Redstone Rocket with Mercury Spacecraft
The early 1960’s were characterized, in large part, by the “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union to place a man in orbit, with an end goal of a manned lunar landing. Struggling to keep pace with the Soviets in those early years, the United States ultimately forged ahead, leveraging every asset at its disposal. One such asset was the Redstone rocket. Originally designed as a weapons delivery platform, the liquid-fueled Redstone was more stable and reliable than its early solid-fueled counterparts, thus making it a preferred launch vehicle for placing America’s first astronauts into space, although not into orbit. Redstone supported two manned suborbital missions in 1961 – Freedom 7, piloted by Alan Shepard, and Liberty 7, piloted by Gus Grissom – prior to the introduction of the more powerful orbit-capable Atlas rocket.
Dragon captures the essence of the Redstone-Mercury configuration in fine detail with its latest entry into its historical space series. Kit contents include 2 sprues of finely-detailed gray styrene parts, a sprue of black stand bases, a sheet of decals, and a metal dowel for securing the model to its base. Barely a couple of dozen parts, the kit assembles quickly, with the majority of effort spent on the delicate escape rocket tower assembly. A couple dabs of putty are required to blend the fins with the rocket body, but otherwise the fit is dead-on.
I chose to use Tamiya Extra Thin White Primer as the base coat, followed by PollyScale Engine Black, for the rocket and the Mercury capsule. Model Master Acryl Guards Red was used on the escape rocket assembly. I experimented with floating the decals into puddles of Future in lieu of gloss-coating the whole model, and the decals responded fairly well to the somewhat unorthodox technique. I chose to model Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7. Once the decals were set and debugged, a 50/50 mix of Model Master Acryl Flat and Future was misted on in a couple of layers.
A quick and relatively stress-free build, this Dragon Redstone/Mercury is a winner and actually takes less time to build than it takes to view The Right Stuff in its entirety. I highly recommended it for modelers of all skill levels with an interest in historical space subjects.
Thanks to Dragon Models USA and IPMS/USA for the sample kit and the opportunity to model a piece of American space history.