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Moon Bus

Moebius Models 1/55 Moon Bus Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2010 Manufacturer Moebius Models
Subject Moon Bus Scale 1/55
Kit Number 2001-1 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Retooled and updated Aurora classic kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

Moon Bus
Moon Bus
Moon Bus
Moon Bus
Moon Bus

It was the beginning of the 21st Century and man was not only on the moon, he was expanding the moon base to support exploration into the solar system as well as study the geological history of the moon and its relationship to the Earth. In one of those geological digs, an artifact was uncovered like nothing seen before - a black monolith devoid of any features.

Word of this discovery quickly carried back to Earth and a scientific team was dispatched to the moon to see the artifact first-hand. After an uneventful Pan Am flight into orbit, the team awaited their connecting flight aboard one of the orbiting space stations. From there, a lunar shuttle carried the team to the moon base, where they took a Moon Bus out to the dig site. As the team gathered around the artifact, the sunrise struck the previously buried artifact for the first time and it shot a message into deep space. And so ends the second act of Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Of all of the kit companies that I remember from my youth, Aurora was one that I really enjoyed. Of all of the kits from Aurora that I ever saw, the Moon Bus wasn't one of them. In retrospect, the Moon Bus was an interesting looking kit, but by the time I realized that there was a kit of this subject, it had become quite an item on the collector's market.

At least one company reproduced this kit in resin, using the Aurora sprues as a pattern and even issuing the kit in the Aurora-like packaging. I was even a bit amazed reading an onlne review where the author was taking issue with the length of the Moon Bus kit being too long. Out of morbid curiosity, I even found chat room discussions comparing the silhouette of the kit against screenshots from the movie and in some cases proving that Aurora got the kit length (and shape) correct. All of this for a subject that had a few minutes of screen time in an otherwise long movie.

At any rate, Moebius Models has picked up the gauntlet dropped by Aurora many decades ago and has not only reissued a number of their science fiction kits, they've even released many kits that Aurora had not finished before they went out of business. With a growing array of kits from Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Fantastic Voyage, Star Trek, and more, we now have a reissue of the Aurora Moon Bus from 2001 A Space Odessey. According to Moebius Models, this kit is more than a reissue, it has been retooled and improved. Since I haven't seen the original kit in a LONG time, I cannot comment on what has been changed or improved upon in this release.

Molded in white styrene, this kit is presented on nine parts trees plus a the lower hull and main deck, as well as one tree of clear styrene parts. The molding is clean and free of flash.

There is a surprising amount of detail in this kit with a complete interior, flight deck, a removable top, and eight figures. If you search around online (Google is your friend), you can see where some folks have screen-captured images of the cabin interior. The instructions give you color guidance, but you might be interested to see how much (or how little) color there is on the Moon Bus set given the dramatic lighting and how little time was spent on this set in the final cut of the movie. In short, if you take a little license with the detail painting, there aren't many folks that are going to argue with you.

The Moon Bus in the movie was devoid of markings save a briefly visible USAA logo that is included on a small decal sheet in this kit.

Moebius has done a nice job of getting this kit back on the street. For all of us 'old school' science fiction modelers, this kit represents what our future might have looked like had we continued the push into space after Apollo with the Nova series of boosters that were to follow the Saturn V. While we did return to space later on with the Space Shuttle, that program is quickly coming to its end with its replacement now cancelled.