Airfix 1/144 'Orion' spaceliner

KIT #: 6171 or 6176
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Martin Pohl


2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 British-American science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel. Clarke concurrently wrote the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey which was published soon after the film was released. The story deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution, and a space voyage to Jupiter tracing a signal emitted by one such monolith found on the moon. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star as the two astronauts on this voyage, with Douglas Rain as the voice of the sentient computer HAL 9000 who has full control over their spaceship. The film is frequently described as an "epic film", both for its length and scope, and for its affinity with classical epics.

This is how Wikipedia is starting its article about this from my point of view epic movie. Who ever will forget an  airliner dancing in space to The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss or an ape waving a bone to Richard Strauss “Also sprach Zarathustra”


There are a lot of discussions in the Internet about correctness of this old Airfix kit. Well it may not be the most correct kit of the Orion there is at least one out there which is better, but this old Airfix one is a classic one and therefore I don't go the correctness route – its SciFi anyway.

The box is quite big and includes 15 white parts, three clear ones and a two part stand. The molding is quite old and this shows at some areas with some flash but nothing big.

The instruction sheet is a 4 page sheet where two pages are just for painting and decaling.


So, as stated above, to write a big story about the construction of 15 parts would be a bit too much, perhaps. It's an old kit but it goes together pretty well. I just followed the instructions. Only the exhaust section did need some more care, means filling and sanding. All other seams were just sanded and disappeared this way, the benefit of modern liquid glues I suppose.


This could be an easy job too, paint it white, paint the engine cooling section metallic and off it goes – well not really. I first sprayed a light gray base coat layer then I did paint it white only to recognize that I've forgotten to paint the inner sides of the wings black. So this way it did get two coats of white. After it was white completely the process of masking started. I masked some areas to spray them in different gray colors. Then a clear flat went over it and after that was dry the panel lines were marked with a pencil. A shining clear coat ended the painting for the decals.

The kit offers two choices for the decals; the colorful one for the 2001 airliner and a PanAm set. I did choose the PanAm ones.

After the decals again a shiny clear coat and some washings and in the end a coat of a semi shiny clear finished it.


Well it may not be the most accurate version of the 2001 airliner but it is a fair representation of it and with some extra work on painting it is a real nice one. I always can hear the Blue Danube walz when I see it in my cabinet, so it's worth it I'd say.


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Martin Pohl

June 2013

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