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Man in Space

AMT 1/200 Man in Space Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2011 Manufacturer AMT/Round 2
Subject Man in Space Scale 1/200
Kit Number 0700 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Outstanding decal sheet, new lighting, great price Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $36.95

First Look

Man in Space
Man in Space
Man in Space
Man in Space

In the late 1950s, scientists were still working on building upon the rocket technology captured in Germany in the previous decade. In the United States, after numerous flights of captured and re-engineered V-2 rockets, new designs started to emerge that picked up where Germany had left off. More powerful engines, larger payloads, greater speeds, greater endurance all came together to create several generations of rockets. In these early days of the Cold War, these rockets also received more precise navigation capabilities and became missiles that could carry larger conventional and nuclear payloads. All of this focused development changed in one day with the launch of Sputnik into orbit. The space race was on and scientists quickly sifted through the available vehicles that could be combined to push a small payload past Mach 25 and 100 miles altitude to achieve orbit.

Not long afterwards, word came that the Russians were pushing to get the first man into space and this was achieved on 12 April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin was put into a near orbital flight. There is some contention in recent years that Vostok I didn't quite have enough velocity for sustained orbit as it came down in less than one full orbit, but nevertheless the Russians were first with a man in space. The US answered a few weeks later with a suborbital flight of Alan Shepard using a converted Redstone missile. The Russians did achieve orbit in their second flight, but the US wouldn't reach orbit until the third flight and the first use of the converted Atlas missile carrying John Glenn.

These early flights on both sides of the Iron Curtain were not without risk as boosters needed to loft a spacecraft into orbit were pushing the envelope with the existing missile technology, but it didn't take long for newer and more powerful boosters would come online. The nuclear missile system based upon the powerful Titan had the loft power to also carry the Gemini two-man spacecraft into orbit, but it would take the purpose built Saturn that was never a weapon to take two spacecraft up into orbit and on to the moon - the Apollo spacecraft and the LEM.

Round2 Models continues to reissue a nice array of kits that haven't seen the light of day in decades. Here is another one that I was rather pleased to see announced at the last iHobbyExpo trade show, the Man in Space set. This was first released decades ago to honor US Manned Spaceflight with 1/200 scale models of:

  • Mercury/Redstone (suborbital)
  • Mercury/Atlas (orbital)
  • Gemini/Titan
  • Apollo/Saturn IB (Earth orbital flight)
  • Apollo/Saturn V (Lunar missions)

This kit is molded in white styrene and presented on six parts trees. When you look closer at the sprue shots, you can see just how small Redstone was next to the Atlas and so on. The molds have held up well over the years as there is little sign of any flash. Nevertheless, a little skill and patience is required to build these models as the seams need to be clean and smooth to minimize seam lines and you'll still need just a little putty (or Mr. Surfacer 500) to fill in a few spots.

Some of the better builds of this set that I've seen have had a heavy brass wire or metal rod built into the airframes and extending down through one of the engine bells so that the model can be placed securely into a display base. What's nice about this set is that you can start with these five spacecraft and then add the Hasegawa 1/200 Space Shuttle for US Manned Spaceflight, or you can also add some of the other 1/200 launch vehicles that are available from a variety of companies to render a more complete picture of manned spaceflight and even add some of the unmanned spacecraft as well.

The set comes with a nice sheet of decals for all five launch vehicles and some include the black photo markings like the Saturn IB first stage and the upper markings for the Titan. The rest of the black patterns will need to be masked and painted.

It is nice to see this kit back on the market and will look great on its own, or as described above, used as a beginning for other 1/200 spacecraft to illustrate an interesting array of spaceflight history.

My sincere thanks to Round2 Models for this review sample!