Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

31 December 2011

...Friede; almost ready

Here's a last update on Friede this year. She's not finished yet, but I'm getting close.
The four stabilo's are ready, they're thick and sturdy. Unlike the real rocket whose legs could not carry the weight of the ship, these are quite up to the task.
Most of the work now is concentrated on the honeycomb engine cluster, which is a little more complex than the upper stage. it's coming together real fine but I need one more ring of engine bells to add. As it's getting a bit dark and I don't like working in artificial light alone, I call it quits for today. So, I'll pick up the work next year.
Keep it safe y'all and best wishes for 2012.
Here's a couple of pictures.

All white lines will be painted red in the end.

30 December 2011

On what's next!

On the brink of 2011 and with Friede almost finished (pics tomorrow, I think) I have wandered off again into the land of What's Next. 
Again, I think of an idea that leaves (real) space aside for a little while longer but has a lot to do with exploring and discovering new places.
Since I was young, I was fascinated by this picture of an orange vehicle on tracks in the snow, being trapped in a crevasse , hanging on to both sides with its tracks just barely touching the edges.

Oh sh*t.

The vehicle, I learned was a Tucker Sno-Cat, a means of transport specially designed for polar expeditions. These orange ones (three of them in total) were used in the epic Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955 - 1958. It was a very daring undertaking.

26 December 2011

Friede on earth

What does PK do when he's got some time on his hands on Boxing Day? He does some work to get Peace on earth. The German one, Friede. The rocket. Of course. I already am peaceful enough. Okay, that's enough puns.

33 centimeters (approximately one foot) in length.

This is the bottom side. Here the 49 1st stage engines will reside.

Today the first stage hull was readied. Straightforward, easy to build. Oh, that circle cutter is marvellous. I made three big ones from thick cardboard to reinforce the long cylinder. They fit perfectly. On top of the first stage there is a platform to house the parachute - Oberth apparently thought of reusing his rocket!

23 December 2011

Friede comes together

-Slowly, but surely.
The upper stage is ready. It involved the folding of one gazillion little hexagonal engine cones, more than a N-1 had in its first stage. Well, with the right music on (Bach's Wohltemperirtes Klavier and, oddly enough, some African pop music) I managed to do them all.

The rings of the tapered end are just a little too rough for my taste, I would rather have a tighter fit so there wouldn't be ridges at the seams. Oh well. It sure fits well and there's always something to perfect in a next model.
I did some tweaking with the engine section, because I wanted it to be black instead of light grey. With that new circle cutter I've cut circles all day long.
Well, I haven't, but I could have.

Hmm. Circles. Nice. Small ones, big ones, medium-sized ones... Hmmm.
I got a nice little gem in the mail today for a testbuild. (thanks John!) 
This I will do first before I get on with Friede's first stage. That also will involve a busload of small red cones. Hurray!

On another uplifting note: André Kuipers has arrived at the ISS today. The press conference was particularly fun, when Kuipers' young kid started to sing a Sinterklaasliedje. Odd to hear Dutch spoken on the ISS airwaves. I guess when he is used to the microgravity environment and the headaches and nausea is over (if he has them), he'll have the time of his life there. Lucky bastard. (-;

21 December 2011

Bon Voyage, André!

There he goes, together with Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko, on their way to half a year ISS. A great start, no troubles at all, a bit cold, maybe but that's nothing for a Russian rocket like the trusty Soyuz. The previous crew was launched in a blizzard. That's something a shuttle couldn't do!

Well, the whole thing was fun to watch, I watched at home, Dutch TV made a broadcast from ESTEC with a lot of  enthusiastic people attending and a countdown clock running 74 seconds ahead of schedule. I simultaneously watched NASATV for more accurate comments.
I didn't really like the way this flight has been shown by Dutch TV. They missed a lot of well-placed interesting comments about spaceflight. It's always a lot of stupid questions and trivial stuff which only distracts from what is really happening at the moment. I think I can do it better. I really do. There is no real regular space commentator any more since Piet Smolders and Chriet Titulaer retired. Perhaps I should apply as a space commentator...
Okay, I am ranting.

