Space & Sci-Fi Vehicles

Reviews of products for scale space and science fiction vehicle models.

North American X-15

Published: June 6th, 2017     
North American X-15
Author: Peter E, Davies
Reviewed by: Allan Murrell, IPMS# 49715
Company: Osprey Publishing

This book goes into great detail of what I consider the best X-Plane of them all, the X-15. This X-plane was the last of the Manned Rocket planes, it went beyond Mach 6, and if the project had continued, would I am sure have passed Mach 7. The X-15 reached the edge of space at 380,000 feet altitude. The project was the first by North American, as they won the contract over Bell and Douglas, who had until this been the main developers of the X-Planes.

There is a lot to the story of the X-15, and this book goes into a lot of detail in an informative and entertaining way. The book draws you in and keeps your attention. I read the book in one sitting and enjoyed it greatly. The book covers all the issues and problems, alongside the great steps forward, the X-15 helped achieve, and the advances in systems, airframe, engines, and materials.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the X-Planes, and especially the X-15. It has some wonderful pictures that are great for modeler's as well.

Thanks go to Osprey Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

BatBoat

Published: May 28th, 2017     
BatBoat
Reviewed by: Allan Murrell, IPMS# 49715
Scale: 1/24
Company: Round 2 Models

This is a re-issue by Round2 of a kit first released a few years ago by AMT.

This is a kit of the BatBoat from the movie Batman Returns, and featured in the movie climax.

 In the box is:

  • 1 chrome sprue
  • 3 x wing parts
  • 1 black sprue
  • 1 upper hull section
  • 1 lower hull section
  • 1 cardboard fold out backdrop (based on scene from the movie)
  • 1 instruction booklet

All of the 18 parts are well molded and great detail, the only issue is the large number of ejector pin marks on the rear and side wing parts. The instruction booklet is easy to follow and well-illustrated.

Construction

Stage 1, 2 and 3 is the construction of the Batboat interior and installing it into the lower hull. The interior parts were painted and some shading/weathering added to make it look sharp. This was the only painting needed on this kit.

Stage 4 is the install of the jet nozzle which needed the chrome removed to enable it to be glued.

Mercury Redstone

Published: May 26th, 2017     
Mercury Redstone
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: Horizon Models

Horizon Models, a company based in Australia has recently released another in a series of U.S. spacecraft, this one being the Mercury Redstone, item # 2004. Horizon has covered the Mercury series well with this new release, along with the earlier releases of the Mercury Capsule and the Mercury Atlas kits. And with this kit, Horizon Models announces that their coverage of the Mercury Program has been completed. Future releases will cover other launch vehicles and other programs.

If you've seen the artwork on the box top (one can Google Image the artwork) then you know that it catches the spirit and "feel" of the Mercury Redstone as it begins its journey. Paul Renwick Farley, the artist who illustrated all three of the Mercury kits, did justice to that spirit.On the reverse side of the box are three profile illustrations by Juanita Franzi of Aero Illustrations. These illustrations are an excellent resource for colors and decal placement.

U.S.S. Excelsior

Published: May 25th, 2017     
U.S.S. Excelsior
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1:1000
Company: Round 2 Models

The U.S.S. Excelsior has been a Star Trek favorite for quite some time now - one of the most elegant designs ever made for the Star Trek universe. I didn't notice this at first, but the designer was strongly influenced by the 1930s Art Deco Streamline Modern style, which features rounded shapes with straight fluting - quite a retro look when you stop and think about it. I remember a friend of mine, upon first seeing the Excelsior in detail, quipped "This model isn't so much a spaceship as a fashion statement." When you look at the extensive use of piping and other fine details, it's hard not to see his point.

AMT released a model of this lovely ship quite some time ago - almost 20 years, if recollection does not betray me. As a hard-core Star Trek fan and modeler I built this kit when it first came out, and still have it in my collection today.

However, Round 2 has really done this model justice on their re-release, updating and refining the parts to give the modeler the basis for a really stunning rendition of this iconic ship. A quick review of the redesigned parts reveal:

Excelsior Aztec Decals

Published: May 18th, 2017     
Excelsior Aztec Decals
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/1000
Company: Round 2 Models

Round 2 Models has released a large 3-sheet decal set to accompany their newly revised and released U.S.S. Excelsior kit from the Star Trek series. Printed by Cartograf, these decals are commendably thin and for the most part, feature little to no carrier film to deal with. They respond quite well to MicroSol, which I used to help them conform to some of the compound curves found on the model.

These sheets actually perform two functions rather than one; first, they provide decals for virtually all of the elaborate paint scheme for this model, eliminating an incredible amount of extremely tedious masking and painting. Second, they provide surface texture in the form of tiny panels. Let me deal with these two aspects separately.