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Joe Boylan
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1965 Revell 1/24 Gemini

August 2, 2022 · in Space · · 30 · 2.6K

Since I was a kid, I have been a space program junkie! Mercury, , Apollo! We all wanted to be astronauts! I "drank the Tang"!

The Gemini step to the moon is a bit unsung. So many technologies and learnings came out of this program, not just for Apollo, but for future space exploration; among them to name a few:

-Long term space flight and it's affect on the body.
-Rendevous/docking with/to other spacecraft.
-Spacewalking, maneuvering and work in space (EVA).
-Development and testing of space suits.

I also wanted to build this old kit for a long time. I finally found one for a good price on eBay, and went a bit further with after market astronaut figures (Shapeways), Gemini Detail Set (3D printed replacement parts from RealSpace Models) and The Ultimate Gemini Decal Set (Space Model Systems).

My build and upgrades reflect the spacecraft versions for missions GT 5, 6 and 8-12. Missions 1-4 had closely spaced black thermal tape running the thickness of the retro rocket and equipment sections. On later missions the spacecraft was covered with velcro patches (black pill shapes on the white, white pill shapes on the black capsule) to aid the EVA astronaut on spacewalks and working outside.

The 3D prints for the astronauts came from Shapeways, designed by Hans Grueter. While the print for the pilot was a bit rough and difficult to detail, it has a helluva better look than the "aliens" that come with the kit. The print of the EVA astronaut is a lot smoother with excellent detail. The only issue I had with him is the thruster arms on his hand held maneuvering unit kept breaking off. I replaced them with a piece cut from a paper clip and actually like it better.

The Detail Kit from RealSpace Models replaces the nose, window alcoves, thrusters on the middle or retro rocket module. I did not like the horizon sensor and stuck with the kit provided piece. This is just forward of the cockpit on the port side of the capsule. I also kept the kit provided thrusters for the bottom edge of the equipment section as the 3D prints had poor detail.

The kit molded surface detail on the retro rocket and equipment module sections is raised but super faint. A kit reengineering if it were to ever happen would be amazing to recess this detail. I was happy to have the detail kit and upgraded decals. Ultimately they put a nice shine on this turd.

The detail in the cockpit left a bit to be desired, mostly decals. Some raised buttons, I dabbed silver and amber on. The side walls in there were smooth with decals only. didn't like that. I cut out the side instrument panels from an old 1/32 scale F-15 that "dove to the hardwood" some time ago, glued and puttied them in there for a bit more texture.

Note in my gallery, I have included reference photos and some progress shots in addition to the completed model. I'm a bit of an accuracy nut and do this with every kit I build. Note the cradle the capsule rests on is from an old 1/48 Testors U-2 kit! The stand that came with the kit is too flimsy to hold the model. Ultimately, this will dwell from the ceiling, cockpit facing the floor.

I hope you enjoy the visual journey as much as I enjoyed the build!

Happy modeling!


Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

47 additional images. Click to enlarge.

30 responses

  1. This is a really wonderful project and an equally wonderful result, Joe! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice work on this and a very good result.

    Herewith the true story of Gemini-4, the first 14 day mission (length of time to go to the moon and back) as told to me 40 years ago by mission commander Gordon "Gordo" Cooper: it was the first time they went with a fuel cell, which immediately started working "outside specifications" according to the engineers on the ground, who wanted to bring them down immediately. They argued that everything was working fine and maybe people didn't actually know what the "specifications" really were. So the mission continued. The second day the attitude thrusters started going out one by one, and they wanted to bring them home. They said "no" and for the next 12 days, the attitude of the spacecraft was "adjusted" by the strategic "ejection" of stored bodily wastes. And they got to 14 days and came home and we were all told that the perfect astronauts flew their perfect spaceship perfectly. The real story of the space program is one of them really "hanging it over the cliff" on every mission. I particularly love the story of Gordo's final orbit in Mercury 7 - he has an electrical fire on board, he's communicating with the ground with a battery powered radio on his lap, the computer goes out so he has to use his Mark I eyeball to look out the window they fought for while he manually sets his attitude for re-entry - too shallow he bounces off back into space forever, too steep he burns to a crisp, and he flies the spacecraft to the closest landing made by any spacecraft till the Shuttle made its first landing at Edwards in 1981.

    Another cool story about Gordo is he was the guy flying the F-102 that did the takeoff and flying sequence for the opening credits of the old TV show "Steve Canyon," using a travel pod he modified to carry the cameras mounted on the plane's belly. They broke the mold after Gordo. (who was also the last new-trained P-47 pilot in the air force for his first assignment in 1949)

  3. Amazing work @jboyla - so cool to see some different things, looks incredible.

  4. Great job, Joe. That's a real eye catcher.

  5. Awesome work! I made that kit and Vostok(?) also by Revell many, many years ago. They were good then, but you've made a masterpiece of the Gemini!

  6. Really wonderful! I recently got one on ebay I could afford as well, you may have inspired me to build it!

  7. Real nice, beautifully done! Yeah I too was lost in space at that time. My dad work at Grumman for a while and actually did some sheet metal work on Apoollo 9 and 10's LEM. I followed all the Gemini and Apollo launches, saving magazine and newspaper clippings.
    As a kid I did the 1/48 Revell Gemini and Mercury kit. Recently I did the kit again,it was their SSP issue, boy how molds had suffered, I would have been embarrassed if i worked at Revell and authorized this kits re-release.

  8. Nice work on that Joe! That’s one of those kits that I wanted as a kid and never got. Gemini is the forgotten program today. I spent some time poking around a Gemini capsule up in Huntsville back in June. Well worth a stop in that museum if you ever find yourself in north Alabama.

    • Thanks John, we have a full scale training mock-up here at the Evergreen Air & Space Museum. There’s another at Boeing Field near Seattle. Love the ones at the NA&S in DC as well.

  9. Absolutely amazing, Joe @jboyla
    A not so often seen object, especially not in this detail.
    The 3D printed figures do look great, especially your paintwork.

  10. That is a great build and story, yes many lessons were learnt from Gemini but the programme is forgotten with the wider public now. I personally would love to build this kit too, always been a geek of US space stuff from the '60 since I was a kid! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I’m not a space fan but this is a great posting, so much interesting information, and a fantastic result.

  12. Nice work, this came out great! My brother and I drank the Tang too and watch all the missions, every one of them. I built this same kit in 1972, gave it to my brother who still has it today. Yours came out a 1000 times better. ?

  13. My compliments on your excellent work. You certainly have a good eye for the many details in the Gemini. Thanks for the very helpful photo references as well as reference to the after-market parts. The original kit nose is quite barren. The cabin is highly visible and offers a lot of detailing possibilities as you have illustrated. You added much. Like so many kits these days, this is one that needs re-issue.

  14. Well done, Joe (@jboyla). Nice merge of kit and add-on parts from a number of places. I am old enough to remember when Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo were going on, and it was like watching science fiction on the TV when they were in orbit or on the moon.

  15. Thanks George! Whenever space stuff (the real thing) was on TV, I was TUNED IN!

  16. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I built this same model when I was 12 years old; it was the most complicated one I had built up to that point. You did a beautiful job on this one. I noticed that your NASA Reference Shot 4, Mike Collins, who flew on Apollo 11 and circled the Moon while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon, is the astronaut on the right. Too bad those aftermarket parts weren't available in 1967!

    • Thanks Greg! Yes, John Young and Michael Collins were the crew on Gemini X. Collins did two spacewalks. On the way home from the moon on Apollo 11, he again spacewalked to retrieve film cassettes from the command module; pictures of the moon’s surface he took while orbiting it.

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