Fun thing I saw during the NASA broadcasts was that Don Pettit signed his hotel door in mirror writing! It seems he is that kind of man, unexpected practical jokes and a good sense of weird humour. I like that. Friday they'll dock at the ISS Rassvet docking port. It will be televised, I will be watching.

18 December 2011

André Kuipers - a real cosmonaut!

André Kuipers in business suit.
Now the second launch of André Kuipers, Netherlands' second spacefaring person is imminent I wonder whether the first Dutch astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, feels any envy.
He really wanted a second flight and after his seven-day trip in Challenger in late 1985 he started to lobby for a next one. Then his dream went up in smoke, just as Challenger did and his chance of another flight was gone, it seems. STS-61-A would remain Ockels' only voyage into space. After his resignation at ESA he started to work on the technical university in Delft and does a very good job promoting sustainable energy.
 Mustachioed Wubbo and his shuttle, around 1984. 

André Kuipers went to space in Soyuz TMA-4 in 2004 and stayed in the ISS for eight days. The trip up and down lengthened his stay in space to almost eleven days. He will return to the ISS with Soyuz TMA-03M for a long stay of about  six months. That must have made Ockels at least envy his colleague a little bit, I think.
Besides being able to write more space hours on his CV, Kuipers had to learn to fly the Soyuz. Now, how cool is that? In case of an emergency André is able to guide the capsule home by hand. He trained for it and he even excelled in flying the spacecraft, pulling less g's than nominally is measured. Good job!

The TMA-03M is a new version of the Soyuz, with completely new electronics and a full "glass cockpit". It will perform the 112th Soyuz flight since its first flight in 1967.
The "glass cockpit" layout of the new TMA-M Soyuz.
© Chris Hadfield

The panel in Soyuz as it used to look in the early days. Click for bigger.
© Yuri Tiapchenko
 The chance Kuipers will actually fly the Soyuz is small, since the Russians are very strict about who does what on board the spacecraft. In the old communist days, the story went guest cosmonauts (from satellite states or countries under the Soviet influence) always returned from space with blue knuckles because all the hits they received on them from their commander. But the fact he can fly a spacecraft makes him, at least in my eyes, a True Cosmonaut. He really can navigate and maneuver a spaceship through space.  He is not just a scientific researcher in space. Besides, if I could choose between a launch inside a shuttle or in a Soyuz, I immediately would go for the rocket.
The shuttle might have always looked impressive but however beautiful the returning shuttle looks, the launch stack feels to me like an aircraft strapped to a huge streamlined jerrycan of fuel, sandwiched by a giant firecracker tandem, asking for trouble. I really think it's a good thing that the shuttle retired.
© Patrick Chapatte / Intl. Herald Tribune
Allright, back to Kuipers. If all goes well, he'll launch on the 21st together with Oleg Kononenko and Dan Burbank. I'm looking forward to it. I think he might be too.
As we Dutchies say, "hij is een bofkont - en dat is ie".

PS. The first Dutch-born person in space wasn't Wubbo, but Lodewijk van den Berg, who became an American citizen in 1975. He beat Ockels into space just six months earlier...

(And as far as Astronaut or Cosmonaut, the latter means "space voyager" while the first term means "star voyager" - and we haven't even sent a crew to Mars!)

PS.2: As an addition, here's yours truly meeting his one and only astronaut up until now, for the first time* in 1979! Thanks for the picture, mom!
* I met him again in 2007 at a lecture.
Martinikerk, Groningen, 1979.
© Kiekert

Friede #1

Well, here's the first peek at what the grandmother of all spacecraft is going to look.
The diameter of the ship is nice, about nine centimeters, without the stabilizing fins, I think.
Today I worked on the top part, which is bi-coloured. I also coloured all the dark edges with a dark grey pencil to prevent ugly white edges.
A cone, a lot of red parts and some other stuff.

