By Adam K. Johnson - images & text © 2007
For almost 40 years I have been waiting for an accurate model of the Discovery from 2001: a space odyssey. Previous to this, they have been too big and expensive, or too small and rather poorly done. Finally, we have a model that will fit on your shelf, and not break the bank.
Image: What you get
Image: Command module halves
Image: Command sphere with ruler for scale
Image: Bottom half of the command sphere
Image: Command sphere front piece
Image: Collar and sphere backplate
Image: Collar/back plate
Image: It's big!
Image: Antenna and storage modules
Image: Antennae base
Image: Closer look at parts
Image: Antennae mast
Image: Reactor/engine module, with 12" ruler
Image: Nice detail
Image: Side panels
Image: Rear of the reactor
Image: Engine nozzles
Image: Another look
Image: Cargo modules
Image: Closer look
Image: Stand components
It's about time someone came out with an accurate model of one of the most famous space vehicles in film history. At a price tag of $575.00, it seems steep until you get it and realize what went into this….
THE PARTS: GENERAL OVERVIEW
Time Slip Creations' Discovery XD-1 kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box, and a separate mailer tube for the brass spine support piece. Inside, the main parts were all individually wrapped in soft tissue, and the smaller parts contained in zip-lock bags. All were in Styrofoam peanuts to prevent damage. Quite overwhelming to see so many parts! The 'Head or 'Pressure sphere' is cast as an open two-piece unit 6” across. Presumably so that one could add a small cockpit and podbay to enhance the model. One of the podbay doors is open and comes with two separate podbay door pieces to display in the 'open' position if desired. Photo-etched brass pieces comprise the grille in the back of the engines, and the delicate frame in front of the antenna dishes. Also included is a laser-cut clear acrylic stand to rest the model on. The huge nuclear reactor core is a single piece of roto-cast thin-walled resin. More like an injection molded piece than a resin cast! The 'collar', a back plate to the head, three aft engines, and many bags of parts that comprise the triangular storage modules along the spine.
The parts are all exquisitely pressure cast hunks of pure white resin with not a bubble or pit anywhere. And the seams; well, they are not detectible, just a small release bump and no flash. The joint where the cast parts come together is perfectly aligned, and only a couple of minutes of filing and sanding is necessary to clean them up and make them disappear. The detail is outstanding, and there's loads of it. All the panel lines, raised panels and piping is crisp and sharp. Very well executed. Also superb is the 62 storage modules that run the length of the connecting spine. All are as finely cast and detailed with not a flaw in the bunch. Overall, the only clean-up on the entire model is the mold release points.
First thing I did was get out my book of 70mm frame blow-ups I've been collecting for thirty years. Then I held each part, one at a time, and compared them to the photos. The first thing I noticed is that this model is dimensionally accurate and faithful to the giant filming miniature in 2001. Upon closer inspection of the model pieces, I compared all those little detail bits in the photos against the model. And, what a surprise to see that the detail was actually correct!! The folks at Time Slip obviously spent a lot of time to get this one right.
THOUGHTS ON BUILDING......
It seems the logical place to start would be the all the storage modules on the connecting spine. They'll have to be very carefully aligned and probably pre-painted in certain areas before assembly. Then, when that is all done, attach the collar and reactor core, leaving the three engines, antenna and head till last. My personal opinion is to seal up the podbay with one of the spare doors. I'm more concerned with viewing the majesty of the whole model than what is in one small opening. However, a simple command center in the window with some lights will finalize the look of the head. There is plenty of room to run lights through the brass rod. The window opening is very small, and I don't see any reason to put more than a couple of seats and a suited guy in there. The three hexagonal shaped engines at the rear will need some additional support, as they are quite heavy relative to the contact area at the back of the reactor core. Probably insert a piece of brass rod in each one.
My only concern is that the brass tube that is supplied with the kit is not strong enough to support the weight at each end. At this time, it seems it will have to have a support under each end - just like the filming miniature in 2001. Painting the model will be unusual. I'm certain that it was an off-white color. The head and collar have subtle shades of grey added here and there. But everything behind the collar was a straight off-white. In order to show all that wonderful detail, one will have to due some artificial shadowing all over it- but be careful not to overdo it. The intention is to highlight the surface detail only, without any weathering. In the next part of this review, construction of the spine and storage modules will be detailed, then the head, and finally the reactor core.
