Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

28 March 2012

Titan IIIe "Voyager" 1/96 #1

Here we go then. The second coming worked out fine. Printing on several kinds of metallic paper showed me which ones were and which ones weren't fit for printing at all.
So I started out with the first stage. Gotta start somewhere. This whole rocket actually is just a tube. Almost no hard conical parts apart from the boat tail and the fairing. Anyway, I tinkered some with the first stage and added the interstage section to it. This originally was designed to be at the second stage part. But while staging, the interstage stays on the first stage. So I changed that.

A curious thing with U.S. rockets is that the Titan has been the only rocket / missile that mimicked the style of staging the Soviets did. It meant igniting the second stage while still attached to the first stage. For this method they needed blast holes in the interstage and so this is a rocket that has a lot in common with actual Russian hardware even more so, because this is the only U.S. launch vehicle that uses hypergolic fuel like the Russian Proton, instead of the more common method of kerosene/oxygen or hydrogen/oxygen.

The blast holes in this rocket model were made from drywall mesh tape. I painted it black and used some extra CA to stick it to the insides of the interstage walls. Another layer of silvery paper was glued over it to conceal the overlay. The interstage actually needed some thorough reinforcing, since this paper is really thin. CA to the rescue and now it feels quite sturdy.

25 March 2012

More paperwork

Did a lot of redesigning and printing today. One thing when virtually fiddling about with kit parts is you have to keep the sizes and shapes right. Something went wrong today when I notices parts were bigger than intended. A lot of work down the drain, especially because they seemed to be all different sizes.
Anyway, we're on track again. I have found out new things and I actually am going to try and build the Titan IIIe. Some parts are rolled up now and await glueing, other parts still need to be figured out. There seem to be some pieces missing, or at least that's what the instructions tell me. Photographs don't make me any wiser. Did the IIIe have small, long aerodynamic fins on the first stage? Anyone who knows, please do tell me.
The prints of the hull structures turned out to be quite good after I boosted the black lines in Photoshop and saturated the yellow tint to some absurdly exaggerated point that, when printed on white paper, it looks just odd, but it looks just about right on the silvery stuff. Great.
The metallic paper itself is thin and has a small, grainy texture. It glues well with white glue but adding a layer of paper to stiffen it is a bit more difficult. I had some trials with the 'misfits' I made earlier and came up with the idea of just rolling a piece of thick paper inside, and push some reinforcement circles inside. It immediately makes the cylinder sturdy and firm and, most important, round.

Beside the metallic paper, I am going to use the silk gloss photo paper I used for the Soyuz shroud to make the big solid rocket motors. All in all, this is hopefully going to be an interesting build. Several kinds of paper and techniques and hopefully a nice, clean and demonstrable model in the end.
Voyager will be made as the necessary side project with this. Might keep me sane.
Pictures will come with the next entry.

PS. This appears to be my 100th blog entry. Party-arty! Wee-hee!

24 March 2012

Doing the paperwork

I wanted a kind of easy build next. One that could just almost brainlessly come into existence. But I should have known better. Soon after starting on the good looking Titan IIIe, designed by Mark Cable, I realised it wasn't going the way I wanted.

First, I got in some trouble with paper. I really wanted the rocket to be made in metallic coloured paper, since the rocket itself has this distinct metallic colouring over it. Some places it's blueish, other parts are more brown toned, some are plain aluminium. A very good opportunity to test some of my metallic gloss pieces of paper.
Even though I bought it in a copy shop, the copiers couldn't, no wouldn't take it. They were to smart. "The surface was to shiny and then they get confused", said the employee to me when he took out one stuck piece of metallic paper out of the copier's belly. Okay, that was my little problem but now I was stuck with the kit's original textures and colouring.
Bear with me, the original model really is not bad at all, it's just that I want more.
Many of the rocket model designers want of course to add a touch of realism to their kit. Most of them do this by giving the hull of the rocket a virtual shine. It makes the rocket look like it is already curved while still enclosed in the paper sheet.
But this bothers me a little. I want the shine to be real. That's why I used silk gloss photo paper for the fairing on the Soyuz. The hull of the Soyuz is kind of dull, so that could be plain paper. Now this one, like I said, is metallic. I want to use metallic paper to get that specific shine.

