The Space Taxi
This is my version of the Monogram 1/48 scale Space Taxi. I’ve always wanted to build this kit but I wasn’t willing to pay collectors prices, which always seemed to be at least $80, if not more. I was very happy when the kit was reissued in the late 90’s.
The Space Taxi was a lot of fun to build!
All around fit is OK, the main issue being a slight step along the main body joint. Sanding would have fixed the problem, but some of the raised rivet detail would have been sanded off. I find the idea of a riveted spacecraft humorous, so I tried to keep the rivets.
Instead of sanding, I took the easy way out – I placed some 3M blue masking tape along the seams, making it look like a cable or plumbing guide.
The kit’s cargo hold is very basic; the cargo (several boxes) and retaining netting are molded into the cargo hold floor. This is probably the poorest feature of the kit, since the details are not very convincing.
I spruced up the cargo hold by simulating some panel ribbing with thin strips of tape along the cargo hold walls, trying to follow the exterior panel lines. The process was repeated for the inside of the (working) cargo door.
The interior is painted in dark gray and dry brushed with aluminum. The cargo is painted in PollyScale linen, then heavily washed with dark gray and black. I detailed the cargo hold with a couple of oxygen bottles from a Monogram 1/48 B-29.
The cockpit area is empty, except for the pilot and a window. I thought of adding some detail to the interior, but it would have been all but invisible from the outside. Instead, I added a gun sight from the Monogram B-29 and glued the pilot in.
I painted the exterior with Testors Modelmaster steel and titanium, and rubbed the exterior with some SnJ aluminum powder. The rockets at each end of the Space Taxi looked boring, so I wrapped a support leg on each with gold Bare Metal Foil. This looked good, so I used small squares of aluminum and gold BMF to highlight panels on the Space Taxi. I also added the two antennas at each end.
The kit decals aren’t all that great, so I only used the red stripe and numbers from the decal sheet; the other markings came from scrap decal sheets.
The kit comes with three astronaut figures, but they draw attention away from the spacecraft. I ended up using only one astronaut, floating outside the cargo hold.
The Space Taxi is supposed to gimbal atop a globe of the Earth, which in turn rests on a clear plastic stand. The globe is just awful, with poorly defined continents and 1950’s national borders represented by raised lines. At the scale of the globe, these borders would be 50 to 100 miles high! I skipped the globe and just used the clear plastic stand.
My Space Taxi did a long stint in the display case at Red Star/Lincoln Hobbies in Culver City, CA. They closed in 2004 so the Space Taxi is now home. This is a pretty sturdy kit – it has survived a 15 foot fall from the bookshelf in my loft to the living room floor with only minor damage.
The Space Taxi in space image at the top of this page is (obviously…) a composite of Space Shuttle and Space Taxi images.
updated February 17 2020