Testors 1/48 Roswell UFO

KIT #: 555
PRICE: $2.00 in a bag
DECALS: None included in my sample
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Stand included


The Roswell UFO incident took place in the U.S. in June or July 1947, when an airborne object crashed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Explanations of what took place are based on both official and unofficial communications. Although the crash is attributed to a secret U.S. military Air Force surveillance balloon by the U.S. government, the most famous explanation of what occurred is that the object was a spacecraft containing extraterrestrial life. Since the late 1970s, the Roswell incident has been the subject of much controversy, and conspiracy theories have arisen about the event.

The United States Armed Forces maintains that what was recovered near Roswell was debris from the crash of an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to what was then a classified (top secret) program named Mogul. In contrast, many UFO proponents maintain that an alien craft was found, its occupants were captured, and that the military engaged in a massive cover-up. The Roswell incident has turned into a widely known pop culture phenomenon, making the name "Roswell" synonymous with UFOs. Roswell has become the most publicized of all alleged UFO incidents.

On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut, issued a press release stating that personnel from the field's 509th Operations Group had recovered a "flying disk", which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell. Later that day, the press reported that Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force Roger Ramey had stated that a weather balloon was recovered by the RAAF personnel. A press conference was held, featuring debris (foil, rubber and wood) said to be from the crashed object, which seemed to confirm its description as a weather balloon.

Subsequently the incident faded from the attention of UFO researchers for over 30 years. In 1978, physicist and ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947. Marcel expressed his belief that the military covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft. His story spread through UFO circles, being featured in some UFO documentaries at the time. In February 1980, the National Enquirer ran its own interview with Marcel, garnering national and worldwide attention for the Roswell incident. Additional witnesses added significant new details, including claims of a large-scale military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens themselves, at as many as 11 crash sites, and alleged witness intimidation. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis put forth a detailed personal account, wherein he claimed alien autopsies were carried out at the Roswell base.

In response to these reports, and after United States congressional inquiries, the General Accounting Office launched an inquiry and directed the Office of the United States Secretary of the Air Force to conduct an internal investigation. The result was summarized in two reports. The first, released in 1995, concluded that the reported recovered material in 1947 was likely debris from Project Mogul. The second report, released in 1997, concluded reports of recovered alien bodies were likely a combination of innocently transformed memories of military accidents involving injured or killed personnel, innocently transformed memories of the recovery of anthropomorphic dummies in military programs like Operation High Dive conducted in the 1950s, and hoaxes perpetrated by various witnesses and UFO proponents. The psychological effects of time compression and confusion about when events occurred explained the discrepancy with the years in question. These reports were dismissed by UFO proponents as being either disinformation or simply implausible. But at the same time, several high-profile UFO researchers discounted the possibility that the incident had anything to do with aliens.


This one was bought from the local IPMS group for a group presentation at this year's IPMS Nationals. The kit has two grey sprues, one of heavily smoked clear plastic and a display stand. There is no landing gear so the stand is pretty much a requirement.

Molding is fairly good with the surface of the craft done in hexagons on the underside while the upper half is smooth. The tail fins are each two parts. A cabin tub is provided along with seats for six. Instrument panels are supposed to be decals, and in fact a lot of decals are used in this area, but as mentioned, none were provided. The various seats are designed to be facing in different directions with the commander's seat at the back of the cabin, facing forward. Figures are included. The cockpit is apparently just sensors with some of the smoked bits fitting in there. This area is molded into the upper fuselage half. The smoked bits are very thickly painted and so little will be seen on the inside. Thanks to the lack of decals, one would be tempted just to paint the inside some dark color and leave it at that. The kit comes with a stand and one glues the post pieces and then inserts it through the bottom of the stand. A decal is to be put on the stand base. I should add that one will need to put a hole in the bottom of the lower fuselage piece to use the display stand.

Instructions are well done if not imaginative. Full painting information for the aliens is provided as well as the craft. This is to be a metallic silver on the upper surface and a light blue on the underside. One can use one's imagination on this.  


I have always thought this entire episode was interesting, and while, like many, I secretly hoped it was true, I'm pretty sure it isn't. However, it does help to boost the city of Roswell, NM, which is really in the middle of nowhere. I had the chance to visit one time when taking the scenic route to Alamagordo one year and stopped in the museum they have there in an old theater. It was well worth the stop and while a bit hokey, pretty much plays out what most of us have read and seen over the years. The kit is typical sci-fi in that it is imaginative and will probably be rather ill-fitting, a legacy of this type of kit. Testors did not make the big bucks it hoped to amass from this kit, but it is still something that looks interesting and should be a pretty interesting build for all but the beginner.



April 2014

Thanks to me for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.

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