By John Lester - images & text © 2000
Launched just over two weeks apart in late 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 were the second set of space probes to explore the outer planets and space beyond our solar system.
Click here to see more - all that's not shown is the fiel tank and main body halves.
Image: The resin base is a copy of the record carried on the spacecraft's side.
^ The two sheets of PE brass.
^ Instructions are clear and comprehensive.
Far more sophisticated than their predecessors, Pioneer 10 and 11, the Voyagers greatly increased our knowledge of the outer planets, and are widely considered the most successful of NASA's interplanetary missions. Voyager 1 took the direct route, surveying Jupiter, Saturn and the moon Titan before heading into deep space. Voyager 2 took the senic route (dubbed the "Grand Tour") to see Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Both probes are now travelling beyond our solar system and are expected to continue transmitting data until their nuclear-powered generators run out of fuel in the early part of this century.
What You Get
RealSpace's kit is not the first one available (lunar had one out several years ago), but it is clearly the best. Inside the trademark sturdy box is a cornucopia of well-detailed, crisply molded parts. Their quality is everything we've come to expect from this company.
The resin parts, which depict the main body of the probe as well as the thrusters and most of the instrumentation, come in a bubble-wrap bag to protect them during shipping. It worked, too, as none of the more fragile-looking bits were damaged in my kit. The resin is very hard and smooth, with almost no evidence of mold seams, though many parts are marred by small pits. These should be easy enough to fix, since they are few and far between where they do exist (not like some of the other garage kits I've seen, where the surface looks cratered!). More time consuming will be the necessity of removing the carriers from many parts. Some, like the wire tray, are on a wafer that's almost 3mm thick (although half of that is a stand that's designed to keep the bottom of the part safe from your razor saw or sanding block) - so plenty of careful sanding will be in order. Don't get me wrong - it's not a hard process, just tedious - and it's a lot less work than one would spend cleaning up something like Comet's Martian War Machine. A nice touch is the resin base, which replicates the gold-plated records each probe carried, containing sounds of Earth life and diagrams to help understand us.
The instrument boom, some of the support structure, and a few instruments are to be constructed from two photoetched brass sheets. Again, the detail here is quite good. The brass is relatively thick, so though it may possibly be a bit harder to shape, it will be much sturdier than possible otherwise. A good, heavy straightedge should be all you need to hsape most of these bits.
Rounding out the major kit parts is a large, vacuformed styrene hemisphere to replicate the craft's antenna. Also included are various lengths and diameters of metal rod and tubing, from which to make smaller antennas and similar devices.
Assembling all this wonderful stuff would be a major exercise in frustration - if not for the excellent instructions. These are made up of five pages of clear, easy-to-follow diagrams laid out in a logical sequence. Paint call-outs are included in every step, as are part names for almost all the equipment. Also included is a full page detailing what the symbology engraved on the gold records means.
RealSpace have launched another winning kit, one which is sure to make an eye-catching display on any shelf. Due to the large number of multimedia parts though, I would not recommend it to a novice builder - but if you have some experience with intricate kits, pick this one up!
Many thanks to RealSpace Models 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!
This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 13 May 2000.