Kit preview of Planet V's Aries 1B Cockpit Detail Set.

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Planet V's Aries IB Cockpit Detail Set
(for Captain Cardboard/Atomic City kit)

By Rob Caswell - images & text © 2001(!!)

Scale: 1/80 scale
Parts: 8 resin, 2 styrene
Instructions: 8- two pages, one in color for painting and details
Decals: 9 - one (ALPS printed?) waterslide sheet
Molding Quality: 7 -generally good.
Detail: 8- a little soft in spots, but should fulfill its role well enough.
Accuracy: 10 - looks good relative to my sources.
MSRP: $35 plus shipping, available from Federation Models

Box Art
^ The color box photo of the completed kit.

A simple but effective preview seems the best approach for this simple but effective detail set for the Captain Cardboard (aka "Atomic City") Aries IB kit.
This kit, by relative newcomer Planet V, provides a command cockpit for the Aries IB. This is perhaps the most obviously needed addition to the Captain Cardboard kit, as the cockpit windows are molded open, but look into a vast, empty sphere. A modeler can use this to simply block the view with interesting detail, or can take this kit to another level by running a few lights into the interior. It's all up the level of challenge that you feel like taking on.
Click any image below to see an enlarged view.

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^ Here it is - everything that you get for $35.

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^ The back bulkhead is one of the more interesting parts. The wall details are crisp, while the seat detail seems a touch softer.

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^ The pilot and co-pilot seats. You need to make the control sticks and add them to the arms. Beverage holders not included...

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^ The side wall pieces.

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^ The cockpit floor, displaying the properly terraced lay of the land.

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^ The decal sheet! As far as I can tell all these markings are spot on.

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^ With a little Magic Tape, I dry fitted the main assemblies. Fit looked pretty darn good!
Box, Ahoy!

The kit comes packed in a sturdy little corrugated cardboard box, well-packed with a family of packing peanuts. Once the peanut family is liberated, you'll find the resin bits in one ziplock, the decals and some plastic stock in another, and a two-sheet set of instructions begging to be read before assembly.

The resin quality is good - a creamy white color which looks like it will be easy to work and finish. The latter is important as there's a but of flash and some beefy pour stubs that need to be eliminated. My kit also had a new close-to-the-surface bubbles that should be treated. But overall the molding quality is decent and material quality seems excellent.

The decal sheet provides instruments, consoles, and the likes. They're colorful and seem accurate. What more can you want?

The small non-resin bits are styrene stock. These bits are intended to be chopped up and made into control sticks for the pilot and copilot positions. More on that later in our show...

What Would Ed Bishop Say?

Okay - accuracy. Looks good to me!

You want more than that? Well, we don't get to see the cockpit that much in the movie. A few angles in one scene. That's it. Show's over. Go home.

Comparing the details of this kit to the few still that are in Bizony's outstanding "2001: Filming the Future", everything seems to match. My only comment is that some of the detail around the seats seems "soft". But you'll be hard-pressed to notice that once it's all together and things are hidden within the Aries melonesque hull.

No - I don't know if "melonesque" is a real word. But it oughta be!

Now don't take my statement to mean that this kit isn't properly detailed. In some areas Planet V went above and beyond the call. Detail is provided for areas and instrumentation that faces backward - stuff you'll never see once this is sealed up inside the kit. But you'll know it's there - and you can tell all your friends that you know it's there. Just think of the smug feeling you'll get from that, eh?!

As a final note on accuracy, let us speak of color. Planet V shows the whole cockpit in white. I'd say that's conjecture and would challenge that assumption. In the movie we always see that space bathed in the red glow of lights. But most other areas of the Aries seem to be finished in off-whites, beiges, and mustards. At the very least such a paint scheme is more interesting that straight white. Of course if you want to simulate the proper light, you could always paint the thing in reds! It's all up to your ambition level.

But the bottom line is that there's no authority on the subject (unless someone's holding onto a production still that they've yet to leak to the eager 2001-photo-hungry public).

And if you're wondering who Ed Bishop is - well, shame on you! And you call yourself a 2001 fan? Ed Bishop (AKA "Commander Straker") was the pilot of the Aries IB in the movie. This would have been more obvious due to his distinctive voice, had his lines not been cut from the final version. But I digress...

Later In The Show

Oh! I almost forgot about the control sticks! Planet V gives you two small pieces of plastic stock and a one-view diagram for each stick, showing how to cut it and how it should look assembled. I found the diagrams a little vague, unless these things are supposed to be 2-D. But again, we're talking about such tiny details that they hardly show in the finished product.

Feeling (Out The) Fit

This is not a difficult kit and I'd wanted to finish it while doing this review. But alas my work schedule said more work! Less play! Yeah, I need to get a new work schedule... Anyway, I opted to get this preview out sooner than later since I know there's a long line of you out there, credit card in hand, hoping up and down, and saying "Tell me - is it good? Can I buy it now? Huh? Huh?!?"

Given I couldn't possibly get this simple kit done in time (I'm a slow modeler, to boot), I opted to dry fit some of the parts and see how it hung together. I was pleasantly surprised! Even without cleaning up the parts, it fell together really well. You may not even need any filler on this bad boy. Once you clean those parts, they should just fall into place snug as a (insert your own metaphor here - I'm on empty...).

Hey! I Can't See a Thing in Here!

As mentioned earlier, you can use this as a "decorative hole plugger" or you can try to rig some kind of lighting arrangement for the space. I'm not knockin' the hole plugger approach. That option appeals to my laziness and electronics ineptitude.

There are several "lighting ports" in the design. These come plugged by a thin membrane so lazy schmoes like me can just paint the sucker, then get back to watching the Battlebots lightweight finals ("Go Ziggo!").

However, if you care not for the fate of plucky lil' Ziggo and want to put some quality time into your lunar melon model (again with the melons...), you can easily trim out the membranes and open those ports for lighting. The results could like quite cool!

Okay - I've Probably Said Enough

Alright - if you're one of those who skips ahead the final chapter of a book, this section's for you. As a (electronically inept, Battlebot-watching) scale modeling authority, I do hereby declare this accessory set to be pretty good. It didn't blow me a away with detail, but any more detail would probably be wasted. This kit reminded me of what (the old) Aurora would have done, had they made this kit. And given the slogan on the original box, I'd say that design decision is most appropriate.

It certainly will enhance the appearance of what is already a pretty nifty kit. So, in parting, I say to those guys waiting with credit cards at the ready: On your mark, get set, "Federation Models"!

I say, that's a LINK, son! Get it?

Thanks beyond the comprehension of mere mortals go out to Planet V and Federation Models for providing us with a timely review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 22 February 2001.