MPC 1/1800 Moonbase Alpha Space: 1999 Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Moonbase Alpha Space: 1999
|Reissue of classic kit with new features included
I was attending my first major Star Trek convention in Washington DC in the early 1970s when a pair of British gentlemen came on stage and introduced a new science fiction concept that required a leap of faith up-front but promised some great viewing afterwards. According to these producers, the story is based upon a nuclear waste storage dump housed on the moon and managed by Moonbase Alpha. When an accident triggers a massive nuclear detonation, the resulting force pushes the moon out of orbit to become a wandering body while its inhabitants struggle to survive. Developed by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, who also created the animatronics-based Thunderbirds, UFO, and many other classics, Space:1999 was one of their first live-action series. The producers asked for a leap of faith knowing that such a massive detonation would have likely obliterated the moon (and the Earth). The series ran for two years before production ceased.
Model kits from Space 1999 have been quite popular with modelers for decades with offerings from MPC and Airfix among others. After Round 2 Corporation acquired the AMT, MPC, and Polar Lights toolings, they've spent the time to not only perform maintenance on the tooling (so you don't see flash everywhere) but in many cases new features and/or detail corrections are applied to the toolings to make these kits even nicer. In the case of the Moonbase Alpha, the kit was expanded from three Eagle landing pads to five new-tooled pads that include docking arms and six in-scale Eagle spacecraft.
When you look at the previous listings of this kit, you'll find the scale listed as 1/3200 in many places. On MPC's website, the kit's scale is listed as 1/1800 in one spot and 1/2000 in another. Regardless of which is correct, there are actually two scales provided in the kit. The moon base itself is one of the scales listed above, but there is another kit of the Moonbase Alpha's Operation Center which is listed as 1/115 scale.
In the original release, the display base was 12"x18" with the moon base structures replicated along with three Eagle pads and room was left on one corner of the display base to place the 1/115 ops center model. In this release, the display base is re-engineered at 17"x17" and five Eagle pads with the aforementioned improvements and additional surface corridors to better represent the original design used on-camera. Since most of the lunar surface of the 17"x17" display base is used to replicate the filming model, the 1/115 ops center model will have to sit alongside the display base rather than on the base as before.
The kit is molded in white styrene and presented on ten parts trees plus four sheets of white vacuformed plastic. I list the skill level at experienced because there are lots of small parts and some skills will be required to assemble the four vacuformed sheets into the display base though the instructions walk you through the process.
I find myself looking at the possibilities of lighting the Eagle pads as well as various parts of the moon base. Of course the display screens and interior of the operations center will also look great with lighting as well, especially to help see the great details and 12 figures that are included.
This has been a kit long awaited by modelers and fans of the TV series. In fact, Round 2 had originally listed the release date as March 2014, so clearly some extra time was spent to get this kit right. You should be seeing this kit on store shelves soon! If you hurry, CultTVman Hobbies is offering a pre-order special at $29.95 plus shipping.
My sincere thanks to Round2 Models for this review sample