Just like the N-1, this model comes together very well. Ralph Currell has made an excellent paper model, I think. Inside the cone there are a lot of reinforcing circles. Up until recently I either cut those out free
hand or I tried and used my cheap compass cutter. The latter always was guaranteed to mess up a nice circle beyond recognition. Dull blade? Bad product? who knows? Anyway, I was fed up with this piece of junk and when I bought new blades for my Xacto I saw this thing in the shop. I could try it out and I really liked it. It cuts perfect circles and with a little more experience it's very easy to use. I used it on the reinforcers inside the cone of Friede and it works really fine.
No, I am not going to promote this gadget. But it works.
Next up were the engines. Although Stage 1 has the possibility to do the engines in 3D, the second stage, although detachable, has not. Just a flat rendition of the 42 hexagonal rocket cones. I did some photoshop magic and reduced the seven hexagonal first stage engines to 78% and copied them until I had 54 of them.  These were just the right size for the 2nd stage motor part and now it's cutting and folding and more of the same until I have enough for the whole cluster. Might take some time...
2D versus 3D. I prefer to have a paper model in 3D. So cutterdecut one gazillion little engine cones I will.

 Right, so far for the first update.
See you soon.

17 December 2011

Frau im Mond

One of the most interesting SF-movies before the birth of the A4/V-2 must be Fritz Lang's "Frau Im Mond" (1929). Besides a somewhat cheesy and melodramatic love story (and some very poetic license by giving the moon a breathable atmosphere) it clearly depicts how scientists thought a real launch of a real manned rocket would take place.
Fritz Lang wanted realism so badly, he even hired über-rocketscientist Hermann Oberth to get everything about the rocket right. For the film Oberth designed the H.32 - a realistic probe rocket, and a large two-staged monster, a silver and black bullet shaped projectile, with four large square hollow stabilization fins. The rocket, that was given the name of "Friede" (Peace - and the name of the female protagonist). Oberth provided the floor with numerous footholds for when weightlessness would kick in. Even the positions of the couches (more like military style stretchers suspended on springs) were quite well-envisioned. The instrument panel was a bit odd-placed, between the two pilot's couches, facing away from them., but full of interesting and realistically looking gauges and meters.
Mondschiff "Friede".
photo: © Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung / Eureka
more after the break -

11 December 2011

Tintin's moon rocket

... Or rather the rocket of Professor Calculus (for all you english speaking people), Professor Tournesol to all the francophones or, as we in Dutchyland call him, Professor Zonnebloem.
A nice and straightforward build. I did this one in 1/96th, while the original is 1/144. I am in luck with my A3 printer, so I am able to easily enlarge these things.
The model is designed by Jason "Jayo" Sutton and is not available on the interwebs anymore due to copyright issues with the heirs of Hergé's art. I sent Jason a mail about this build, I hope he likes what he sees.
There was an additional part in the download in which the interior of the payload bay could be detailed. There even was a suggestion to put in lighting. And I thought well, why not? So I got myself some 5mm LED's, nine all together, with the fitting resistors. A little later, after some soldering, the wiring was done and inserted in the rocket. The wires go through the rear fin down to the "teardrop" on which it stands and I made a construction using two cardboard rolls which fitted tightly into one another to house the 9V battery.

It's not perfect, it was just a fun build. All I need to do now is add a couple more layers of transparent gloss to seal and shine the skin. In the instructions Jayo mentioned "nothing in Hergé's world shines" but if not even gold in his albums has a shine, then it must be very dull. I decided gold is shiny and so this rocket has a shine, too.

I put my Xacto next to the teardrop leg to give an idea of size

Here's one pic, the rest is after the break.

10 December 2011

I'm fine

I am having fun building Tintin's rocket, pictures will follow when I am ready.
Just not feeling that 'pressure' of documenting this build is very effective and lets me get back on track. I like this build a lot. The rocket isn't really hard or anything but with what I did to it it has taken a little more time.
I already have some ideas for projects after this one, one even something completely un-spacey. But there are also plans for Skylab (as said before) and a new row of static and detailed launchers in 1/96th, old and new ones.
Besides that, I still wait for Rassvet to surface at AXM's site. Then I can finish my ISS model.
Well, enough for now, I estimate I have finished building the Tintin rocket tomorrow afternoon. I'll take some nice pictures of it then and show you what it looks like in 1/96th.

