Voskhod Update 1

Time for a quick update on the Voskhod build.  I started on the first stage.  I drilled a 1/8 in hole in the first stage base part.  Then I cut a piece of brass tube to length and glued on a cardboard centering ring to one end.  The other end will go through the hole in the first stage base part.  I then glued that assembly into one half of the first stage using epoxy.  When that setup, I then glued the second half on using my Tenax substitue.  I also put a dab of epoxy on the cardboard centering ring to attach it to other half of the first stage.  When everything was set I tested it on my Vostok model base and it works fine.

I then started filling and sanding on the first stage and the strap on boosters.  The first stage also has the booster truss completed.  I was able to use the Airfix parts and I think they will look good.

If you look at the pictures below you will see the strap-on boosters lined up behind the first stage that is being worked on.  They actually are lined up in a specific order.  I found out that the strap-on boosters fit better at certain positions on the truss.  I test fitted all of them and noted which position worked best.  Then I made a small mark on the back side of each strap-on.  The mark will never be seen since it is on the back side next to the first stage.  I also had to trim a bit of the first stage where the top of the strap-on meets the first stage.  There is a bump at that point where the tip of the strap-on is to be mated to the first stage.  All of the strap-ons were too high by just under a 16th of an inch.  I trimmed each mating point according to where each strap-on would be placed.  Everything now seems to fit.

I also added the interstage truss brass to the top of the first stage.  The photos I can find of Voskhod 2 are very inconclusive as to what that area is supposed to look like.  I took a path that I think will make the model work and look like some of the photos.  The brass interstage truss comes as a “Y” shape.  The tail of the “Y” is supposed to run from the first stage body to the end of the stage at the blast plate.  Then the top of the “Y” is the truss work that actually separates the stages.  I think you can see in the photos what I mean.  I used JB Weld epoxy to join the ends of the truss and CA to attach it to the first stage.  My research photos also show that if the tails of the “Y”s are used then there is a small raised line around the bottom of the “Y”s.  I added that with some 0.5mm styrene strip stock.

Next step is to primer all the parts.

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Voshkod While I’m Waiting

Well I ordered a detail set from New-Ware for the Saturn V build.  While I’m waiting on delivery (I’m expecting delays in customs due to shutdown) I thought I’d start on a 1/144 Voshkod model.  I’ll be using the Apex kit as my base and adding a conversion set I bought from Rho-models a LONG time ago.

You can see from the pictures that I have already attached the capsule section to the second stage.  Both are resin parts.  I’ll be using the photo-etch that is included in the conversion set for the interstage web instead of the plastic one that comes with the Apex kit.  The plastic they use is very brittle and hard to bend into a curve.

I have an Airfix Vostok kit and I’ll be using the engine bells from that kit to upgrade the Apex kit.  The Apex engine bells are simple cones, while the Airfix bells have at least a bit of detail to them.  I will also try using the Airfix cross brace parts instead of the badly detailed Apex ones.  I also have some photo-etch ones that came in the Rho-models conversion kit.  I’ll use those if the Airfix parts don’t work out.

Besides gluing the resin parts together, I’ve also put together the four Stage 0 boosters.  I’ll leave the engine bells off until I get it all painted.  I’ve done some initial cleaning up of the build components, but I’ll still have to do more once I get everything primed.  Now to start on the core stage and put in some additional items that will support it on its base stand.

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.

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.

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.