Starfighter Decals 7221: NOTS EV-1 Project Pilot


$17.50 SRP from


China Lake


Scott Van Aken


This resin rocket goes along with decal sheet SFD 72156 and helps to complete a nice model. 

 The US Navy's 'space program' in the 1950's consisted of several largely independent space projects run by different internal bureaus and laboratories. The NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) ran Vanguard, while NOTS (Naval Ordnance Test Station) at China Lake, CA was secretly conducting an independent military satellite program called  'Project Pilot', whose existence was not acknowledged until 1994.

Project Pilot used a six-stage air-launched system capable of orbiting a 2.3 lb satellite. The first stage was a Douglas F4D-1 Skyray. NOTS LV (stages 2-6) had a total length of 14.4 feet and weighed but 2,100 lbs. A total of six orbital attempts were made between July and August of 1958. It is possible (though no one is exactly sure) that launches one and three were successful in putting satellites into orbit. (Yes, it is a repeat, but there it is).

I built this combination in 1/48 scale, but we now have it available in 1/72. The rocket kit is nicely molded and unlike the New Ware kit I used for my 1/48 project, comes with a pylon and anti sway braces. Starfighter also includes an extra rocket nozzle in case one is needed. Otherwise it is quite similar with a separate nose and main body with four fits that are butt joined to the main body. Starfighter was nice enough to include some depressions for the fins, which will really help with alignment.

The set includes assembly instructions and a painting guide. Aside from the aerodynamic test shape, no markings were applied.

March 2018

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