Revell 1/110 Atlas Booster w/launch base

KIT #: 1833
DECALS: options
REVIEWER: Mark Hiott
NOTES: Very old molds, lots of flash


 Project Mercury was the first spaceflight program of the United States. It ran from August 1959 through May 1963 with the goal of putting a human in orbit around the Earth. The first 2 sub-orbital Mercury flights used Redstone rockets, but the following orbital flights used Atlas boosters.

There were a total of 20 unmanned test flights and 6 manned flights. All the manned flights carried names that included the number "7" to show that the seven Mercury worked as a team. The manned flight were:

May 5th, 1961: MR-3, Alan Shepard in "Freedom 7", Redstone/Mecury

July 21st, 1961 MR-4, Gus Grissom in "Libertybell 7", Redstone/Mercury

February 20th, 1962: MA-6, John Glenn in "Friendship 7", Atlas/Mercury

May 24th, 1962: MA-7, Scott Carpenter in "Aurora 7", Atlas/Mercury

October 3rd, 1962: MA-8, Wally Schirra in "Sigma 7", Atlas/Mercury

May 15th, 1963: MA-9, Gordon Cooper in "Faith 7", Atlas/Mercury

(MA-5 carried a chimp named Enos to 2 orbits on November 29th, 1961)

As part of Project Mercury, mission MA-6 was the successful attempt by NASA to place an astronaut into orbit. The MA-6 mission made three orbits of the Earth, piloted by astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Gordon Cooper was the first American to spend over a day in space. He was also the last American Astronaut to go into space alone.


I'm not sure when this kit was first produced, but the instructions are copyrighted in 1962! My kit is of a much later release "All is GO!" boxing I picked up at a swap meet around 2005.

When opening the box, the first thing that grabs you is the amount of flash on the parts. The molds are obviously well used and EVERY part has flash. The molds seams are prominent on all the parts and a lot of cleanup will be required. The kit is molded in the silver plastic that we are all familiar with in Revell kits. Given the fact that the molds are approaching 50 years old, the amount of detail is amazing. The kit includes railings, stairs, water and fuel lines... it really must have been a sight to see on the shelves of the LHS in the 60's!

Decals are included for not only the Atlas booster, but also for all the ground equipment and the launch base. The decals are thick and have large borders so some trimming will be needed. Markings are included for John Glenn's Friendship 7.

The instructions are well done and include color call-outs but do not give any paint numbers. Some of the placement arrows are rather vague and looking at later steps will help in determining exactly how (and where) some parts fit.


With the amount of parts to be assembled, pay close attention to what goes where. The instructions would have you build the Atlas first, but I left that for last and built the base first. The basic base is made up of 9 parts and I painted them as an assembly. It's a bit hard to do, but otherwise you would have a lot of seams to take care of later. Several sections of railings are attached to the base in step 8, but I left them off until after painting. The rest of the parts can be painted and then attached to the base. You will still have a few seams to fix, but with a lot of the parts overlaying each other, there is no other way. The kit goes together like a 60's kit... a lot of test fitting and trimming will be needed in order to get the parts to fit. All of the rails have large mold lines that will need to be removed. The rails are the most trouble when it comes to fitting properly.

I assembled the main base section, then painted it. I then attached all the various pipes and assorted parts, finishing it before I moved on to the next section. Next up was the small garage section and the roadbed. I attached the garage to the bottom of the roadbed and painted them as a whole. This section was then attached to the main section. Take care here as to minimize damage to the paint already on the model. After the base was dry, I added all the piping and such that was left.

Next I assembled the trailer for the Atlas booster and fixed all the seams. Again, this was painted as an assembly. The Atlas booster didn't fit together to well and I had large steps where the halves joined together.

Take care when assembling the booster trailer (step 6), the booster elevator assembly (step 13) and the trailer elevator frame (step14). Some of the parts are very small and break easily. (ask me how I know) According to the instructions, these 3 sections are suppose to fit together and allow you to elevate the booster to launch position. I couldn't get them to fit together, so I ended up leaving the booster trailer loose.

The final step was to install all the rails and equipment on the roadbed. Tables, lights, booster supports, barrels, water nozzles, fire extinguishers.... there is a LOT of stuff the install! Again, there are the ever present mold seams to take care of.

I didn't use the ramp section or the trucks that come in the kit.


Painting is pretty straight forward and, for the most part, I followed the call-outs in the instructions. The base was painted MM light gray with the various lines and such  flat red, flat yellow and flat black. The booster trailer and elevator sections were painted gloss yellow. I used MM aluminum on the Atlas and painted the fuel vent light gray. The Mercury capsule was painted flat black with a red escape tower.

The decals are installed as you build the kit. Pay close attention to the various steps, as they show which decals need to be installed. Some of the decals are off register, but close trimming will make it less noticeable. I was surprised that most of the decals went down with minimum of fuss.



A real eye-opener when people see it. A rough kit that harkens back to the days of our youth when we built kits in a weekend and played with them to death by the next weekend.

This is a kit every space nut should have in his collection. I wasn't sure how accurate it was until I did some research, but Revell got it right... even down to the traffic light!


Photos off the net and from some friends

Wikipedia for the history


September 2010

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