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Moonraker Space Shuttle Gift Set (05665) 1:144


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Moonraker Space Shuttle Gift Set (05665)

James Bond 007 Moonraker – Roger Moore

1:144 Carrera Revell

 

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After the success of Star Wars (where’s he going with this?), the Sci-Fi themed Moonraker was bumped up the schedule of Bond films to ride the huge wave of Science Fiction movies that followed during the next decade.  Released in 1979, and after a slow start it went on to be the most successful 007 film until 1995’s Goldeneye.  The film’s premise was based upon the fictional manufacturer of the Space Shuttle, Drax Industries pinching a shuttle whilst it was on loan to the British to give 007 the impetus to go gallivanting around the world and beyond to track down the shuttle, then upon finding out that Hugo Drax intended to kill almost everyone on earth to start his master race in the rubble, shipping the intended progenitors to his space station on a fleet of Space Shuttles that he had built in secret.  Why did he need to steal one?  Because one of his developed a serious fault during production, of course!  Mr Bond and his new friend Miss Goodhead end up closely escaping incineration and take the last of the fleet of shuttles up to the space station, causing chaos when they get there, switching off the cloaking device that resulted in the US Marines coming up in their own shuttle that just happened to be ready in order to engage in a massive laser fight in their space suits outside the station.  The station was destroyed along with the poisonous chemical that was intended to kill everyone, although Drax escaped into custody, whilst Mr Bond took possession of Moonraker 5, getting caught up to his usual tricks when M called to congratulate him on a successful mission, even though he’d spent most of the film being captured and lurching from one disaster to another, including a boat race through Venice.

 

The Moonraker Shuttles were simply re-badged NASA Space Shuttle models, and although the shuttle had yet to leave the earth’s atmosphere, its design had already been established, and Enterprise had been seen since in publicity during the mid-70s.  The Shuttle needs little in the way of introduction, flying from 1981 to 2011, carrying out 135 missions, but with two sad losses.  The Challenger exploding during lift-off due to faulty O-rings on the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), the Columbia being lost due to damage to its wing leading edge on lift-off, that led to its break-up on return to earth during the difficult re-entry phase, bringing two painful reminders that human space exploration is a dangerous exploit.  All crew members were lost in both instances, and will never be forgotten.

 

 

The Kit

The kit originated in 1978, and the initial boxing shows the simplified layout of the heat-resistant black tiles that it uses to deflect the hot plasma of re-entry.  It was reboxed in 1979 as a Moonraker edition with Roger Moore in a silver space suit prominently on the cover, and has been reboxed numerous times in the intervening decades as the NASA shuttle.  The kit arrives in a modest end-opening box, and inside are four sprues of white styrene, a clear sprue, two sheets of decals, and the instruction booklet that is printed in colour, with profiles for painting and decaling on the rear pages.  There is also an A3 poster inside the booklet, a thumbnail of which can be seen on the box top, plus a set of six thumb-pots of acrylic paint, a 12.5ml bottle of Contacta Professional glue with needle applicator, and a #2 paintbrush.  Detail is as you would expect from a kit of this age, and you must bear in mind that it was designed and tooled before the operational shuttles were built and flown, so there may be some minor issues with shape and detail when compared to an operational shuttle, but as the film was made in 1978 for release the next year, it should be close.  Where this kit benefits from previous incarnations is in the decals, which includes a full sheet of decals that depict the heat-resistant tiles on the underside, which although they started life as a black shade, they gradually weathered out to a chalky grey, and newer replacement tiles appeared much darker by comparison.

 

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Construction begins by putting together the two layers of the rear-mounted elevator, then trapping it between the two fuselage halves, which also traps the clear windscreen, and if you are mounting it on the supplied base, a slot in the floor of the model will need to be opened, clearing the flash from the pre-formed shape.  Bulkheads are installed at each end of the payload bay, sliding a faceted interior into position, locating on raised guides moulded into the bulkheads.  If you are posing the bay doors open, there is a generic payload package supplied that consists of an equipment palette, a cylindrical laboratory, a telescope unit in a suspension frame, and an airlock that permits translation from the crew compartment into the pressurised lab.  This is mounted on a base and installed in the floor of the payload bay before the bay doors are made.  The outer doors are each single parts, with a two-part interior layer to depict the solar panels that are used to produce additional power to supplement the batteries once the bay is opened.  They can be flex-fitted into the bays, but if you wish to portray a more accurate rendition of the Moonraker, the doors could be glued closed to give a flush finish, which can be seen on the filming miniatures along with a substantial amount of shading of the panel edges that seems to have been applied all over the ship.

