By Michael Dentzer - Copyright © 1999
The year is 1999, and the vehicles seen on this mid-70's series are becoming a reality, albeit in miniature form. One of the vehicles appearing on Space:1999 that I always wanted to build, but thought I would never be able to, was Moonbase Alpha's Primary Defense Tank. Offered by Scale Model Technologies, this little resin kit is a wonderful addition to my Space:1999 collection. Made in exact scale with the AMT/ERTL Eagle, SMT has produced a fantastic representation of this laser-toting lunar craft. Although not exactly accurate to the effects miniature, it stands as an excellent model on its own.
Building the Kit
As Rob Caswell has already given a good out of box review on the subject, I won't go into that here. All the main parts were very clean and clear of air bubbles. They only required a minimal amount of sanding, filing, and filling.
There were, however, two pieces that did require some major modifications. The communications dish and the laser gun both had some casting problems. The dish had a large air bubble that I decided would be more easily addressed by simply replacing it with one from the spares box which had more detail and a shape better to my liking. I then added some extra detail to match it better to the studio miniature. The front of the laser gun also suffered from casting defects. This was also replaced with spares parts, and the nozzle from a Bic lighter. I also replaced the rear bit with a more accurate-looking piece.
Another modification I made was to the undercarriage where large gaps separate the ends of the undercarriage from the chassis at both ends. A little digging in the parts box and suitable pieces found so that the rear and front undercarriage meets the rear of the chassis and the bottom rear of the cockpit.
I also noticed, in studying photos of the studio model, that the chassis sits a bit higher off the undercarriage than on the SMT model. So I used a 1/16th inch sheet of styrene, glued between these assemblies, and I was ready to assemble the rest of the model, which went pretty much as the instructions laid out.
Painting was next. I used Testors Model Master flat white for the base coat, flat gull gray for the wheel rims, and the usual shades of flat gray enamels for the various body panels, stripes, and other accents. Weathering was done using pencil and rubbing alcohol. This technique was used to weather/shade the grill work on the sides of the body. One last finishing touch was the addition of Tangents Moonbase Alpha logo decals from their fabulous Eagle decal sheet.
This is one great little kit. And for a price of $30 (SM Reader price) a real bargain. Although there are some problems with some parts, the overall quality is excellent, in my opinion. For the fan/collector of Space:1999 hardware it is invaluable, or for anyone who likes to build futuristic armor vehicles for that matter, I can't recommend this kit enough. Thanks SMT!
see a larger view.
^ Font view of the completed vehicle.
^ Back view, showing the back door - one of the areas of questionable accuracy.
^ The SMT kit, combined with Tangents' Eagle decals, makes for an attractive pairing.
^ The kit provides excellent detail for its small size. A few pieces from the parts box can further embellish it.
^ While kit has some inaccuracies, like the low cab height, the final effect is pretty pleasing.
^ A model of this vehicle was unexpected, but certainly welcomed with open arms by the Space:1999 modeling community.
This page copyright © 1999 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 26 May 1999.