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Code 3 Collectibles' Alan Shepard
"The Moon Shot"

Review by Robert Pearlman

Fore! Collectors would be wise to keep their heads up for Code 3 Collectibles' latest astronaut statue.

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Saturday, February 6, 1971, 6:11 a.m. CST...

"In my left hand, I have a little white pellet that's familiar to millions of Americans. I'll drop it down. Unfortunately, the suit is so stiff, I can't do this with two hands, but I'm going to try a little sand-trap shot here."

Alan Shepard, the United States' first astronaut and fifth moonwalker let the golf ball he was describing fall to the lunar surface. He now wielded a makeshift club, a six-iron head attached to a sample collection tool handle.

Inside his pressurized suit, Shepard was only capable of a one-handed swing. After a few tries, he connected with the ball, which sailed away in the low one-sixth gravity.

"Miles and miles and miles," exclaimed Shepard.

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Code 3 Collectibles has captured that moment with their replica "The Moon Shot", an 11" limited-edition statue of Alan Shepard in mid-lunar swing.

Hand-cast and hand painted, the Shepard replica stands atop a "lunar surface" base adorned with a name plate.

"The Moon Shot" is Code 3 Collectibles second astronaut statue as part of their National Air and Space Museum Collection, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution to model artifacts from the museum's archives. Their first moonwalker "The Apollo Astronaut", a replica of Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan saluting the flag, was one of the first space models the company offered.

Both statues share some common features, including 24K gold-plated visors. However, while "The Apollo Astronaut" was faithful to all the major elements of the lunar spacesuit worn by Cernan, it lacked smaller details and sometimes relied on paint rather than sculpting to convey the shape of the suit. (For more on "The Apollo Astronaut", see our prior review of Code 3 Collectibles' first three space models.)

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Fortunately, "The Moon Shot" is not "The Apollo Astronaut" simply sculpted into a different pose. From an historic perspective, Cernan and Shepard wore different spacesuits (A7L vs. A7LB). What really separates the two models however, is Code 3 Collectibles' attention to the detail on the Shepard statue.

Whereas the spacesuit created for "The Apollo Astronaut" was primarily smooth with ridges sculpted to simulate folds in the fabric, "The Moon Shot" features textured surfaces that recreate the appearance of the fire-resistent cloth that covered the outer layer of the Apollo spacesuit.

This same technique is used to give velcro strips on Shepard's suit the appearance they are rough to the touch and provide a convincing seam line where the mission patches were "sewn". The result is a spacesuit that appears to be covered in soft cloth rather than cast.

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Adding to the realistic look of the suit are the inclusion of detailed smaller components, including the purge valve and "apple" extending from the lower left red outlet on the front torso, the pressure valve on the right arm, and even the binder rings that hold the "pages" together on the wrist checklist. The Omega Speedmaster on the left arm is also present, though its face is whited out, perhaps catching the glare from the Sun overhead (in reality, this lack of detail was at the request of the Smithsonian).

In addition to the suit, careful attention was also given to the golf club and ball which is where this model derives its title. The club is a separate piece from the statue, a finished, stand-alone replica in its own right. The golf ball is permanently attached to the base, cleverly "riding" a wave of moon dust, but even it has been detailed with the dimples that identify the "white pellet" from other balls.

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If the model has any glaring errors, it the cleanliness of Shepard's spacesuit. The actual Moon shot came at the close of the second moonwalk or EVA, bringing to an end a combined total of 9 hours and 25 minutes exploring the lunar surface. Though no photographs were taken at the time (the cameras had already been stowed) and the only video is too grainy to resolve any detail, there is little doubt that by the time Shepard went to take his swing his white suit must have been stained by moon dust, at least from the waist down.

Of course, given a charcoal pencil that oversight can be quickly and easily amended.

Considering the model in its entirety, the most striking difference between "The Moon Shot" and its predecessor is the sense of motion the Shepard replica conveys.

Whereas the Cernan statue is just that, a statue, Shepard appears as though he could carry through with the swing at any time. Perhaps because it so effectively elicits memories of the real footage, we we can play it back in our heads (if not on our DVD players courtesy Spacecraft Films). Combined with their aforementioned attention to detail, Code 3 Collectibles has recreated one of the most memorable events from the Apollo Program.

To order "The Moon Shot" visit either Code 3 Collectibles' website or buySPACE and watch collectSPACE for information on Code 3 Collectibles' upcoming releases.

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