Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Revell Apollo-Soyuz kit of 1975 was the first U.S. manned spacecraft model I ever built. My Dad, having worked on the Apollo program from the early test days to Skylab 4, had recently started working on the Space Shuttle Enterprise at Palmdale Plant 42. He came home one day with this model, bought for me at the company gift shop. I immediately slapped it together with glue and a few basic paints I had at the time. I was very excited; there hadn't been a new model of any space program vehicles since Monogram and Revell competed with all their Apollo kits in the late 60s. Skylab was a disappointing no-show - neither Revell nor Monogram chose to produce a model kit of America's first space station. When this Apollo-Soyuz model appeared, it was a revitilization of space-themed kits. Two years later Revell would release another fantastic new space program kit, the Space Shuttle Enterprise and NASA 747.
Revell chose their popular 1/96 scale Apollo spacecraft as the centerpiece for this new kit. Originally, it came with a lunar module that could be hooked on and detached. The engineers at Revell tooled a new docking module, and a Soyuz 7K-TM. Both the Apollo and Soyuz are sparse on exterior detail, especially the Soyuz, which in real life has all sorts of little boxes and protrusions all over it. Both spacecraft also have semi-detailed interiors, which end up completely hidden after assembly. Perhaps Revell thought there was educational value to this - "Here kids, this is what the spaceships look like inside and here's how the men sit in them!"
On this rebuild, I chose to fill in the windows/portals with Micro Krystal-Kleer. The rest of it was finished per the original instructions. The exterior color for the Soyuz had to be done by mixing blue and green. It was a guess to get it right, but I think it looks pretty close. The real thing may have been a bit darker. The instructions said to paint the display stand black, but that didn't seem right. Revell also did not include any decals for the ASTP logo, so I hand painted it. That and the Micro-Kleer were the only deviations I took from the instructions.
Revell reissued this kit in 1996 packaged in a slightly smaller box than the original. This caused Jack Leynnwood's box top painting of the link-up to be scrunched. Serious collector's should look for the original 1975 version.