen in the 1955 Disney's 'Man is Space' series.
In part two of the Disney 'Man in Space' series "To the Moon" the RM Lunar Reconnaissance rocket left Earth parking orbit from a giant atomic powered space station. This station was essentially a wheel with three spokes and dozens of coolant lines connecting to a central hub.

The station was designed from concepts created by Werner Von Braun who also appeared in the series. Von Braun had a talent for explaining complex rocket technology in a way that the average person could easily understand. The 'Man in Space' version was an update on the von Braun space station that appeared in Collier's  magazine. It featured three spokes for extra stability, a core-mounted nuclear reactor for power and coolant lines/spokes to bleed excess heat off into space.  Attached to the rim of the station were one-man "Bottle Suits" allowed astronauts to engage in extra-vehicular activities.
Von Braun appearing in the 1955 'Man in Space' series with a large model of the atomic space station.
 Strombecker/Glencoe 1/300 scale Space Station kit
The original 1958 Strombecker space station kit.

In 1958 the Stombecker company issued its Space Station kit along with its other 'Man in Space' subjects. Sadly it never saw a re-issue until Nick Argento of Glencoe Models rescued the original molds and re-issued it in mid-1990's. 

One of the top modeling experts in early space concepts Lee Staton who lives here locally, wrote the following in Hobbytalk regarding the Glencoe re-issue :

It's really cool to see and read about what others have done with this classic kit. I was so happy that Nick Argento at Glencoe rehabbed the molds and went ahead. I was lucky enough to be one of several hobbyists he phoned and sent test shots to for advice on whether the molds were too bad for a reissue. Of course, all of us said NO! The unbuilt original was going for upwards of $400 if you could find one, so getting it for $10 was heavenly. Who cared about a little sanding??? (I can do quite a lot for the $390 I saved!)

The Glencoe re-issue of the Nuclear Powered Space Station

Needless to say most of us who grew up with these designs and kits are thankful to Nick Argento and Glencoe for bringing back this old kit!

The 1/300 Glencoe Nuclear Powered Space Station 
Below are a few photos of my space station kit. The coolant lines were made from brass hobby wire and meticulously attached to the wheel and hub. 

Matt Irving's book 'Creating Space' contains a nice section on this and other Disney/Strombecker models!

There is a nice article at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center regarding Von Braun's involvement with the Disney 'Man in Space' series here- Marshall Spaceflight Center Disney/Von Braun Article

Hobby News
In hobby news- Monarch Models is coming close to an early 2014 kit relearse of the 'Moon Suit'. It is being advertised as being at 1/8 scale and is based an an early NASA lunar suit concept.
Pegasus Models will be issuing several space-related subjects by 2014. One of the more interesting subjects is the Luna rocket from the 1950 film 'Destination Moon'. It is my understanding that the kit will be sold in two different scales!

Finally, I highly recommend seeing the new movie 'Gravity'. See in IMAX 3D if possible!
In spite of some inaccuracies in orbital mechanics the film is among one of the finest space subject films made!


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