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.