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Liberty Bell 7

[Proudly Sponsored by BLAP! Models]

Sponsored by BLAP! Models

by James Townsend

Scale: 1/48

The launch of Liberty Bell 7 on July 21, 1961 marked the second manned mission of Project Mercury. Virgil “Gus” Grissom rode his capsule atop a Redstone booster for a mere 15 minute sub-orbital flight to test the newer orbital version of the spacecraft with the rectangular window instead of the portals on the versions previously flown. The mission ended with the infamous botched recovery attempt of the capsule when the hatch blew open prematurely and Liberty Bell 7 sank to the bottom of the Atlantic, not to be recovered until 1999.

This model was made from a combination of the Revell 1/48 Mercury capsule kit, the RealSpace Models Mercury capsule kit, the Glencoe Jupiter-C kit and the Attic Aircraft Models Redstone conversion kit with much of the accessories like the launch masts, heating/cooling unit, and power conduit pipes being scratchbuilt from scrap plastic, tube and wire. The launch pad itself came with the Glencoe kit with doo-dads made from plastic bits and attached to give it a busy look. The “concrete” is actually fine grained sandpaper painted with different shades of cement colored paint (lightened to simulate concrete that had been slightly bleached by the brutal east Florida sun) and oil paints to simulate vehicle stains. The wires that run from the conduit pipes located around the base of the pad and up the masts are actually distributor cap wires for model cars. I scratched little details on the booster such as hatches and fill and drain nozzles from Evergreen plastic sheet and rods. I also fashioned thin wire antennas to the Redstone, though I think they might be hard to see in the photos. Markings come from Tango Papa decals. Though not totally accurate, they went down like a dream.

Image: Crack in the bell

Image: On the pad, from left

Image: From behind

Image: Base

Image: From above

Image: Base detail

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This page was last updated 14 July 2009. © 2009 Starship Modeler