ISS Spacesuit

17.08.2013 Bandai’s Exploring Lab Series’s first model was the 1/48 Shinkai 6500 submarine and now, the 1/10 ISS Spacesuit. Later on, the scale model was re-tooled to represent Muta, from the Space Brother manga series. One can tell that both models share the same basic core body but each one has their own ‘extras’. I will now attempt to highlight them through these 17 slides. I must apologise for the quality and colour balance of some of the photos as its been a long time since I used my DSLR for this and coupled with my aging eyesight, this was the best I could get under a very impromptu setup.

Which one will you get? Bear in mind, both models are not cheap, though. Getting one means forgoing the other…


ISS vs Space Brother 001
In terms of box size, both are the same. But easily, you can tell the difference; Space Brother Muta comes with Apo, his bulldog while the ISS spacesuit does not come with the Space Shuttle nor the ISS.
ISS vs Space Brother 002
The sides of the box already tells you what you will get. However, the ISS has a trump card which is not shown here. The Space Brother pack does indeed has a lot of accessories – from Apo, to what looks like a bone and also, a small astronaut figure as well.
ISS vs Space Brother 003
Here, you can see the astronaut figure much clearer and also, you will notice that Space Brother has the option of two different head styles. Some of you would think by now that Apo is a great bonus but don’t be too happy yet. The ISS Spacesuit on the other hand by now, looks very boring, with only his APFR stand to accompany him…
ISS vs Space Brother 004
From the assembly booklet, you can see at once that they do share the same body but with subtle differences. Don’t be distracted with Muta’s agressive pose or the ISS’s extra EMU on the back. They’re basically using the same body.
ISS vs Space Brother 005
The stands for both models are the same except the ISS’s APFR is replaced with a clear piece stand to hold the floating Apo.
ISS vs Space Brother 006
Although Muta has two optional heads, if you’re not a fan of the Space Brother series, the ISS’s ‘all so serious’ head looks much better. But of course, you might even want to 3D scan and print your own head in there…
ISS vs Space Brother 007
Another shot with more detail on Apo the bulldog and the funky graffiti stricken Astronaut figure.
ISS vs Space Brother 008
OK, let’s go over the sprues and look at their similarities or differences. The sprues which contains the parts to make up for the stand for both models are the same except that Space Brother’s (right) has an additional styrene strip which is Apo’s leash. But if you look closely, you would notice that there is a slight yellowish tint which I believe is because of the climate here. I do believe they’re supposed to be crystal clear. Then again, this is what happens to clear plastics, especially for model kits after a few months in Malaysia, irregardless if they’re inside or out of the box.
ISS vs Space Brother 009
OK, so the clear helmets visors and the gold visor parts are the same. They’re both marked as G1 and G2. Strangely enough, they are crystal clear with no noticeable yellowing.
ISS vs Space Brother 010
Sprues ‘E’ and ‘B’ are the same for both models and so, I only took one set out. I think these are the parts for the main body, lower torso and the legs.
ISS vs Space Brother 011
Sprues ‘C’ and ‘D’ are also the same, which is for the hands, helmets and backpacks.
ISS vs Space Brother 012
The PC joints which allows the model to pose and move. Bandai is well known for using them and they’re very successful too. But since I have not completed any Bandai model 100%, I do not know how long they will last. All I know is that if you buy a Chinese copy, the sockets will split open the moment you snap a ball joint into it. Or worse, the part keeps falling off….
ISS vs Space Brother 013
Here, the ISS on the left looks as if it has a lot of parts. But actually, both models share the same sprue with the exception that Muta’s upper half of the sprue was snapped off. So, he will never get the APFR unless your wallet comes to the rescue.
ISS vs Space Brother 014
Here, we get to see how Apo is put together. He is a fixed pose model. And there is no LED for his helmet.
ISS vs Space Brother 015
On the left is the EMU for the ISS spacesuit while on the right, are the parts for Apo, his stand, Muta’s various heads plus his alternate shoulders.
ISS vs Space Brother 016
This is how Muta looks with his hair uncovered (left).
ISS vs Space Brother 017
The stickers for ISS on the left which also contains silver reflectors for the LEDs plus the LED pack which you need to insert inside the backpack. And Muta’s stickers are more or less the same with some slight variations.

