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Rocketship galileo In Box Preview

By John Lester - images & text © 2006

Scale: 1/144 - about 10"/254mm long when built
Parts: 9 resin plus styrene rod.
Instructions: 1 page assembly guide with finishing notes
Decals: ALPS-printed waterslide by JBOT
Molding Quality: 9 - almost blemish-free
Detail: 5 - not a lot of it (but that's faithful to the 'original'), but what there is is nicely done
Accuracy: 10 - faithfully recreates the book cover art from 40+ years ago.
MSRP: $48.00 USD (~$54.12 CAN/ 38.56 EUR) - add $7.00 for a stand - available from Fantastic Plastic
Overall Rating: 9 - nice, simple kit of a cool design

[Please click to enlarge]

Rocket Ship Galileo, first published in 1947, launched Robert A. Heinlein's writing career.

[Please click to enlarge]

^ What you get

Image: The bulk of the build is just four parts

Image: Decals

In it, a group of 4 technically-minded guys, fresh out of high school, convert a sub-orbital cargo rocket into an atomic powered spaceship (with the help of one boy's uncle, a nuclear physicist) and become the first people to reach the moon..... or so they think. It's a fun, fast-paced adventure and has been one of my favorites since I first read as a kid it in the mid-seventies. It's one of Allen Ury's favorites as well, apparently, and the cover art from the book inspired him to produce this kit for his 'Fantastic Plastic' line.

What You Get

Inside the sturdy box are 9 resin parts, some styrene rod, instructions and decals. Optional parts include a landing skit that can be displayed out or retracted, and two styles of exhaust (chemical or 'atomic'). A display stand is available for an extra $7.00 US.

The master, by Scott Lowther, is nicely done, with only a few minor 'dips' in one wing to catch my attention. Scribing (control surfaces, cabin window and door) is fine and even. Casting (by CED) is top notch; there was only a tiny amount of flash on my kit, and no other blemishes.

Decals were ALPS-printed by JBOT. They include only the name of the ship in various 40's-style fonts.

Instructions are concise and to the point. They lay out several assembly steps, illustrated with photographs, and include simple painting notes.

Assembly & Finish

Assembly should be quick. There are few parts, and only a little extra resin from the pour gates to clean away. The kit is engineered with slots and pins to assist in placing and anligning the major parts, which is a help. Putty required should be minimal, if my dryfitting of parts is an accurate guide. One concern I have is that the styrene supplied to 'extend' the landing skid will not be strong enough to hold the model up. I will probably replace it with steel wire, as I do intend to build the model with the skid deployed.

The box art and instructions suggest an overall white color. That matches at least one copy of the book cover art .... but I think I want to go with a bare metal finish on this. It's what I remember from the book (though that's not saying I remember correctly!)


This is a nice, simple kit of an under-appreciated segment of sciience fiction. Thoughtful engineering and simple shapes make it an ideal candidate for a first resin model.I'm looking forward to tackling the build!

Now, where can I find some 1/144 Nazi stormtroopers ....... ?

Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2006 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 26 April 2006.