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Rocketship XM

Pegasus Hobbies 1/144 Rocketship XM Kit Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2018 Manufacturer Pegasus Hobbies
Subject Rocketship XM Scale 1/144
Kit Number 9112 Primary Media Styrene
Pros First kit of this classic spacecraft Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $29.95

Build Review

For a summary of the movie this classic rocket came from and a look at the kit out of the box, look here.

As I mentioned in my first-look at this kit, how hard can it be? Five parts plus two clear inserts for the port holes. Since I was struggling with another project, I decided to tackle this kit and try out a few things that have been on my list. The kit goes together with no surprises. I left off the clear parts as I didn't want to mask them during painting and there's another solution for them. The fuselage seams need filling as the molds don't seem to get filled to the edges during production. I used 3M Acrylic Putty, then wet-sanded down the excess after it dried.

I let the model sit overnight, then applied a coat of Mig Black One-Shot Primer. As usual, the primer coat went down flawlessly and revealed that the putty had shrunk. Using a drop of gap-filling cyano, I used a wire dipped in the cyano to fill in along the seams. Once again, the model was set aside to dry/cure. After the cyano cured, I re-sanded, buffed, then touched-up the primer coat with more of the black primer and all looks great now.

A few points about the Mig One-Shot Primers:

  1. These primers are the best performing acrylic primers on the market. I've tossed out the primers from Vallejo, Alclad, and AK Interactive as they simply do not go down, self-level, and otherwise be user-friendly as the One-Shot primers.
  2. One-Shot Primer runs around $12 for a 2 oz (60ml) bottle.
  3. Mig doesn't produce the One-Shot primers. These are actually produced in the USA by Badger under the Stynylrez brand. I can buy three 2 oz bottles of Stynylrez from Amazon with free shipping for $14.95! When I was purchasing the Mig primers, I was paying for the bulk shipping of the Badger product to Spain, repackaging and relabeling, then shipping the product back here. Not anymore.

Another reason I decided to tackle this project was to try out my new Iwata HP-M2 airbrush. This beast is small in the hand, but it lays down paint across large areas better than my other Iwata dual-action airbrushes. Why? It is a single-action airbrush with a large gravity-fed cup and a solid spray pattern. Unlike other single-action airbrushes I've used in the past, this is simplicity in its finest, yet rugged, and paint flow is adjustable with the knob on the back of the airbrush. Chuck Holte reviewed one of these five years ago (look here) and I recently saw a video that demonstrated the differences in spray coverage between this airbrush and typical dual-action airbrushes like the one I fly. The first test was the primer, the One-Shot went into the airbrush directly from the bottle with no thinning and went down perfectly as I mentioned above. The next step was going to be new for me.

Since there were never any close-ups of the Rocketship X-M in the movie, the production company spared every expense on detailing the studio model. While I could have 'busied-up' the finish of the model with different shades of metal, I decided to keep this simple. I applied Tamiya Chrome Silver (X11) thinned 50-50 with lacquer thinner. I usually use my homemade acrylic thinner or pure Isopropyl Alcohol as my thinner for acrylics, but I wanted to see how lacquer thinner performed with Tamiya's Chrome Silver. The HP-M2 was used again, this time laying down misting layers of the thinned silver and building up the coat. While the metallic grain of the silver is visibly coarser than products like Alclad, it wasn't going to be a problem in this project. After the surface of the model was solidly coated in silver, and the model was left overnight to dry. Inspecting the finish the next morning, the silver is solid and isn't prone to fingerprints or flaws while handling.

The final step was to fill in those port holes. I received an interesting idea from one reader who suggested replacing my usual Elmer's white glue solution for port holes with Elmer's Clear Glue. I had purchased a bottle with that suggestion but awaited a test case - until now. I used a toothpick to apply the clear glue the same as I would with the white glue, but as you would expect, the glue goes on clear. The downside to this is you need to look carefully to see that the port holes are all uniformly filled - the white glue would be instantly show flaws, but the clear glue doesn't. As the reader had said, the clear glue dries clearer than the white glue.

Rocketship XM

So here is Rocketship X-M. It only took a few minutes to build and a few days to fill, prepare, and paint. Rather than display a plain silver rocket against a black background, I pulled out a display pad I had prepared for an earlier project that really does make a difference. You can read more about that product here.

Rocketship XMRocketship XM

If you're looking for a fast and fun project, these classic movie rocketships are just what you're looking for! I purchased mine from CultTVman Hobby Shop.