AMT 1/200 Man in Space

KIT #: 0700
PRICE: $30.00
NOTES: Short run with photo etch and resin parts

"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win ..."
Forget politics, if you can. If you're a space fan, or you enjoy great speeches, JFK has got to be one of your heroes. Because with this speech, he persuaded a nation not only that it could put a man on the moon less than a decade after it had just put a monkey into orbit, but that they would happily pay for it. Check it out on youtube if you haven't heard it lately. The link below has the full version.
Well, to send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth, you need "a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall... made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, [and then send it] on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun"...
Sounds easy? When JFK made that speech, the monster rocket he described was still four years away. The US only had the much smaller rockets included in this fantastic set, the Mercury-Redstone, the Mercury-Atlas. The other three are the Gemini-Titan, Saturn IB, and the monster Saturn V. 
Kennedy's speech was almost impossibly bold. When he made it, just two Americans had orbited earth, for less than for ten hours between them. The rest is history, of course, but back then it truly seemed, to many at least, "the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked".

This is a classic from 1969. How it must have flown off the shelves that year! Repopped by AMT not too long ago, it's not exactly cheap but I think it's worth the price (I found mine on Amazon for $30). Inside, you score a Mercury-Redstone (which flew Alan Shephard and Gus Grissom on their sub-orbital flights), the Mercury-Atlas (which flew John Glenn and the other Mercury astronauts into Earth orbit), the Gemini-Titan (which flew all the Gemini flights), the Saturn IB (Apollo 7, Apollo Soyuz, and Skylab crew flights) and the mighty Saturn V (which flew all the other Apollo flights as well as launching Skylab itself).
The box doesn't have as many sprues as you'd expect for all those rockets. When I first opened it, I momentarily wondered if something was missing. Then I realised just how unbelievably big the Saturn V is. The parts for that take up most of the box. The Mercury-Redstone, in 1/200, is about as thick as a pen and not as long. The Saturn V by comparison is nearly as thick and about long as your forearm (well, mine anyway). 
For a kit made in 1969 the parts are remarkably clean. On mine, they are stamped inside as being made in Guangdong, China, in 2016, under a 2012 licence from Lockheed. No doubt that last point contributes to the price (which is fairly high for the amount of actual plastic, and given the moulds are ancient). 

The kit also comes with a cardboard cutout display base. It's actually kind of cool, with a 60s feel to it. It's a gantry big enough to stand next to the Saturn V.

Well worth it. All you need to complete the set is a Hasegawa 1/200 Shuttle and Booster, fairly readily available.
And a side note: I saw another review (which helped me decide to buy this) which said "a father and son team could have a wonderful time" building this kit. True. But you know what else? A *parent* and his or her daughter could too! #girlsinSTEM #its2017 My little two year old girl is already into rockets...wonder how that happened?

Richard F

February 2017


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