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Author Topic:   MSFC Graphic Engineering & Model Studies Branch

Posts: 1363
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-23-2013 06:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There have been two recent sales of models with metal labels on wooden bases reading "George C. Marshall Space Flight Center / Huntsville Alabama" and "Graphic Engineering and Model Studies Branch."

Pictured below is a Saturn V model that sold on eBay and here is a Mercury Redstone that sold at RR Auction just a few days ago.

I bought both of them thinking they were vintage (1960s) items, definitely made at MSFC, but I'd like to eliminate the possibility that they were made recently by who knows who. I can't find anything online indicating that anyone is selling MSFC replicas, but such things seem to pop up in many areas of space collecting.

I did see a couple of old posts on cS with pictures of models with similar bases, and couldn't quite tell their provenance. I would greatly appreciate any information and comments.


Posts: 388
From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 11-23-2013 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Marshall exhibits page contains a number of Saturn models, including two Saturn V, a Saturn IB, and some Skylab models.

Although the model itself is a bit different (primarily in the lettering) than others I've seen in museums, the base is certainly very similar if not identical.

I've seen Saturn V models both with the "simple" nameplates (as in the above-linked page) as well as with the "George C. Marshall Space Flight Center" type plate as in yours.


Posts: 444
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 11-24-2013 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mine has a reflective "mirror like" piece attached to the top of the base so that you can see up into the engines. I would also estimate that mine is a "1964-65" edition.

NASA Glenn

Posts: 37
From: Cleveland OH
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-25-2013 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASA Glenn   Click Here to Email NASA Glenn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, I have never heard of reproduction MSFC models, or even replacement parts for existing models and I have been researching for a while. Several years ago, the MSFC model shop manager indicated that nothing by way of replacement parts are available to the public. I think the problem is that there were almost entirely hand machined and assembled, and the amount of labor involved would pretty much wipe out any profit.

I have seen identical 1:96 MSFC Mercury Redstone at various displays. There is one at KSC and another at the US Spacewalk of Fame Museum. The attached photo is from Udvar Hazy, of the same model in 1:48th scale. You will need to have a replacement escape tower fabricated. It typically was a turned plexiglas rod with soldered brass legs.

I have only seen MSFC Saturn V models at 1:200, 1:96 and 1:48 scales, but that does not really mean anything. I too bid on your model, having seen nothing to make me think it is anything but original. The base and supports are absolutely typical of MSFC models.

Retro Rocket

Posts: 255
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 11-27-2013 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It certainky looks like a NASA model, although the stand could be replicated, there are details on the model, how it's built, decals, etc. that are the way the MSFC shop builds them.

As a professional model maker, those details would be difficult to replicate. Also building a replica and selling it as an original would not only be wrong, but it would guarantee you wouldn't sell anymore. The replica Topping models I sell are just that... replicas and I include details that are there so they can be discerned from an original.

All times are CT (US)

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