Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

PK's Gallery

At this page I'd like to show some more builds I did in the past.

As far as my collection goes, I have a couple of "rules" I try to keep in mind while I am making things. For the static collection of rockets, I prefer the 1/96th scale. It is all because of the big plastic Revell Saturn V I have, and now all the rockets need to refer to that one in size.
For probes and satellites I prefer to use the scale of 1/48th. It is a manageable size and not too big, not too small to lose a lot of detailing.
For the dioramas I make there's no scale limit, neither big nor small. Most of the dioramas are quite small, though. Between 1/200 to 1/500 is about the average scale size. Mostly I first look at how big the model is going to be and what I want with it and then I decide the scale to print it in. Sometimes this will be 1/72 or even bigger, often I like to make it hard for myself and choose 1/400. Well, anyway, here are some of the things I make and some more of before I started this blog. It's a LOOOOOOOOONG scroll down. Enjoy!


This is what I have on my shelves as per date of July 18, 2015. Lots of rockets, lots of frames with a diorama on top. And the collection is growing. The room, unfortunately, is not. One of the reasons I prefer to build small stuff.
Do I have to name them all? Really? Naah. They're all rockets. Russian, American, European. More coming.

Old rockets, new rockets, middle-aged rockets, you name it, I make 'em.

Next to those, I have very narrowly spaced shelves on which I store (displaying is unfortunately not the right word to use here) all my dioramas. To give you a sense of scale the width of the shelves is 90 cm, which is about one yard for you over-complicated non-metric system users. Those paper bird models were moved to my mother's house on her birthday. She liked them a lot and I could reclaim some shelf space... 

Let's start off with some slightly manipulated beauty shots I made of some of my models. these were done by using a black background and using a white led torchlight as additional lighting source to create a light which looks a bit similar to how the sunlight looks in space. Harsh and bright, crating contrast rich shadows. I removed the stands and rods in Photoshop and I also made the background darker when necessary. Some of the lighting might not at all be realistic, taking in account the attitude of the craft with the Earth or planets or sun but it looks great, I think.

a Beauty shot of my 1/500 Saturn V staging. I digitally removed the rod on which it rests. The rod goes straight through the interstage ring that drops down here. It looks better like this..
Gemini 6/7 rendez-vous

Jupiter-bound space probe Juno, with dusty wings and eerie lighting in deep space.

A look at Juno's solar panels from the back. I love the light on this one.

A nice clair-obscur rendition of the ISS with Endeavour docked to the forward facing port.

When Atlantis departed Mir for the first time it was documented by cosmonauts in an undocked Soyuz.
Which can be seen here. But... who took this picture then?

I love the lighting on this one. I desaturated all the photos a little for more realism. The LED flashlight also really brightened up all coloured surfaces and often a little too much for my taste.
Now for some normal pictures, here are some of the models I have made. In random order, and most of these also have one or more blog posts here at my weblog. I linked these here and there for the lazy people amongst you, for the rest I'd say: Happy searching! (-;

Kancho Iliyev made a pretty model of an early version of the beautiful Yak-130. This plane evolved and got a rounder nose section and lost its winglets. I still prefer this version, actually. It originally was a cooperation between Yak and Aermacchi but they separated at some point. The M-346 that Aermacchi built looks almost similar to the Yak. I recoloured the hull to look like a Dutch trainer. The Dutch air force uses PC7's at the moment. They are considering buying the M-346 as the originally intended amount of F-35's is just causing a pain in the wallet instead of being a good aircraft.

Crevasse. A diorama of a Tucker Sno-Cat stuck in an Antarctic crevasse. I got inspired by a photo of this situation and was very happy when I found this model, designed by Kerstjan Blaauw. I reduced it to 1/72 or there about and put it in a diorama setting. The diorama is made from a card frame, covered in paper maché, painted white and while still wet, covered in plaster of Paris powder. This situation actually happened in 1953. A very interesting story. Also here on my blog. Read it here

Voskhod 2. (you actually pronounce it like Va-shod.) Model designed by Leo Cherkashyn. His models are great builds and fit wonderfully.
Birds. I love birds. Just not when they do a doo-doo on my car. But they look great and Johan Scherft, an artist from my country, makes very pretty models of them. full-scale, realistic and amazingly crafted. He designs them with his computer, prints them as white surfaces and paints them after assembly. Then, some of them are carefully disassembled and laid flat to be scanned. These become the models he sells and sometimes gives away for free.
But he makes loads more. Look at his site. It's great.

The Starling (Spreeuw). This is one I bought. I redid its feet to make them grasp the branch a little more realistic.
The Wren (Winterkoninkje). I tried to make it sing. The beak is my own design. I used white paper and painted it, using acrylic paint and watercolour pencils.

The Kingfisher. (IJsvogel). One of the prettiest birds I have ever seen in real life. This was my first paper bird.

The Gold crest (Goudhaantje). Its feet were built around metal wire so it would grab the twig better.

Back to space-related stuff: This is a diorama of a locomotive transporting a Soyuz to the launch pad. But this scene is not like they are going to the pad today. I wanted it to look as in about 1971, or thereabout. Different train, different rail cars, different Soyuz configuration. Lot of research went into this, finding the right elements. And after that, finding the right paper models. I also tried to make the land look early morning frosted, cold and rugged. The Tatra 8X8 is from an originally 1/100 sized model. The diorama is made in 1/400. The train cars are from several sources. The locomotive comes from Mobuka. I cannot trace back the flat cars, unfortunately. They came from a Hungarian train model site. The Soyuz is from Leo Cherkashyn, the 1/96 model which I reduced to 1/400. The transporter is designed by Lars Follmann. The landscape is plaster, with a card foundation for the rail road dyke, the fog is made from fiberfill. The build report starts here.
I love the way it came out and I really like building stuff this small. 


