SpaceShip Two was designed by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites for Richard Branson's Virgin Airways subsidiary Virgin Galactic. A larger follow-on to Rutan's successful SpaceShip One, it is designed to carry 6 passengers on a suborbital flight to an altitude of approximately 100 Kilometres. It is carried to an altitude of approximately 50 000 ft by the White Knight Two (named VMS Eve), and there released in a manner very similar to the X-15 flights of the 1960s.
As of this writing, only VSS Enterprise has flown, although it is expected to be joined by VSS Voyager later in 2014 in time for commercial flights to begin, with three further ships entering service in the future for an eventual fleet total of five. Once commercial service begins, SpaceShip Two will become the first private passenger spacecraft in history. Service introduction has been delayed by several years from the company's first projections, but hey, this is
rocket science we're talking about after all.
After opening Revell's typical end-opening box, I was struck by how small this aircraft is. It would be better if it was moulded in 1/72, although I can appreciate Revell's logic in moulding it in 1/144 so that it can fit in both their airliner and space models ranges. The parts are very crisply moulded with no appreciable flash nor any sink marks. One is greeted with two identical smallish sprues holding the White Knight's fuselages, two identical sprues of clear parts, and a larger sprue holding the White Knight's wing and SpaceShip Two. A stand is provided for an in-flight model.
This kit offers 3 fuselages: two to suit the catamaran design of White Knight Two and a smaller fuselage for SpaceShip Two. There is no interior detail, and the clear windows are very small. Masking them is going to be an interesting exercise. Revell has ignored the fact that at present, White Knight actually has windows only on the starboard fuselage; the port fuselage has them painted on for cosmetic symmetry. Revell has chosen this approach to simplify production so that the same mould can be used for both fuselages. This small problem can be solved by careful filling and painting the left fuselage windows gloss black. No interior detail is provided since it would be impossible to see through the windows even if it had been there. If you wish to leave the windows clear, the interiors should be painted black to prevent the model from looking like a toy. The real aircraft is quite dark inside
anyway. Revell advises that 10 grams of nose weight ought to be placed into each of the White Knight's noses to balance it properly on its landing gear. SpaceShip Two needs 5 grams. Small weights such as Liquid Gravity would work best in the limited space available. A separate nose and main gear well is provided for each fuselage.
White Knight has a long unswept glider style wing with an interesting arch between the fuselages which holds SpaceShip Two off the ground. It is provided in a one piece top half with separate lower tips and centre section, leaving openings for the fuselages to fit. 4 flap track fairings fit to the centre section. The suspension cradle which holds SpaceShip Two is moulded separately and may optionally be left off to display White Knight in its clean configuration. SpaceShip Two's wing is a truncated delta provided in top and bottom halves with separate upper elevon halves.
White Knight's horizontal stabilisers are each provided as one piece which fits into a notch partway up the leading edges of the fins. They are not designed to have the elevators deflected, but few photos show them in any pose other than neutral. SpaceShip Two's twin boom vertical surfaces are also in one piece. If you wish to pose them in SpaceShip Two's unique 'feathered' re-entry position you'll need to do some extensive surgery. Each boom holds an inner and outer horizontal surface which are each moulded in one piece. Again, they are not designed to be posed.
White Knight has four podded Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 turbofan engines, each in left and right halves complete with their pylons. Separate intake fans, exhaust cones and intake rings complete each engine. Once built, they'll look very good. SpaceShip Two's engine is represented by a tail cone and one-piece rocket engine bell.
White Knight Two has one nose and one main gear strut in each fuselage. The nose struts have separate torque links and wheels while the mains have a pair of wheels and a separate retraction strut/torque link. Once assembled they'll look very good. The gear doors must be cut apart if the gear is modelled extended. SpaceShip Two's landing gear is a simple pair of main struts with separate wheels and doors and a nose skid. The struts are left out and the nose skid trimmed if the gear is to be modelled retracted. The gear is never extended when SpaceShip Two is suspended from its carrying cradle due to inadequate ground clearance.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like White Knight and SpaceShip Two as they currently appear.
Decals and Markings
There is only one set of markings, with registration numbers and complete markings for White Knight Two and SpaceShip Two. The sheet is very extensive, especially considering its small size. The sheet was drawn by Syhart Decal and printed by Cartograph. The decals are thick and very glossy. Window decals are not included on the sheet, which may disappoint some modellers.
The real thingWhite Knight Two
in flight without the suspension cradle which usually fits under the centre section.
in its element during its first powered flight.
Aircraft and SpaceShip
mated together during an early captive test flight.
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell