On August 14, 2010, SMN featured a 1:32 scale kit of the Aoshima Japanese Hayabusa asteroid sample-return mission space probe, originally known as MUSES-C. Since then, Aoshima has issued two variations of this model.
The first kit adaptation came as the Next Generation Asteroid Probe Future Creation Model (pictured top) a title that may roll off the tongue better when spoken in Japanese! The NGAPFCM is a future mission concept that uses the Hayabusa bus (‘bus’ being the general name given to the main body of a satellite or space probe), and the kit is more or less identical, the only real difference being that it lacks Hayabusa’s large high-gain antenna.
The original Hayabusa kit has some 40 parts, moulded in light grey, as shown in our previous article. The NGAPFCM has a new runner with just three new components, two of these being for the new stand. Size is around 200 mm (8 in) across the solar panel ’wings’.
There’s also a third variation (above) from Aoshima, this time with a movie connection. It is basically the same as the first-issue Hayabusa, but the box also features a large image of the Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe. He is best known to English-speaking audiences from appearances in such movies as Inception, Letters from Iwo Jima and Batman Begins. Here however, he stars as the lead scientist in the release Hayabusa: The Long Voyage Home, released earlier this year.
Long voyage home
The movie is a dramatization of the Hayabusa mission, following the seven-year flight of the probe to the distant asteroid 25143 Itokawa, and its sample-return trip back to Earth. Japan is rightfully proud of the probe, and the mission has spawned at least three Japanese films: one documentary and two features. However, the only real kit-movie connection is the box design, plus a postcard slipped inside!
Sample kits courtesy Hobby Link Japan.
If you like LEGO, here are pictures and instructions on how to build a blocky-look Hayabusa.