Kit preview of Captain Cardboardís Aries 1B.

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Captain Cardboardís Aries 1B Preview


By Michael J Dentzer - images & text © 2000

Scale: 1/80 scale, 6 inches in diameter, 7 Ĺ inches tall
Parts: 43 total parts cast in polyurethane resin
Instructions: 10 pages of detailed instructions illustrated w/b&w photos.
Decals: None, although decals for this kit are available through Tangents.
Molding Quality: See review
Detail: See review
Accuracy: See review
Out of Production (as of 2/2001)

I've been wanting to get Captain Cardboard's Aries 1B kit ever since I saw it advertised on Starship Modeler, so as Christmas 2000 came near I requested the kit from my wife as her holiday gift to me, and she ordered it in early November.

[Box he didn't buy]

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^ Even without cleaning up the parts, fit is impressive

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^ Passenger compartment

[Plenty of room for a cockpit]

^ Plenty of room for a cockpit

[Click to enlarge]

^ Exterior detailing is fine throughout

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^ Main engines and their mounts

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^ RCS thrusters and other details

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^ Landing gear pieces

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^ Lower hull quadrant
Although I didnít have it for the big day, it did arrive on January 2, 2001. Not the best service Iíve gotten from our cottage industry suppliers, but being aware of Scottís workload with the new line of studio scale models, I thought it quite understandable. Besides, modelers should have the virtue of patience, so it was no big deal to me.

First Impressions

Well packed inside a plain cardboard box (I opted to forgo the illustrated box) was a delightful assortment of well-cast resin goodness. At first inspection of the parts, I was amazed at the quality of workmanship. The detail is sharp, crisp, and well defined, with not a bubble, pinhole, or other blemish that are sometimes, and often, found on lesser quality offerings. In fact, Iíve seen mainstream styrene kits that had softer detail and more casting flaws than this does. Flipping the parts over I was again pleasantly surprised to see their interiors were given the same amount of care and attention as the exterior surfaces - smooth and even with only a few minor bubbles or pits visible, obviously a result of Scottís process of pressure-casting. Well done. There are a few areas of flash on most parts, but thatíll be easy to remove and clean up. I also couldnít detect any warped or misshapened parts that would present problems with alignment during assembly.

The Parts

Upper Hull: The part that captures the eye first upon opening the box is the upper hull. It's a first-rate execution of detail and accuracy when compared to the reference material available. The panel lines are well defined, as are the small detailing bits that are scattered about the surface. The cockpit windows have a thin layer of resin on the inside that you can leave as is, or easily remove and replace with clear windows if youíre planning to construct an interior. The inside is, as stated above, clean, even, and smooth, making it an easy task to mount a scratch-built cockpit if you decide to go that route, or just simply install lights. (The large overall size of the kit has plenty of interior room to work with for that purpose.)

Lower Hull: There are 4 sections which comprise the lower hull, all of which are slightly different in surface detailing, which, again, is sharp and crisp. There are, however, a couple of areas in which accuracy could be an issue, and will give the builder concerned with super accuracy something to do. The first are the sections between the passenger windows, which on the kit are smooth, but in fact should have vertical ribbing. This same ďproblemĒ also appears on the hullís base rim panels, which again are smooth on the kit, but should have horizontal ribbing running down the length of the panels. The four RCS thruster pods are, on the kit, built on spherical mounts, but in reference sources are conical, and there should be an indented ridge on the inside of the ring surrounding the RCS bases. The access hatch also should be recessed into hull a bit more than what is found on the kit. These are really minor nitpicks for me, but needed to be addressed for readers who are concerned with absolute accuracy. The passenger windows will need more work to open than the pilot windows as these are molded in thicker and will require some drill work and filing to open up. There is, however, plenty of room inside for building an interior passenger compartment and adding lights. The RCS nozzles included with the kit are cast on sprue trees and will need to be removed and the flash cleaned up before being individually applied the RCS mounts. You may also want to drill out the centers of each, or you could just cheat and paint the centers black to give it an open look. The RCS nozzles are also the only parts which seem to suffer a bit from molding flaws, but Scott has included extras in compensation.

Baseplate: This is a pretty straight-forward flat plate with marker pins to designate the engine positions on the bottom, and mounting points on the topside for the landing gear. Well cast, and on test fitting, lines up well to the inside of the lower hull.

Engines: The 4 engines consist of two pieces each - main body and exhaust shrouds. The main bodies are cast solid, and nicely detailed. The detailing is generally accurate, but leaves room for you to add detail in the form of additional piping and wiring if one desires. Also missing from the engines is a perforated ring around them about a third of the way down from the base through which piping and wiring passes through as seen in reference photos of the studio model. Again, not absolutely necessary, but something for you to add if you want to. The shrouds are nicely done with only minor flash on the ridges and mold injection points that need to be sanded and smoothed. The engine ports at the center are nicely done and accurate. The shrouds themselves are smooth, but should have paneled detailing on the outside surfaces as per the reference photos.

Landing Gear: The 3 part landing gear is also nicely cast with only some thin flash on the inside openings that either pops right out or is easily removed with a sharp exacto blade. The pads will need a bit more work, as there are injection points that need to be removed and sanded. As is, the landing gear can only be built on the landing position, for the upper hinged sections are molded in one piece. They would need extensive reworking to be made to either retract or to be displayed in the in-flight position. As I intend on building it in the landing mode, that wonít be an issue for me. The landing gear shrouds are well done with only some minor flash Ďround the edges to clean up. If you do decide to build it in the gear-up position, you will also have to remove a bit of the paneling on the lower hull so the shrouds will fit flush with the hull. There is also a bit of work to do for the gear-down mode in the form of struts that hold the shrouds open.

Conclusions

I dry-fitted the main sections, using scotch tape to hold the lower hull assembly together, to see how well the major parts will fit, and to get an overall impression of what the finished model will look like.
I am very impressed.

Everything seems to fit together well, the only misalignments coming from the fact that I hadnít removed any of the flash areas or cleaned up the joints. Even so, it all seems to fit perfectly and I donít foresee any major problems involved in putting the kit together. There will be some filler needed on the seams, but thatís just standard procedure for just about any kit, whether resin or styrene. Aside from the relative accuracy issues discussed, this is a first-rate kit. It's well worth the price of admission, and will build up into an impressive display, although I would only recommend it to the experienced modeler with adequate skills in dealing with higher-priced resin kits.


Many thanks to Michael's Chief Financial Officer's purse for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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