Hawk 1/5 Vanguard Satellite

KIT #: HL 603/12
PRICE: $21.99
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Les Dorr Jr.
NOTES: Round 2 reissue of 1958 kit


Space Race!

In those heady days nearly six decades ago, space fever had seized a sizable portion of the American public. Partly it was fueled by TV space operas such as Space Patrol and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, along with science-oriented shows like Disney's three-part space series. Perhaps even more, there was a keen desire to surpass those godless Commies who had staked out the orbital high ground with the launch of Sputnik 1 and 2 in late 1957.

The United States had its own earth satellite programs. The U.S. Army's effort, led by Werner von Braun, focused on using a modified Redstone missile called the Jupiter-C as a launch vehicle. The Navy's contribution was the Vanguard booster derived from the quasi-civilian Viking sounding rocket, while the Naval Research Laboratory built the Vanguard satellite itself. The Eisenhower Administration preferred Vanguard, in part because it didn't have the Jupiter-C's military heritage.

The “standard” Vanguard satellite was an aluminum sphere 20 inches in diameter, into which experiments could be mounted. There also was a much smaller “minimum” Vanguard satellite--often compared to a “grapefruit”--about six inches in diameter.

The Vanguard project was not very productive, as space historian and modeler Mat Irvine explains in the instruction sheet: “Only three of the 11 Vanguard orbital rocket launches were successful. After there had been two launch failures, Vanguard 1 achieved orbit on March 17, 1958, on board Vanguard TV-4, becoming America's second artificial satellite, after Explorer 1 (January 31, 1958.)”

Mat also notes that the Hawk model is almost an exact match for the Vanguard standard satellite launched April 28, 1958, which failed to make it into orbit.

(As an interesting note, Vanguard 1 and its upper stage are still in orbit being the oldest surviving man-made items in space. Ed)


 Round 2 Models has been resurrecting ancient MPC, Hawk and Lindberg kits for several years, and this is a reissue of a 1958 Hawk kit. It includes 23 parts molded in gray plastic, and five clear parts, two of which are top and bottom domes designed to show off the model's interior. There are no molding defects or flash despite the kit's antiquity. The kit is designed to build up into an “educational” display, with an experiment package and supporting hardware inside. The decal sheet has labels for the interior experiments and several pieces of exterior equipment.

The pictorial instructions are easy to follow, with extensive color callouts and a decal placement diagram. Note that the colors given for the exterior satellite shell are either gold or silver, but the real deal was bright aluminum.  


 A blast from the past, and a rather accurate, appealing model. Superdetailers can have fun installing all the experiment and gauge wiring. Those of us with more modest ambition can build an educational model that will look impressive in the “rocket garden.”

Les Dorr Jr.

June 2015

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