2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 3

Time for another update.  I’m continuing with the photoetch for the most part.

I folded the pod bay into shape and CA’d it together.  I would have installed the floor but I was waiting on another set of LED’s to arrive.  The first set were fine but they had a slight green cast to them.  I ordered another set from a different source and I’m hoping that these are more white.

Anyway, in the meantime I moved on to the cockpit photoetch.  I started with the hallway behind the cockpit.  I filled the openings with Micro Kristal Kleer, except the ceiling.  The openings are way too big to fill.  I will apply a piece of clear styrene that I will sand on one side to make it more opaque.  The part itself is a simple rectangular cube when folded.  The main thing to be careful of is the ceiling.  It is mostly open to allow the lights to shine through.  As such it is very easy to bend the wrong way, but with a bit of care it went together just fine.  After bending, I painted the backside of the openings with various Tamiya clear colors to enhance the color of the decals when lit from behind.

Next came the cockpit itself.  I filled all the small lights and openings with Kristal Kleer as before.  Then I applied the decals.  When they were dry, I turned it over and started painting the back with the clear colors to match the colors of the decals.  I also folded and painted the seats that will be installed later.  When the paint was dry I started folding the cockpit section.  There are a number of small pieces to bend but I had little trouble.  ParaGrafix really does make it pretty easy to get a good bend without special tools.  The lights look good, too bad you will be able to see so little of it after it is installed.

When the new LED’s came in I tested them and they were much more white that the others.  I glued one to the pod bay floor to illuminate the workbench.  I also bent and installed the PE cockpit window frame.

I decided I could wait no longer.  I had to cut one of the pod bay doors out.  I was dreading doing this, but it really needed to be done.  In the film you can see that when the pod bay doors are open the notched frame remains in place.  This meant that I had to cut out the doors and leave only the frame to be installed.  I used a brand new #11 blade and slowly and carefully cut around the door inside the frame.  After what seemed like forever the door finally came out.  After sanding the inside edge of the frame, it looks pretty good.

Now it was time to install the suit rack and workbench on the pod bay floor.  I CA’d them into place.  I then CA’d the floor into the pod bay walls.  I turned on the LED and found a little light leak that I’ll paint over with some black.  Otherwise it looks pretty good.  The photo is a little blown out, but with just your eye it looks good.  I placed the bay in the sphere and it looks pretty good.  With the other two doors closed you can’t see much, but it does look great.

I then folded the PE pod bay sub-floor and installed it on the bottom side of the pod bay floor.  I also went back and light blocked the cockpit and then glued it to the window opening and painted it black for light blocking.

I then started working on the pods themselves.  I painted black inside the pod that will be lit.  After that dries I’ll paint silver inside to aid in bouncing the light around so the fiber optic head lights can pick up as much light as possible.  I then primed the pod that will be installed inside the pod bay.  It looks a bit rough on the lower half.  For some reason the bottom half of the 3D printed pod is a bit rougher than the top half.  I’ll have to do some careful sanding to see if the primer can smooth some of that out.  It looks like I’ll have to do the same with the pod that I’m going to light up.

That’s it for now.  As you can see, I’m saving the pod platforms themselves for last.  I have to drill some holes in the PE for one of the pod pads to allow the wires to pass through.  I’m hoping that I don’t destroy the part in the process.

Thanks for looking.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build Part 2

I got started on the photoetch parts.  I sprayed them with a white primer and then covered that in a clear coat.  I decided to start with updating the exterior airlock door.  As the kit comes, there is no detail on the door itself and the door controls are just a couple of raised areas next to it.  The photoetch has much more detail, but to start, I needed to remove the raised areas and then cut out the kit door.  The ParaGrafix instructions indicate to put the door on the outside of the command sphere, but looking at the movie stills it is clear that the door is recessed, hence my need to cut out the door.  The plastic is fairly soft so cutting out the door was not too difficult.  I tacked the door on with some CA and then used JB Weld to secure it in place and make sure there were no light leaks.  Then is was a simple matter to attach the photoetch door controls with a drop of CA.

Next up came the photoetch for the interior airlock passage.  It was a simple couple of bends and then some CA to secure it and some JB Weld to make it permanent and cover the joints to prevent light leaks.  Then I added the decals from the HDA Modelworx set.  In hindsight I should probably have put the decals on before bending the part, but it was fairly easy to cut the decal into three parts and apply them to the airlock passage.  These decals are printed with a laser printer.  It is the first time I’ve used this type of decal.  I do not know if they are all like this, but these are very thick decals.  Which is probably a good thing since removing them from the paper backing is rather difficult.  I’ve not used decals that were this hard to remove from the decal paper.  Even after a long soak and allowing them to sit for a while, they were still very difficult to get off the paper.  I had to apply quite a bit of sliding force to get them started.  But they did eventually come loose and I applied them to the PE.  I made sure to use a good amount of Micro Set and then followed that up with Micro Sol to get them to conform to the details of the PE.