So, which one would you get?
Here’s a summary:
A. ISS Spacesuit
– Both models share the same basic body and space screwdriver
– Has a LED lighting system for the helmet.
– Has APFR platform
– Has EMU

B. Space Brother Muta
– Both models share the same basic body and space screwdriver
– Does not have any lighting but can use ISS’s LED pack.
– Has Apo, Astronaut figure and a ‘bone’
– Has slightly different arm parts.

Yeah, you’d be tempted to get both wontcha? Muahahahhaha!


Here is how the lighting kit looks like and you can only get this from the ISS Spacesuit and not from the Space Brothers version. Basically, it is just a LR44 battery pack with two 3mm flangeless white LEDs. So, for me, if I were to choose, I would get the Space Brothers version since I can make my own lighting system.



I have decided to build one of the two Bandai’s 1/10 Spacesuit. Since I had two versions, I decided to build Space Brother Muta as it has more ‘parts’. And I can recreate the lighting kit from my box of spares. But I am not going to stop there. My theme is for a salvage/survey crew coming across something mysterious. And so, the spacesuit will reflect years of wear and tear plus being retrofitted as spare parts are not always available.

The Spaceman 001
So far, I have done the legs and the lower torso. I am surprised that with the PU joints, not only is the figure’s legs flexible like a real human but it stays posed. Here, I am demonstrating how the figure can balance itself on the cover of a Tamiya Thin Cement bottle.
The Spaceman 002
Woke up late today after a very weird dream of a red/silver Airliner having a strange crash with its left wing tip embedded near a highway. The whole plane was just surrealy stuck at that angle, still intact without any fire or smoke and I caught it on my Nokia n8.

Anyway, I have done the hands last night and so, this morning, I was really in the mood for the helmet. One thing I can say is that the gold-plated part is quite nice and very very reflective. Also, there is actually enough space inside the helmet to put in some wires but after thinking about it and having seen the Gravity trailer, I decided to keep this guy as ‘normal’ as possible.
The Spaceman 003
Also, I abandoned the idea of having some kind of a tablet on the Spaceman’s left hand. This is because of the revolving part (yellow) which can sever the wires (Red) when you turn it more than 360°. Also, if you want to know, the shoulder pad is bigger since I am using and following the ‘Space Brother Muta’ model. The normal ISS Spacesuit has a slightly smaller shoulder pad.
The Spaceman 004
Speaking of which, this is the lighting of the ISS Spacesuit. I am showing you the difference between a normal 3mm LED and the Bandai version, which is a flangeless LED (there is no circular edge at the bottom of the LED’s lens). If you bought the Space Brother version, there is no lighting kit (LED and Battery pack) inside and so, you would need to modify a normal 3mm LED.

The good thing is that Space Brother DOES have the clear lighting parts of the ISS Spacesuit. It just does not have the LED & Battery pack. So, if you want to light up the model, you can deviate slightly from the instructions and use parts C1~6 and 23.
The Spaceman 005
Here is the difference between a normal 3mm LED (bottom) and a modified 3mm LED. You need to shave off the LED’s edges near its terminals. You will also need to shave some plastic off so that the LED can fit in. The aim is to have the LED snugly fit inside the light case without jutting out of the panel as seen on the upper version.
The Spaceman 006
To be honest, there is no difference in having the LEDs placed inside or near the panel. But it does make it more realistic, though. Also, just like the ISS Spacesuit instruction, I will use some aluminum foil tapes to wrap around the LED and also, some of the casing.
The Spaceman 007
This is because you do need to prevent light leaks as the plastic is quite thin. At this point, you might also want to use heat-shrinks to make sure the LED’s terminal legs do not cause any shorts with the aluminium tapes inside.
The Spaceman 008
Pretty soon, I will need some other ‘normal’ 1/10 or 7″ figures if I want to complete my idea 100%. Right now, The Spaceman is with Malcolm Reed of Star Trek: Enterprise.

