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Mercury 9

Pegasus Hobbies 1/350 Mercury 9 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2011 Manufacturer Pegasus Hobbies
Subject Mercury 9 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 9103 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Fun kit reflecting where we might have gone with the Apollo program Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.95

First Look

Mercury 9
Mercury 9
Mercury 9
Mercury 9

Here is a new and interesting kit from Pegasus Hobbies - the Mercury 9. I don't know what the 'official' scale of this kit is supposed to be though I've seen references online that it is 1/350 scale. This kit is the brainchild of artist Scott Willis who took the science fiction designs of the 1960s and 1970s and updated them a bit. Looking at the kit, it almost looks like a ship out of one of Gerry Anderson's many TV series of that era and would look at home on the set of the Thunderbirds.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on seven parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts and a two-lead wire to represent the fuel lines.

Construction starts with the classic command center building that has a huge spotlight atop the roof. With just a bit of work, you could get a super-bright LED in that spotlight housing and illuminate the rocket. For that matter, you might as well light up the interior windows here and there to add some life.

Next comes the huge landing pad. This covers the three main engine bells as well as cradles the three main fins of the first stage.

Speaking of the first stage, this section comes next and looks somewhat like a space shuttle main fuel tank, though more like the Soviet version that had the main engines underneath the tank instead of on their shuttle. The tank is stabilized with three large fins that have what appear to be additional rocket motors at the tip. Interesting that on the top of each tip motor is a clear dome like Bussard scoops of the USS Enterprise. In the box art, these glow red, so I'm thinking about some LED lighting in here too.

The next step is a refueling station that has twin hoses that run from it up a swing-away arm into the side of the first stage. This doesn't get any easier than this as Pegasus provides this twin-hose as a standard two-lead wire, so getting power inside the model is already set up for you to exploit.

The second stage is next and you'll note that it bears a striking resemblance to a V-2 rocket with only three fins, typical of the old-school sci-fi space ships. This assembly mounts into slots atop the first stage. Engine shroud fairings go on last to the first stage and your rocket is complete.

The final step is mounting the rocket onto the launch pad and plugging in the swing-arm fuel lines. You'll definitely want to consider mounting the command center, fueling station, and launch pad onto a suitable display base to round out that retro look.

The kit includes a set of decals to complete the look of this piece of art. The painting instructions recommend Testors Model Master paints, though any finishing system will work here. Given that the majority of the rocket is steel metallic in color, this might be a good job for some Alclad II.

Whether you build this kit straight out of the box and keep it simple, or go with some LED lighting and some metal shades and extra detailing to enhance the appearance of your model, this looks like a fun build and I can assure you that no matter how you're going to finish it, there isn't anyone that is going to argue about your accuracy. That's what makes subjects like these more enjoyable!