Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

30 July 2022

Could-have-been-Stuka: The Blohm und Voss Ha-137

 Hi there! Another airplane it is. Unbelievable. Five models in one month. Wahey!

Blohm und Voss were later on in the National Socialist period quite well known for their flying boats but they started out when they purchased the Hamburger Flugzeugbau (the Ha- part in the name of the plane). Uninvited but nevertheless with the "best" intentions, they entered the competition in the mid-thirties to build Germany's new dive bomber. The Ha-137 was competing against and eventually lost out to the equally archaic looking Ju-87. Both sported inversed gullwings to keep the non-retractable landing gear short. And there the comparison stops. The Ju-87 had room for two, the Ha-137 carried just the pilot. The Ju-87 was large, the Ha-137 looked more like a fighter, albeit with an open cockpit, something the Ju-87 didn't have. Anyway, bla bla bla. Ju-87 won, Jericho trumpet, bla bla bla, obsolete, bla bla bla, Allies won.
But the Ha-137 looked to me like a nice little plane to build. But to me it looked better without the nazi-parafernalia on its hull and wings. So I removed all lettering and emblems.
The very nicely designed model is created by Der Kampfflieger, Roman Vasiliev, from Ukraine. The parts fit very well. I built it 1/72 and that's smaller than originally intended.

It received a spinning propeller and well, it was an easy and straightforward build. And that's pretty much it, actually.

I already am working on the preparations for the next model. It will be very small, and - finally -  something space-related again.

21 July 2022

Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero (Prototype)

Long before I went on vacation, this Zio aircraft was waiting for me for a long time already. I had it printed out in the stash as a quickie for a rainy day or holidays.

It was a bit more elaborate plane and I had started work on the fuselage in the end of june. But from the beginning, I slowly grew to dislike the amount of guns protruding from the hull.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have built a lot of war planes before but this one has all its guns so… well, obviously displayed. And with all that war in Ukraine going on, it just felt not right. It was just too much... well... in your face for my taste.
But I kept building anyway. The fuselage was made and I liked its shape. The weird hump and the curves are quite unique and I liked the overall shape. On holiday, I worked a bit on the mid-engine before changing moods and working on the Johan Scherft Bee-eaters, a Zio Spitfire and the VFW 614.

10 July 2022

Three models. In two weeks.

On the last day of my short two-week vacation I can say that I actually have made three models. So far for thinking I am not inspired or not motivated any more.
I won’t bother you with build reports (I haven’t made them anyway) but I will show you the end result.
First I built the Bee-eaters trio of Johan Scherft.  It’s the (African) dwarf-bee-eater, so it actually is full-scale.  I found a nice twig at the compost heap in the garden they could sit on and the only things I added myself were the 3D-feet (rolled and coloured paper) and a three-part blob of transparent glossy acrylic paint for the eyes. It makes the model so much more come to life. It will be left as a present to the people whose house we are house-sitting.

The second one was a relative quickie and a favourite of mine, Zio’s Spitfire. This one also will be left in the house. As always, Fabrizio Prudenziati’s model is an utter joy to build. The fit is great and the result always makes me smile. The propeller on this build already spins when just walking with it. A sigh makes it move.

The third build was this German curiosity, the VFW 614. A cooperation between several joined Greman aircraft manufacturers and the Dutch Fokker company. The small commuter plane had its engines on top of the wing. An idea which nowadays has regained momentum since it significantly reduces engine noise. A straight forward build without any difficulties. The model has no landing gear so it is placed on a pedestal. It is by no means perfect but it was a nice build and I might do it again some day. This one is going back with me.

Tomorrow it’s back to work again. And I actually am looking forward to it. Weird, eh?

Stay safe and healthy, take good care.


15 May 2022

It's getting almost too regular: I'm still here.

 Hi there.

I felt kind of obliged to do an update.
Of course, I am still here. It's just that I started a new day job to provide some income so I am quite occupied by that at the moment.

I still am a filmmaker by profession. That is something I will always be. But nowadays it has become really hard to make a living out of making films. About 5 years ago it still was possible. We were stuggling then too, but we managed. After that, the pond dried out, hard to catch any fisn in it.

In those times of scarcity, I had an an amazing stroke of luck and got a freelance job in the regional archives, describing and working with archival films, lots of them from before the second world war. I learned a lot about archival work and since history always was one of my interests, I really wanted to make the freelance job a steadier one. One that I could do to provide me with a steadier income ans still being able to make films. Unfortunately, that job wasn't possible at the regional archives in my province.

A little more than a month or so ago I applied for a comparable, but much more extensive job at the regional archives in the neighbouring province and... I got accepted!

So, since a week or two now, I am managing the film and video archives in the regional archives in the province of Drenthe. There is so much to learn and to do. Due to illness of my predecessor, the collection was more or less neglected for more than two years. There is a considerable backlog to be dealt with and we also have to move the archive itself to another place in the depot. A big task and I really am enjoying it. So with all that, there is little time - and I must admit also little interest in doing a lot of paper model building at this time. I hope you can forgive me for that.

Other news is that the latest film we made, ANS - The first Dutch space adventure, will be shown on the island of Texel in september and there are negotiations going on to get it on national TV. Keep your fingers crossed!
The second premiere in Groningen went great, the carillion concert was touching. Satellite of Love, Across the Universe, Rocketman, All for this film and the little satellite. The film was very well-received. There was a little Q&A afterwards and people were genuinely interested in the history of ANS. ANd a newspaper review said the film felt like "a boy's adventure book".  I remembered that backin the days we tried to get the film off of the ground, an executive producer of a TV program we tried to get involved in broadcasting the docu, told us he didn't think the subject was exciting enough to make film out of. We proved him so wrong. HA!

