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Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

31 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [9]

On the edge of 2012, this is this year's last update.
Spektr has been finished. I put it on the right docking node and glued it there. The solar panels were positioned using photos of the actual docking of Atlantis with the station. For that occasion, a Soyuz was undocked and flew back a couple of tens of meters to document the historic docking. Anyway, here's Spektr.


In the meantime I have started on Kristall, the module which was placed on the forward facing port to accommodate more room for the shuttle to moor. More on that after the jump.

29 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [8]

Spektr is getting its shape. Like al the other additional modules, Spektr is based on the illustrious TKS module that was designed by Chelomei's bureau in the early 70's. It has had many different purposes, names and shapes and even now it still is used in the ISS under the name of Zarya.
That also was the kit I used for making the first of the TKS modules of Mir. AXM has a nice 1/100 Zarya which I kind of kitbashed for Spektr. The cone is made by trial and error and lots of additions came from just card and mat paper. The module has been painted to give the outside the look of the thermal blankets it is wrapped in. I still have to do the solar panels and some extra greeblies on the hull.
I am quite pleased with how the Lyappa arm came out. This small arm at the docking part of the module is used to move the module from one docking port to another. All modules arrived at Mir's forward pointing docking port and then they moved themselves to one of the free ports around it.
I made it from a piece of a staple and the head of a pin.
Again, keep in mind you're looking at macro pictures of something which in reality only is 3 cm long. The fuzziness and irregularities can't be seen with the naked eye.

more pictures of the process after the jump.

27 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [7]

I could find some time to work on a few solar panels. I first did the dorsal panel, which differs from the two side "wings" because it was folded like an harmonica and extended by a truss between both of the sides, instead of panel by panel on a kind of pantograph arm. Whatever. Tech talk. I used a small round aluminium tube which I carefully sanded to a more squared shape. The zig-zag folded parts of the solar array were glued on with CA. A little layer of gloss for extra depth was added to the photo paper. The second array was one of the side "wings" of the base block. I used 100 gram paper for the yellow backside to make it lighter and thinner. Anyway, the pictures speak for itself. 


The right hand "wing" panel was divided into the five parts it originally folds up to.

More stuff after the jump.

23 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [6]

As Christmas approaches, I also have some other things on my mind apart from build paper space stations, However, I do hope to have some time to get this one a bit further.
Here's an update on what I have done so far.
First, the core module. I have added the docking node up front. It is solid, with rolled up paper inside. A hole drilled through, and shoved on the brass tube. The brass rod through it was inserted through the node to get the alignment of Spektr and Kvant-2 right. Small silvery docking collars were added to the node's outsides.
The solar panels are being worked on, the first one is the sole Kvant-1 "harmonica" panel. It was moved from I guess it was Kristall to Kvant-1 at some moment but the second panel came much later. The empty "stump" on the other side did have some small grappling hooks, which I tried to replicate.
I also did some work on the other solar panels of Mir, they were not just straight "wings" that once unfolded looked rigid and flat but they were segmented and one panel could let its surface face in several slightly different directions. I tested this on a small panel and it seemed to work. The eventual panels that will go on the station will be made of glossy paper. Here's where I am now.

More pictures after the jump.

16 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [5]

I got a little further. Kvant-1 is almost finished - it still needs its solar panels and truss but so does the Mir base block.
I wanted to put some more vivid colours on Kvant, it was too white. So I took a sand coloured watercolour pencil and did some small accents which I diluted with a wetted brush. After that it was greeblie-time. Around the grey back end, which is just a framework over which they wrapped a protective cloth I added a couple of grey squares and circles to give the octagon a more busy appearance. the PVA attachments were made from mat paper which I cut in an angle to get a more or less pyramidal shape. I reinforced it with CA and after curing I drilled a hole through for the PVA rods. They might be cut short later on, I still have to figure out how to straighten the PVA's themselves without the rod. CA perhaps? We'll see. Mir's base block also got some extra accentuations and I still need to do some more handrails. That comes later. Here's where I am now.
And some more pics after the jump.


15 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [4]

Slow, slow progress.
Days with just a few hours of good working light and a very demanding film scheme for the documentary I work on, led to some delay in the build of Mir. The amount of über-tiny pieces I made has been extended, sometimes as much as just one handrail a day, and I started with Kvant-1 today. I got quite far, compared to the last week's results.
The model itself is the one Zoltan designed for this occasion. I happily took the chance to use it for my model as well. I did some colouring and it still needs a lot of detailing. However, the basic shape is there. I used a solid filling by rolling up a small strip of paper. The last strip was copper coloured, and around that I rolled the eventual skin layer of the module.


more pictures after the jump.


07 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [3]

I thought to try and see how small I can go in detailing this little thing. After the long handrails I fitted yesterday, why not try and do some more smaller handrails on the base block?
So I did.

More pics and story after the jump.

06 December 2012

Mir 1/400 [2]

And on we go. Today I made parts of the front end of the base block. This too is an almost solid part because of the rolled up paper around the central brass tube.

After seeing what Zoltan did with his base block, I wanted to try and do the same at 25% of that scale. Some handrails alongside the wide section of the hull. I stripped some electrical wire and took one single copper thread to make one handrail. Another for the second one. Glued with CA. I now am working on the antenna dish at the back of the base block.
Up next will be the ball-shaped docking node and the solar arrays.

More pictures after the jump. 

05 December 2012

MIR 1/400 [1]

Well, there we go. At Paper Modelers my modeling friend Zoltàn Mertusz and yours truly have started their group build thread on building Russian space station Mir.
It was launched in 1986 and eventually was de-orbited in 1999. By that time it was way past its proposed lifespan and the ISS already was starting to take shape, albeit very small and slow.
Mir started life as a single Salyut like module, with the significant new feature that it had a multi point docking node up front. During the years that followed, several extra modules docked to the base block and by doing so formed the first modular space station.
More on Mir here, here and here (big but very interesting PDF).  
Now for the model, Zoltàn is going for a 1/100 version while I am returning to my favourite scale, 1/400. Today, after some designing, which will occur yet another few times, I guess, I made a start with the building process myself.
Small sized stuff!

More after the jump.

The Mir base block is my starting point.
I have reinforced the insides by rolling up strips of paper around a brass tube, for making the alignment easier. 
Larger than life!



Thanks to my very hipster pair of reading spectacles I am able again to tackle this small scale. Nice.

There's not much else to say in this stage, so take a look at the pictures and watch this space for the follow-ups!

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