Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

25 February 2013

ISS [Finished!]

One and a half year after beginning this build, I finally can declare it finished. The ISS has been made in its configuration it had when Endeavour was docked for her last visit. As mentioned, I wanted to make it into a diorama of how Paolo Nespoli made his famous and beautiful shots of the shuttle docked to the ISS but it was too big to realise for the time being. Maybe I will when I have the space for it.
Here are some nice pictures of the finished ISS, with the Rassvet module finally added to the rest. Enjoy!
Nine more after the jump, as usual.

23 February 2013


Most people won't know what this word even means, let alone that it is an element of the International Space Station. To be more precise, it's the element long awaited by me (and a lot of other fellow paper modelers) to finish the ISS in the configuration it had when the last shuttle flights were taking place. I chose Endeavour's last flight for my model and I started work on it at the 29th of December 2010. The last element I made was at the 28th of August the next year, when the AMS, a spectrometer, was added to the truss section. After that, it was waiting for Rassvet to be released. Earlier this year, Alfonso (re-) released the whole of the ISS as it is now in two big packages. The Russian part is free, the rest is downloadable for a very reasonable price.
So now it was time to do some work on the ISS!
Something you don't see often at PK's cutting mat: three 1/400 shuttles! Top left is Endeavour, which I took from the ISS for easier access, top right is the still unfinished Atlantis and bottom is good old Columbia.

More after the jump.

19 February 2013

Repair time

Still here, don't worry.
I am very busy with the documentary again but I also have started taking time to do some necessary repairs and additions to a couple of older models.
The ISS is getting its final instalment with Rassvet which has been released a month or so ago. Further,  I redid the Harmony and Columbus modules because they appeared to have some nasty brown rust;like spots on them. More on that in a later post, with some pictures..
I also want to finally do the five SRM's of the Juno Atlas V I made some time ago. I hate loose ends and now is the time to tackle them. I plan on doing them from scratch since I don't like how the one I made looks. That's up next.
Mir will come up again soon too. I'll let Zoltan come up to speed first. I need to finish some stuff on the station (some more minuscule railings, I guess) and Atlantis still needs her OMS pods and SSME's.
For what lies beyond that, I only can say it still is unclear. I do have some ideas on what I like to make in the nearby future, but what will come first is yet undecided.
For the time being, here's the picture I photoshopped to get an even better feel of the early morning atmosphere of the rollout. A post without a picture is a bit boring, isn't it? (-;
See you soon!

11 February 2013

Baikonur Rollout [7]: Rollout

Early dawn, still very cold and foggy. Far away from the rest of the world, at the steppes of Kazakhstan. The sun has not yet peeped over the horizon but yet there already is some light. The fog is clearing but still there. Close by, long threads of thin white mist hover low above the frosty ground, but further away both the weak light of the morning and the thin fog just take away pretty much of the surroundings. In the distance there is the low rumble of a diesel engine. Slowly, an enormous shape looms up out of the fog. It is a Soyuz rocket, on its side, on a transporter on its way to Gagarin's Start. The steel wheels of the transporter calmly roll over the rails, while the welds in the tracks let the rocket produce sounds like a hollow metal cask, which it in fact is, still not fuelled and empty. Behind it, two flat cars to create some distance between the pointy white nose of the giant rocket and the green diesel locomotive, with its deep sounding, loud throbbing engine. The three piercing beams of its headlights shine a whimsical light on the rocket's body. Unhurriedly the train proceeds its slow trip through the awakening steppe to the bundle of metal masts and arms that seem to be sticking out of the ground in the distance. As the sun rises, and its first rays lighten up the scene, the grey rocket glows in the orange light and casts long shadows over the grassy fields. In a couple of hours the serenity will be shattered by the deafening crackle and roar of rocket engines.

Some more after the jump.

10 February 2013

Baikonur Rollout [6]: Working on the rail road

As the title implies, I worked on laying down the tracks for the rail road itself. A kind of tedious work, cutting off small strips of paper from an already small strip of paper. I first thought it would be fun to count them all and tell you how many sleepers I cut but I forgot the count after the 18th.
All I know that it was a lot.  And it has made me tired. But I have finished the job.
You can see that after the jump.

09 February 2013

Baikonur rollout [5]

The shroud has been finished. I added the air brakes, the protrusions for the periscope and other greeblies and of course the escape tower rockets. keep in mind that this is an early Soyuz, so the tower is not the modern long one we all know but a stubbier, shorter one.
Tomorrow's the day I'll start with laying down the sleepers for the rail road track. Yippee!
Three more photos after the jump.

08 February 2013

Baikonur rollout [4]

Time to build a Soyuz. Again. You get to know these things well when you build them a lot. The R-7 has not changed that much in appearance since its origins in the mid 1950s. Although when you take a look underneath that familiar appearance with those four strap-on boosters the Russians lovingly call "carrots", you'll discover a lot of significant changes that make this rocket very modern although it still looks like its ancestor.

I might have built it more than once before all right, this is the fifth time, to be precise, but this is the first time I build it in this tiny scale. A challenge to maintain some of the details.
So after the jump there's a short pictorial recapitulation of its build.

That's a very small Soyuz rocket core stage.

03 February 2013

Baikonur Rollout [3]

So there already was a locomotive, a flat car and a tiny eight-wheel driven all-terrain truck. I started working on the diorama base a week ago and it had dried. Wasn't what I expected; it shrunk more than I anticipated at first hand. But no worries, I wanted it to give it another finish anyway. So yesterday I mixed up some plaster made from gypsum and started moulding the landscape. It came out very smooth indeed.
Now then, while that was curing, the transporter needed to be made.

The base plate with gypsum layer added. Nice and smooth railroad dyke, nice and rugged landscape.
More after the jump.

01 February 2013

Baikonur Rollout [2]: Tatra 813

The biggest part of the terrain at Baikonur is steppe. To get to a launch site with a group often goes fastest when they use an off-road vehicle. They are often seen in pictures of the Kosmodrom nowadays and I presume it was not much different in the early seventies. So I looked for a nice buildable vehicle in 1/400 to put in the fields next to the train ridge. I happened to have a simple Tatra 813 8x8 Kolos in my collection of models. It was a free kit I found here. So I did this "colossus" in a microbe version today.

This is the real thing. An eight wheel driven Czechoslovakian giant which V12 engine guzzles roughly 2,5 litres to the kilometre. Almost 9 metres long and 2,5 metres wide. Weight: 14 tonnes. The military version was able to run on diesel as well as gasoline and even kerosine. I'd like to have one some day. No parking problems, you just park it over the other cars! (source picture: Jano Gallo / Wikipedia)
Here's a shot of my little version. The original model was 1/100 so I had to reduce it to 25% of its original size.

And some more closer up after the jump.

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