My 1/144 Rocket Garden

I thought I’d show my 1/144 rocket garden as it stands now.  I took some of these pictures a few weeks back when I had not yet finished my Shuttle Stack.  It is now finished and you can see in the last couple of rocket garden pictures that it is now displayed with the rest of my fleet.  The Saturn V will hopefully be added before the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on July 20th.  I have in my stash the models of the missing Russian launchers.  I have everything I need to build a Voshkod 2 model, and I am only lacking the Soyuz upper stage to be able to build that.  I’m not sure exactly how the Saturn V is going to fit in with this grouping.  I may have to relocate my ISS model.

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50th Anniversary Saturn V Build

My next build is a 1/144 scale Saturn V.  My goal is to complete it before the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.  But, it won’t be depicting Apollo 11, instead it will be built as the Saturn V for Apollo 15.  It was the first Saturn V that flew without any ullage motors on the S-II interstage.  A move that was taken because experience had shown that they were not really needed and it also allowed for more payload on the Apollo spacecraft.

Anyway, I’m going to be using parts from the old Monogram kit as well as an old Airfix kit that were in my stash.  I didn’t like the aft skirt section on the Monogram kit so I’ll be using the one in the Airfix kit.  I also didn’t like the details on the S-II on the Airfix kit so the main body of the Saturn V will be using the Monogram parts.  I won’t be building out the S-II thrust structure or the S-IVB thrust structure because both kits are terrible in this area.  If I were to have the stages separable, then I’d have to get some 3D printed parts to fix the problems, but I don’t want to take that expense this time.

I will also be using the RealSpace Models Apollo Spacecraft update kit.  It will replace the SLA, CSM and LES with much more accurate parts.  I’ve used that set before on my Saturn IB build.

Here are a few pictures to get started.  Note the old boxes of the kits.  Yes, they’ve been in my stash for a long time.

Shuttle Discovery Build Complete

Well I missed my self-imposed deadline, but not by too much.  I finished it before Christmas.  The SSME and OAMS engine bells went on well and the orbiter was given a coat of Future Floor Finish to protect the massive amount of decals on the orbiter.  After giving that a day to set up, Discovery was given a coat of dull coat.  It looks pretty good.  If I build another, I’ll be sure to paint the cockpit walls black.  It is a bit distracting that there is nothing behind the windows.  Otherwise though I think it looks pretty good.  Here are some photos of the finished orbiter.

The SRB’s were next.  They had been sitting there, painted white patiently waiting for me to do something with them.  The top section of each SRB is painted a light cream/tan color.  Mixing that one took some time to get something I could live with.  With the orbiter finished it was time to start adding the decals to the SRB’s.  I had to reprint the “LOADED” markings a few times before I got them the correct size.  Those suckers were TINY!  I also painted the foam on the stiffening rings on the lower SRB segments.  Next time the black rings on the SRB’s will be a bit wider, these seem too narrow.  After the decals, the SRB’s got a coat of Future Floor Finish to protect the decals from the dull coat that was to follow.  Below is a pic of the remaining sections of the shuttle stack.  The ET has the yellow sections painted and waiting to be masked off before painting the darker shades of foam.  Masking the aft shuttle attachment was a pain in the butt.  The SRB’s are still missing their nozzles.  Those will go on after the dull coat.  You can see the brass tube sticking out the bottom of the SRB.  This will accept a wire rod that will support the stack on the stand.  Both SRB’s have the brass tubes in them.  To be sure they are centered and vertical, the rod runs the entire length of the SRB from the tip of the nose cone to nozzle.  They are epoxied into the nose of each SRB.

I didn’t get pictures of the painting process for the ET, unfortunately.  But here are some pictures of the finished stack.  It turned out pretty well.  I’m happy with the ET colors.  If I had to do it again, I’d probably change the shade of the intertank area a bit, but I’m still happy.  The stand could have been a bit better.  I’m not pleased with the grain showing through.  But at a distance it looks good.  The stiff wires running up the SRB’s are doing a great job of holding the stack vertical without my having to add a support for the orbiter.  Here is the finished gallery of photos.

Now I’m ready for the new year and a new project.  Next up, a 1/144 Saturn V for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

Shuttle Discovery Build Update

Since January I’ve made some small progress on the STS-31 build.  I got the OMS and Main Engines added to the orbiter and sprayed on the dull coat.  It looks much better now, kind of like a shuttle orbiter.

I drilled small holes in the backs of the main engines and OMS engines.  I then CA’ed a short styrene rod into each engine nozzle.  I drilled corresponding holes in the back of the orbiter and then CA’ed the nozzles into place.  That completed the assembly of the orbiter.

I then sprayed the whole orbiter with Tamiya Dull Coat.  I did it in light coats so that there was less chance of it attacking the decals.  Even though the model was clear coated with Future, I did not want to risk messing up the decals, since about 80 percent of the orbiter is covered with them.

The SRB’s are coming along.  I have the right SRB with all it’s decals on, and I’m preparing to put the decals on the left SRB.  The ET is still sitting in the condition it was in last January.  I guess I’ll have to suck it up and start masking it and get it painted.  It’s been sitting there long enough mocking me.

I want to get it finished before Thanksgiving so I can start on my next build.  I’ll be starting a 1/144 scale Saturn V.  My goal is to get it completed before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, in July 2019.

