Extra-Vehicular Activity Models
1/32 Astronaut Figure Kits

Space shuttle EVA Now, I've always considered myself more of a 'hardware' modeler, but the new 1/32 scale resin astronaut figure kits by Extra-Vehicular Activity Models are truly keen. And, after all, spacesuits are 'hardware,' right? Anyway, Chris Chulamanis has produced these nicely detailed 1/32 scale resin kits of astronauts, both factual and fictional. The subjects include Apollo moonwalkers (and golfers!), Space Shuttle spacewalkers, and future space explorers. Now, I usually think of figures this size (about 2 1/4 inches tall) as supplements to kits, but these are quite capable of standing on their own... in fact, these kits are so nifty, that I built up a couple to take to the 1996 Nats in Virginia Beach. Not that I had any hopes of taking a prize (I didn't), but these are the first kits that I've finished since 1989! So I might as well show them off...


Golf shot
I used to watch every minute of every moonwalk that the networks televised during Apollo... so of course I remember the little surprise that Alan Shepard pulled at the end of the second moonwalk on Apollo XIV: golf! Unfortunately, the only images we have of this historic event are from the television camera... and those images are crummy at best. However, you can recreate this moment with Kit partskit #EVA005: Alan Shepard's Surprise Moon Shot. This kit has 7 resin, 1 steel, and 1 copper parts, decals, instructions, and a transcript of the golfing event taken from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. With the exception of the base, all of the resin parts are attached to a rectangular block of resin that serve as the carriers. These need to be removed: I used a razor saw and cut the parts off with ease. Then I cleaned up the stubs with files and sandpaper. The resin is soft and easily cut: be careful not to remove too much. I also had to remove a thin layer of 'flash' between the legs of the figure. Again, this cleaned up easily with an X-acto knife and sandpaper. I can't emphasize the quality of these castings enough! There aren't any major and very few minor pinholes in the resin. The instructions make it clear that the parts are designed to fit together in only one way: if they don't fit, you haven't removed enough of the carrier. Well, the instructions are correct as I found out quickly enough. As with all kits, you should test-fit the parts, especially when removing the carriers. In addition to the golf shot kit, I also started work on the Kit partsKevin Yeager, Back to the Moon #1 kit. This kit is of a fictional moonwalker in an early Apollo style suit. Unlike the Alan Shepard golfing figure, this figure is photographing a boulder with a Hasselblad camera. Like the Shepard figure, the Yeager figure consists of 7 resin pieces on rectangular carriers, a circular base, and a bit of steel wire for the PLSS antenna. Decals are provided so that you won't have to paint on the red stripes that were used to distinguish the commanders after Apollo XII. The instructions make it clear to trim the decals close to the red, since they are all connected by the carrier film. The blue flag field on the US flag decals is a bit off-register (the flag decals in the Shepard kit also suffer from this), but that can be fixed by cutting it out and applying it separately from the red and white bars.

Kit parts Just check out the detail in the camera for the Kevin Yeager figure. This part is as small as my little fingernail!

The instructions recommend gluing the parts together with superglue, so that's what I used. I glued the left arm on the Shepard figure, then had a devil of a time getting the right hand attached Kit parts correctly... until I discovered that the outside edges of the hand were supposed to overlap the arm. So I hollowed out the hand a bit and then the parts fit nicely. After test-fitting the Yeager arms onto the body, I decided to wait until the parts were painted before attaching the arms for that kit. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to paint the details on the front of the spacesuit. The instructions recommend using white glue to mask off areas that will be glued later. Kit parts I did this and also used white glue to attach all of the parts to popsicle sticks to provide handles while painting, another useful tip from the instructions. The only thing the instructions don't mention is to scrub the parts before painting. Chris says he doesn't use any mold releasing agent, but I think it's always a good idea to scrub parts before painting: if for no other reason than to wash off greasy fingerprints. I've given the parts an initial coat of Krylon white sandable primer, followed by two coats of Polly-S flat white applied with a brush. I then applied a very thin gray wash overall (since the moonsuits got filthy), followed by a black wash along the folds, creases, and suit hoses. After this I added bits of color detail to the hose fittings, suit fasteners, and other hardware bits. The instructions say to paint the visor black, but I painted them with gloss black and rubbed in SNJ gold metal powder. The results are rather promising, but would probably look better if the visor area had been polished smooth. I used gray and black pastels to dirty up the lower legs and feet of the figures, since (as I've said before) these guys got dirty. When everything was done, I epoxied the bases to the walnut display bases, put the dome in place, and stood back and admired my work. Not bad for someone who hasn't finished anything in this decade...

