Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

22 July 2016

Pickin' up the pieces: the N1

I don’t like unfinished models. They seem to beckon me from the shelves, demanding to be finished. The one I heard beckoning the past few months was specifically poignant. Because of its size. So, since I have the feeling my energy has returned, I decided it was time to tackle the N1 again.

There apparently were a couple of small “errors” when I left this build and I was too frustrated to continue at that time. Scratch building is quite intensive and sometimes leaves me no choice but to abandon a build temporarily, especially when other, real life stuff is also getting more demanding. In such cases I always try and pick up the pace with some easy models or just a completely different project.
Anyway, clearer skies now made room for more creativity again and so I found myself back at the LK3 moon train.

Where were we? We had a completed N1 launcher. Three huge stages with loads of engines. After that, I made a top tank dome, based on the second stage dome and created a loose top part for the LK3 fairing. Inside the fairing, a transition was placed to accommodate the Blok G stage, which would give the LK3 a translunar insertion boost. An inner fairing was made for the Blok D stage, a rocket engine on an open truss structure which was attached to the upper part of the moon train: the LK lander and the 7K-LOK Soyuz spaceship. The whole build starts here and continues from there.

This is what I am working with now. The silver / black part is new.

Early March 2016. That was when the build ground to a halt. I had the Blok D but it wasn’t correct. I can’t remember what was wrong but today, after I restarted the process of looking at what I made and how the structure comes together, I decided to continue with what I had, because I liked it and it looked good enough to be left like it was. Next step would be a new fairing for the LK lander.


The LK fairing was covered in small silvery reflective strips to keep the LK within operating conditions. I assume the LK3 didn’t perform the Apollo “Barbecue Roll” manoeuvre. I used black paper to make the fairing (in one piece, although the real thing would split in two, lengthwise). The outside of the fairing got small silver strips to resemble the isolation stripes.

Soyuz on top of the new fairing for the LK lunar lander.

Soyuz, (hidden, not-yet-there LK in shroud), Blok D upper stage.

Soyuz, LK and Blok D in shrouds.

Soyuz, LK, Blok D and Blok G.

The complete LK3-stack on its adapter stand with the base of the N1-fairing.

LK3 moon train with the fairing next to it. The demo-fairing, that is.
The official fairing will be made from satin photo paper.
At the moment I am also reworking a Soyuz model of Alfonso X. Moreno (of AXM paper space scale models fame), to resemble the 7K-LOK lunar Soyuz. It takes a lot of re-measuring and redesigning but it is great to have an excellent starting point. The basic shapes of the orbital module and the capsule of the Soyuz and the 7K-LOK are almost 100% similar. The service module and engine compartment however, are a lot longer and larger. Overlaying a drawing of a Soyuz on a 7K-LOK drawing gave some ideas of what I had to change. With the use of online calculators I am getting where I want the model to be. Hopefully all will turn out looking good.

image of LOK: © Mark Wade /
The Soyuz image is available from dozens of sources but I couldn't find an actual copyright.
If so, let me know, I am more than happy to add a credit or remove it, if necessary.
The Blok D stage is something of a weirdo stage. It needs to get an upper truss part on top of the 'skirt' around the ball-shaped oxidizer tank. This upper truss will accommodate the LK lunar lander. This top truss and LK fits into the silvery stripy fairing and needs to fit snugly, so you can pull Blok D out of its own fairing, using the LK fairing, to show how it works in reality.

However, today I looked at Blok D again and yet again and... I. just. didn't. like. it. any. more. For the second time. So, again, I took it apart and I am going to rebuild it. Completely new, from the ground up. I relocated the files I made of the parts to make this stage and the destruction of the stage actually made me kind of looking into them again to try something extra. More about that in a later stage of the process.

I now am in the process of rebuilding the LK3 train from almost the beginning. Better to start with an almost clean slate. Next post will be hopefully about the progress on this project.
Stay tuned!
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