Gemini (Revell) after-action report

Total time building 452.75 hours (that’s about 2.69 24 hour-a-day weeks).

Begin date August 20, 2016; end date April 24, 2017.

Vendors:

Revell

Kit #8618 – NASA/McDonnel Gemini Space Capsule; 1/24 scale

Archer Transfers

Set #AR88001 – Resin Rivets; Various scales

Airscale

Set #AS48 USA – Instrument Dial Decals; Generic: WWII USAAF; scale 1/48

LVM Studios

Gemini Interior Detail Set 1/24 scale

RealSpace Models

Gemini Detail Set 1/24 scale

Space Model Systems

Set #GS24 decals

My Opinion

The molds for this model were cut back in the mid 60s so I thought I knew what I was in for. There would be accuracy and fit problems. I didn’t realize how optimistic that opinion could be. By the time I got this thing done, I had a thorough realization of how optimistic I was. I’ve read blogs and reviews from other builders of this kit how they thought the fit was “okay” and detail was “good.” CLEARLY these builders and bloggers operate to much looser standards than I do. “Okay” is NOT the four-letter word I’d use. “Shit” comes closer.

I’d wanted to build this spacecraft to replicate Gemini VIII and that was just not possible. Yes, there are a fair amount of detail photos out there. The problem is that for the most part the available photos do not indicate which damned capsule they’re showing. So the result is more generic than specific. Doesn’t please me at all.

There aren’t a lot of after-market bits for this kit and with the exception of two crew figures, I purchased them all. With the exception of the decals, made by Microscale Industries and marketed by Space Model Systems (#GS24), which were quite amazing in how clearly legible even the smallest decals were, the exterior made by RealSpace Models and the interior made by LVM Studios were disappointing (to say the least).

The LVM interior details were mostly PE brass and though they built nicely (though incomplete), they were too large for scale. Had I not moved the walls of the interior out, I can’t imagine how they’d fit.

The majority of my bile is directed towards RealSpace Models. What absolute garbage. Though the parts initially look more accurate than what the kit provides, the initial look didn’t tell the story. The hull parts are too large (I didn’t use the nose piece since I didn’t model an orbiting Gemini, which is the only time that section would be exposed). And saying “the quality of the resin castings” in the same sentence takes humor to greater lengths than I’m comfortable with. There was no “quality” to these resin castings. If they were pressure-cast, well, maybe the pressure should have been higher than one PSI. Any attempt to work these castings showed bubbles EVERYWHERE. Everywhere. They showed up on the exterior. And when I used denatured alcohol to remove a blown paint job, I discovered that the alcohol would also remove the exterior surface of the resin castings which in turn exposed MORE bubbles. (The alcohol also made whatever formulation resin that was used flexible. If I were ever to use RealSpace parts again…which I am not…that trait might be used to some advantage.)

452.75 hours was a long time to spend on what is essentially a simple model. The single biggest time consumption was spent making the AM parts fit (to whatever miserable extent they “fit”).

I do not expect it will show well. [And though I made it to the show that I wanted to attend with this build, it didn’t show well. It got beat out by another Gemini capsule that, even in 1/144 scale, was even LESS accurate than this one. No…don’t get me started on the judging…]

The only bright spot to this build is that it’s DONE and I do NOT have to deal with it ever again.

4 responses

  1. Bravo!
    Really like the Glam shots of the finished work.

    That was one heck of a battle.

    Like

    1. Battle. Yes. Quite. SO glad I’m not doing *this* one again!!

      Like

  2. Your after-action report is useful on a number of levels. It’s a clean roll up of time and supplies with a synopsis of the pros and cons. Another, probably unintentional, use is as a learning tool. It has given me a few ideas for what I need to track on my own projects to better understand what I have invested into them.

    Like

  3. I’m glad the after-action report is of use to you!

    Like

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