After seeing this model, and visualizing the whole thing done, I don't think there should be another one made. The buck finally stops here! The instruction sheets are currently online at the 'discoverybuilders' forum hosted by Time Slip Creations. This group forum is dedicated to people who have purchased this model and share their modeling ideas. Most interestingly, the site is loaded with rare and unusual pictures of the original filming miniature from 2001:a space odyssey, which will be very handy for building this kit.
By Mike Mendoza - images & text © 2007
MODELING THE ODYSSEY: USSC DISCOVERY
Well, I have been looking for a decent and afford able kit of the Discovery since I was disappointed by the kit from another manufacturer. While at the Atlanta IPMS show two years ago, there, sitting on a table was a model of the Discovery!
Along side it was a card looking to see if anyone was interested in this as a kit. Heck Ya! Threw my name down and now we come to present time when this little gem is now in my possession all thanks to Timeslip Creation!
First, you should know that at the writing of this review, not all of the parts have arrived. I am still waiting for the photo-etch parts to show up at my door (soon I hope!). According to the ad (hey, I don't have the time to count them all) the kit is made up of over 130 resin parts and a brass hollow rod to connect the engine pod to the command center which will give you a kit that will be 4.5 feet long!
What You Get
I was really surprised with the detail I had found on the various pieces. Plenty of detail can be found on the engine and on the various modules that make up the spine. On the average, they look clear, well formed not too sharp but they are not soft either. I found very little miss-formed parts or details. There is some minor flashing on some pieces but they are so thin that a light brushing with the back of your hobby knife will wipe them away. The resin itself is not brittle, but feels more like plastic to me. I figure that when it comes time for assembling, I will have to sand the areas where the glue is going to be applied to assure a good contact.
If you build relying on set pins, registry pins or anything along those lines, I haven't recognized anything like that on the kit; especially in regards to the parts that make up the cargo modules that run along the spin. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.
If any part would have been distorted or badly formed with this kit, I figure that it would be the antenna set up. Well, no, that was not the case. The detail is very good.
The Command Module is hollow, so you can light it up or scratch build your own interior. Even one of the pod bay doors is left out so that you can scratch build the pod leaving.
A separate box had arrived containing the base. Two stands and some tubing is what make up the stand. I may have to think of some other form of stand to support this kit for it doesn't seem to me to be the best idea as far as this design goes.
With this kit you don't get any instructions. What you have to do is go to the discovery build site on Yahoo where the discussion takes place and where the instructions are to be found. Timeslip felt that this was a better way to do it (as so does another GK company). With my kit, I did not get a note to tell me that I had to go to a website. But because I have been following this since the beginning, I learned that that was how they were going to do it. I would like to think that anyone who buys this kit six months or when ever from now we be notified that they will have to contact the website for the instructions. This I am not too crazy about, which is why I gave it a rating of 5. It's great to have a discussion page regarding building this kit, but I would have liked to have seen a set of instructions included in my kit. But I am finding more GK companies are going this way now. Going online to their website to find out how to build it seems to be the new future for this industry.
Does it look like the Discovery from the movie? Which one… 2001 or 2010? Well, I understand that they were both different slightly, but for me this kit comes as close as I can tell. The only other model to compare it to would be the version from Atomic City. Scott, from what I understand, had done a lot of research on his version, so with the original gone… that is all I have to compare it to. Bottom line, this kit works for me.
Now getting back to the Command Module: as I said, it is hollow, but no interior is supplied. But at the time of this review, the website stated that an interior is in the works.
Well I know that I stated in the beginning saying that I was looking for an “affordable kit”. At this price, I really can't say that some people would call it that. But from what I have found out there, I felt that the price does give me a good value for what I got with this kit. And anyone who buys resin kits can tell you, it is not unusual to be paying a couple of hundred dollars or more for a resin kit these days. I do feel that you are getting a quality kit from Timeslip Creations, so if you are a fan, I would say go for it. Nothing else on the market that is under a grand can compare to this kit. The size is decent and the workmanship is there. Other than the issue with the instructions, they have produced a very nice kit!
Many thanks to Adam's and Mike's wallets for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2007 Starship Modeler. First posted on 23 April 2007.