Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

27 February 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #3

Keep your hands clean. An utterly important part of paper modeling. Something I experienced again yesterday. The third stage is getting close to finishing and I was doing some stuff to the engine section. The one bell I made for testing was made from aluminium coloured paper and I painted the inside metallic orange. After glueing I wanted to see how it looked and @#%$&^%, #^&#@^&@ and #$%^#! I happened to have some paint on my fingers and now it was all over the hull. I had to start all over. or didn't I? I decided to carefully cut out the middle section of the third stage. I printed out a new one and made inner formers which I glued into the upper part and engine section. I rolled the new hull and added it. The seam was covered up with a small silver strip I was going to add anyway.
New hull ready. Old hull with smudged paint on the right.
Bad boy PK!
Problem solved. But I really was getting sloppy here. I shouldn't do two things at the same time. No paint when assembling. 

Anyway, there actually has been made some progress in the work. Small, but here it is: Stage three!

The shroud will rest on the wider ring. The small protrusion upper left side on the tank is a silicone moisture absorbing bead. They're great for small ball shapes on models. But be careful. They're not really healthy stuff.

One engine. The cross you see is the mechanism for steering the 4 vernier engines of the stage.
Those will be added, too.

I followed the same principle as the first stage and strap ons, silver engine base and new self made instrument tunnels. The visible top of the kerosene tank is painted iron. Up next are the three other stage 3 engines. There will be small brass rings round the engine bells to suggest the cooling pipes to keep the engine from bursting. The insides will be metallic orange (I already took care of that.)

next will be the two other strap on boosters and then the shroud will be made. I hope I have room left inside the shroud to actually put a Soyuz spacecraft inside. I'd like to be able to get the shroud off and show the folded up Soyuz. We'll see.

24 February 2012

Mixed paper, mixed techniques

Up until now, I almost always have used the same kind of paper for one build. One exception was the 1/200 Atlas V 551 I made while I was making Juno. I used some beautiful metallic copper/bronze coloured paper for the common core booster.
The build of the Soyuz FG (there is progress but just in building those four strap-on boosters and they're all the same - so nothing new) took me to the usage of silver coloured sticky tape. This enhanced the overall look of the rocket significantly. I already had plans for using dull aluminium coloured metallic paper for the upcoming build of the Titan IIIe central core but I now also plan using (semi) gloss paper for the boosters and shroud. I think again it will add more realism. besides that, I found out the dry wall seam tape I used recently for the backside of Ranger 7's solar panels is perfect for the openings in the interstage section of the Titan.
So, more and more of my builds are getting more materials added besides the brass rods and tubes I sometimes add already.

First thing in making models for me is to create a model as accurate as possible in the scale I work in. If this means I have to use other materials than paper I'll not hesitate to do so. I am not a purist in any way. However, I want to keep my builds as much in paper as possible, that's just the biggest fun of it. And more kinds of paper in one build are quite new to me. So I still consider my builds as paper models, even though there is an occasional piece of copper or plastic involved here and there.

Let me take this occasion to tell you a bit about my plans for the coming months. They are quite simple but perhaps not easy. I want to expand my 1/96 rocket garden a bit more and I recently bought this aforementioned very nice Titan IIIe at Ecardmodels so that'll be next and after that I want to remake John Jogerst's Atlas V in the 551 version as a static unfueled rocket, with the nice metallic brass/bronze coloured paper. Then, if I have the time I'll get back to some more 1/48th probes again.

But those are just the plans. reality will tell whether it'll go like that.

Sometime soon a new batch of pictures!

18 February 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #2

Because there is little progress to be seen but nevertheless lots of work has been done on the business ends of the two finished parts I have decided on a little tutorial to show you how I make those tiny parts.
Most of it has to do with the swivelling of the vernier engines the Soyuz uses to steer when aloft.
First the little fairings around the base. You can simply glue them to thick cardstock and add them to the hull but then it's just a thicker shape. These things actually are hollow fairings under which small vents are located. To get some effect of them being hollow and seeing the vents I glue them to cardstock and then I cut off the vent part of the thickened fairing. This way when added to the hull it looks like you can see the vent under the fairing.

Now then the housing of the vernier steering mechanism.
Some background: It is quite an old system, not often seen on modern rockets. Each stage has a couple of small rocket exhaust bells which can swivel left and right. The strap-on boosters all have two on the outward pointing side, the core stage has four; one on each quadrant. This way the Soyuz can roll, pitch and yaw a bit while riding its payload to space. Modern systems rely on a different system which uses a gimbal system where the engine bell can move on a wrist-like mechanism and thus vectoring its thrust in any direction.
The real stuff. The vernier engines are the small ones.
The red colour is from the detachable shrouds that protect
the innards of the engine bell. For a big picture, click here .
Okay, enough rocketry. Now the paperwork.

16 February 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #1

Every build should begin like this.

Oh, the joy of a fresh blade!
Oh yummie!
This is the next one to get to the pad. The special anniversary Soyuz FG launcher with the Gagarin commemorative logo. Last year around April the Russians celebrated 50 years of manned spaceflight with this launch.
Postcard sized pages on 200 grams paper
I used Leo Cherkashyn's Soyuz kit, which is meant to be built at 1/48th. Quite a biggie. Since my rocket garden is one half of that size I decided to reduce his kit to 1/96. Lots of tiny parts! I started with the central core booster which the Russians call stage 2, the strap-on boosters being stage one.
During the build the feeling came over me that the build was lacking something.
When I got a big file by mail from Zoltan (thanks!), stuffed with pictures of Soyuz being build, I realised what it was. There should be more detail and realism. So there I went.

12 February 2012

Use the wall?

Over on the Papermodelers forum someone asked for a group pic of all my models up til now. I showed them my crammed shelves stuffed with rockets, dioramas and other spacecraft. I said this was all the space I had.
One of the people on the forum then suggested I should use the wall. First I thought "what does he mean, use the wall?" but then suddenly it dawned on me what he might have meant: why not hang the rockets that lift off on the wall? It keeps on looking the same. So I put three of them on the wall. It is quite funny to see. I really never thought about this before, having considered the frames as just horizontal display methods for my models. How wrong I was. Hahaha!

Thanks, Zoltan!

PS. I have started a new build in the meantime, too. It will be revealed soon.

Ranger 7 (#2)


My silver body shines
Spread out blue wings
In this unfiltered sunlight
I am falling to my end

While the craters grow
I keep watching
Passing on
What I see

For those who made me
Who understand

I hope my last view
Will arrive
Beyond the vastness of the
Dark ocean
When I crash
In moon dust

10 February 2012

Ranger 7 (#1)

I kind of am on a new roll. Hurray!

I started on a new small probe, this time an oldie from 1964.
Some history: The Ranger program was aimed at gaining more geo- or rather selenographical knowledge. The surface of the moon was soon to be visited by humans and NASA wanted more information on where to land (and of course much more).
They designed a probe called Ranger to investigate. The idea of Ranger was to photograph the moon in detail while falling to the surface in a kind of suicide mission. The first six weren't particularly successful. Block I (the first version) of the probe (Ranger 1 and 2) were quite crude probes, a framework with two small solar panel wings. A hexagonal bus as main structure and a tower made of metal struts and tubing. They were meant to test in earth orbit but both more or less failed.
Ranger 1 (© NASA)
Block II was a little more sophisticated and looked a little retrofuturistic, carrying a ball-shaped top on the tower and a partial metal hull around the tower. Ranger 3 to 5 were sent to the moon but two just missed the moon and went into orbit round the sun and one crashed on the moon's backside without sending data.

Ranger 3 (© NASA)
Ranger 5 (© NASA)
Block III was an all-aluminium, new design with a shiny tower carrying a TV camera. The hexagonal shape of the main bus was the same.
Ranger 6 and onward (© NASA)
The first Block III probe, Ranger 6 was the first relatively successful probe of the series. However, its TV camera switched on during the staging of the Atlas rocket it was carried aloft on. This caused the electronics to arc and destroy the camera. The probe however, flew straight to the moon and impacted on the right spot, sending data (but no pictures)
Ranger 7 was the first to succeed completely. It sent back pictures in an hitherto unprecedented quality, down to 480 meters above the surface. The last picture was only received partially when the probe crashed and stopped transmitting.

Ranger 7's last image. The right side could not be
transmitted any more due to the crash. (© NASA)
 John Jogerst made a nice paper model kit of the probe. John's main purposes with models is educating (and fun, of course) and the way he designs causes him to keep his models a little lacking
in the detailing. I decided to use his model as a starting point and use my own materials and paper.
more after the break.

07 February 2012

For Eugene

    Since I came down here to rest
    Nothing but dust and rock
    From far before life came to be
    Your name was given to me on the way out
    But you soon sped after me
    into the eternal night
    Can you see me from the moon?
    - A salute from Eros

04 February 2012

"Crevasse" #10: finished!

It is always a mix of relief and satisfaction to have finished a build. You can set your mind on something new again and look back at a -hopefully- well done build.
This certainly is the case with this one. It took a little longer than I hoped for, I had a lot to do the past week. Today it went very smoothly, it took only 40 minutes or so to get the last pontoon done and attached to the Sno-Cat. I did all the protruding bits, like the antennas and the periscope (only (B), Rock 'n' Roll seemed to carry one) and the headlights. Okay, that was some more brass for the antenna (and steel for the T-shaped one, made from a pin) and some wood for the headlights. Sue me (-;.
Hurray! It's there! a ± 1/70 scaled Sno-Cat!

I got rid of the small orange paint spot on the exhaust pipe later on.

the diorama stand was a bit modified to get more or less the right gap width for the position I wanted to put the Sno-Cat in and I added a layer of gypsum to sink the tracks into. After placing the tractor on the diorama, I did some powdering with loose gypsum to give the top layer a more snowy effect. I sealed it off with acrylic spray. Perhaps I have to do that again. Anyway, this is it for now, enjoy the pictures. There are more after the break.
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