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Mike

Apollo 11 Spacecraft with Interior (03703) 1:32

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Apollo 11 Spacecraft with Interior (03703)

1:32 Revell

 

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There can't be many people that don't know about the Moon landings in the late 60s and early 70s, and the Saturn V rocket and its cargo the Apollo spacecraft are instantly recognised by most with even a shallow grasp of history.  It was an incredible feat of engineering, providing you don't believe that millions of people have all kept quiet about a conspiracy to fake it all for 50 years, achieved with such a tiny amount of computing power that you probably carry around many times more in your hip pocket these days.  Driven in part by Werner Von Braun, who had dreamt about flying to the moon since his childhood, NASA was given the go ahead by JFK in a rousing speech "to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard".  Incredibly, they were ready to fly men around the moon seven years after the start of the programme in 1968, after a false start due to the loss of the crew of Apollo 1 on the Launchpad in a horrific fire during training.

 

Apollo 7 to 10 were manned, and pushed the envelope incrementally each time, until Apollo 11, which was the first to attempt a moon landing, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin scheduled to make the descent, and the lesser known Michael Collins waiting for their return in the Command Module (CM), fully aware that he may have to make the return on his own if things went wrong.  They didn't, and on 20th July 1969 they touched down on the moon with many millions watching on TV, when Neil uttered those immortal words "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind".  When they lifted off from the moon after a walk on the surface and a brief rest period, they had to rendezvous with the CM, dock and transfer back to the cramped module, discard the Lunar Lander, and then make the journey back to Earth.  Upon reaching home, the cylindrical Service Module (SM) section was also discarded, leaving the Command Module the only part to return back to earth, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean after re-entry and a thorough roasting.

 

Following this mission were six more successful moon landings in various areas, until funding and public interest dried up, leaving Apollo 17 the last time man went to the moon.  There are currently plans to go back in the next several years, but we've been absent now for a lot longer than we were there.

 

 

The Kit

This is a special re-release of Revell's 1970s kit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and includes a set of four acrylic paints in little plastic pots, a small bottle of Revell Contacta Professional glue, and a #2 paintbrush, which had become a little dishevelled during transport due to the bag it was in.  Inside the top-opening box are five sprues of silver(ish) styrene, four in white styrene, and one in crystal clear plastic.  The paints and instructions are accompanied by a set of decals on a medium sized sheet. 

 

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First impressions are that this is a product of the times, but time has been good to the moulds, and because it is a full interior kit, the various internal parts of the model are all there, obviously in a somewhat simplified way, but certainly a good starting point if you're a detailer that is looking to build an accurate model.  New Ware have a number of sets that you would probably find very useful, but of course that increases the overall price, and that's entirely up to you and your wallet.  For the younger modeller that isn't so much bothered with painting, the colour of the parts is roughly broken down into their final colours, so it could be built that way, and for the folks in the middle that want to build what's in the box, there's enough to do a decent job, as can be seen by the picture on the front of the instruction booklet.

 

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Construction begins with the aft bulkhead of the crew compartment, which has a number of parts added around its perimeter, and some detail painting done before a rear panel is fitted to its underside and surrounded by a number of strengthening webs.  Then the cockpit panels are made up, with decals supplied for many of the faces, although there is no raised detail moulded in, so the decals are all the detail you have.  The three crew seats are mounted into a framework that suspends them out in front of the main instrument panels, and there are three crew figures, each a single part with different hand positioning to add a little variety.  Their heads are moulded as the glass domes they wore during the ascent stage, but as this is white plastic, the simple option is to paint them a light blue unless you want to go crazy and find some resin heads and vacform some clear domes for each one (New Ware also have a set for this).  The instructions would have you painting a black aperture as if they were wearing helmets, but that's not the case if you watch the videos of the real thing.  The crew seats and main IP are then fixed to the aft bulkhead in three places, and the docking ring assembly is built up from a partial ring (only part will be seen), plus the pointed docking mechanism, which is made up from seven parts plus an external ring.  This sits on top of the opaque section of the Command Module's conical skin, with the clear part added in, exposing the docking ring, and the rest of the crew compartment once it is added over the internals.

 

Moving onto the tubular body of the Service Module (SM), the segment that will be seen through the clear part is built up, comprising various tanks, bottles and equipment, with more detail painting to give it some life.  The top bulkhead where the conical CM attaches is a single part, as is the aft bulkhead, which has a small tapering tube attached inside before it is glued in place.  Now the external details can be added, starting with the communications array, which has four dishes on a mast, with receivers in the centre of each one.  Other small details are added around the exterior, including the four manoeuvring thruster packs, which have four individual bells and are mounted at 90o around the circumference.  The crew compartment also has some grab handles added, and the big engine bell is a single part that keys into the aft bulkhead at the rear of the SM, with the comms gear fitted nearby.  The CM fits to the SM  with three conical pins and can be left unglued if you want to separate them later.

 

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The final parts are a stand, which has a small silver-grey part that fits onto join between the CM and SM, and two large curved white parts to hold the model off the ground.  There is also a decal provided on the sheet that you fix to the large flat front.

 

 

Markings

Each Apollo mission had subtle differences, so Apollo 11 was unique from the others, with the decals called out on a five-view diagram on the back of the instruction booklet.  The decals were printed for Revell by Zannetti, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  While the interior decals add a little detail to the blank instrument panel areas, they're no substitute for raised or engraved detail, and are fairly simply printed, which may put off a few potential purchasers.  The exterior decals have the correct weirdly spaced A in the United States, plus a few of the stencils that are found around the spaceframe (?), with some large and small flags, and even a few tiny NASA meatballs for the crew's suits.

 

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Conclusion

It's a welcome re-release, and although time has moved along, there's definitely still a market for it amongst those that want a nice desktop model, as well as anyone that will use it as a jumping-off point for a highly accurate model.  When you see what can be done with it, and its finished size, it becomes quite tempting.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

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