The other issue has to do with a design flaw most model kit rockets seem to have. Seams. Along the vertical axis of the rocket cylinder there has to be a seam somewhere where the two ends of the paper meet. But almost always this seam is somewhere plainly visible, while two centimetres further there is a cable run or a fuel line running over the hull from the top to the bottom. Why not hiding that seam behind that duct? Why not trying to get your hull as flush and smooth as possible? Very often I find myself reworking a design in Photoshop® to still be able to get rid of that seam.

Over here is a seam. A long, straight and kind of ugly seam. I glued it quite well, actually but still it is a seam.
And there isn't one on the original article, I am sure about that. But here it is, out in the open.

And over here, just two cm left of that very seam, is an almost continuous cable run.
That seam should have been underneath here. It would have made the appearance much more real.
Now I am thinking about what to do. I also have John Jogerst's Atlas V 500 readied for building but I first wanted to do this one. Since I also want to include a small 1/96 payload in both models, I have decided to continue with the Titan IIIe but on my own terms. I will use Mark cable's kit as a starting point but I will scratch build most of the machine myself.
It's a little hard to find good pictures of the Titan that launched the Voyager probes but that is the one I am going to make. It will need some thorough reworking if I want to use the metallic paper. The ideas of how to do this slowly start to seep into my brain. This might become a very interesting build after all. Only not the easy build I had in mind.
Such is life. And is gets sucher every day.

23 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #10

Well, I guess this is it. I tried my best on the twelve tiny rocket motors all the way up on top of the escape tower but they just were a size too small for me. I hope you can forgive me for that. The rest of all the parts though, are used.

I had a lot of fun building this. For the first time I also used a lot of different kinds of paper in this build. I like how this one came out although I am not completely satisfied. I think it always has room for improvement. And that's good.
It has become a bit of a multimedia build, with al the metal parts and magnets and stuff but in the end I still consider this one very much a paper model.
after the break are some pictures of the final leg of the building.

It might not be as big as the Saturn V but it is the most reliable rocket in the world!
 Next one might either be a new Atlas V (the 551) or a Titan IIIe. We'll see.

19 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #9

as usual, the workspace starts to get clogged with rubbish. it looks a bit like a Russian rocket graveyard...
And on we go.
This time the top side of the shroud is done. I had a brainwave, why not try and use a couple of rings and some pin to lock it all together? I rummaged around in the box of bauplatz-stuff and found some good sized rings and a little metal dowel from a dismantled IKEA Billy bookcase. It fitted perfectly in the rings. Now one of the rings went in to the fixed part of the shroud, the part that is glued to the third stage. There was a space left exactly the thickness of the other ring, that went into the top of the other half. It shoves over one and other and the pin locks them together. On top of the pin I plan to build the escape tower.


As a special treat all the pictures today are big ones. Click on them for bigger!1!11eleven

17 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #8

Now how does one make a good solid locking shroud without too much effort? Well, the solution is so simple that some even might consider it cheating. The magic word is magnets.
Magnets. great stuff. How do they work? (-;

I love magnets. Since I used them for my styrene Vostok (in PK's gallery there are some pictures) build some years ago, I can say I never stopped using them when I had two parts that had to be able to connect and disconnect again.
So, two small 5x2x10mm magnets were glued in the bottom part of the fixed part of the shroud. Two nails of which I dremeled off the head and the pointy bit went into the other half. Click.
There will be the necessary touching up and camouflaging but first the upper part of the shroud will be made.
More pics after the break.

16 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #7

Next round!
I redid the shroud today. This time I built it in one piece to begin with. I used my usual card to print some rings to hold the green inner rings that I edge glued to form a ring. They weren't glued to the outer rings, these merely were acting as formers.
Then I printed out the shroud on silk gloss photo paper. Nice result. These rings went around the set green rings. Inside I glued the drywall mesh (first I coloured it silver with a sharpie).
The three parts then were joined together carefully and put away to dry. there still are some small rims and not-so-smooth surfaces on the shroud but for now I am happy with it.
The four strap-ons were glued to the central core booster but I yet have to connect them with the system of struts that goes around the bottom part of the stages.
The Soyuz still fits the shroud like a glove and hopefully I can get the shroud to close up nice and clean in the end. There will be another strip of paper over the seam to hide it.

