Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

29 July 2014

Falcon 9 v 1.1

Some time ago, SpaceX redesigned its successful rocket, the Falcon 9 to be more versatile. It got a new engine section and some legs. The squared three-by-three structure of the engines was changed into what SpaceX calls the Octaweb; one engine in the middle and eight placed evenly around it. This made the bottom section round instead of square and thus more streamlined. The lowest part of the first stage also was equipped with four extendible landing legs. These are folded up against the hull in flight and are deployed when the stage returns to the surface, balancing on its centre engine like a broomstick on a hand. The purpose of it all is to make the rocket eventually land on the launch site. for now, two more or less successful efforts have been made to land the rocket on the surface of the ocean. It of course toppled after settling down but that was intended.
The older version now is awaiting display in the National Space Museum in Lelystad, so I had room to build a new one.
The only available v.1.1 of the Falcon is the free downloadable one from AXM and it happens to be a very nicely detailed and well designed one, too. Enough left to superdetail and always a good fit.

Hopefully this will be a project I will finish, something I haven't been able to do since winter last year. Herschel, Planck, parts of a GeeBee race plane and the ill-fated 1/96 Saturn V are all boxed and shelved and waiting for a continuation. This one might see the display shelf first, I think. Here's where I am now.

More after the jump.

Here are some close ups of the build and a little explanation.
I started out with this one, printed it out at 100% but realised after printing this was 1/100 instead of my regular 1/96 scale. Oh well. This silk gloss photo paper was a little too expensive to just throw away so let's do it anyway.

As usual, I reinforce the insides of the hull with sturdy paper. Inside this tube I place the rings to keep the rocket hull cylindrical. This way there's less chance of visible ribbing on the outside where the reinforcement rings are.

The seem looks nasty.  Not tight and not clean. But it will be invisible because the instrument tunnel parts will be over it entirely. Good model engineering.

 Steering rocket nozzles. Pierced and coloured with a regular graphite pencil. Gives a nice metallic shine to the edges so they look a little like tiny nozzles.

Mounted on the hull. Now some details. The engines are very shiny and not as dark as AXM's model appear to be. I printed some out on metallic paper and added some tank domes for the inside structures I wanted to show. Hard to find photos of the tank dome but after making it I realised it was painted white. I'll leave it silver. It looks good, 

I designed an A5 sheet for all the engines (plus some spare ones) and tank domes. This would be the back side of the eventual print, so the silvery part is on the other side.

And this is how it  looks after building. The light rings are from the reflection.

The engine section got some detailing with doors, mounts and whatnots.
Time for the Merlin engines. The central engine, which job it also is to land the rocket on its four legs, is already there. The pipes around it are the turbo exhausts. In my model they are made from aluminium tubing. As you can see, I also detailed the Octaweb. I printed it twice so I could give the structure a more layered appearance. I painted the top layer silver to make il took more realistic. The middle engine also has a little metal ring around its exhaust cone, this is the coolant ring. More on that later, I guess.

So there you have it. First post of a build in some time now.
Hope you like it. I did enjoy getting back at buildnig stuff. But it will still remain a little off and on for the time being.

As for the finished film, the premiere last week went very well. Lots of enthusiastic and emotional reactions of viewers and a stunning review in the papers. It will be shown on cable TV in the autumn and also on the Northern Film Festival. A good start.

Thanks for all the patience, see you soon.
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