Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

23 November 2014

Gemini XII - Agena EVA 1/48, pt. 1: Agena Target Vehicle

Well, it looks like I still am able to build something out of paper. I already started to doubt myself. It's just a little exercise, nothing really special. I decided on building the last Gemini flight, with the spacecraft docked to the Agena target vehicle while Buzz Aldrin is doing his EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity, for those of you who are not yet in the know).
The models come from Delta 7 models, designed by Dan Shippey. Very well detailed and totally worth the price. Absolutely recommended. In the files you'll find all Gemini versions (12 of them), the different Agena's, the Angry Alligator (ATDA), an 1/96 Titan with Gemini, an extra detail set with opening doors and even a splashdown  model.  I already did two Gemini's earlier on, depicting the rendezvous between Gemini's 6 and 7. And there will be more to come!  

I used several types of paper, used lots of test pages to get it all in the same and right scale and the build commenced.
Here's the end result of the Agena, the build pictures are after the jump.

Lots of prints until I finally had a good proportioned version. For the main cylinder part I used glossy photo paper for the white parts, 'brushed aluminium' for the metallic parts and some aluminium sticky tape for the silver panels. It took some precision cutting to get the parts to fit snugly.

The end where the docking cone would be was scratch built. I gave it some more depth by adding parts that otherwise just were printed and used my self-made rivet wheel for, well, riveting, obviously.

The Agena Target Vehicle (ATV) was meant to make the astronauts familiar with docking procedures. This was necessary for the upcoming Apollo missions where the spacecraft had to dock with the lunar lander. So Lockheed designed a docking vehicle out of an existing second stage rocket and McDonnell (who also designed the Gemini spacecraft) added a docking collar. It was launched on an Atlas with the Gemini launch 90 minutes afterwards. Unfortunately, not all Agena launches went according to plan. One launch ended in a big fireball and another failed to reach orbit. Luckily, the rest went well and a lot of experience was gathered. The added rocket engine on the Agena enabled the Gemini crew to obtain an unusually high elliptical orbit and gave them a first look at almost the whole earth. More on the Agena here.

Here's the docking collar. Riveted, double layered so the inside has another metallic colour and the first four shock absorbers installed.

Now with the four other shocks added, placed into the front end of the ATV. Looks nice.

Now looking for a solution for the faded flags on the sides of the cylinder, I started rummaging around in my leftover decals. And lo, I found two flags exactly the right size!
The shuttle flags in 1/144 apparently are the same size as the 1/48 flags on an Agena. Funny.

One small problem: the flags both point the same way. The U.S. always let flags 'fly' into the direction the vehicle tends to move (i.e. the striped sides always point backwards.) This here is not the case. Pity. But I can't be bothered, really. The ATV looks so much better with the decals than without.

Engine section.  One year ago I was at the big NASA exhibition when it was in Utrecht. There was an Agena displayed there. Here, the engine section was open. And it looked it should be open. Not just because it was a non-flight article. So I also opened the engine box and added some details inside. Just greeblies to give it a little more of a busy look. Oh, and of course the rivet wheel spun again.

The back end's sides are silvery. So it refelcts its surroundings. Space is black. So I printed the radiators inversed, on glossy photo paper. I retouched the edges because the layers of glossy photo paper tend to loosen easily. The fuel tanks were beads. I used white matte paint for the top.

The antenna. 

And a closer  look at the engine section with the engine bell, the additional thrusters and instrument boxes added. 

And the end result again. Two afternoons well spent. Now it's time for the Gemini. 
So: to be continued!

Thanks for watching and 'til the next time.
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