By Sean Brannin - images & text © 2008
Editor's Note: Sean's kit was a pre-production sample. The only differences between his and the current kit are the current kit is molded in grey resin by BLAP! Models, has a full interior, and includes a decal sheet.
^ What you get
Image: Upper hull
Image: Lower hull
Image: Engine exhaust
Image: Foot pads
Image: Thrust plate
Image: Landing legs
Image: Landing leg covers
Image: Hull halves are a tight fit
Image: Other side
Image: Engine details
Image: Thrust plate is a drop fit as well
Image: Landing leg assembly
From the wonderful Stargazer ,who gave us the true scale Orion III transport and the famous Serenity, comes the next part of his 1/144 2001 space ship selection. Ian was wonderfully gracious in allowing me to have a preview copy of this Aires 1B pod while at Wonderfest in May, 2007.
What You Get
The kit is broken down very simply as 2 halves of the main transport ball , the base plate for the motor and all the other greeblies and details required. Overall the detail is very sharp and as far as I can tell as accurate as one can get given the size and scale of the subject. Mine came cast in a cream colored resin similar to his Serenity offering.
First off, the upper hemisphere of the pod. This has raised and recessed panel details scribing is sharp and clear. Looks like it will really pop out with a coat of paint and a mild wash. My copy had very minimal flash on the rim from the casting process but nothing that wasnít cleaned up in a minute with a sanding stick. The casting itself is free of bubbles and is VERY thin. Not fragile but enough to see a translucence to it.
The lower half is slightly thicker. The bottom is open to allow you to insert the base plate for the motor assemblies. External detail is again sharp with raised panels and recessed panel lines. The detailing on this part is delicate. In one part the external crew access door is molded with very fine recessed detailing. The ribbed panels around each RCS cluster are delicately represented too. Each RCS cluster also comes with a small insert mount to go inside the recessed circle in the center.
The kit may be built with the full cockpit, as seen on screen, or with a "reduced" cockpit and full passenger compartment (the different options because what's seen on screen wouldn't actually fit inside the "real thing").
The engines come in 2 part assemblies the main body and the exhaust bell. The bell is very finely cast with ribbed details on the inside face and panel detail on the outside face. Compared to screencaps from the film it looks as accurate as possible for the scale. The bell mounts to a circular stub of resin for the main engine housing. Surface detail on these is good and well rendered.
There are 4 landing legs on the module. in the kit these are made of 6 parts. 5 for the leg and a cover that mounts to the main body itself. The leg is broken down as 3 support leg structures and 2 foot pads. With a little bit of finesse, you make these legs so they articulate - the instructions clearly tell you how to do this.
Test fitting so far has yielded no issues. I plan on installing a white LED inside it and tinting the cockpit windows red to match the filming model.
Overall this kit looks like it will be a blast to build and is a must have for a 2001 fan. Many thanks to Stargazer for making this kit a reality, itís a welcome surprise.
Many thanks to Ian of Stargazer Models for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!