Anyway, hopefully in the next few weeks I can post an update showing the completed STS-31 stack.

Space Shuttle Discovery Build

I’ve been working on a 1/144 shuttle stack of Discovery (STS-31) on and off (mostly off) for the last year or so.  I’ve finally made some progress on it.  The SRB’s are close, I need to relocate a couple of antennas and then do some hand painting and the decals.  The ET is the part that has probably caused this build to sit idle for so long.  Getting the colors right and masking is just giving me fits.  Eventually I’ll have to tackle it.  The orbiter is almost finished.  I painted it a few months ago and recently decided that I need to get the decals on it and at least get this part finished.

The decals are a combination of the RealSpace Models decal set, the Warbird Decals sets 14404 and 14405 and some decals that I made myself.  The Warbird decals for the topside of the orbiter are pretty good.  I used the decals for the nose, the forward RCS, star trackers, bay door hinges, access panels, tail and elevons.  I also used the Warbird decals for the wing topside, and the bottom side tiles.  I used the RealSpace decals for some of the SRB markings and the orbiter main hatch.  I made my own decals for the RCS covers on the sides of the orbiter nose.  I used the RealSpace decals for the cockpit windows as a starting point since they are the right shape.  I greatly toned down the tile edges since the tile marks are hardly visible at this scale.  The upper windows are correct but for the Discovery on the STS-31 mission, there are warning triangles next to both windows.  So I made my own for those.  Also the shuttles have two vents surrounded by black on the left side of the vehicle and on the right side of the vehicle is a single vent surrounded by black.  The RealSpace set has the single vent for the right side, but it has yellow warning signs on it which were not there on STS-31, so I made my own.  The Warbird decals for markings between the tail and OAMS pods are correct except they include yellow boxes that are not there on a ready for flight vehicle.  Also they include decals for the black tiles on the OAMS pod fronts.  But they also show individual tiles which I didn’t want.  So again, I made my own in both cases based on the Warbird decals.

Anyway I finally got the decals on and they look pretty good.  The Warbird decals seem fairly thick, which is a good thing since some of the decals are very large.  Even though they are thick, they react well to Microscale Micro Set and Micro Sol.  Between the two of them the decals laid down nicely and really do have the painted on look.

Here are some pictures of the orbiter so far.  I say “so far” because I have not yet sprayed on the dullcoat layer and the main engines and OAMS nozzles are not on yet.  It has been covered with a coat of Pledge Floor Care (used to be Future Floor Finish a long time ago) hence the very glossy shine.  I needed to seal in the decals to protect them from the Tamiya Clear Flat since it specifically states on the can that it can damage decals.  I’ll be doing a test shot first to be sure the Pledge will not react with the Tamiya Clear Flat.  The photo of the left side is out of focus, I’ll try and update it later.

Once that is done maybe I can get to the SRB’s get them finished and then work up the courage to tackle the ET.

Cord Cutting Update #4

Well we did it.  I contacted AT&T and we cancelled U-verse TV.  The only thing left with them is our internet.  When I called they of course tried to come up with various packages to try and keep me with them.  All of them would cost more than just cutting the cord and going with what we have set up for streaming.  In the process they did bump our internet access from 18mb to 24mb for the same cost we are paying now.

We were thinking of moving to Toast.net for internet service, but now I need to do some evaluation to be sure.  The upside of Toast.net is that there is no data cap.  AT&T has a 1000gb cap.  From studying our usage so far it looks like we would able to fairly easily stay under the cap.  They both charge $60 for 24mb download speed.  But I think we might be able to use 18mb download without any buffering issues.  During our testing period we did not notice any buffering.  If we do decide that 18mb will work, Toast.net offers 18mb for $50 a month with no cap.  We will have to think about that some more.  It might be worth going to Toast.net just to avoid the data cap.

So how much do we think we will actually be able to save by cord cutting?  Here is the breakdown we are looking at:

Here is how our AT&T bill breaks down: Continue reading “Cord Cutting Update #4”

Cutting the Cord Update #3

OK, so far I’ve got an antenna installed in the attic.  I have that attached to a Tablo OTA DVR which is then connected to our home network.  I have the Vonage phone service installed.  The last main piece for cutting the cord is to get a set top box and decide which live TV streaming service to use.

Roku just updated their line of set top boxes for 2017 and the Roku Ultra price has dropped to $99.  I ordered one from Amazon and got it a couple of days later.  I opted to get the Ultra since it (and the Streaming Stick+) supports 4K TV and its remote can power the TV on and off and also control the sound.  Unlike the Streaming Stick+, the Ultra also has an Ethernet port, a micro SD slot, a headphone jack for private listening, and a remote finder feature.  For many people the Streaming Stick+ will be good option and costs about $30 less.

I hooked it up to the Samsung in the bedroom and the set up was very easy.  I had to create a Roku account on their website during the setup but that was no problem.  Part of the set up was to get the remote set up with the TV so it could operate the sound and turn the TV on and off.  That went easy as well.

I installed the Tablo app on the Roku and connected to the Tablo that is upstairs.  I went to the guide and picked a channel and started watching TV from the antenna.  Very nice indeed.

Now, what live TV streaming service should I pick?  Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, or Fubo? Continue reading “Cutting the Cord Update #3”