XSL-01 Manned Space Ship (1957)
About the Design
Revell's conceptual XSL-01 (Experimental Space Laboratory) represented a transitional stage between the romantic "cigar with wings" post-War aesthetic still visible in Hawk's "Atlas ICBM" and the more utilitarian form that actual launch vehicles had, by this date, already assumed. The launch portion of the vehicle consisted of four strap-on liquid fuel boosters -- two primary and two secondary -- which were to propel the main moon ship to an altitude of some 100 miles. At this point, the manned module's NERVA-style nuclear engine would kick in, providing the ship the velocity needed to reach the moon.
The primary craft would then land on the moon vertically, again powered by its nuclear-powered engine. The last of the H30 heavy water in its wing cone tanks would be used the power the craft's ascent from the moon and would be jettisoned. The manned portion of the craft -- designed to hold three astronauts -- would then return to Earth, with course corrections made using its onboard Hypergolic Reaction Control System. The winged moon ship would then make a controlled atmospheric re-entry with the use of its swept-back wings and landing skid. It was an ambitious design, one that was prophetic as much as fanciful.
About the Kit
Revell released the XSL-01 briefly in 1957, but its cost made subsequent re-releases prohibitively expensive. (The manned portion of the craft was briefly released separately as the "Moon Ship" that same year.)
Both kits have since become two of the "Holy Grail" collector's items that command top dollar on auction sites like Ebay.
This is a build-up of the original 1950s-era kit.