Lindberg 1/200 Mars Probe

KIT #: 91003
PRICE: $24.95 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Re-issue

HISTORY

In the early 50s, many artists drew up what they thought a rocket should look like based on designs from Werner Von Braun and Eugene Sanger among others.  The rockets seemed to based on the style of 50s cars, lots of fins and curves.  As it turned out, the rocket designs of the 50s were impractical as the large fins on rockets proved to be as useless as they were on cars.  Still these rockets gave folks a starting point and ignited the space bound dreams of many.

 

In the mid 50s Lindberg put out a series of kits based on these designs.  Some of those kits were reissued in the mid 70s (which is when I built a couple of them.)  In late 2008, these kits were reissued by the ďnewĒ Lindberg as part of the companyís re-emergence along with several Hawk models.

THE KIT

This particular kit has been around for a very long time so donít expect 21st century quality for 50+ year old molds.  The kit comes with three sprues of parts (2 white and one a clear green) as well as the booster stage halves and the 2nd stage piece (under 40 pieces.)  All the parts have significant flash and need lots of clean up.  Based on my own memories of building these kits, expect that some of your parts will be warped and the fit will not be good (the fins and and booster stage halves were warped in my issue of the kit.)

 

Also included is the space shuttle, but there is no mention of these parts in the instructions.  If you are so inclined you could build it and swap it in for the communications satellite 3rd stage.  However, it should be noted that it does not have the best fit.

 

The parts all have raised detail which looks good, but highly improbable as the rivets would be around one scale foot in diameter (if the 1/200 scale is to be believed.)  Expect a lot of the detail to be lost in sanding.

CONSTRUCTION

 

The parts were washed and dried first.  Next I glued the booster and 3rd stages halves together, but left the fins off the booster stage.  I filled the very large gaps with CA glue and Mr Surfacer 500 and when fully cured I sanded them smooth (or so I thought) and removed large sections of the raised detail.  I did rescribe the 3rd stage, but not the booster stage.

 

I had to bend and flatten out the warped fins.  It isnít perfect but it looks much better than the warped shape they originally were in.  The fins were then glued in place.  I then glued together all the stages except the nose cone and rocket nozzle plate because they were going to be different colors.  There were some obvious gaps that needed to be filled and I used Vallejo Plastic Putty to fill them in while removing the excess with Q-tips wetted with water.

 

At that time I declined to assemble/paint the satellite or shuttle and just focus on building the rocket.  I may do so at a later date, but not right now.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 

White plastic is a pain in the rear to paint as I rediscovered that on this model.  I initially sprayed on Tamiya Fine White Primer from the can and it covered up most of the sanding flaws I missed, but I could still sort of see through the model.  When it was dry I sprayed on some flat white and gloss white and I could still see through the model.

 

At this point I went to plan B and sprayed the entire model Sky Grey.  It proved to be a solid enough color.  Unfortunately, this is when I noticed that I had a very prominent bump/ridge along a seam on the booster stage that I needed to fix.  I carefully sanded the area till the ridge disappeared.  The area was polished and then the entire model was sprayed again with Tamiya fine white primer.  Let it dry overnight and then sprayed on a thin coat of gloss white paint to provide a smooth surface for the decals.

 

The clear booster stage rocket nozzles and landing gear were sprayed Tamiya XF-56 metallic grey while the nose cone was sprayed first with Tamiya Italian Red (which wasnít a uniform color to my dismay) and then with Gunze Insignia Red. 

 

The decals went on without too much trouble with the exception of the black band that was used at the top of the booster stage.  I used some Microset to allow the decals to snuggle to the details.

 

The model was wiped down and sprayed with the last of my Xtracrylix Satin Coat.

 

The Mars Probe nose cone and rocket nozzle were glued onto to the rest of the model.

CONCLUSIONS

 

It was a fun trip down memory lane.  I really do like the early space age designs even though they werenít even close to the actual thing with those wild curvy designs and big fins everywhere.  It is a very simple kit to build and worth the money.  A little bit of patience and a lot of sanding paper is required to make a very nice model.

 

The one thing you have to remember about these kits is that they donít have the greatest fit and that you are going to have to sacrifice the detail due to lots and lots of sanding/filling due to that awful fit.

Dan Lee

October 2012

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