Friendship 7 MA-6. Atomic City Mercury Spacecraft in 1/12 Scale
This is a build of the Atomic City Mercury Spacecraft in 1/12 scale. The escape tower is also included but I wanted to do an in-orbit configuration. The model represents MA-6, Friendship 7 and the first orbital Mercury flight. John Glenn passed away as I was assembling the model and he was the iconic astronaut in the early 1960s.
The kit is a straightforward build except the size makes it difficult to handle. The cockpit and the layout of the spacecraft follows that of the last Mercury flight MA-9 flown by Gordon Cooper. The model lacks the periscope viewport in the instrument panel and the door on the ventral portion that opens for the periscope to deploy. The spacecraft couch also follows the later designs.
The color is a custom mix of dark black-gray that matched photos and my pictures of MA-6 as displayed in the Air and Space Museum. The heat shield is a custom mix of Tamiya colors using pictures of Mercury 10, the unflown example displayed in the Air and Space Museum with an intact heat shield.
Space Model Systems designed the decals. The printing that comes with the model are thick so I used the aftermarket set that are the same but printed by Microscale. The United States and the Flag appear to be slightly larger than seen in photographs of the spacecraft. The biggest issue with the decals was getting them to lay down over the corrugated structure of the spacecraft, it just took a lot of time and Microsol and Microset. The retrorocket pack has several layers of decals for all of the striping. The overall effect matched the photographs.
The astronaut was at best average but once closed up in the spacecraft can only be seen through the window.
No base is included in the kit so I used the large Dome Base from Round 2. It is barely strong enough to hold the weight of the model in a flight configuration..
All in all a challenging and fun project of the most accurate styrene model of this iconic spacecraft..