Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

19 April 2013

The egg has hatched! And the hatchling is...

It is funny how sketches I have made - sometimes more than a year before the actual building of such a model - resemble the result of a build in the end. In my opinion it only means I know very well how I want to display the model and the subject. I found back some sketches of Spirit's Troy diorama I made in November of 2011 today. I had totally forgotten about them but it almost exactly showed the same situation I made some weeks ago. Same story goes for Mir and the surfacing submarine. Really funny.

But now I have a slight problem with deciding what I want to do with this new one.
The last couple of days I did walk around with some ideas in my head and one kept on jumping up and so I did some research, some first printing and testing of colours and the size of parts. It had grown on me very quickly and I liked what I saw. So I knew I didn't had to worry about not finding a new build. The only thing was how to display it. There are a couple of options.
I'll tell all about it after the jump.

Before Columbia (still nameless then) was Enterprise. It is 1977, we are in the Mojave desert, Edwards Air Force Base. At the far end of the runway the four engines of the big 747 roar and the plane starts its run to the skies. On its back, a smaller black and white aircraft called Enterprise. It is a flying, but not space worthy variant of America's next spacecraft, the Space Shuttle Orbiter. The big Boeing is at speed and the pilot rotates the nose upward and the plane leaves the ground.
[Click. Snapshot. First idea. Or rather, the newest one I had.]

Oh! the wheels! In the scale I want to build this might be a little problematic. But I could always try...

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) climbs to the clouds. On both sides, small jet planes accompany the big birds. The 747 goes into a bank to stay inside the corridor that has been plotted for the flight. [Click. Snapshot. Older idea I had but also a nice way to display the stack.]

I didn't have a sketch of this situation but this retirement flight picture also shows what I mean. (from Tumblr)
The sunlight shines on the silver hull of the old Jumbo while it climbs higher in the sky. The Enterprise, although it looks static, is manned by two of a team of four skilled test pilots. Somewhere 7 and 8 kilometres up, the SCA goes into a shallow dive and releases the clamps that hold the Enterprise on its back. The shuttle steers itself into a shallow climb away from the 747.
[Click. Snapshot. the most spectacular one, and the sketch I have made the most .]
Perhaps the most appealing one? I need to think this through some more before starting the build of the SCA.
This last option might be satisfying in the action it shows but I would not like to see it wiggling on a rod that is too thin. And a rod that is too thick perhaps might spoil the scene. The take off has its own dilemma with the super tiny parts like the wheels. The SCA/shuttle in a bank display is the easiest option but also the least challenging one.  So, it is a race between the release and the take off. With both their pros and cons. If you have any ideas, be not afraid to let me know!

At AXM's paper model site, you can find Richard de Vries' recolour of the SCA. He used Canon's British Airways 747 and recoloured the parts necessary for the NASA jumbo. (You still also need the original model for the rest of the parts.)
However, as usual, I found it necessary to do some additional work. The faded "American" logo on the hull was improved and I also detailed the colours of the reinforcement structures on the back of the plane where the struts are that keep the shuttle in place.

The colours looks great with light shining over it. The blueish tint of the hull is really cool. The white middle stripe alongside the hull is not white but because of the plane being coloured blue it actually looks like it's white. I first was wondering whether I should make decals for this plane. But that is not necessary.
I already printed the model of the SCA. Of course, like the other shuttle based dioramas it is in 1/400 and still it is awfully small for a Jumbo Jet. I used metallic paper and I wanted the blueish shine on the hull, just like the 747 had when NASA acquired her from American Airways. It was not until much later the plane got its white paint job. 
I tinkered a bit in Photoshop to get a good enough match.
And I also want to give the chase planes a try. I reduced Richard de Vries' T-38 models too, to 1/400. I hope I will be able to manage them in that scale.

It might be obvious to say that this isn't 1/72 any more. Or maybe I might have a giant Xacto knife! 
(Hint: I don't have a giant Xacto knife.)
More on this new project in a couple of days.
Thanks for taking a look!
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