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Announcing our 2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneers Winners!

This year we had more contestants than ever before, and we’d like to thank everyone who entered their fantastic models!

Three terrific prize packs go to the following lucky individuals.

The 2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneers are:

1. Steve Williams of Florida, USA

2. Brian Richardson of New South Wales, Australia

3. Charlie Letteer Jr of Pennsylvania, USA

Each of our three 2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneers will receive the following:

  • #2001 Convair SM-65D Atlas ICBM
  • #2002 Mercury™-Atlas
  • #2003 Mercury™ Spacecraft
  • #2004 Mercury™-Redstone
  • #2005 Redstone Launcher
  • Special Trophy
  • PLUS One of each unique NEW KIT we release over the next 12 months!

In addition to these winners, we also have three runners-up. They will each receive our #2005 Redstone Launcher which will be released in a few months’ time.

The 2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneers - Runners-up are:

1. Michael Gosse of Austria

2. Ken Kahl of Queensland, Australia

3. Phil Plumridge of the United Kingdom

Notable mentions

Since we had so many entries this year, we wanted to show a few notable mentions so we could share their fantastic builds:

  • David Weeks of California, USA
  • Ronald Purviance of Florida, USA

Congratulations to all our winners! See their winning entries below...

2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneer - Charlie Letteer Jr of Pennsylvania, USA

Early in 1963, Charlie was undergoing SAC Combat Crew training as a Titan II launch officer at Vandenberg AFB. Missile launches were not announced in advance, but one of his instructors told him there would be an Atlas launch that evening. He was given directions on where to view the launch. Charlie recalls his story:

“We drove down early. There was nothing on the road… but there was a hill in front of us. We could see lights and hear loud speakers behind the hill. We parked at the bottom of the hill and waited for dark.

"Later we saw an Air Police vehicle block the road we had driven down. We realized that somehow we got within the restricted zone and were afraid to make ourselves known, suspecting they would have to delay or cancel the launch. So we waited quietly for some time. Then they launched. The launch pad was just on the other side of the hill. The sound was incredible and the night turned into day. The missile travelled directly over us on the way to the Pacific Ocean. Each of us quickly realized the danger we were in… the successful launch record for the Atlas was nowhere near 100%. If that missile had to be destroyed soon after launch, I would not be writing this letter.

"The good news was that the launch was successful. We waited until the Air Police took down the barricades and then carefully drove back to the main road with our lights off…it was indeed a very memorable evening. While we were there they did announce in advance and we were able to witness the first successful silo launch of a Titan II... [this time] at a very safe distance.”

2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneer - Steve Williams of Florida, USA

Steve grew up mainly in central Florida so seeing a rocket launch was a common occurrence for him. As a teenager he started building models and had a major interest in spaceflight. He was inspired by a trip to space camp and the movie The Right Stuff. He also worked at Cape Canaveral Air Station for the Air Force Space And Missile Museum, which is where Explorer 1 and Astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom were launched into space. He did some restoration work for the museum and also made models for some of the displays, hoping to inspire an new generation in space exploration. As you can see, Steve has built an assortment of our Mercury spacecraft and Mercury-Atlas kits, and currently has a couple of our Mercury Redstones on his workbench.

2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneer - Brian Richardson of Australia

Brian was just six years old when Alan B Shepard made that first flight starting the space race and like most other kids at the time caught 'GO!' fever, and still has it! He enjoyed building our Mercury-Redstone and Mercury-Atlas kits, depicting the MR-3 Freedom 7 and MA-9 Faith 7 flights – the first and last manned flights of the Mercury Program.

2018 Horizon Models Space Pioneers Runners-up

Michael Gosse of Austria, built John Glenn’s Friendship 7 and a boilerplate capsule.

Ken Kahl of Queensland, Australia, built the Mercury-Redstone MR-BD Development flight with the boilerplate capsule.

Phil Plumridge of the United Kingdom, built John Glenn’s Friendship 7 and Wally Schirra’s Sigma 7 Mercury Capsules. As you can see, he created some very interesting displays for them!

2018 Notable Mentions

David Weeks of California, USA, built a wonderful model of the Atlas SM-65 ICBM, representing Atlas 53D, Air Force Serial No. 58-2224 which was an operational ICBM launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base out of launch complex 576B-2 on the 29th of November 1961.

Ronald Purviance of Florida, USA, made a fascinating model of the shortest Mercury-Redstone flight – it last just two seconds! This launch attempt occurred on November 21, 1960 but was not successful. After the engine fired, the rocket rose four inches and shut down. This prompted the abort tower to fire, and the parachute to deploy. Ronald’s build depicts the first few seconds after the tower shot away and has the recovery section flying through the air just before the parachute deploys. This was made famous in the movie The Right Stuff but with sound effects of a champagne cork popping.

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