Preview of Atomic City's
2001 One-Man Space Pod

By Rob Caswell - images and text © 2000

Scale: 1/12 (6.5" diameter)
Parts: 32 resin, 1 vacuform, 4 styrene sheets, 1 acetate sheet.
Instructions: 20+ pages: Thorough and insightful.
Decals: 1 two-color waterslide sheet, 1 sheet placards.
Molding Quality: 9 - Quality casting, with minor imperfections.
Detail: 10 - If you saw it on the screen, it's on this kit.
Accuracy: 10 - Scott did his homework. Best as I can tell, this is the most accurate Pod kit to date.
MSRP: $145 USD ($130 w/o the "Aurora-styled" box) available only direct from Atomic City/Captain Cardboard.
Overall Rating: 9+ - An outstanding model, which would have scored a perfect 10 if it'd been cast with the same standards of his earlier "Aries IB".

Pod Box Art

Click on any picture below to expand it to a detailed view in a new broswer window.

Pod Parts

^ All the kit's parts. Though technically a multimedia kit, most of the assembly is polyurethane resin.

Pod front

^ The main hull is in five pieces. The front piece is shown here. Note the great attention to detail on the greeblies below the view port.

Pod Greeblies

^ This close-up of the area under the view port gives you a good sense of the kit's molding quality.


^ The two RCS thruster quads are largely molded as single pieces, although one quad has an add on "panel" which replaces one of the four thrust deflectors. It's this kind of attention to accuracy that makes this a remarkable kit.

Pod floor

^ The floor of the Pod's cockpit.

^ The decals, placards, and acetate instrument panels.

^ Part of the manipulator arms. Some of the kit's parts feature some flash, but it appears to be easily cleaned up. Overall the detail is crisp and the resin quality is high.

Last year Space:1999 had it's time in the spotlight. Now that that's behind us, sci-fi aficionados are looking towards 2001's namesake year. Clearly Scott Alexander (aka "Captain Cardboard") has been fueled by the coming of that noteworthy date. He first became a name to 2001 fans when he released his Aries IB kit, as part of his "Kits Aurora Should Have Made" line. His 1/12th scale Pod (half the size of the studio miniature) is the next step (and not the last) down the path of giving modelers the 2001 models they've dreamed of since the film first graced the screen.

From first announcement to delivery, the kit took a little over a year to create. During that time Scott sent out regular updates to his customers, giving us a unique insight into the process of bringing a garage kit like this to life. It was originally planned to be about a four-month project, but while some were frustrated by the overrun, it ultimately led to a more accurate model as Scott would obtain new reference materials. With the original models long since destroyed, researching 2001 subjects is quite the detective job.

This model was created using a stereolithography process. This is where the model is designed in a CAD package, and then patterns are output through computer-controlled 'growing devices'.

The Pod comes in an attractive, sturdy, hand-built, professional-looking box (I think that's quite enough adjectives, thank you...). The graphic design was created to evoke the look of Aurora's late 60's efforts. It succeeds admirably, although it's unfortunate that he couldn't use the "Kits that Aurora Should Have Made" tagline, since the company name is currently being resurrected. Scott went with the name "Atomic City" for his company.

Inside you'll find the parts are craftily packed like puzzle pieces. I assure you that you'll never be able to pack them back in that same way. Paper towel separates many of the parts. While it may seem to be a quaint packing tool, it works quite well in keeping the resin parts from banging and scraping each other. I had only one minor parts breakage — one of the Pod's "fingers". It was easily fixed with a spot of CA.

Before getting into detail about the parts, let's peek at the instructions and make some broad statements about the kit. While the 20+ page instruction sheet may seem intimidating, the kits doesn't contain that many parts for its size. The instructions bulk is largely thanks to Scott's carefully detailed and helpful step-by-step descriptions. All garage kits should aspire to instructions of this standard.

That said, the kit is not for lightweights. It will require lots of filling, sanding, and some very light scratchbuilding using provided styrene stock. It's probably not the best choice for your first resin kit, but if you're a reasonably practiced modeler you shouldn't have any problems.

While the model does not come with lights, it's designed to be lighting-friendly. Holes are provided to run wiring into the hull and the instructions go into some detail about how to be approach the task. The kit features things like clear acetate control panels which will look great when backlit. However, if you just want to make an unlit display model, it's not a problem. I'm not usually a lighting kinda guy, but this kit begs for it so much, I may make the exception.

The bulk of the kit is cast in a high quality, cream-colored resin. The casting is good, but not quite up to the high standards of Scott's previous Aries IB kit. There are a number of bubbles and voids, but most are in either hidden places or joints. Clean up should be pretty simple.

The kit includes an interior, but it should be noted that it's a "partial interior". It's about 75% there — enough so that when you light it and look in the window, it seems complete. The Pod door is hinged and can be opened. When open it would likely reveal some of the sketchier interior bits. But with some work, a modeler could easily fill in that 25%, though it may require some creative filling-in-the blanks.

I've left descriptions of the individual part details to the sidebar pictures. They say more than I could describe in words. Overall, it's a very clean kit - certainly in the top 10% of what's out there in the garage kit market, today.

So how accurate is this kit? Well, I think I can say with certainty that it's the most accurate Pod kit released, to date. Scott was meticulous about detail and seems to have done his homework. I consider myself to be a moderately informed 2001 fan and I can't see any accuracy issues. The model even includes the underside thruster port which (as far as I know) is missing from all previous models.

The kit also comes with a waterslide decal sheet and a set of placards. The placards are used for various warning markings, et al.

Overall, this is a great kit. The price may be a little prohibitive for some, but this (along with the Aries IB) are the finest 2001 models yet produced in the garage kit market. If you want an accurate Pod model, there are no peers. Keep an eye on the Captain Cardboard website for support details on this kit, as well as news about Scott's future 2001 projects.

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This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 2 November 2000.