The 1977 launches of Voyager 2 and, a month later, Voyager 1, were to be the start of a five-year mission. Now, 35 years later, both spacecraft are on their way out of the solar system and still sending back information (to a limited degree) as they continue on to interstellar space — so it seems fitting that Hasegawa has released a 1/48 scale model of Voyager as the probes become man’s first interstellar spacecraft.
The kit is well-molded in white, black, and gold-plated plastic. Novices could easily build it unpainted and still get an acceptable likeness. While it is not a snap-together model, with the parts’ large, strong locating pins, you could almost build it without glue.
The instructions are clear on assembly and painting. All the major components are named, so you can learn about the probe as you build.
A model like this requires a stand, and Hasegawa has provided a sturdy half-globe base with an unobtrusive wire to hold up the finished model.
I studied the instructions, then built as many of the subassemblies as I could before painting, starting with the bus housing (Step 3); I filled small gaps between the halves (parts A3 and A4) with a touch of Mr. Surfacer 500. While test-fitting the legs (parts A11, A14, and A15) to the bus housing, I noticed gaps where the legs met; I glued them together with Weld-On 3, being careful not to glue them to the housing. After that dried, I was able to gingerly remove the leg assembly from the housing to fill and sand the gaps. The only other filler required was for a small gap in the high-gain antenna feed-horn base (C5, C8). Sanding eliminated other seams.
I painted the infrared spectrometer and high-gain antenna parts with Testors gloss white enamel, and other parts Tamiya satin black acrylic and Vallejo Model Air silver, both by brush and airbrush as needed. Rather than paint the exhaust vents on the bus housing solid silver, I dry-brushed them to impart more depth.
The base shows Earth’s northern hemisphere outlined on the inside with raised lines. Not confident in painting a good likeness of Earth, instead I painted with various blues to represent the planet Neptune. With paint on them, some parts were difficult to insert. But with just a touch of Weldon 3 on the pins, they slid in perfectly.
The most disappointing parts were the meter unit and low-field magnetometer booms. They are molded solid, rather than as open trusses. (Photoetched metal would look better, but that long, twisted magnetometer boom would be a bear to build.) To improve the magnetometer boom, I painted it flat black and dry-brushed it with copper paint taken from a Krylon copper leafing pen I found at a craft shop.
The model’s dimensions perfectly match what’s posted on Voyager’s website
(voyager.jpl.nasa.gov). It took only 17 hours to build my Voyager, and I think any modeler with a bit of experience could build it, too. Hasegawa’s model is a great addition to any spacecraft collection, and it could be a centerpiece for a student who wants to do science project on the Voyager mission.
A version of this review appeared in the February 2013 FineScale Modeler.