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Well, I thought I'd throw my hat into the race since I was already doing a Atomic City Mercury capsule. I do swear on my #11 hobby knife that this build took place over ONLY the last 3 weeks. (In fact, I have the hobby lobby receipt to prove I bought it 3 weeks ago.)

I've built the Mercury kit 4 times now (each build getting progressively more accurate and detailed.) Each time I built the previous kits, while assembling the control panel, it seemed to scream "LIGHT ME!" So, this time around I decided to indeed light the control panel. It's relatively easy to modify the panel enough to light the main center portion. I also added some greeblies inside to replicate the packed-in-clutterness of the Mercury cockpit. Everyone I've talked too agreed the basic kit is just a little empty out of box.

I also used some small rare earth magnets to allow the tower, retropack, and parachute shroud to be removable by stay on nice and tight when all connected.

Oh, and the most important added detail was the front bulkhead. Adding just the front bulkhead helped make the interior feel more complete.

One final thing about this kit. I know that Atomic City went through alot to produce an extremely fine kit and everytime Ive built it I've tried to do it (and its creators) justice. I HIGHLY recommend this kit to anyone who wants a well designed and stunning model. I wasn't a big fan of the mercury capsule until this kit came along. I personally can't recommend this kit enough (which is why I bought out my hobby lobby stores supply of them!)

Pics should be posted this weekend.

Josh A

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Just for a tease, heres the last Mercury I built. Why build so many you ask? Because its fun AND profitable. This verision didn't have any lights, and everything was glued in place. Please don't consider these photos as part of my entry.



I'll try and take more photos of the one Im finishing up for this build.

Josh A

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Thanks for the compliments! Yeah, the kit does look sharp with the panel lit. I didn't take any photos of the panel during assembly, but its pretty easy to make the modifications. The pedestal that the control panel attached to is already large enough to house about 3 large LED's. And wiring is easy as the pedestal attaches to the cockpit base via a long hollow tube. The pedestal does have to be extended upwards to encompass all the dials on the main panel. However, this modification only allows the center dails to be lit. There are 2 rows of dails on the far right of the panel that aren't lit. However, one could easily put small LED's in these from behind (I didn't have any LED's small enough to do this.)

The switch is hidden close to the hatch in the cockpit. A 9V battery is hidden in the cockpit base behind the astronaut and is accessable through the rear heat shield. This leads to the other big mod of this kit, magnets. Neodymuim magents were used in all the removable parts to make the assembled kit more secure. (The tower and parachute shroud are very unstable without magnets.)

And I finally got the courage to make some LES wiring for the tower. I had only seen one picture of the basic wiring setup, and could never seem to find the photo again when I looked. So this is from memory and may not be completely accurate, but it looks very nice and it balances out the look of the tower. Made with some aluminum tubing.

And now for the finished model photos:









Feel free to comment!


Edited by compucrap
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Beautiful piece of work! I've just bought an Atomic City 1/12 kit, maybe you can clear up a bit of confusion for me. I notice on your 'Friendship 7' the retro pack is shown in plain grey but I though that all the orbital caps were fitted with the black and white stripey version, can you possibly clarify this for me?

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a technical aside; got to look at Liberty Bell 7 while on tour at a local museum. The moving map display, showing the location of the spacecraft from takeoff to landing was a rolled up map driven by a simple spring wound clockwork! Think really low tech but it worked!

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