Patrick R. Sklena's review of EVA's Alan Shepard figures.

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Starship Modeler: EVA's Alan Shepard Kit Review

By Patrick R. Sklenar -- all text & images © 1999
[Both Figures]

Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr.
18 Nov. 1923 - 21 July 1998

In between those two seemingly insignificant dates, Al Shepard led a full life - serving his nation and raising a family. He served the United States of America as a Naval officer, retiring as a Rear Admiral in August of 1974. He joined NASA in 1959 and was the first American into space on 5 May 1961 (exactly two months after I was born).

On sunday 31 January 1971 he, along with his crewmates Stuart Roosa (CM pilot) and Edgar Mitchell (LM pilot), left planet Earth aboard Apollo 14 for a nine day journay to our Moon and back. Early on the morning of friday the 5th of February he and Ed Mitchell guided their Lunar Module Antares to a safe landing in the Fra Mauro highlands. Later that morning Shepard would become the 5th human being to walk on the surface of a planet other than Earth. Around mid-day on saturday the 6th of February, Al & Ed left the surface of the Moon to rejoin their crewmate, Stu, in their Command Module - the Kitty Hawk. They all safely returned to Earth on Tuesday the 9th of February.

In early August of 1998 I was surfing the web, looking for information on Al. Imagine my pleasure at coming upon EVA Models. He specializes in a rather unique subject - spacesuited figures (mostly Apollo era, although he has now branched out to include a kit of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle). He has two kits representing Astronaut Alan Shepard. Now, the last model I had built was back in my junior year in highschool - 1978. And I had NEVER built anything except your standard, run-of-the-mill, off-the-shelf styrene kits. EVA Models sells resin kits! Well, after much soul searching as to whether or not I really wanted to get back into building models and after asking many, many questions of the folks on rec.models.scale and the Space Modelers listserve, I broke down and ordered both kits (kit numbers EVA002 & EVA005).

A few weeks later, I recieved a package containing two small zip lock bags. They each held several resin castings (8 in kit EVA005, the golf shot, and 6 in kit EVA002, saluting the flag), two small stiff wires, a photocopied instruction sheet and a color photo of the finished product. I was having second thoughts - after nearly two decades I was going to resume modeling with these small pieces of resin!? As it turns out, I couldn't have made a better choice. I won't write a full build-up, others have done that better than I could. But I will try to write what I found important and interesting as someone who was building their first kit in nearly two decades.

The quality of EVA Models' work is extraordinary. The instructions were clear and consise. Construction was very simple, cut off the resin carrier, sand the cut area smooth and glue it all together. Actually, I only partially assembled the kits - building the body, but leaving the PLSS' off & not attaching the bodies to the bases in order to make painting easier. I used Squadron White Putty to fill a few minor gaps created by my over zealous sanding. I cleaned the pieces carefully in hot soapy water to remove finger oils. I then used plain old white glue to stick the pieces to popsicle sticks which I then stuck in to a block of that foam planting material found in craft shops. Thus I could paint the figures without having to actually touch them.

Researching how the paint job should go was the biggest part of this project for me. Karl Dodenhoff's "My Little Space Museum" was absolutely indespensible - I wouldn't have been able to make these kits look at all like real astronauts without the help I found on Karl's site. A big change for me was the new aqueous acrylic paints. Far easier to work with than the old enamels I used to work with. They clean up faster, dry quicker (note: I did all my painting via brushes, I haven't bought an airbrush yet).

I did roughly 90% of the painting while the models were only partially built and still on these sticks. For finishing, I removed them from the sticks and removed the blobs of white glue I had placed prior to painting (in order to have paint-free spots for gluing), then glued the final figures together. After that, I painted over the last seams and glued the feet back to the popsicle sticks in order to "seal" the paint with a semi-gloss clear. Next I applied the decals (MicroSet & MicroSol sure make life a *LOT* easier than I recall it being in the mid-70's!) and sealed with the semi-gloss again. I then applied about a dozen thin layers of Future to the faceplates in order to get a good glassy shine. I then used a wash of Isopropinyl & a LITTLE dark grey paint to make the suits look a little less bright and to make the wrinkles stand out a bit. Finally, I glued the figures down onto their bases. I finished them off by applying a couple shades of dry pastels to the legs and elbow areas of the suits since the astronauts got awfully dirty while on the moon.

All that remains is to have a small brass plaque engraved with Al's name and the dates of his Apollo 14 mission, and to attach it to the display.

[Look at that ball go!]

[Golf shot - rear]

[Salute - Front]

[O Say Can You Seeeeeeeeeeeeee ....]

[Salute - Rear]

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