Strange New Worlds Issue 14 - June/July
Vintage Spaceship model kits and popular publications of the 1950s
by Elliott Swanson
Vintage Revell Spaceship Model Kits
The Revell "S" series of rockets and missiles includes some
of the most highly desirable spacecraft kits. The "S" indicates that the box has
a picture of one of the tubes of old Type-S cement promoted on a side panel. All kits have
great box art. There is a Revell gift set G-291 with four kits called the "Space Age
Gift Set." However, it only includes one actual space kit, H-1825 and three aircraft
kits. Even so, its highly sought after by collectors and extremely scarce. The box
illustration looks like it was done by the same hand for most of the kits, but I
dont know the name of the artist. If anyone out there does, Id appreciate the
Revell Manned Space Ship Model
H-1800-198. XSL-01 1/96 scale? Issued 1957. Designed by Systems
Laboratories, Inc. Contains three stage spacecraft with launch gantry and a booklet
describing the operation of the ship. One of the classic space kits. It looks remarkably
like the Soviet Vostok launch vehicle that was the workhorse of their space program.
Current value: $250-$350.
Revell Space Station Kit
H-1805-498. 1/96 scale? Issued 1959. Designed by physicist Ellwyn E.
Angle. This kit contains the space station, space ship, space taxi, a research and
maintenance vehicle, ten figures, and an "Operations Manual for your Space
Station." (pictured at bottom left).
All sections of the station open to show interior details of this kit,
which contains nearly 200 parts. Current value: $500-$700. (It sold for a whopping $4.98
when originally issued. Big money at a time when the average allowance was a buck or less
Revell Moon Ship Model Kit
H-1825-79. 1/96 scale? Issued 1959. This is a reissue of kit
#H-1800-198, XSL-01 Manned Space Ship, sans the first two stages and the gantry. Current
value: $75. Reissued with H-1828 as H-1850 "Space Pursuit" with pop-art box .
Current value of H-1825: $200. Current value of H-1850: $$175-$200.
Revell Convair Space Shuttlecraft Model Kit
H-1828-98. 1/160 scale? Issued 1959. Designed by Krafft Ehricke. This
is an unusually hard-to-find kit. This kit is a fascinating prototype version of the space
shuttle concept. Current value: $200-$250. Reissued with H-1825 (see H-1825 for details.)
Revell HELIOS Nuclear Powered Landing Craft Model Kit
(pictured below) H-1829-198. 1/160 scale? Issued 1959. Designed
by Krafft Ehricke. HELIOS stands for Heteropowered Earth-Launched Inter-Orbital
Spacecraft. Designed to be lofted by a chemical powered engine and operated beyond the
atmosphere with a nuclear engine. (An actual nuclear rocket engine, NERVA, was test fired
at Jackass Flats, Nevada, but this nasty piece of radiation-spewing hardware fortunately
was scrapped in the early '60s.) This fascinating kit comes with a roll of thread that
mechanically operates the nuclear reactor. Current value $250. Reissued as H-1851
"Atomic Space Explorer Solaris" with a pop-art box (pictured below). Current
value of H-1829: $200. Current value of H-1851: $150.