Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

30 December 2016

Happy New Year!

Well, as 2016 draws to a close, it's time for us to reflect a little on what has been this 365 days. For me, it was quite a ride. And not one I enjoyed, to be honest. Neither professionally nor personally. If I had to put it into a single word, I'd say 'miserable'.

Just to top it, last week I unexpectedly had to deal with the fact the documentary film I was working on to realise, was cancelled by the program it was meant for. Two years of research, interviews and funding requests down the drain. So I am not in the greatest of moods at the moment. And that's the mildest way of putting it.
What an awful year this was for music and art in particular and celebrity deaths in general. There never before has been a year with so many famous people dead.  One of my biggest musical heroes, David Bowie passed away. In the weeks after his death I made a small space tribute for him. But we also had to cope with the loss of lots of other artists and well-known wonderful people. It really looks like 2016 was just a very bad year in general.

Now then, the model stuff. Of course due to busloads of circumstances there were fewer finished builds than I initially hoped for but then again, it also had some highlights. The first one I finished was a diorama of the first landing on solid ground of SpaceX' Falcon9 Full Thrust. Then the earlier mentioned Bowie tribute. Another one of my diorama builds this year became picture of the week on Paper wich also is very nice. I also scratch built a model of the future Ariane 6, which was a little less than satisfactory but a nice proof of concept anyway.
And in August, I brought a couple of my paper models to the National Spaceflight Museum in Lelystad, of which I am quite proud. The N-1 is a beautiful rocket but the build is troublesome and takes very very long. I hope I'll finish it sometime early next year. I want to get it out of my system. I have been working at this model on and off for more than a year now...

Let's hope 2017 is just a whole lot better. I really hope so. For me, my loved ones and of course for you and your loved ones too. Have a safe and joyous new year's eve and see you all in a hopefully healthy and easy-going 2017.

19 December 2016

Zil 4906: a little history

Imagine for a moment you’re a cosmonaut. Returning to earth after becoming the first crew to perform a space walk, you you make an unexpected emergency landing somewhere far away on the Siberian taiga,in the middle of the woods, in the snow, with no roads or villages in sight for miles and miles.

Belyayev (L) and Leonov (R) are entertained by their good friend and colleague Vladimir Komarov on their way to the launch pad. Note the special sun visors the cosmonauts have inside their helmets.
That was what happened to Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev. Instead of returning to the wide open steppes of Kazakhstan, they had a bit of trouble* during re-entry and more or less crash landed in the inaccessible woods of the remote Perm region. When they finally were localized, a helicopter dropped some warm clothes but they yet had to wait until the rescuers reached the Voskhod capsule (called a sharik). They had to wait in the sharik for a whole day while knowing they could also be attacked by aggressive packs of wolves (it was their mating season). Finally was an expedition arrived on skis to get them out. After getting there was yet another problem: the sharik could not just be lifted out of the woods so they had to stay there another day. The cosmonauts and the rescuers built a small cabin of chopped wood and made a fire to stay warm.


Rescue crew meeting up with the stranded cosmonauts. (recognisable by their white caps) Photo: Unknown. I presume these pictures from the soviet era are made by 'the state' but if anyone claims this picture, let me know.)

18 December 2016

ZIL 4906 (3) The cabin is closed.

A little update. I have closed up the cabin. The inner parts of the side walls are on, and this one also needed a good look at the drawings and some patience. But I got there.

The parts close like inverted Super car gull wing doors. A small strip at the underside ot the two parts needs to be folded inward and glued to the low side walls. The point where the fold line is is a little hard to spot, and it needs to be smooth, not razor sharp. It has to follow the contours of the windscreen and the back wall. I made some accessories for the driver, too. More below.

17 December 2016

ZIL 4906 (2): The first build pictures

Hi there. Here's the follow-up of what is going to be a much longer build than I first anticipated but a very enjoyable one. 
Anyway, it really is nice to build another kind of vehicle other than spacecraft for a change. This model really has a lot of parts. Many hundreds. Many of them need to be reinforced with a backing of thick card, like from sturdy boxes. 1mm thick, it makes for a solid build. Since there isn't a real order in which to build this car, I am making this up on the go and I write what I do, to make a decent English instruction manual for this model.
I was a little on a flow so there aren't any very first start pics. 

The cabin is shown here in a later stadium. Chair and couch were easy and fitted well. The instrument panel is very nice. It all fits tightly. It is a good idea to constantly look at the drawings well, they are very detailed and correct. I already have made a couple of little mistakes that luckily were easy to correct. If you see no gap, there is no gap intended. If you have a gap, you are wrong. Sometimes that actually is a bit hard to discern since all drawings are just shown from one point of view and sometimes tiny slots are easy to overlook...

The transmission stick has been given a nice silvery knob because I liked it better that way. The dashboard panels fit like a glove between the outer bulkheads. Great design.
The chair and the couch are too very nice little pieces of work.

12 December 2016

ZIL 4906

Ever since the taigas, tundras, and steppes of the Soviet Union were to be travelled by the military and preferably by car, the military dreamt up the most fantastic all-terrain trucks. All-wheel driven, often six, sometimes eight, extremely rugged, and large. They all were large. Fantastic machines, gas-guzzling giants that took wide and deep ditches like they weren't there, crawled over sand dunes, drove into rivers and pushed over birches like they were matchsticks.
The ZIL E-167, an experimental six-wheeler that was almost unstoppable. And LARGE.
Now let's focus on one of them, because I have started a new model, because I put the N-1 on hold for a while...

08 December 2016

Clear Skies, John Glenn.

2016 has claimed its umpteenth famous death.

John Glenn, the last living member of the Original Seven Mercury astronauts, has passed away today. He was 95. A hell of an age considering all the things he did. Glenn served in two wars (WWII and Korea), he broke the speed record on a coast-to-coast high speed flight in an F-7 Crusader, he was the first American to orbit the earth, the fifth human in space, served 20 years as a senator and went back to space at the age of 77, serving as a human guinea pig on STS-95 (His dying age. Isn't that a weird coincidence?) for tests on ageing. He received more awards and honours than most of us would in ten lifetimes. 
A real hero.
He was married for 73 years to Annie Glenn. 

Now, the Original Seven finally are complete again, somewhere else. They can all don their silver suits again and ride into the sunset. Like the magnificent men they all were.

Ad Astra!

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