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Wayne Landis
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Friendship 7 MA-6. Atomic City Mercury Spacecraft in 1/12 Scale

June 2, 2017 · in Space · · 7 · 4.2K

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 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..

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

7 responses

  1. Fabulous work, sir...but tell me - what are the actual dimensions of this kit (I may have to HAVE this one).

  2. The main spacecraft is 11 x 6.25 inches. The escape tower with rocket motor adds another 15 inches to the length. I recommend the aftermarket decals if you get the get the kit, Cult TV Man hobby shop have both the kit and the decals.

    My main reference was Space in Miniature # 5 Mercury and can be found at

  3. This is a great model, Wayne: it looks real! I have seen the ones in the Air & Space Museum & the USAF Museum & you have done them proud.

  4. Looks great !

  5. Beautiful job!

  6. Newbie here. How did you attach the large dome base to the model?

  7. I drilled a hole in the part of the bell that seemed to be close to the center of gravity. I used one of the large stands that you can purchase from Cult TV man. It has an adapter that fit into the spacecraft. I have used the same stand for other models as well.

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