As I enjoyed building my large Imai Zero X kit a few weeks ago, I thought I’d have a crack at putting the Aoshima UFO Moonbase together.
As many of you will know this particular kit was released in October 2002 and is one of several re-issues of an earlier Imai kit apparently originally called a UFO Secret Doom Centre which I'm assuming appeared at some point during the seventies.
Several variations of the Imai kit, which have been talked about on the blog many times were also released featuring some of the vehicles, two or more of the five spheres’, a couple of corridors, with one having supporting legs and a flip up door at the end. The legs and doors are included in the reissued kit, along with some other surplus parts; however they are naturally excluded from the construction.
While it’s quite a detailed kit, the downside is its gimmicks and less than accurate look. As with a lot of Japanese kits it has to have play value. These involve a spring –loaded missile in each of the linking corridors’ which are raised by turning a large imposing wheel connected to a gear cog on the side. Although I have installed the launch mechanisms inside, I left the wheels off as I thought they looked awful.
The Central Park has a sliding platform, which incorporates an elastic band powered launcher. This is covered by a flip-over clear plastic dome. A nice touch, but totally inaccurate.
The Lunar Shuttle launch gantry is also spring loaded, so you can easily lose the tiny Shuttle that comes with the kit.
Each of the five spheres has a flick down door which can house some of the little models that come with kit.
It’s a shame that the model’s look is altered by these gimmicks as I imagine it could look fairly accurate without them, even though its more a variation on a theme . I've seen several attempts by fans to convert this kit making it look more like it was in the TV series, some more successful than others.
Generally, I prefer to stick to with what’s on offer and just tweak a few things here and there to get them how I want them.
Overall, it’s a pleasing kit, simple to build, but quite fiddly as there’s a lot of small parts, plus as there’s five spheres and linking corridors it can seem a bit repetitive.