Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

31 July 2011

Juno (3)

Speaking of probes with an epic mission, Just a couple of days until Juno will be launched to Jupiter. In my little workshop the 1/48th sized model slowly is taking shape. I had three takes on the solar panels already, trying out different types of varnish and gloss finishes. Some were deep but started to fade the black to a dull grey, others made it even brownish. I wanted them to stay dark. I ended up with some brilliant photo paper. Glossy from itself, a deep, rich black colour with some nice nuances in grey tones in the hinges and electronics.

 First try. Not the right colour, not the details I wanted.
The gloss layer made it grey instead of deepening the colours.
 Hmm. Better but still wrong!
These are great. nice and deep dark black tones and 
even more detail than the previous printed versions!

Now we're on a roll. The main body has been upholstered with a chocolate wrapper (paper insides - better glueing results) and the High Gain Antenna dish got that too. I made the framework between the dish and the electronics vault underneath out of brass wire.

The small MWA panels, mounted on a rack.

The Microwave Antennas are huge plates on the sides of the main hexagon shaped body. I made them by remodeling Yogi's original design into what I saw on the many pictures.  Next week the solar panels will get their final shape. Main points of attention will be getting the arrays as stiff as possible. Got to think of something better than the razor saw blades I was experimenting with earlier...

29 July 2011

just some musings on space probes

(rendition made by Andrzej Mirecki)

Nice weather and the accompanying holiday-feeling have me not building a lot at the moment.
Today however, I saw one of my modeling friends presenting his work on his rendition of Giotto, another interesting probe sent into outer space, chasing Halley's comet in 1986. A simple cylindrical shape with a small antenna dish on top. The cylinder clad with solar cells.
Again, while reading, I felt a sense of warm interest in this machine, just like I felt with Sojourner, Spirit, Juno, which I make now, Voyager, Cassini/Huygens and Ranger. Pioneering and brave little machines, made by people, sent away to explore and relay their findings in binary code back to their makers.

20 July 2011

Fakestok (2): Building a pirate ship!

While building the fake Vostok the Mil will carry, I did some research. How the model came into my possession is something I can't really remember. I download a lot. But after looking in the nooks and crannies of the interweb, some doubt of the legality of this kit rose.
It seems to be that this originally is a Maly Modelarz kit, and it indeed is from 1961. This one is a bad copy (I had to use a lot of photoshopping to get the whites back to white and repair some ugly bits here and there) so I do not really feel bad about it, but it still is not a legally pursued kit. Again, I really can't remember where I got it from.
The Mil Mi-6 helicopter I am going to add is on the other hand legally bought at Ecardmodels. I really was glad I could find an actual Mil Mi-6. And this seems to be a very nice model. But I have to start that one yet and let's not get too far ahead of things.

 The original one

Now I have to add some perspective to this story: The original is out of print for a long time and as far as I know there haven't been reprints of it, mainly due to the fact that it was a wrong rendition of Vostok but Maly Modelarz has recently reissued their model of Sputnik 3 of the same year so According to copyright issues it still is not very nice the model has been pirated. I decided to use only some of it in my build and most of it as a template but mostly scratch it.
In spite of the fact I reworked a lot of the parts and there's a lot of scratchbuilding involved in this one, I have decided not to post this one on Papermodelers for the aforementioned reason.
However, this here is my own blog and here I can show you what I want.

08 July 2011

STS-135 - the last shuttleflight

Today NASA launched a space shuttle for the last time.
One more time a completely stuffed to the rim shuttle will dock to the ISS.

Go Atlantis!

The common tendency in the U.S. is sadness. Almost no one seems to realise how necessary it is to retire the shuttle. "Now we'll have to rely on the Russians to get into space", they moan. "it's a shame this nation is not able any more to get into space itself" and, the worst: "Fourty years ago, we went to the moon, after that, we were only able to reach LEO (low earth orbit). Now we're grounded."
These moaners do not seem to realise that space is not exclusively for the US. A ride in a Soyuz is all in all cheaper than a shuttle flight. They don't seem to notice all the things people have achieved in the last 40 years just in LEO.  And worst: it has happened before and no one seems to notice. Between 1975 and 1981 there also was an American "gap" in human space flight.
The reason the shuttle now is retiring is very legit. It is an ageing machine, two million parts, flown for thirty years, multiple space missions later the wear and tear has become just too much. The whole turnaround is just too expensive. It's like trying to keep up in a modern formula one race with a 40-year old Ferrari.

Now please, all you so-called space enthusiasts in America: stop whining that you're so sad about this. first: read NASA's manifests, look into why the shuttle retires and most of all: look into the future. The nearby future. In about two, three years NASA can choose between three man-rated spacecraft to fly into space again. All of them much more modern and safe than the shuttle will ever be. NASA will lose a lot of jobs, yes, but I think there are a lot of new jobs on the horizon for lots of those people in the private space sector coming.

I know that America is a society that is built around a kind of sentimental way of life.
But stop complaining about the "saddest moment ever", and all of the BS above
My ears start to get really weary of all that unnecessary overreacted whining.
A great nation should look forward.
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