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New Ware Vostok 1 Spacecraft

Manufacturer: New Ware, Zelazneho 6, 712 00 Ostrava 2, Czech Republic,
Price: $57 plus $10 shipping
Comments: Multimedia, 118 parts (72 resin, 46 photoetched), decals
Pros: Excellent detail in all parts; thorough, well-illustrated instructions
Cons: Delicate resin and photoetched brass parts require an experienced modeler; some parts arrived broken
The Soviet Union took a commanding lead in the space race when Vostok 1 took 27-year-old Yuri Gagarin aloft on April 12, 1961. He became not only the first human in space, but also the first to orbit the Earth.

New Ware's resin and photoetched-brass parts are accompanied by a three-color decal sheet and several pages of nicely illustrated English instructions. Most of the resin parts are numbered and are attached to pour stubs. Some of the small thin resin parts were broken, but weren't difficult to repair or replace.

I removed mold-release from the resin parts by soaking them overnight in whitewall tire cleaner, then rinsing them with water. I drilled a hole into the model so I could display it on a brass-tube support mounted in an old plaque.

The conical retro rocket module is covered with 16 photoetched radiator panels. I carefully bent each one to the same shape over an angled Lego block. The parts have fold lines to help with this. I airbrushed the panels with SnJ Spray Metal. Look closely at the retro-rocket module, and you'll find delicately scribed lines to help you align and install the panels correctly. The model was built using gap-filling super glue.

Modeling the necklace of 14 oxygen and nitrogen tanks around the ship's instrument module was particularly challenging. Thankfully, New Ware connected each of the resin tanks to its pour stub with a thin shaft of resin, making the tanks easier to handle while still attached to the stubs. White decal strips and photoetched-brass parts are provided for the tank-attachment straps. The decals went on without incident, but I wasn't confident I could paint and install the brass straps effectively (my shortcoming, not the kit's). I replaced them with strips of silver decal cut from a solid-color sheet.

The spherical descent capsule is covered with a delicately engraved hexagonal pattern simulating the ablative blanket. I painted the capsule semigloss white, then cut frisket masks for the circular hatch frames and windows using a drafting template. I airbrushed the frames with a metallic paint that's admittedly a little too dark to represent the ship's magnesium surfaces.

Vostok was covered with antennas. I replaced the kit's broken resin antennas with fine music wire. To make the model easier to transport, I left off the ship's delicate paddle-shaped resin antennas. I'll install them when the model's ready to stay out of harm's way in my display case.

The kit's instructions include a full list of recommended references, including both print and online resources. I referred to Douglas Hart's Encyclopedia of Soviet Spacecraft and Michael J. Mackowski's Space in Miniature No. 4: Soviet Spacecraft as I built my Vostok.

With its high parts count and complex assembly, this kit is clearly best for experienced modelers. I'm thrilled to add this pioneering spacecraft to my model collection, and I look forward to future spacecraft releases from New Ware.

Matthew Usher


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