Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 Blue Gemini Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2008||Manufacturer||Anigrand Craftswork|
|Kit Number||2079||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||Beautiful casting, nice test-fit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$41.00|
While the Air Force was dealing with the threat of potential nuclear attack by the Soviets in the early 1960s, work was underway to obtain an orbital response capability using vehicles based upon the X-20. Unfortunately, development of that program was lagging and the Air Force wanted to get some spaceflight experience. The solution was simple enough, buy some off-the-shelf Gemini spacecraft.
Project Blue Gemini was proposed to then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who not only shot down the Blue Gemini concept (NASA could conduct the needed experiments) but the heart of the Air Force presence in space, the Manned Orbiting Development System (MODS) was cancelled as well. Back to the drawing boards. No Blue Gemini hardware was developed.
Later, McNamara approved the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the Gemini B was designed to operate with the MOL through a pressure hatch in the heat shield. One test article was developed and is on display at the US Air Force Museum. The MOL was later cancelled as well.
Anigrand certainly turns out some interesting subjects and their casting is usually impressive. This time however, I'd have to use the word "WOW". If you've ever played with the Revell 1/24 Gemini kit, this model will look and feel similar, albeit smaller. The capsule is hollow cast and a nice interior is provided complete with ejection seats.
The retro pack is very much like the Revell kit with the four kick motors mounted to the framework.
What is WOW about this model is the service module. In the Revell kit, there are lots of pressure vessels that contain the various consumables used by the spacecraft and crew on orbit. Look into that last image at the bottom. That is a one-piece casting with all of that detail in there. Impressive work!
The kit does have several distinctive features. First, the main entry hatches are molded in clear resin, making the job of installing small windows unnecessary. Simply mask and paint. Second, this version has landing gear. Unlike NASA that doesn't mind being rescued by the Navy after every flight, the Air Force wanted the dignity of landing on dry land. The parachute would safely plunk the returning spacecraft on its landing gear. The concept was a bit ahead of its time, but the crew escape craft designed for the international space station also returns to dry land via parachute as well.
This set of decals is purpose printed for this release as this was to be the only Gemini spacecraft in USAF markings.
If you'd like to add this distinctive spacecraft to your line-up as one that never was, this is a beautifully rendered model. On the other hand, it wouldn't take very much to alter the model to represent the Gemini in NASA service as well. Whatever your preferences, this is definitely one nice looking bit of casting from the wizards of Anigrand Craftswork!
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!