By John Lester - images & text © 1999
Discovery carried three one-man EVA pods on her fateful trip to Jupiter.
Intended for external repairs or short excursions from the ship, they launched from the Pod bay at the front of the command module. Each Pod is outfitted with two, twin-clawed manipulator arms. The Pods could be driven by the pilot, or can be controlled directly by Discovery's on-board AI computer, HAL 9000.
I stumbled across this kit while browsing Collect-Aire's site. This company has been around for a while, and is primarily known for it's early jets, research aircraft and X-plane models. Throwing caution to the winds, I ordered the Pod. One week later, I received a note in the mail informing the product was out of stock, but they did not expect a long delay in filling the order. Twoo weks after that, the package arrived in the mail ..... not bad, as service goes.What You Get
The kit consists of 11 resin pieces and an instruction sheet. Included are two halves for the hull, two side thruster panels, parts to make up two manipulator arms, and a base. The resin bits are cleanly cast, with few defects (pinholes or chips), though the arms are covered with flash. The resin is dense and reasonably strong; I was able to clean the flash from the arms without them shattering. My kit's parts feel slippery, no doubt due to mold release agent; I'll have to remember to was them thoroughly remove that.
All the major details are represented, though most are soft or slightly blurred. Missing are some smaller detailing on the front outer panels, as well as the handhold bars across each of the external handhold "dimples". Depending on which resource you use, (see our 2001 genre intro for on-line references) the nozzle protruding from the kit's rear top/right maneuvering thruster may be incorrect.
The instructions are adequate, but do contain a few errors. The side thruster panels are "handed" - that is, one goes on the left and the other on the right side of the completed hull. The drawing on the instruction sheet appears incorrect, in that it has the "slot" on each side panel pointing forward (correct) and down (incorrect). The page also indicates one should glue the aformentioned nozzle onto the rear part of the hull, but mine appears molded on (and I can see some of the glue used on the master replicated on the surface!).Assembly & Finish
Assembly should be pretty straightforward: just sand down the back sides of the major parts, then glue. Cleaning the flash from the arms took all of ten minutes with an X-Acto knife and microfiles. Each "arm" will need an actuator made from stretched sprue or wire (the instructions point this out). I'll also add grab handles for the handholds from 5 thou strip styrene. I may punch foil disks to fit inside the floodlights, or see if the local hobby shop's railroad section has a lense that will fit. Wither way, once the backing is in place and the model painted, I'll replicate the floodlight lenses with clear epoxy.
No painting guide is provided. However, Simon Atkinson's Pod Illustrations are all I'll need.Conclusions
All-in-all ..... not a bad kit, whose flaws I can easily fix to my satisfaction. Of the Pod kits available, it's what I can afford (in terms of $$ and display space), though I think it's a bit high priced for what's in that sturdy blue box. Still, if you have the means and the motive ..... Recommended for intermediate modelers (should make a good first resin project for beginners as well).
Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized? Contact us!
This page copyright © 1997-9 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 30 November 1999.