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Horizon Redstone Launcher

Build review of the 1/72 scale rocket kit with lots of marking options

Like many rockets of the Space Race age, the Redstone began its career as a ballistic missile, transitioning to a satellite launch platform later. Horizon’s new 1/72 scale Redstone Launcher kit honors both with optional parts and decals to build a U.S. Army PGM-11 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, the Australian Sparta/WRESAT satellite launch combination, or the Juno I launcher with Explorer 1, America’s first satellite, which is what I built.

Horizon’s kit is simple, with a mere 52 parts accounting for all three versions. Entire part trees are duplicates, leading to many spares, depending on the version built. There are comprehensive build notes throughout the instructions. Pay attention and note the orientation of the rocket at each step.

The launch base includes eight photo-etch (PE) details to attach around the perimeter, but the rocket mounting is simplified according to pictures I found on the web. There should be a rotating cradle installed on the top ring of the pad. I simulated the ring by painting it steel. The PE is made of stiff material. I attached one side of each detail, allowed it to dry, then bent it around the perimeter and tacked the other end in place.

Identical halves make up the rocket body. Fit is good, with minimal cleanup required. I added small guide vanes after attaching the two fins, not before as called out in the instructions. In hindsight, I should have left these off until the end to ease painting.

The payload includes the full satellite body, even though its fully enclosed. Thanks to the duplicate parts, a tiny model of the satellite could be completed as well.

The instructions call out locations and sizes of holes to be drilled for what I believe are antennas mounted on the side of the Jupiter upper stage. However, because the PE is stiff, there is little room allowed for nipping them from the fret. I wasn’t able to remove the antennas with any tolls I had at my workbench, so I left them off. The etched “X” antenna mounted to the Explorer satellite was difficult to release from the fret and did not easily fit around the satellite circumference. Luckily, I was able to bend the antenna to position as the last step in the build.

Painting began with a can of Testors gloss white. Once dry, this was masked and Tamiya black was sprayed. Check the instructions for the correct orientation of the alternating black and white markings.

There are quite a few tiny stencils to add — again with constant reference to locations. Using the panel lines molded into the body, I applied the large horizontal stripe decals. I couldn’t get the angled stripes to meet as shown on the box; likely my horizontal lines were spaced too far apart. I should have started with one horizontal stripe first, then added the angled stripes, followed by the final horizontal stripe.

My Redstone took seven and a half hours to complete. It required careful referencing of the instructions, but the result is a good-looking tribute to one of America’s most successful rockets.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2019 issue.
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