Dragon 1/72 Gemini Spacecraft
Can be built as Gemini 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
The Gemini Program was a series of ten
manned spaceflight missions launched by NASA in 1965 and 1966.
The two-man Gemini Program was the follow on to the
earlier Project Mercury missions, and the predecessor for the later Apollo
missions. The Gemini missions had several main goals (according to Wikipedia):
demonstrate endurance of humans and equipment to spaceflight for extended
periods, at least eight days required for a Moon landing, to a maximum of two
effect rendezvous and docking with another vehicle, and to maneuver the combined
spacecraft using the propulsion system of the target vehicle
demonstrate Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) or space-"walks" outside the
protection of the spacecraft, and to evaluate the astronauts' ability to perform
perfect techniques of atmospheric reentry and landing at a pre-selected
provide the astronauts with zero-gravity, rendezvous, and docking experience
required for Apollo missions.
two missions were unmanned test flights.
Gemini 3 was the first manned flight, launched in March
Nine more missions followed, with the last, Gemini 12, launched
in November of 1966.
(There doesn’t seem to be any in the name of the
missions— for example, you’ll find “Gemini IV” and “Gemini 4” used
All of the Gemini spacecraft were
launched by the Titan II rocket.
Externally, all the capsules basically looked the same-
they didn’t carry names like the original Mercury capsules did.
Mercury Capsules, which contained all the systems necessary for spaceflight with
the capsule itself, the Gemini spacecraft consisted of two components.
The Re-entry Module (the black section) was the crew
compartment, and the only part of the spacecraft that returned to earth.
The Equipment Module (the white section) held the power,
propulsion, and life-support systems, and was jettisoned immediately before
re-entry, like the follow-on Apollo craft would do.
June 3, 1965,
it carried astronauts Edward White and James McDivitt on a 4 day mission.
The highlight of that mission was White’s 22 minute EVA,
the first ever by an American. The EVA went well, and White was later quoted as
saying that the return to the capsule was the “saddest moment of his life”. The
mission had some other notable “firsts” as well:
it was NASA’s first multi-day flight, and it was the
first to be controlled from the
The mission was White’s last spaceflight- he later died
in the Apollo 1 capsule fire.
James McDivitt flew one more mission- the Apollo 9 Lunar
Module earth orbit test mission.
This is another
kit in Dragon’s ongoing series of 1/72 scale models of significant spacecraft
released in the last year, with more to come. (Dragon is releasing plastic kit
versions of a number of their 1/72 scale die-cast models.) It is a great time to
be a builder of Real Space models!
the earlier Mercury Redstone kit, this is a kit of just the capsule, and does
not include the Titan II launch vehicle.
As a result, the finished model is fairly small. The kit
consists of about 40 parts, molded in Dragon’s standard light grey styrene.
Also included are two astronauts, a display base with a
metal arm, and a piece of wire for the spacewalker’s tether.
two Astronaut figures- one is seated, and the other is spacewalking.
At first, I thought they were molded in that sort of
soft plastic that lots of other 1/72 scale figures are molded in—the stuff that
is hard to glue and paint.
But I later realized that they are molded in Dragon’s
“DS” plastic—a special flexible plastic that Dragon uses for tank treads on some
of their models.
This DS stuff is great- it is glueable with regular styrene
cement, and takes paint well, too.
If you’re a “Modeler of a Certain Age”,
you likely built the Revell kits of the Gemini capsule back in the 1960s.
I remember building mine at the age of ten or eleven,
and remember building and painting all the fuel cells, oxygen tanks, etc. that
were in the lower section of the capsule.
As it turns out, this was Revell’s attempt to add more
detail and interest to the model—the spacecraft actually flew with a
gold-colored foil covering over the lower section—which the Dragon kit properly
This certainly will speed up assembly!
(If you find a copy of the “First Production” kit, that
part comes pre-painted.)
The kit comes with a simple little
pictorial assembly sheet. Printed on a single sheet of paper, they provide basic
instructions on the assembly of the model.
The model is so simple; it doesn’t need anything more
The instructions do have one small glitch-- they give
you two options for the top of the nose cone, and don’t tell you which to use.
(The “cover” is for the spacecraft “as launched, while
the “exposed stuff” option is for the “in space” configuration.) Finally, there
is also a small decal sheet, one that is crammed full of little stripes and
The only “con” to the kit’s design is
the way Dragon handled the cabin windows. The windows are molded solid like they
are in some of the other Dragon space kits.
For example, I
built their 1/48 scale Lunar Module, and it had solid windows.
But in that kit, there was no interior, so providing
decals for the windows made sense.
But this kit has an interior, and a door that can be
I would have liked to see the door molded with no window.
I suppose you could drill out the window and then clean
up the opening with files— I didn’t do that, as I was building the model OOB.
is a very simple build.