27 November 2011

We have lift-off!

The Atlas V with MSL Curiosity on top lifts off from the Cape, 26 november 2011. ©AP / Terry Renna
A beautiful launch it was, yesterday. Right on time Curiosity left the pad, carried on top of its powerful Atlas V 551 booster. Somewhere in August next year, the big rover will make its landing on Mars. A very interesting and spectacular event, never been tried before.
Here's a great piece of film where you can see how the landing will take place:

In the meantime, yours truly also has taken up his X-acto again.
Yes, as soon as Curiosity rose in the skies over Florida, the modeling virus struck again. I have started a new build. No photos yet, since I want to do this one just for myself, to get into the swing of things again. It's a biggie, though, and it's a static model. No dioramas for the time being, I think. there's a lot of static stuff I would like to add to my rocket garden. 
Anyway, this one is not part of that. I even don't know yet where to put this one when finished. Its base measures about 30 cm in diameter, I guess. Originally the model is 1/144 but I enlarged it to 1/96 so it kind of matches most of the real rockets I have.
It's white and red chequered, it's got three fins and has fired everyone's imagination at some time.

For those of you who still don't know, click "more".

24 November 2011

Launch postponed indefinitely...

After a couple of false starts I have to face some facts. Perhaps it wasn't just the situation on PM but it sure drained me of all creativity involving paper modeling. I would like to build something new but it just doesn't work. All I do is stare at the paper and make wrong cuts and all.
I tried again today but I cannot force it. It just won't work now. I just have to lay it aside for a while. It immensely frustrates me and I feel pretty inconvenienced, not being able to get lost in a nice build. I can't figure out why this happened, why I reacted so sensitive to this event and what I have to do to snap out of this semi-lethargic phase I happen to be in.

So for the time being, there won't be any building here.
I really really hope I will get back to it soon, but unfortunately I don't know when that will be.
Hang on in there, I'll be back.

20 November 2011

(almost) ready for launch - again

A small update.
Even though I haven't been able to build anything 3D-ish, in my head I started to think of a new project again. What happened on PM really got me off the creative flow I was into. I decided to leave "Maria" for what it is for now. I have the feeling it is jinxed, unfortunately. And I usually am not superstitious.

I reset my thoughts on Skylab once again. No what-if, just a historical diorama in about 1/300. No concrete building plans yet, I just started the research phase again. Hopefully in the next week or so, I will have some more ideas on which kit(s) I will be using. At this moment I am looking up pictures and making drawings of how I want it to look. More of that later, too.
I really hope this isn't a false start again. I Feel a bit as if I'm in a vacuum.

14 November 2011

Great timelapse film from ISS

No new building yet, still too uninspired to pick up the paper and glue.
Merzo brought this little gem to my attention, it's a timelapse movie shot bij low-light cameras on the ISS when passing over the nightly areas of the planet. It looks as though the whole planet is covered in a green layer of an ongoing aurora. But when you see the actual parts where there *is* an aurora, you can easily spot the difference.
beautiful to see the solar arrays rotate to new positions and the different views from different portholes.
Enjoy it fullscreen (click on the outward pointing arrows next to the word "vimeo").

09 November 2011

Will the fun ever stop? Yes. It sometimes does.

It might be some time before I continue something space-related. I started doing something else for a change, a build of an early SF movie robot called Maria. She is from the legendary film Metropolis, made by Fritz Lang. When I started this build on Papermodelers, it immediately set root for a discussion which quickly overheated involving the history of this particular model and its whereabouts and the way how I got my hands on this model. I hate those kinds of polemic "your word against mine, I am right and you are not" debates full of slightly insulting allusions. It completely took over the thread.

It sure kicked the fun out of this build and out of making a model in the first place.

I got really sad and upset when this happened. Initially I just was so angry, frustrated and fed up with it all I almost decided to just quit the forum and go back to just build for my own pleasure again. For now I have opted to leave them alone for a while and come back when I feel like. There's only so much shit I can handle and it has reached my limits.

