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.