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Aerojet-General Aerobee-Hi

Revell 1/40 Aerojet-General Aerobee-Hi Kit Build Review

By Chuck Holte

Date of Review December 2013 Manufacturer Revell
Subject Aerojet-General Aerobee-Hi Scale 1/40
Kit Number 1814 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Good fit, assembly instructions Cons Flash, some warpage, poor decals
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

Background

An early entry in the post-WWII space race, the Aerojet-General Aerobee series of sounding rockets were valuable research tools for the United States space program.    The first Aerobee rocket was launched in November 1947 and reached an altitude of 36 miles.  Ten years later, an evolved Aerobee-Hi reached an altitude of 193 miles.  Liquid fueled, JATO boosted Aerobee-Hi rockets were key players in the 1958 International Geophysical Year, gathering much needed data on the lower limits of space.

The Kit

The Revell Aerobee-Hi kit was first issued in 1958 and reissued in the mid-90s.  It continues to be somewhat of a collector's item, even though Anigrand has a nice 1/72 scale resin kit of an Aerobee-150/ X-8 less the JATO booster, a close relative of the Aerobee-Hi, in their X-rocket set.

Aerobee-Hi

The Build

As a kit of the '50s, the Revell offering is a bit on the basic side but captures the lines of the 30 foot rocket well.  The kit consists of 49 gray and white styrene parts to build the rocket, booster and its transporter/erector trailer, including 3 figures and their stands (not used in my build).  The kit also includes a 5½ x 1¾ inch decal sheet with thick, glossy and slightly out-of-register markings for the USAF rocket "103" portrayed on the box art.

Aerobee-Hi

The parts in my kit had some flash and prominent mold separation lines but were easily cleaned up for a good fit on most parts.  More troublesome was the warpage of the long framework parts for the trailer, requiring a little time with a hot air blow dryer to square away prior to actual construction.

The instruction sheet is clear and logical with five paragraphs of history of the program/rocket, a parts list and an 11x17 inch folded sheet of illustrations and construction comments.

Construction was straightforward with some sanding of the mold separation lines and some filler needed for the major join lines on the rocket.

My model was painted as a US Navy Aerobee-Hi, NRL-42 (Naval Research Laboratory) as illustrated in Peter Always' outstanding reference book, Rockets of the World.  Paints used were Tamiya rattle-can Pure White and Chrome Yellow over a coat of Tamiya White primer.  The sustainer was airbrushed with Model Master International Orange and the nose airbrushed with Alclad Polished Aluminum and Duraluminum.  After piecing together the "NRL-42" markings from the spares box, the rocket and trailer were top coated with Floquil Flat to kill the shine.

Aerobee-Hi Aerobee-Hi Aerobee-Hi Aerobee-Hi Aerobee-Hi

Conclusions

This was another stroll down memory lane to a childhood touchstone.  An enjoyable build again this time 'round; I didn't find any real problems with the kit. Recommended for real-space model fans of all ages and skill levels.

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