Quick Looks

Manufacturer: Horizon Models
Name: Mercury Spacecraft
Scale: 1:72
Kit contents: 44 injection molded parts
28 photoetched parts
decals
instructions
Comments: I normally don't do a Quick Look at injection molded kits, but I'm making an exception for this one because I really like the way it's engineered to provide any version of the Mercury spacecraft: boilerplate, porthole or window version. You can also present the spacecraft in launch, on-orbit, or re-entry configuration. The kit contains enough parts to build two separate spacecraft. If you want to make your own heat-shield part (pretty easy to do), you could build two boilerplate versions AND two production versions. The boilerplate is molded as a single piece, while the production spacecraft is molded in three separate segments (like most other Mercury kits) with the window molded in place. The window isn't clear, which isn't a big problem as there is no interior for the kit and really no way to add one even if you wanted. Photoetched parts provide a cover for the window and two portholes to model the earlier porthole spacecraft. Photoetched parts also provide the destabilizing flap (for the on-orbit configuration), horizon sensors/covers, escape tower cabling, hatches and retropack strap. The injection molding is first-rate with very nice details. Two display stands are included in the kit. Decals provide all the markings, including retropack stripes and the Liberty Bell 'crack.' The instructions are printed on the bottom of the box and consist of several graphic assembly steps, detailing which parts to use for each configuration. Painting and decaling guides are also included with each step. My biggest quibble with the kit is the painting callout for the heat shield. The instructions say it's to be the same color as the capsule, but that's incorrect. For spacecraft with the beryllium heat shield (all porthole versions and Grissom's Liberty Bell), the heat shield should be silver. For spacecraft with the ablative heat shield (Big Joe and all of the orbital versions), the heat shield should be a dark brown. And, to really quibble, there is no periscope for the on-orbit configuration: you'll have to scratchbuild your own. Other than that, though, this is a pretty terrific little kit.
Order from: Horizon Models
PO Box 304
Drummoyne NSW 2047
Australia

web: http://www.horizon-models.com/
Price:
(as of 12/21/15)
$34.95

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Sven Knudson
IPMS#32490
sven@ninfinger.org