Gemini Space Capsule
On March 23, 1965, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and John W. Young blasted off into space onboard the Gemini 3 capsule atop a Titan II Rocket. Gemini 3 was the first manned Gemini flight, and Grissom and Young made three orbits around the earth and returned to the surface after 4 hours and 52 minutes.
Revell originally captured the spirit of the Gemini program historic event in the 1970s with this great 1/24 scale kit. They rereleased the kit in the 1980s as part of their History Makers series of kits. Now they have rereleased the Gemini kit, with the original artwork on the box, in a Limited Production run.
I would like to thank Revell for returning this great old kit back into production.
In the Box
When you open this colorful, sturdy box you will find 93 parts, molded in white, on several sprues, plus a clear sprue with windows and astronaut face shields. There is also a very nicely done 12-page booklet of instructions and an updated decal sheet. Revell’s Gemini capsule kit features two seated astronauts, opening hatches, a fully populated equipment module and display stand.
The assembly sequence in the instructions is logical and flows well. However, there is only a pictorial representation of the assembly with no text. CAUTION: You have to study the parts and the instruction sheets carefully, because the assembly of many of the parts, and in fact the whole ship, can only work correctly one way. For example, the main structural cross members (parts 21 and 22) in step three are keyed and only fit together correctly in one way. Further, the assembled cross members only fit correctly into the guides on the fuselage, in step four, in one way. After I was familiar with the correct orientation and assembly method of the parts, the rest of the construction was very straightforward and presented no real problem.
The alignment pins for all the little chemical tanks seemed to be offset just a bit, so I shaved off the pins and used a quick setting cement to assemble them. There was very little flash on any of the parts, with only a little around the retro rocket nozzles. The only structural weakness in this kit is the connecting tab at the top of the display stand. I wasn‘t able to weigh the completed ship, but it must be close to one pound, and the connecting tab on the display stand is fairly thin. Therefore, you need to be careful when connecting or disconnecting the ship from the stand.
I painted the individual subassemblies along the way using the colors called out in the instruction booklet (or a color match at least close to the callouts). The decals are sturdy, colorful, and very nicely detailed; however, they didn’t stick to the surface of the model very well until I used setting solution. As soon as a decal separated from the paper, it seemed like it was already dry. Once I applied the setting solution, the decals remained in place until dry. Additionally, although the instrument panel decals seemed to match the raised details on the instrument panels at first glance, they did not actually line up, so when the decals were applied, not all of the raised instrument details were covered by their respective decal. It is close though, so it still looks good.
Because of their small size, the decals were at the limit of my camera’s closeup capacity, but when I zoomed in you could just make out the Grissom’s and Young’s names on the nametags. Nice job Revell! After painting and decals and final assembly, a coat of semi-gloss or dull-cote over everything was needed to seal the finished model. I used a generic semi-gloss clear coat, and it didn't seem to attack the decals.
Revell's Gemini Space Capsule kit one of the classic favorites. It is an excellent representation of the Gemini capsule and a well-engineered and accurate model kit. It is a Skill Level 2 kit, so it may be best suited for modelers with a little more experience. However, I think even newer modelers would have a good time building this kit and will end up with a fine scale model representing American space history. In fact, I would recommend it for anyone interested in building space ship kits.
Thanks again to Revell for rereleasing and providing this great kit for review, and thanks also to IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.
There are many sources of information on the Gemini capsule available on the Internet, but one of the more accurate descriptions of the Gemini program and the vehicle itself can be found on the NASA history website.