The finished Alan Shepard golf shot
Finished golf shot
The finished Kevin Yeager
Finished Back to the Moon

Shepard and flag Alan Shepard makes another appearance with the US flag in kit #EVA002. kit parts This kit includes a large decal to use as the flag, and a steel wire to serve as the flagpole. And like the two kits described above, it has a circular resin base on which to mount the finished figure. This kit has Shepard standing at attention and saluting the flag.

Again, you can see the detail in the parts. As in the other kits, I removed the carrier bits, test-fitting the parts together until I was satisfied with the fit. Then I used white glue to glue the pieces to popsicle sticks after giving the parts a thorough scrubbing to remove my greasy fingerprints. kit parts I also used white glue as a masking agent to mask off those areas that will be glued together, avoiding the chore of scraping the paint off later. I have sprayed on a coat of primer and will continue painting the parts as time goes on. I'll update this section and include photos of the completed kit whenever it's done.

Spacewalkers and others

Other kits in the EVA Models line include Bruce McCandless and the Manned Maneuvering Unit that was tested on STS-41B and then used several times in subsequent flights to rescue and repair satellites. In fact, one might think about combining this kit with a 1/32 scale scratch-build Solar Max satellite... The kit includes the TV camera and helmet lights used on the initial test flight, along with decals to depict McCandless's test flight MMU. I haven't started this kit, but I have received the new parts.

Bruce McCandless and MMU parts

Space miner parts Fictional spacesuited figures make their appearances with the Space Miner and Scout Dog and the Astronaut Geologist kits. The detail on these kits is again top-notch. I don't know what Chris used for inspiration on the Space Miner, but the suit reminds me of the spacesuits in the original Alien movie. And those suits were based on Japanese samurai armor. Hey, whatever works. Space miner parts As you can see from the photos, the detail is quite astounding. And the beauty of these fictional kits is that you can paint them any way you want! And, just as a side note, the dog is lifting his front leg (as if pointing or shaking hands)... not his hind leg! Which brings to mind, "How would a dog react to being in a spacesuit?"

There are fewer parts to these kits: there's a drill (I think) that will be glued to a location just below the miner's left hand, and the tail for the dog. Each suit also has a small wire to represent an antenna. After cutting the carrier pieces off (including the base for the miner's feet) I glued the dog's tail onto the rear of his suit and glued all parts to popsicle sticks for painting. They've been primed and have had their primary color coats airbrushed on. Next will be the detailing and weathering.

Geologist kit parts Geologist kit parts The astronaut geologist parts include the helmet, main body, a right arm, a wire for the antenna, and a bit of vinyl tubing to represent a control handle for the jet pack. This model depicts the geologist jetting around an asteroid (so I imagine) while performing his survey (for the miner to exploit later...). Removing the carrier from the helmet and the main body requires that you sand the resulting surfaces flat. At first I didn't remove enough carrier, so the poor guy looked like a pencil-necked geek. So I just kept sanding until the helmet looked right to me... your results may vary. I attached the helmet and arm to the main body with gap-filling superglue and drilled out one of the jets on the backpack. I used white glue to glue a bent straight pin into the hole and then glued the pin to a stick for a painting handle. It has been primed and is also awaiting final detailing. Like the miner and dog, I've had some fun with the colors... after all, you'd expect the suits to be brightly colored to help any possible rescuers. Watch this space for the final results.

Display dome EVA Models also sells nice little display domes to keep your completed model free from dust. While dust might add a bit of realism to the moonwalkers, it tends to be rather indiscriminant about where it lands... These domes have an walnut base (with felt pads on the bottom, so your shelf won't get scratched) and a glass (not plastic) dome. The bases for the Alan Shepard and Kevin Yeager kits fit very nicely on the base: almost like they were designed that way! Since the other kits don't have a resin base, you'll have to come up with one, or just glue the figure to the oak base if you choose to do so.
Golf shot in the dome
Golf shot in dome
Yeager in the dome
Yeager in dome

The kits:

Bruce McCandless & MMU
Apollo XIV, Alan Shepard
Space Miner & Scout Dog
Astronaut Geologist
Shepard's Surprise Moon Shot
Kevin Yeager, Back to the Moon #1

Where to get 'em

Sadly, Chris Chulamanis passed away suddenly in early 2008, so these kits are no longer available as far as I know.

JSC photo archive

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Sven Knudson