1/48 Gagarin’s Vostok 1 from NewWare

by Michal Sekula



The Vostok 1 (type 3KA) was the first spacecraft that brought the man to the space. This historical event happened on April 12th, 1961 in the former Soviet Union and the name of the first cosmonaut (=astronaut in Russian terminology) was Yuri Gagarin.

The kit of the Vostok 1 is produced by the Czech company NewWare http://mek.kosmo.cz/newware/ .The main body of the kit, antennas and some surface details are from resin. The radiators and other “flat” details are PE parts. The kit contains also decals – white stripes on the ball nitrogen tanks and the black circle windows. The construction manual leads us through the building both by the detailed schematic pictures accompanied by detailed verbal step-by-step description. The detail history description and web links are provided on the additional A4 sheet. Plus, some cleaver approaches help with some details or assembling – ball tanks on the rods, printed schematic part of the service module in the scale that can be cut off and glued in the real shape and that much better showing different surface details etc.

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However, despite of that the kit caused me a lot of headache. This was my first fully resin kit and I mistakenly expect that building will be similar to standard plastic kits. A big mistake. The first of all it requires a lot sanding, probing and double-checking positions before gluing. The main body consists of the return module (white ball) and the service module built up from three different conical parts. What I missed was something that would help me to fix all four main parts in the correct relative axial and radial position. I realized that something is going wrong after the service module was equipped with all details, painted and radiator were being glued to their positions – see the middle picture above. So, the radiators were removed as well as part of the wiring, antennas were moved couple millimeters to the new (but no correct) positions and finally radiators glued again. It was only compromise, not perfect solution. Radiators look better now, but the relative radial position of the upper antennas on the return module to the low antennas on the service module is not correct.

The service module had a part of the wiring and pipelines represented by very subtle raised lines. But I was not able to paint them. So I sanded them off and I made them from a thin cooper line. Here the glued “3D” part of the instruction manual helped me very much again. I was not also able to cut off the resin antennas so I made them also from the cooper wire.

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I equipped the kit with the small “T” antennas as the Vostok with Gagarin flied to the space had. The mockup exhibited in the Moscow has different antennas – long thin wires. This mockup also has return module covered by metallic foils. Gagarin’s Vostok had return module covered only by white hexagonal blocks of the thermal protection without metallic foil, as can be seen on the next picture. I have found it somewhere on the web, but I unfortunately do not remember where.

The main body of the kit as well as radiators was sprayed with the automotive grey primer. Then Return module was sprayed with the automotive gloss white. The rest of the kit was airbrushed with the Humbrol and Revell green and metallic shades, my own mixture according to the instruction manual. The small surface details were brushed. The kit was not weathered. Very thinned black/brown oil color was used only to highlighted different surface details. Finally completed kit was airbrushed with the Humbrol matt coat.

Additional picture is historically completely wrong. I used it only to give you an impression how big, or small Vostok was in comparison to the astronaut in the same scale. This particular figure does not represent Gagarin (who btw wore the orange suit) but it is from the old Monogram 1:48 kit of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, that you can see together with Vostok and a part of my collection on the last picture.

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The final conclusion? If I take into account all rebuilding, corrections and repainting resulting from the lack of my experience with full resin kits, I built it basically twice. However, it is the only choice if you are interesting in such rare but important flying crafts. Recommended, but modelers with the experience with the full resin kits have a great advantage.

You can find a lot of info and interesting pictures on the following pages:

I hope you enjoy it.

Best regards,


Photos and text © by Michal Sekula