Next came the test bench that goes in the center of the pod bay.  It was a much more involved bending process with several small bends that needed to be made.  This is the first time that I have used PE that was this involved.  I finally got it bent, but I’m not quite satisfied with the final result.  I couldn’t get the back of the workbench exactly where it needed to be but it is very close and when it is this small I think it will look fine.  Once again the decals were cut into sections and applied individually.  It took several applications of Micro Set to get them down smooth, but they look fine now.  I needed to apply a bit of black paint at the corners and the inside to stop light leaks.  I also needed to add a couple of styrene bits to cover the open end and the bottom overhang where there is no PE.  I then also painted the inside silver to aid in bouncing the light around when it gets lit.

Next I bent the climate control vents into shape and touched up the corners with some white paint.  They went together easily with just some simple bends.  I then applied the decals to the pod bay walls and floor.  The windows and lights were filled with Micro Krystal Klear.  The pod bay wall decals were cut into sections and applied.  The floor was one decal with a couple of holes cut out for the workbench and the space suit rack.  I also CA’ed the blue suit and the red helmet to the suit rack and applied the decals.

The ceiling of the pod bay is where the climate control vents go and I took a photo of them placed where they will go when complete.  I won’t actually install them until later.  There are also some dome shapes that go on the ceiling.  You can see them in the movie, but they are not modeled in the PE.  But there are three raised areas on the PE where the domes should go.  I started wondering what I would do about that.  At first I thought I might just leave them off, but my OCD just wouldn’t let me do that.  Then I remembered the half pearls that I used on a couple of my steam punk rockets.  I pulled them out and they were just the right size to fit.  I CA’ed them into place and painted them white.

That is as far as I have gotten so far.  Next I need to start working on how to light the pod on the extended platform.  My brass rods came in so now I have no excuses left, I have to start working on it.  Current plan is to run some very thin wires through one of the rods and up into the platform then into the pod.  First things first, I need to get the pod painted to block any light from the interior leaking out.

That’s all for now.

2001 Discovery XD-1 Build

I’m getting ready to start my next build.  It will be the Moebius kit of the Discovery XD-1 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  This is one of my grail kits.  I’ve wanted a kit of this model ever since I saw the movie back in 1968.  There have been no injected styrene kits of this up until Moebius did it a couple of years ago.  There were some garage kits in resin, but they were either out of my price range or I didn’t find out about them until they were out of production.  I pre-ordered the kit from CulTVMan when it was announced.  It’s been in my stash since then.  Now I’m finally getting around to building it.

Of course this model screams for a detailed pod bay which is not included in the kit.  Fortunately ParaGrafix has come to the rescue with a pair of photoetch sets that re-create the pod bay and the cockpit of the XD-1.  I also found out that HDA Modelworks was making a set of decals for the ParaGrafix sets that would help me avoid having to paint all that detail by hand.

Obviously, since there was no pod bay in the kit, there are no pods in the kit either.  After looking at what was available from after-market sources, and actually purchasing a couple, I was not enthusiastic at what I had found.  The first one I picked up was cast in clear resin so it might be possible to light it.  Unfortunately it was way undersized.  I found another that was about the correct size but the detailing in the back seemed wrong, and it was cast in solid white which would make lighting next to impossible.  Finally, I heard about Falconware on Shapeways.  He was producing a 3D printed set of pods that were the right size and nicely detailed.  He had even included the provision to add fiber optics for the headlights of the pod.  I bought a set of three and they look very good.  He also provides a set of arms in various positions so you can model them parked, picking up Frank, or opening the emergency airlock.

So now I have most of the aftermarket add-ons that I need (I still need to get some LED’s for the lighting) I’m ready to start on the model.  I opened the box and examined the runners.  Each runner is in a separate bag so if any parts come off the won’t go far.  Unfortunately, my kit had two parts that were damaged.  The main antenna spider had one of its arms broken.  Also the window sill was cracked.  After sparing application of liquid cement and careful bending of the broken part, I was able to fix the spider.  You can barely tell where it was broken.  I used a similar procedure on the window sill.  Both came out great.

Now I need to figure out my plan of attack for the model.  I think I’ll be starting with the photoetch sets from ParaGrafix.  I’ll be modeling the scene where Dave is leaving the pod bay in his attempt to get Frank.  So I will only need two of the three pods that I bought.  I will also only need to light the one that Dave is using.  I’ll model that pod platform extended with the headlights on and the arms in the parked position.  I have a bit of work to do before I install the platforms which is good since I’m still waiting on the brass tubes that support the platforms.

I expect the initial stages of this build to be a bit slow, but things should start progressing nicely after the interior and lighting is installed.

Thanks for following along.