Metallic Details 1/144 Antares Rocket Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2021||Manufacturer||Metallic Details|
|Kit Number||MDR14420||Primary Media||Resin, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First full kit of the rocket and launch support system||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$241.95|
As the Space Shuttle program was coming to a close, NASA began the quest for commercial alternatives to send supplies and equipment up to the International Space Station (ISS). Russian Soyuz spacecraft have carried cosmonauts and cargo to the ISS since at least 2000 and Soyuz spacecraft were also kept docked to the ISS as emergency escape pods. After retirement of the Space Shuttles, NASA booked flights for its astronauts to accompany cosmonauts up to the ISS. In 2008, Orbital Sciences Corporation was awarded a contract to launch their Cygnus cargo carrier atop the Taurus II launch vehicle while SpaceX was also awarded a contract for the Dragon cargo carrier to be carried aloft atop the Falcon 9. The Taurus II was renamed Antares, and could carry roughly 8,000kg (18,000lb) to low Earth orbit. Where the Falcon 9 launched from Kennedy Space Center on the same pads as the Space Shuttles, the Antares' smaller size made it ideal for launch out of the Wallops Island facility in Virginia. The Cygnus/Antares systems will continue flight support of the ISS through at least 2023.
Metallic Details produces some stunning aftermarket details and conversions in a variety of scales, but now they've entered the full-kit market with this stunning multi-media kit of the Antares. This kit includes a detailed Antares that sits on its launch stool, a small base plate for the launch stool and gantry mounts, all rendered in dark gray resin, the gantry/rocket erector and other details on four frets of photo-etched parts, and even the fueling lines to depict the rocket nearing its launch. Since this model represents the full-up flight-ready Antares on its launch stool, there is no visibility under the rocket and no rocket motor details are included. Ditto on a Cygnus spacecraft as that would be stored inside the launch shroud atop the rocket. As you can see by the decals included, the kit represents the Antares with Orbital markings, before that company's purchase by Northrop-Grumman.
The layout of the kit is relatively simple, with rocket itself made up of six major parts plus some photo-etched details. The challenging work (for some modelers) will be to origami the gantry/erector together, but the experienced modeler will have the tools and techniques to fold these parts.
If you're a space flight fan (as I am), this model will look great among other launch vehicles in your collection. The scale makes it easy to blend in with the Saturn launch vehicles by Airfix, a variety of vehicles from New Ware, and even more.
This kit is imported into the US by HobbyZone USA and the price includes free shipping (look here).
My sincere thanks to HobbyZone USA for this review sample!