Okay folks, here we go again!
more pictures after the break.

14 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #6

Well, let's call the first attempt to make a separable shroud a small fiasco. Okay, not really a fiasco but it was a failure anyway. But one to learn from. Here's what I did. I first redid the lay-out of the kit parts so I had two halves instead of one intact half and two parts for the other half. After that, after cutting out the parts, I glued them to very sturdy green card. I used rubber bands and a card roll to keep them in the right shape while drying.

In the meantime I went through my stash of model building stuff and I found that I had washers that matched the curve of the lower part of the shroud and I planned on using them to get the shape 100% true. I drilled small holes in the washer and cut it in half.

With some holes in it, I might take off the shroud quite easily..

Then the big assembly began...

12 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #5

Part of me is quite normal. There is, however a small part of me pretending to be some kind of an autistic weird person who, from time to time, takes over and then totally gets lost in details, useless rages or just shuts off the auditive and communication lines to the outside world. Luckily this usually doesn't last long.
Last night I was trying hard to keep being myself after my Mac went a little weird on me and it almost seemed for a moment I lost all my photos.
I have them stashed in iPhoto and the damn program wouldn't recognise all its files any more. Just the newest ones from the new camera I used. I let the computer running all night to reload all my pictures back into iPhoto but it made me think of alternatives. Just as I don't like iTunes for its way of filing my stuff, I also dislike iPhoto. Apple makes fine hardware and OS systems but its software is rapidly starting to suck big time. For my job I use Final Cut Pro and the new version FCP X is terrible. For playing music I use Cog and I only use iTunes for organising my iPod. Now iPhoto. I am thinking of replacing it with Lyn. Perhaps it gives me some more freedom to do with the stuff what I want.
Less rant, more on-topic stuff after the break. Here's a close up of a very small piece involved in the build:

07 March 2012

Short update

Just a short update to let you all know I am still here but there's not much new to show. I have been busy with job-related stuff; we're doing some filming tomorrow for a potential documentary and we are starting a big editing job this month on another film we already shot last year. It is really nice to do, though. Finally again there is some more work for us. That means food on the table and creative thinking.
But it also means I'm afraid that for the time being only the weekends are filled with model building.

On another note I can tell you with some certainty I will be doing some more rockets after this one. An Atlas V and a Titan are the first two but I also want some more Russian stuff. We'll see. Plans enough, paper models enough. I know I can go on for some more years. 
Now I just need some new printer ink. I might take the cartridges to a refill station this time to see what the quality is.

I am working on the two other strap ons now and then the shroud. I already figured out how to tackle the problem of making it able to split. Then 20 engine cones. And 12 Vernier engine cones. And they all have to be level with each other and 90º with the rocket. Hmm. Lets ponder...

04 March 2012

Soyuz FG 1/96 #4

A little gloss layer over the tank.

The business end.
Officially - and I looked in to this whether I could do that in this model -
the orange part is jettisoned after ignition leaving the engines in full
sight with the metal plate acting as a firewall. But the aft shroud falls away in
three parts so that was a bit hard to realise and thus I left it like this.
Stage three is ready for mating with the lower parts. It took a while to get the details all ready but there it is. Four nice engines, four vernier engines and a nicely detailed hull structure. But what is a Soyuz rocket without an actual Soyuz on board?

Hmm. Nice.
I enlarged Alfonso X. Moreno's Soyuz 104% to get an 1/96th sized model. I tweaked the appearance a little bit and even though I know the blankets have a bit more smoothly silk-like look, I am quite pleased with the result.

After the break some more detailed photos of the Soyuz. Now I'll finish the two other strap-on boosters ans then I'll do the shroud. Still am working out how this will be constructed, since Leo's kit doesn't provide a two-part opening shroud. More about that next time, I think.

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