Luckily, I have my own place where I can continue. For now I just want to work quietly on this model. I'll post some progress shots here from time to time.

(I won't make a habit of talking about myself here, this is not a diary kind of blog but this is a rare occasion that I wanted to just do so.)

This is the first attempt, it was a good one but I now have a better version I am working on.

02 November 2011

Musings on what next

Usually, I already start thinking about a new project when I can see the end of the build I am working on. It keeps me busy thinking and researching. I like that a lot.
The next one is keeping me busy for some time already now. I first started out thinking it should become a Skylab themed build. But what, where and when?

I recently came over some very intriguing documents involving the doomed space station. There were big plans made by Martin Marietta in the mid-seventies that showed Skylab revisited in the eighties. A new configuration and shuttle visits and all. I was fascinated and started drawing up sketches and ideas.
(*EDIT* : for you big space enthusiasts who don't know the document, here it is. (PDF) it's big!)

I did this one a while back but it shows how Skylab might have looked like around 1981.

Until it became too big. There was too much I could alter and show on the station but it would be too far fetched. I like ideas of what-ifs nut they have to stay between certain barriers. There will be a what-if of Skylab but for now I rethought the whole idea. I want to do a relatively easy inbetweenie. 1/200 or thereabout, and involving Skylab. So I am considering a real space event. When Apollo met Skylab for the first time: a crippled, overheated and underpowered behemoth with a small spacecraft taking a damage report.
But still, I haven't yet decided definitely what will be the next build. Soon I will find out. And you will too.

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.9]

We're finished! First, the last bits and pieces of Hunt Club. The winch, the rotors, the horse collar for picking up Gus (which they eventually didn't do):

30 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.8]

Yesterday I did a lot of things. I cooked dinner for four, I did some necessary house cleaning and I did some work on Hunt Club. I just didn't take any pictures. I was in a flow and just kept on building. The landing gear was added. Made of brass and aluminium it sure is sturdy. CA was used as bond. I painted it green with one of the dozens leftover enamel tins I still have. The colour matches quite well. I also made the complete tail section and the tail rotor unit. So there is where we pick up the thread.

28 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.7]

So there we are again. I did find some time to do some building after all. Small progress, in size as well in adding stuff to the model. Just a few bits and bods here and there. First of all I closed up the cockpit. it was a tight fit and it needed some serious tender force to get the large side window frames into place. I had to take account of the thick paper (as usual) and cut off some of the bulkhead at the back of the seats. When it finally was snug into position I used some Tamiya masking tape to keep it there until the glue set.

The rotor cowling was made and for reinforcement reasons I wrapped a paper strip around a brass tube so the main rotors are able to spin.

25 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.6]

Hmz. grmbl. Something I feared appeared true. My better-in-the-know friends on told me the model I had was a pirated copy when I told them where I got it from. It was something I didn't expect. But I immediately started the search for the right one. I could only just discern the name of the original publisher on the tiny pictures on that site (which I shall not name). With that information it was relatively easy to find the original site. A little later someone on Papermodelers came up with the same site so then I knew for sure this was the kosher one (it actually was an Israeli site) to obtain my model from. So I immediately got myself a legal one from there and that's how I solved the problem.
I have made some progress in the meantime.
First, the nose has been put in place. easy job, although it was a bit spacious here and a bit too narrow there. With a bit of fiddling and gentle force it was all handled and taken care of.
No pictures of that, I am afraid. But you can see a bit of the nose in the first three shots:

Hard to see but I have left a hole open in the nose for the three protruding engine exhaust pipes.

20 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.5]

I just made some chairs for the helicopter. With the door open it was obvious there must be something to see inside. I did two sets of chairs, seven in total. It was kind of hard because of the size, they're far from perfect but it is relatively dark inside the helo and there will be a figure in the opening looking down to Liberty Bell so there won't be much to look at but there is some bustle and that was the point of it. The hull has been cut and prepared for assembly. I also did the inside walls, printed out on thin paper, and used some transparent cellophane plastic for the windows in between those two layers. After the closing up it will be the nose parts and the cockpit. Soon I will have to actually think of how I have to make those men in the helicopter. I still have no idea... Hmmm....

