Painting and Detailing the 1/12 Atomic City Mercury Astronaut

The early Mercury space were among the most complex garments designed at the time of the missions. They were designed to sustain life in an environment with which was pretty much an unknown. The instructions with the Atomic City kit are pretty non-descript when it comes to how to do up the astronaut's flight suit, so I thought this would be where my on-line build would begin..

The stock kit figure is on the right, with a 1/12 Revell Gemini figure on the left. The Mercury capsule must be a whole lot smaller than I thought. I will do mine up as Gus Grissom, the second sub-orbital flight, as my first build will be his capsule in-flight. The overall suit is a dull silver color, like the dull side of aluminum foil. First I cleaned up the mold marks and thouroughly cleaned the figure  with soap and water ( this is my first soft vinyl figure), and when dried primed with Tamiya flat white, airbrushed. There is some cross-hatching around the shoulders that has to go- the shoulders are pleated for flexibility- there are some folds but no cross hatching. This was filled with white putty and another coat of white applied.After letting it dry for a couple of days, I airbrushed some Pollyscale flat aluminum over the white prime coat. This was the best match I could find for the overall suit color.
This is Gus after the silver
Now things get complicated. The shoulder and chest straps are gray- I thought Tamiya neutral Gray XF-53 was a good match. The other straps, along with reinforcements, pleats, etc on the suit are white. There are also some panels on the outside of the forearms that are white. There is a diagonal zipper along the front of the suit. The zipper panel is black, an the zipper itself is brass. The other zippers have gray panels with brazz zippers.


 
 

So here is the suit after the belts and zippers are painted. There is a helmet liner that is a chamois, buff color. I used testor's wood. Skin is Model Master warm tint, and the two microphones are just flat black. The inside of the gloves is also flat black.There are two white circular patches, one on the left inside forearm and one on the right upper chest. The circular patch on the arm is where a pressure gauge goes, and the one on the chest is for the NASA page. The large circle on the upper chest is a mirror. I'll be adding these later (not included in this article). Now the suit is beginning to shape up. Now for the stuff I haven't done yet, and won't until I'm ready to do the interior. 
I need to finish painting the eyes (I need better shots of Gus Grissom's face). The helmet is gloss white, and all the visor trim is highly reflective chrome. The NASA patch will be added, and the pressure guage on the left forearm will be added. So here are the last few shots, with some washes of highly thinned Tamiya Smoke, and some drybrushing added. Next time, I'll be starting the instruments and interior.

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