Strange New Worlds Issue 14 - June/July
Vintage Spaceship model kits and popular publications of the 1950s
by Elliott Swanson
Classic Monogram Spaceship Model Kits
The four Willy Ley "signature" kits are an interesting issue. Each
has a reproduction of Willys signature on the side of the box. All include a booklet
describing the features of the spacecraft. There was a warehouse find of kits PS44
"TV Orbiter" and PS45 "Space Taxi" circa 1990, so the price is
temporarily down on these items. A gift set, MGP-14, was issued that included all four
kits, and is extremely rare. All have box art by R. Price. Text describing the kits is
derived from a Monogram promotional brochure.
Monogram TV Orbiter Model Kit
(pictured right) PS44-129. 1/96 scale. Designed by Willy Ley. Issued
1959. This three stage rocket was designed to place a television camera into orbit, and
includes a launch gantry. Current value: $75-$100.
Monogram Space Taxi Model Kit
(pictured above left) PS45-129. 1/48 scale. Designed by Willy Ley.
Issued 1959. Designed to transport cargo from one point to another in outer space, as from
a cargo rocket to a space station in orbit. Includes an unusual world-globe display stand.
Current value of PS45: $75-$100.
Reissued as PS-194 "Space Buggy."
Current value of PS-194 is $75.
[Editor's note: Also, reissued 1996, pictured below]
Monogram Orbital Rocket Model Kit
PS46-149. 1/192 scale. Designed by Willy Ley. Issued 1959. A research
3-stage manned rocket for controlled orbital flight. Model includes droppable fuel tanks,
retractable landing gear, and a launch pad. Of all the kits issued, this and PS47
"Passenger Rocket" bear the closest resemblance to the US Space Shuttle
currently flying. Current value: $250-$300.
Monogram Passenger Rocket Model Kit
PS47-149. 1/192. Designed by Willy Ley. Issued 1959. Trans-Oceanic
passenger ship designed to be vertically launched for travel through outer space. Includes
two-stage rocket and launching pad. Current value: $250:$300.
Also in this issue:
1950s Spaceship Model Kits
Are You a Packrat?
Deep Space 9 Model Kit
Space Stations and Star Trek
Academia and SF Fandom
Sci-Fi Girl Toys
Science Fiction Book Reviews
Letters to the Publisher