AMT 1/200 Man in Space Build Review
By Steve Causey
|Date of Review||May 2014||Manufacturer||AMT/Round 2|
|Subject||Man in Space||Scale||1/200|
|Kit Number||0700||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Excellent fit, highly detailed. Welcome re-release||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$36.95|
Round 2 has re-released an AMT kit from 1969 that is in my opinion, one of AMT's best. As a child of the '60s I grew up with America's Space Program. (I lived and breathed it to be truthful.) I must have built every space related kit that my parents could find. For some reason this kit wasn't one of them, so when Round 2 released this kit last year I gladly ran out and got one. For a look at this kit in the box, look here.
When you open the large box you are treated to many bags of finely molded white styrene, a large decal sheet and two large cardstock sheets for the display base. The molding of the parts is very crisp and finely detailed, impressive for molds that must be 40+ years old. But this was when American model kit manufacturers were the world standard for quality and detail. Just as America was leading the world in technology with the efforts to put a man on the moon.
The kit includes five rockets that show how NASA increased it's ability to put a man in space, then how the technology was increased to allow orbital maneuvering and docking, and how the rocket engines increased in power and reliability until the Saturn V rocket was able to place a payload into lunar orbit. And put a spacecraft on the lunar surface. You get a Mercury Redstone rocket, a Mercury Atlas, a Gemini Titan II Rocket A Saturn 1B and finally the amazing Saturn V moon rocket. It stands almost 22 inches tall, when set on the cardstock stand and gantry; it's 2 feet tall.
I began the build with the Saturn V, go big or go home I figured. The parts have almost no flash and the fit after parts cleanup is excellent. The design of the kit(s) allow the builder to separate all the stages showing how all the systems worked on each separate rocket. I pre painted the engines and fuel tanks before assembling the different stages. Seams are minimal, I used very little filler mostly relying on white primer and sanding.
The Lunar Module is very well detailed for it's size and includes two decals. I should have used gold foil to simulate the outer shielding but was pressed for time. The command module even included the three crewmembers. Now we come to the only difficult part of the build(s) the decal sheet only includes about half of the roll markings (the big black stripes) that you will need, and none at all for the Saturn V. I used all my painter's tricks to keep the black paint from creeping onto the white: very careful masking with tamiya fine line tape, sealing the tape with more white paint, and very carefully embossing the tape into all the corrugations in the sides of the various stages. Did it work? Well mostly…I got a few tiny leak through but they were easy to fix.
I assembled the cardstock base before the Saturn V was finished. Its assembly required a little patience, and a steel ruler (to get the folds nice and crisp) I reinforced the base by using bamboo skewers split in half to eliminate most of the flexing that made the base a bit unstable. The base is worth the effort to build carefully and correctly. Even though it's only cardstock, it provides a very dramatic display.
You'll need to chase down some painting references, the instructions are well done and easy to follow, but more info always helps, and for this build it was almost half the fun. For instance, the turbo pump motor that delivers the fuel and oxidizer to the main F1 engine is more powerful than an F16 jet engine on full burner! The F1 engine itself produces more than one million five hundred thousand pounds of thrust and weighs 10 tons. And there are five of them in the first stage.
Back to the build, I then assembled the Gemini Titan rocket this kit it itself a little gem with a very precise fit and excellent fine detail. After painting the decals provide all the upper markings, and I only needed to paint the first stage roll markings. The two Mercury rockets came next and again I was impressed with the fine detail. After basic paint, decals provide all the needed markings. The last rocket I built was the Saturn 1b this kit was the only one of the five to have and sink marks and some flash. It also includes a full lunar module and Apollo command and service module. It comes with decals for the black markings on the first stage I only needed to paint the ones on the second stage. The decals provided are excellent, with perfect register and they perform well with the Microscale system.
I had a lot of fun building this kit, and a father and son team could have a wonderful time, as well as learning about America's efforts to put men on the moon. Once the separate rockets are positioned on the base, it makes a very handsome display piece, one that you will be proud of, and will bring back the time when America set the world standard in technological advances and plastic kits.
I highly recommend this wonderful kit.