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RealSpace Gemini Detail Set Kit Preview


By Garry Stahl - images & text © 2005

Scale: 1/48
Parts: 15 Resin parts, 1 Vacuform part, plus gold foil
Instructions: one sheet, double sided
Decals: None
Molding Quality: 9
Detail: 8
Accuracy: 9
MSRP: $15.00 USD (~$18.49 CAN/ 12.32 EUR) available from RealSpace Models
Overall Rating: 9 - see review

[Box]

[Click to enlarge]

^ What you get in resin

Image: Plastic and foil

Image: Instructions, page 1

Image: Page 2

Image: Kit plastic

The Gemini spacecraft was The United State's second forray into space. It was the craft in which the early astronauts would develop the skills that would take us to the Moon. Gemini had all the basic parts that would later been seen in Apollo: the service module, the retro pack and the Gemini cabin itself. There would be 12 in all, 4-12 being manned, and every one of them a one-off ship as lessons learned from the last mission were applied to the next.

As a kid I had, and played to death, a Revell Mercury-Gemini 1/48 scale kit set. I got my enjoyment out of them. Recently I replaced the long gone kits with a successful foray on E-bay. However, the prize acquired, I had seen the detailing kit RealSpace has and I wanted same. While I have fond memories of that old Mercury/Gemini kit it had a lot of problems. I do mean a LOT of problems, problems that I as an adult modeler I wish to address. Thank you RealSpace. My current copy is the "Gus Grissom Memorial Combo" released in 2000. While some collectors might desire the original 1964 kit I can do without that ancient styrene. It has the consistency of ten day old bubblegum. I buy the kits to build, not to age into plastic flakes in the box.

First Impressions

Bits, not a lot of bits but bits. This is a detailing kit not a whole model kit. Packed in a bubblewrap bag inside a flat box you get the vacuformed plastic rear cover, the gold foil to line it with and a small baggy of beige resin. I don't see any real problems with using the bits. It will require cutting the plastic model, it will require sanding and filling, and putting filled details back, but hey, no one said it would be easy.

The kit includes three replacement noses for you to choose from. You will only use one depending on which version of the Gemini you choose to model: GT 3.4, GT-7, or GT 5,6,8-12. No matter what you decide you will have two Gemini bits in the bits box. The other bits are reaction thrusters, an umbilical, and replacements for the window coves. Yes, this kit involves cutting on the model.

Instructions are simple and lucid. Plain line drawings indicate the location and color of the kit parts. Modifications to the Gemini kit are clearly marked out, and any modeler with a steady hand and a clear head should get good results.

Ease of Assembly: NOT. This is a sand and fill, measure twice cut once type deal. It is not for the beginner. Yes, most of the additional parts are trim, and glue. But in three cases, the nose and the window coves, it is major surgery. Do not attempt if the sight of styrene curls makes you faint. In addition the corrugated nature of the project means you have to be nitpicky about how you finish those parts off.

Lastly the only real lack I see. The Gemini part of the old kit has a serious flaw, a very serious flaw. It was taken from an early design of the Gemini where they thought the ship would land on skids. The skids, including skid doors are on the model. No such version of Gemini was ever made.

Now RealSpace has a Mercury detail kit as well. It includes a whole new resin shell. (Guys, why did you stop there? You might as well made a whole kit.) I would have liked to see a replacement for the bottom of the ship with the skid bays. I would have gladly paid for same as well. It would have pushed a good detailing kit into excellent detailing kit. Yes it would add five or ten dollars to the set. It would be worth it.

Conclusion

If accurate detail matters, get this detail kit. You will be happy with the results, provided you are up to the work. The Mercury/Gemini kits can be had on E-bay, they are not easy to get. One might as well do them up right. This detail kit is worth the money spent.

So, RealSpace. I haven't built mine up yet. Any chance of that shell?


Many thanks to Garry's 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 © 2005 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 21 June 2005.