Space Ark from "When Worlds Collide" (1951)
About the Design
The "Ark," designed by noted space illustrator Chesley Bonestall, is yet another "winged ogive"-style spacecraft inspired by the German V-2. With four main engines in its central fuselage and six secondary rockets beneath its swept-back wings, the craft is notable primarily for being the first Horizontal Take-Off and Landing (HTOL)-style spacecraft of the Post War cinema. Resting on a massive sled, the ship gained forward momentum by rolling down a steep hill; at the track's nadir, the sled's rocket engines kicked in and catapulted the ship up an adjacent hill, at the top of which the sled dropped away, allowing the ship to continue spaceward. '
(A similar "launch rail" technique was used 20 years earlier in Germany's "Weltraumschitt 1 Startet" aka, "Spacespace 1 Launches," and used again 15 years later in Gerry Anderson's "Fireball XL-5" TV series.)
Re-entry and landing were done airplane-style, similar to the real-life space shuttle that would follow decades later.
About the Kit
This was a simple bagged vacuform kit; later a deluxe kit came with a partial launch rail and rocket sled.
This model was built from an original issue,