I say, for 7″, he’s quite tall. Either that or the Spaceman is shorter. Maybe I should look for Hoshi, and some Battlestar Galactica figures since their sculpts are very realistic. But I was hoping for some Tom Cruise figures, though. But although its a good idea to try replace the head with these figures but I am more interested about ‘cloning’ them and putting lots of them in the background…
The Spaceman 009
I need to keep reminding myself not to rush things and that the silver part of the model is actually, very brittle. What started out as the plan to slowly scribe a small slit, turned into a catastrophe. As the hole was slowly showing, I decided to speed up the process by using the modeler’s chisel. So, one hit and the part broke into three pieces.

Rather than wait for tomorrow to get a 1.2mm plastruct square, I decided to make the best of it. Since I wanted that area to be a LCD readout, (something similar to what I saw in Sandra Bullock’s Gravity trailer) I filed the broken part into the small LCD panel. And remembering the wasted positive film (the result of a miscommunication with a printing house while printing the positive film for lighting a Transall D-160), I used it as the LCD screen.

The film looks weird because they colour separated it, so, instead of the usual colour, I got four films for each of the CYMK colours….sigh
The Spaceman 010
Took me quite some time to cut out all the aluminum foil tape to light proof the chest console. But this is how it will look, with the 3mm LED shining onto the panel. Since an LCD screen is supposed to be quite dim, I did not cut out the while piece that is underneath the LCD opening.
The Spaceman 011
As I did not cut out the while piece underneath the LCD opening, it serves as a very thick diffuser and well, more or less lighted up the LCD screen just the way I wanted it; not too bright, not too dim.
Spaceman 012
I am using Bandai’s 1/10 Space Brother Muta as I have passed the ISS Spacesuit over to Bruce Toh for a review. Since Muta has no LEDs, its not a problem for me as I can make my own. I made a mistake here, using 3mm heatshrinks instead of 2mm. But luckily for me, the ‘tunnel’ within the ball & socket joints are still wide enough for them to well, thread through. The heatshrinks is a must to prevent any electrical shorts since I put in so much aluminum tape in there.
Spaceman 013
The LED for the chest piece is very easy. Just solder the LED, make a silent prayer before you push it in with a blunt tool. Heh. Yeah, heatshrinks here too, just to prevent a short when the model is sealed up very much later.
Spaceman 014
Here is a very important note when leading the wire from the chest to the back. I can drill a hole right through but with the mechanism in side the body, its not a good idea since you would have to open up everything when the wire fails to thread through.

Just use a saw and make a small tunnel on that plastic block. Then on the cover (which is not shown) which is to cover the plastic block, you just make some notches for the wires to pass through or else when you close it, they will definitely get cut.

I am using these multi-strand AWG30 (I don’t know what it means) thin wires for the LEDs since I am not using high voltage and also, its good for going though those minor holes. At first they look similar to those wire-wrapping wires but they’re multi-strands.

Despite fitting on the backpack you will definitely see the wires coming out form the helmet assembly and in to the backpack. I’ll have a look at the original ISS manual later to see if there are other parts to cover it up. (Yeah, I should have used some white cables instead….)
Spaceman 015
OK, this is what it looks like. The LEDs are very dim because I used a larger value resistor since this is just a test. And also, my Nokia n8 seems to make it look as if its very bright.

Hmm…. you can still notice the light leak around the chest area, though.
Spaceman 016
OK, I could not resist it so I hung the guy up and took a nice photo. I like the lights at the moment; not too bright and not too dark. I’ll wonder how it looks like when I solder in the proper resistor. Its going to be very bright, I suppose.

The money shot? Its being used as my profile picture. Heh.

For now, I am calling this done. The next phase would be to look for some decent 7″ ‘normal’ figures which I can use as sleeping clones in some Space Pod or something. Heck, I can’t even find any thing that resembles a Space Pod or Cryo Chamber… darn it. And I need a lot of them, something in the design of Tom Cruise’s Oblivion.


Well after seeing this new PC game, I am so besotted with the Military Astronaut’s Spacesuit and yeah, my idea is now diverted to this design. One day…