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.

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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.

Airfix 1/144 Saturn Ib

This is another one of my long-term projects.  I started it several years ago.  It got put aside because of other more important things and other distractions so I never found the time to get back into it until now.

SA-205 Apollo 7 CSMBefore I put it down, I had nearly finished the upper part of the model from the interstage to the Launch Escape System.  I used the Apollo Conversion kit from RealSpace Models to replace the obviously undersized parts that were included in the kit.  RealSpace has improved the conversion kit since I purchased mine.  It now comes with a pewter LES rocket and photo etched tower (I had to use the one that came in the Airfix kit).  The details on the CSM are also improved since I bought mine.  If I do another one, I’ll definitely purchase one of his new ones.

I also modified some of the details on the S-IVb.  I removed the hump on the attitude control pods that was only on the S-IVb 500 version.  Also the Airfix kit only has two ullage motors on the S-IVb.  The S-IVb 200’s that were used on the Saturn Ib had three ullage motors.  I tried carving an extra one from some scrap styrene, but my fat fingers made that a near impossibility.  Recently Airfix came out with a 1/144 scale Saturn V/Skylab kit.  It didn’t need ullage motors on the Skylab, so I stole one of the ullage motors from that kit and used it on the Saturn Ib.

To do the black roll patterns on the interstage, I made some black decals and applied them to the model.  It looks pretty good and I didn’t have to mask over the raised detail on the interstage.  That is never a fun job.  I made all the decals myself and printed them on my Alps 1300 printer.  I used the detailed drawings by David Weeks (also available from RealSpace Models) to create my decals.   David’s drawings are invaluable if you want to get anywhere close to accurate.  I didn’t add nearly as much detail as I could have using his drawings.

I could have done more to make the model more accurate but to me that just gets tedious.  I’ll add enough detail to satisfy myself and that’s good enough.

When I picked the model back up, the first stage was completed, but had only been primed.  It still needed final paint and decals.  I had started scribing dividing lines for the antenna frames.  Airfix just had them as rectangular blocks between the oxidizer and fuel tanks, but they were really two pieces.  Also they had all the antennas the same size.  When actually the only ones that were the same were the ones at quad I and III.  The antennas at quad IV  were different and at quad II they were only on one of the antenna frames.  So when I started to work on the first stage I decided that I would fix the antennas. Continue reading “Airfix 1/144 Saturn Ib”