The first set of chairs were made like they should, with separate N-shaped parts.

They kind of look good, but they are a bit crooked and bent. I wouldn't like a ride on those chairs..

16 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.4]

Time for some helicopter stuff again.
This one was also quite severely reduced compared to its original scale. From 1/32 to 1/96th is a third of its original size. Luckily, it works out very well. I keep on getting amazed how well these reductions in size keep the model doable in terms of fit and its ability to have all the small parts cut out rather well.

...Where will this lead to?

Quite a sturdy little frame.

Adding some furniture and cupboards to the office

11 October 2011

Gallery added!

I dove a little deeper into the world of blogging. I made a second page to this blog, a picture gallery in which I will show you some other and older things I made.
Hope you like it. You'll find the link in the sidebar, right on top.

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.3]

The "water" has been added. Wonderful weird and amazing stuff, that acrylic paste. It is milky white when you apply it but it dries up transparent. I carefully did one thin layer last night to try it out. This morning, the result was encouraging and I added a second, much thicker layer and was more bold with the brush I applied it with. I made the frothy wave heads a little thicker and made more of a bustle around the Mercury's landing bag. I let some gloops of the paste come out of the capsule's hatch opening to imitate a gulp of water. I bended the brass tube a little in the bell-shape of the spacecraft so the fit was better.

More after the break!

10 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.2]

A dab of paint and the first mercury capsule (I don't know if this will be the final version).
That's what I can show you this time.
With the colour on the base it already starts to look like the ocean surface. White heads on the waves and eventually the darker parts and rotor wash after the second layer of paint.

Just the blue underlayer. It already looks quite good. I took it out of its frame today, for letting the gypsum dry better and to repaint the frame itself.

09 October 2011

"Okay, Hunt Club, are you ready for the pick up?" [pt.1]

To those of you who are a little bit more than just familiar with the early days of spaceflight this sentence will hopefully remind them of the troublesome rescue attempt of Liberty Bell 7, America's second suborbital spaceflight with Gus Grissom at the controls. It was when Grissom hit the water and was waiting for the helicopters to arrive. Callsigns 'Hunt Club 1' and 'Card File 9', two Sikorsky UH-34 Sea Horse helo's were approaching and Hunt Club was ready to hook on to the bobbing capsule on the waves while Card File hovered at a distance. Further away two more helo's hovered to film the procedures.
Hunt Club 1 radioed to Gus they were getting ready to hook on and Gus himself was getting rid of his helmet and some hoses. He answered to wait a moment before grabbing the spacecraft so he could jot down some measurements the gauges on the instrument panel showed. He readied the charge of the explosive hatch, so he could press the big knob in the capsule to blow it when Hunt Club 1 was hooked on. He prepared his neck dam, a rubber collar to prevent water to seep into his spacesuit and got a pencil to write down the numbers.

Outside the capsule the wires of the parachute, still in the nearness of Liberty Bell 7, got entangled in the outside emergency trigger for releasing the hatch when suddenly, without any warning the hatch was blown off with a loud bang and Gus was surprised by a gust of fresh cold sea air. a wave of water gushed into the capsule. Grissom immediately stopped what he was doing and crawled out of the spacecraft as fast as he could.

08 October 2011

N-1 [part 5] Finished!

 First some good news: the A3 printer works fine. It has a nice and fine crisp print. So that's a good addition to the network and for the hobby (I kind of hate that word).

Then some other good news: The N-1 is finished. It was not an easy job, I'd give this model a 4 out of 5 for difficulty. it's good, well designed and detailed but the lack of a decent way to keep the rocket straight and the feather/slot system at several points makes this one very hard to get it to look perfect.
besides that this actually started out as just a survey to get to know this model to build it in 1/96th, it is looking nice now next to the 144th Saturn V (Airfix/RealSpace). these two giants need to be shown next to each other, I think.

Next up: Either the attempt to save Liberty Bell 7 after its splashdown, another 1/400 in-space diorama involving maybe Skylab, or I am going to do another probe or satellite. I have a small preference for the Merc diorama. We'll see.
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