 

The Orbital Manoeuvring System hardware is enclosed in a large cowling on either side of the fin, adding a small part to the overhanging end, and creating the Reaction Control System nozzles on an additional fairing that is made from two parts and is mounted on the rear of the OMS fairing.  The OMS nozzles are made from two halves each, and are installed at the rear of the cowlings, fitting the main engine nozzles on the rear bulkhead on keyed notches, detail painting the RCS nozzles to add depth to the assembly.  Each wing is made from top and bottom halves, and these fit into fairings at the bottom of the fuselage halves, with the outlines of the white insulation blankets depicted as raised lines in the central portion where tiles weren’t needed or practical.  Inverting the model shows three shallow gear bay depressions, which you can either cover with closed bay doors for in-flight, trimming them to improve fit, but if you intend posing your model in landing configuration, the nose gear is inserted into a hole in the rear of the bay, adding a retraction jack to the front, and fixing twin wheels to the stub axle at the bottom.  The bay door is cut in half and glued one half to each side of the bay.  The main gear legs are similarly constructed, but with a different shaped leg, and the bay doors are fitted to the outer edge of the bay without cutting.  The last option other than mounting the model on the stand is to install the three-part Canadarm to the side of the payload bay, and an optional spaceman on a long tether than can jiggle around supported by the tether as if he is floating in space.

 

If you elected to open the slot under the belly and close the bay doors, the two-part clear stand can be used for an in-flight/space option, and the base has a simplified earth engraved into it that you can paint blue and green to give the impression of the model being in a very high orbit if you squint.  If you forgot to open the slot, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see it, as our sample had the flashing almost disappear due to the age of the tooling.  If you don’t wish to use the stand, a piece of scrap styrene sheet glued to the inner face of the hole and a little filler will soon sort that out.

 

 

Markings

There were six Moonraker shuttles in the film, numbered 1 to 6, with No.5 being the laser-equipped ship that destroyed the poison-filled globes near the end of the film.  You can depict any of the shuttles, thanks to the additional tail numbers included on the decal sheet.

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  Most of the tile decals are provided on a separate sheet from the colourful orange-themed Drax Industries branding, and those for the underside are a variety of grey shades with only a few replacement tiles in black.  Those on the upper surface of the elevator and the nose sides around the forward RCS control nozzles are printed in black however, and the contrast with the underside decals that cover the curve of the fuselage might be too much for some.  Similarly, the forward RCS nozzles also have black tiles around them, and the OMS cowlings have a few black tiles supplied for the hot-spots on the leading edges, which weren’t present on the filming miniatures, or the USS Enterprise.  You may consider leaving those on the sheet for accuracy’s sake, and Google a few photos of the filming miniatures to ensure everything is shaped and shaded correctly.  The filming miniatures also have large areas of white tiles drawn on, adding more visual interest, as well as the differential shading of the larger panels, as previously mentioned.

 

 

Conclusion

After the initial flurry of Space Shuttle kits in most scales during the 70s and early 80s, there has been only one kit in this scale that is more recent, and that isn’t readily available or cheap.  Revell’s kit is a nice uncomplicated model of the type, and can be readily adapted to the film’s eponymous vehicle, so it makes sense to rebox it as part of their James Bond link-up.  Purists may wish to get some aftermarket main engine nozzles for a bit more real-life accuracy, although the kit parts are actually pretty close to the cone-shaped stepped nozzles the miniatures used, so it will still build up into a fun depiction of this movie hero.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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

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I am sure someone more knowledgeable  can confirm or deny, but I recall from the Mat Irvine "mega" shuttle kit review in SMI in the 1980s, that the tiled areas on the Moonraker shuttle were  a dark reddish brown not the black/grey of the NASA shuttles?

It looks like they have taken a Generic NASA decal sheet and just added the Drax Industry trim and logos.

There is quite a decent photo of the Studio Model halfway down the page here:

https://lastmovieoutpost.com/bond-on-moonraker/

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2 hours ago, John_W said:

the tiled areas on the Moonraker shuttle were  a dark reddish brown not the black/grey of the NASA shuttles?

Scroll down to middle of this page, and they look reddish here too:

 

https://www.jamesbondlifestyle.com/news/james-bond-moon-buggy-and-original-props-auction

 

So does this miniature for sale:

 

https://entertainment.ha.com/itm/movie-tv-memorabilia/-moonraker-5-space-shuttle-filming-miniature-from-moonraker/a/997059-1441.s

 

I'd suggest a bit of post-decaling masking and a mist spray of a translucent brown shade would give the desired effect.  Most gaming paint brands have translucent colours these days, so there should be a range to choose from. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The film models were deliberately made with brown tiles so they would show up against the black space background. Offhand I can't remember if the Marines' shuttle had normal black tiles but it was only seen briefly and wasn't the focus of attention like Bond's was.

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