Before you start, there is only one decision to make
when building the model—do you want the right door open or closed?
The capsule is molded with the left door closed, and
provides two doors for the right side—one for open, one for closed.
If you choose closed, then there’s not much to do- you
can skip installing the interior parts and interior painting altogether.
two basic parts of the model—the capsule and the Equipment module.
You can assemble and paint them separately, and then
join them at the end, so no masking is needed.
starts with the crew compartment.
It is fairly simple, but then again you can’t really see
much inside, especially with the solid windows. The interior is basically a
medium gray, with various details picked out for some contrast.
I just brush painted it with Model master and PollyScale
acrylics, using a photo I found in a book as a general guide.
The seated astronaut needs to go in at this point- you
won’t be able to get him in later.
Fit of the
capsule is pretty good, in most places.
The only part that didn’t fit well was the unidentified
bulge on the side of the nosecone- it doesn’t conform to the curvature of the
surface very well.
I filled the gap with some white glue—that was the only
place on the model that I needed to use any filler at all.
of the Equipment Module is simple as can be— everything fits properly, and no
filler was needed.
I would recommend leaving the equipment shield off until
after painting—that way you don’t have to do any masking.
I painted the EM with Tamiya flat white, and the cover
with Tamiya gold.
There are no decals on this part so there is no need to
do any clear or flat coating.
along the way, I lost the little insert with the molded detail for the nose
After doing the detail painting, I set it aside to install after the
capsule exterior was airbrushed.
When the time came to install it, it was nowhere to be
I could have put the launch cover over it instead, but I decided
to hold out in case the lost part ever reappears…..
spacewalker, this kit can be any of the Gemini missions that featured an EVA.
You could say you have a model of any of these missions:
Gemini 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
only color information is a comprehensive set of profiles on the bottom of the
box. They call out three main colors—white, black, and gold, and a few detail
ones. Painting the exterior is easy-- the EM is flat white, and the capsule is
You can paint them before assembly, so there’s no
The EM doesn’t have any decals, so all it needed was a little
black wash to add some depth and highlights to the louvers by the maneuvering
painting was complete, the capsule was given a brushed-on coat of future to
prepare it for the decals.
The decals are the one part of this kit that could stand
You get one tiny little decal sheet, with a multitude of
little stripes in red and white, all jammed as close together as can be.
This makes cutting them out a real challenge, and means
that you’re handling tiny strips of decal paper when trying to slide what are
essentially skinny little pinstripes into position.
several of the decals just didn’t fit- the stripes around the doors, for
example, are too short and just don’t fit properly. Also, the little red stripes
that go on the nose of the capsule tended to disappear on the black paint.
After the first couple doubled over, tore, or just
didn’t fit, I decided not to bother with most of the rest. (They are so small;
you don’t really notice they’re missing.) Fortunately, the large white “United
decals do fit well, are opaque, and snuggled down into the louvered surface
detail very well, with only a little help from decal solvent.
After the decals were dry, the capsule was given a coat of satin clear
to seal in the decals and even out the finish.
The model was attached to the display stand with a dab
The final step is to install the spacewalking astronaut.
The kit provides a piece of fine steel wire—you can bend
into whatever sort of lazy loop you want.
Before installing it, I painted the wire with flat
silver get rid of the shiny wire look. There was no indication of where or how
to attach the wire in the capsule—so I just drilled a small hole with my pin
vise in the floor of the cockpit to take the end of the wire.
this kit because I wanted a simple, quick build of an interesting
subject—something that would be a change of pace from the more complicated
projects I had
This kit fits the bill—it goes together quickly, and doesn’t
require a lot of complicated masking or painting.
My only complaint concerns the decals—
as mentioned before, some of them are very tiny, fragile, and don’t fit well.
And I do wish Dragon had included a decal for the display base—there is a
recessed area that that looks like it would be perfect for a “Project Gemini”
decal, but none is provided. And
while we’re at it, a decal for the instrument panel would have been nice, too.
despite the issues with the decals, this is still a fun, quick build.
This is my second Dragon space kit, and it won’t be my
last! I like the idea that Dragon is producing Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo kits
in the common scale of 1/72, one that fits in with all my other 1/72 scale
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing kit!
Review kit courtesy of my wallet. Note
that while the retail price is $24, the kit can be found for less.
I paid $20 for mine, using my club discount at the local
thanks to Pip Moss of the IPMS Patriot Chapter in
for taking all the great pictures.
After the model was finished and Pip had taken all the
pictures, I realized that I had forgotten to install the radio mast that was
extended when the craft was in orbit.
The kit includes the part—I just forgot to install it
before picture day.
It has been two months now, and the lost part hasn’t reappeared yet….
Gemini 3 through 7 had the black stripes for thermal control on the
equipment section. There was no ribbing such as the Dragon kit has.
Gemini 9 though 12 (and maybe 8) used small black squares instead of the
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