I do have some model plans, I want to do a bigger model (in 1/48 or larger) of the Dragon capsule and trunk, there is this little model of the Blue Origin New Shepard I still want to finish for the National Space Museum and I am working on a Triumph Sprite (Frog Eye) model which is on the workbench as we speak. All that will be postponed util I feel there is time again. But for now I really have to concentrate on my job for a while. There's so much to learn and get acquainted with...

See you soon, stay safe, healthy and from the Netherlands a heartfelt 'long live Ukraine!'


09 April 2022

SN20 cancelled; P-40 finished.

So I was working on SpaceX's Starship SN20 with eventually the plan to add its BN4 booster to create the whole giant stack. But recently, after watching some space news channel on YT, I heard both of the stages already are obsolete. And, well, of course. SpaceX is letting their their rockets evolve faster than I can build a model. Faster than they can actually build an launch them themselves.
And now the whole stack apparently is rendered obsolete. As someone on Reddit said: “The designs have iterated so far away from a flying corn silo to an actual spaceship that the only use in launching the old design would be to see something crash or blow up.” And although I find the technology of SN20 hardly compares to that of a corn silo, of course that isn’t enough to launch something. I only hope they still put those brilliant but also quickly ageing Raptor 1-engines to use.

Nice shiny metallic card and detailed heat shield tiles.

Proof of concept. Just one ring and the tilework glued over the metallic stuff to create some relief.
Edges coloured. It looks damn good. The relief is exactly how it should look.

The latest version of Starship has different vents that simultaneously function as manoeuvring jets. The booster has them too and an entirely different  layout of the COPV-tanks around the outside, They now apparently are placed in a long row and with an aerodynamic cover they act as chines to improve the flight characteristics of the rocket during the return. I like seeing those changes happening on the fly. It is a little reminiscent of how NASA in the sixties improved their designs on the go. It is exciting and mind-boggling how they solve problems, how quickly they do it and how they improve the design on the fly, while working towards a launch. But the SN20 / B04 stack now apparently is nothing but an addition to the growing unused rocket garden. I'd say, museum stuff.

I slightly cut the metallic card to create panel lines. I used AXM's model as a template,
but I enlarged it 104% to get 1/96 scale to fit right in with the rest of my rockets.

It looks neat from here. I know. It does. But the strips with the heat shield tiles (not seen here cause they're
on the back) were quite messy. The seams were very visible and left some notable gaps. I couldn't camouflage it all with just coloured pencil. It wasn't wobbly but the amount of rings in this ogive shape I think, also played
a role in the messy look. And also because I wasn't able to easily test fit the tile strips on to the metallic card, because I had to use CA glue to stick it to the smooth surface. Lesson for the next try. Test fit first.

A long time ago, I decided I would only build stuff that actually has flown or at least flew once to keep the shelves free from clutter (i.e. unflown and untested spacecraft - apart from What-ifs of course.), I will wait for the final first flown prototype.

Luckily, I wasn't too far in with building the rocket, I only finished the nose cone. The result was not bad, but far from good. The seams were too visible and the whole matter was quite messy, at least to my eyes. It was a good lesson, and I still really want to build the giant stack. Bit now i'll wait until there has been one that actually flew.

So I am diverting again, making a little… Prudenziative evasion. This time it’s a Curtiss P40 to add to the collection. As usual, I take Zio's planes in a quite light manner. I don't go for detail, I don't go for perfection, I just go for the sheer joy of building a little paper plane that looks the part. For more, click on the "read the rest" thingy below the photo.

22 March 2022

Still here but quite occupied..

Like the title says, I am still here. I even started a build (but I am not that happy about it so I might just abandon it). I also am very very busy at the moment. The ANS-documentary is finished and will premiere this month. Hectic times, moreso because I found a new day job I will start in May.

So I don't have that much time right now to build any paper model...

I can however, show you the trailer of the documentary:

Here is a link to Vimeo for the English subtitled trailer.

Stay posted for new projects. Stay safe, be nice to one another and Слава Україні! 🇺🇦!

31 December 2021

A Happy 2022

Another year over, a new one about to begin.

I wish you all lots of wisdom, health and prosperity for 2022.


21 November 2021

X-20 Dyna Soar (part 4): What if?

Spring, 1980. On the long runway of Kennedy Space Center a horde of photographers stands around two small space planes together with one impressive big one behind them. One of the small planes is faded black all over, the other one looks like it is a child of the big one, although it is the other way around.
This photo-op is the last chance to see the two Dyna Soars and the result of their effort, the Rockwell Space Shuttle Orbiter OV101, together. The black Dyna Soar is shown in its former USAF livery. The black and white one is called Enterprise and the big Space Shuttle Orbiter is called Constitution.

More on the story and the build after the jump.

31 October 2021

X-20 Dyna Soar with Transtage 1/48 (3)

Well, one moment you have all the time in the world and next it's like a pandemonium. We're working on the last bits of the documentary film about ANS, the first Dutch satellite, and we both have our daily jobs to do too. So there's little time to glue some paper there days.

Anyway, it did so happen this week I actually made some time and the Dyna Soar is finished.

Here's a picture of the finished model, for those who want to see more, just click on where it says "Click here to read the rest of the story!" and voilà.

06 October 2021

Life sometimes takes over...

One moment you are living in seas of time. Maybe even some sort of vacuum. The next, it is perhaps even busier than before Covid struck our planet down to almost a halt. Our film is nearing completion and I had a film job for the regional archives. So The X-20 had to stay on the backburner for a while. It still is a little hectic, and I presume it is because I am not used to anything any more after almost two years of isolation and relative quietness. But soon, I will pick up the build. Don't worry. And I will keep you informed about the upcoming film.

Thanks for the patience.