Revell 1/24 Gemini Space Capsule Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2012||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Subject||Gemini Space Capsule||Scale||1/24|
|Kit Number||0028||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Kit has lots of AMS potential||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$39.95|
Project Gemini was the follow-on spaceflight program after the initial suborbital and orbital flights of Project Mercury. Where Mercury was a single-seat vehicle with limited flight control capabilities and very limited endurance, Gemini was a two-place spacecraft that would execute numerous experiments to make a trip to the moon achievable. To get this larger and heavier spacecraft off of the pad, Gemini was mated to a modified Titan II. The spacecraft was comprised of the two-place crew capsule, a re-entry module attached to the rear of the capsule, and an equipment module mounted to the rear of the re-entry module.
The Gemini program achieved a number of firsts for NASA spaceflight: first spacewalk, first capability to maneuver on orbit as well as to change orbits, first rendezvous with another spacecraft, first docking with another spacecraft, longest duration on orbit (14 days), and the highest manned earth orbit of 739 miles (a record which still stands). The achievements of these Project Gemini flights made it possible for Project Apollo to reach the moon and for subsequent generations to operate continuously in space.
Here is a classic kit that has been reissued a few times, but it has been a while since the last time we've seen it on store shelves. This is the Revell 1/24 Gemini Space Capsule kit which dates back before the 1980s, this time reissued by Revell/Germany as part of their Revell Classics limited edition series.
The kit is molded in white styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus clear parts for the astronaut faceplates and windscreens. The kit was quite advanced in its day and I remember building a few of these over the decades. The kit provided a latching system where you could attach and remove the equipment module and re-entry modules from the space capsule (and put them back on again). The kit also provided a display stand to show off the model in flight.
The capsule has two hinged doors to provide access to the interior to see the nice details provided in the kit. The re-entry module has four motors mounted on the frames as well as the lateral thrusters. The service module has life support systems as well as additional thrusters mounted inside.
Built straight out of the box, the average modeler will still have some great detailing and an enjoyable piece of history on the shelf. The AMS modeler will want to do some tweaking of the model to correct a few areas that were over-simplified. First and foremost is the rear bulkhead of the capsule. The kit molds the crew seats into the rear bulkhead where the real spacecraft features two ejection seats mounted on rails which, in turn, where mounted to the rear bulkhead. A little scratchbuilding will take care of this with a little effort. There are some good photos of the ejection seats and interior here.
All of that detail in the equipment bay is great to look at, but if I recall correctly, the bay was covered by a gold foil shield to keep the sun from heating the various systems inside once every 90 minutes. RealSpace Models produced a vacuformed shield that fit this 1/24 equipment bay opening (look here).
The major disappointment for this release was Revell/Germany's use of the end-opening box. If you buy one or more of these kits and put them into your kit stash, be forewarned that these awful boxes are easily crushed.
The decal sheet provides interior console and instrument panel details as well as exterior markings for the spacecraft.
It is nice to see this kit back on the market. So far, this kit remains the best model of the Gemini spacecraft on the market despite its age.