Like it's contemporary the Soviet Vostok, the Redstone
started life as the short-range ballistic missile that this kit
re-creates. Also like the Vostok, developments of the design went on to
play an important part in the early space programme, launching the first
manned US space mission, Alan Shepard's sub-orbital Mercury-1 flight.
The Redstone was designed in the early 1950s by Nazi
rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun, patterned on the V2 he built at the
end of World War II. It was finally deployed in 1958, but the Cold War was
moving fast by then and the Redstone was soon replaced by later designs.
It was officially retired in 1964, having never once been fired in
This turned out to be an extremely forehead-wrinkling
kit to make - not because of it's design or moulding, which was no worse
than usual, but simply the practical details of building it. I was running
very low on the grey paint I'd chosen as the main theme, and it was only
when I came to buy more that I realised it was an out of production colour
that I'd ordered specially for
the ISS kit. This led to many interesting and educational experiments with
thinners and the airbrush, and much frowning and muttering, but I achieved
another good-enough finish in the end.
Painting the launching ring and it's concrete base was
a labour, too - I was trying for a rocket-fuel spilled on dirty
concrete with rusty iron and tyre tracks motif, and ended up using
half a dozen colours in several layers (and even a graphite pencil) before
it came close to matching what I had in my mind's eye. And, of course,
little of it shows up in these images...
The decals were extremely old-fashioned, unfortunately,
as befits the kit's age - thick and shiny, and slightly yellowed... I
didn't use all of them, in the end, as it was starting to look like more
like a Dinky toy than a nuclear weapon... and, in fact, actually peeled
off a couple of long diagonal stripes after applying them, which was as
fiddly as anything and shows how little I liked them...