Dioramas. I love them. It makes the models come to life so much more. This is the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with the Enterprise on its back, taking off for one of the ALT trials, in 1977. again, this is 1/400. The SCA and the Enterprise are from AXM, I redesigned the wings of the SCA to have all ailerons extended, the flaps and slats opened.
The three T-38 Talons were a little tricky and at the close-up pictures you can see imperfections you cannot see with the naked eye. It was fun to try and make the landing gear of the SCA hanging down as it is in real life. The base was a picture frame as usual, ditching the glass and using the hardboard backing as the surface. The desert floor was made from paint and fine grained sand (see my tutorials!) and the runway consists of two sheets of sand paper. The blog entries about it start here.


Now, into the drink. This helicopter below is in 1/200. The model is made by Gary Pilsworth. He makes great models for these scales. The situation: Apollo 11 splashdown. There were several sources used for the capsule. the flotation collars were all scratch built. The sea was made from the glass plate of the frame, covered in transparent acrylic paste. The parachute is glued underneath the glass, onto which I also smeared some acrylic goo. I used what we here in Dutchieland call kite paper. It's slightly transparent, smooth and coloured paper. And indeed used for making (you guessed it) kites.

Almost exactly 100 years before Apollo 11 splashed down a Frenchman dreamed up the same idea. I wanted to compare those two. So I made a black and white copperplate style diorama of the situation Jules Verne described in his book "From the Earth to the Moon".
The projectile was designed by Rocketman Tan and this creation is to be found at his DeviantArt site. The base was a photograph of the ocean from above which got a graphic treatment in Photoshop, covered in the aforementioned acrylic paste. The boat and all people were scratch built. Don't believe me? Here's the build report.

And here together with the corresponding literature next to it:

Fiddler's Green makes nice models of aircraft. This is their Sikorsky S-38, in 1/100 or thereabout. I recoloured it entirely. The original had a similar look but the zebra pattern was not the original one. I used stuff on the web to come up with a more accurate design.
The engines were extra detailed and the propellers can rotate.


Some more aircraft.
These two were contenders in becoming the first aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound. The British M.52 and the American X-1. Guess who won? But why they won is a story often not told. Because it was thanks to the British plane, which was cancelled before it could prove itself and the Americans stole its all-moving tail design. Yes, they did. Here's more of the story and the build.


Just for fun, I did this ridiculously pretty kiddie's model of Rosetta and Philae, which were used in ESA's promo clips of the Rosetta Mission to comet P67. I just had to tinker with it a little to make it more look like the cartoons. I gave Rosetta a nice scratch built DSLR and made binoculars for Philae. Their arms were made of floral wire.

Another fictitious thing I made: Doctor Who's Tardis. Added some intestines of an old alarm clock for drama.


Now, back to the real world.
Gemini was a very successful project which only lasted about two years in which twelve flights were launched, ten of those were manned. This is the last one, Gemini XII, which docked with an Agena and had Buzz Aldrin (of later Apollo 11 fame) making a couple of space walks. Scale: 1/48. The Agena was redesigned for a printout on metallic paper. The Gemini got an interior and you can also see the commanding astronaut, James Lovell, sitting in the other ejection seat. The spacecraft are models from Delta7 and the astronauts are scratch built. You can read the build report here.


Rockets? I also have a few little ones. This is the DC-X, a test project from McDonnell Douglas studying reusable stages. It was working quite well but after it toppled over and caught fire, the project was cancelled. It wasn't really big, too. The rocket and the little Opel Rekord station car with scratch built Alpen Kreutzer are all 1/96.

The Black Arrow below was based upon a model by Niels Knudsen. I superdetailed the engine sections a little. More photos of that are to be found in the corresponding build thread.


In France you can find this amazing piece of architecture, le Notre dame du Haut, made by Le Corbusier. I bought a tiny post card model there when I visited the place. this one was made as a present for a friend who is an architect.

This one also was a present for a friend, it's a paddle steamer called Kapitein Kok, which sails in the Netherlands. He used to work on this ship long ago.

I need to build some plexiglass boxes to put over all my models... without them they gather a lot of dust and it is quite hard to get rid of it. Oh well. For now, I still get a little brush and dust off all the models by hand.


This is my rendition of the launch of Sputnik 1, at 4 October 1957. The four boosters just burnt out and jettisoned. When this happens, they simultaneously fall away, toppling head over teakettle. From the ground, for a brief moment, it looks like they form a cross with the vapour trail as addition and the light of the central core booster engines as a diamond in the middle. They called it Korolyov's Cross and it is called that to the day of today. Now that Soyuz rockets are also being launched from Kourou in French Guyana, the footage of the separation shot at launch is even more impressive. The Korolyov Crosses from Kourou are sometimes filmed much closer and are quite the spectacle.
This one is designed by Lars Folmann. Originally it was 1/144 but I made it in 1/200 and it was the first time I reduced a model's size and it also was the first small 'diorama':

The base plate (a picture frame) shows a Google Earth screenshot of Baikonur, some 50 kilometres up)

And here's one of the smallest scales I have worked in, a Saturn V staging in 1:565 or around that. It has jettisoned its first stage and the interstage ring. I made this from Mike Bauer's kit plans. (to be found at Jonathan Leslie's site). This model got a "model of the week" mention at a model forum. I was very surprised, since it was just the second model I had made after joining. More photos of this model are found higher up in this gallery.

Well informed viewers may notice the absence of the BPC/LES (white Boost Protective Cover over the capsule and Launch Escape System - the rocket tower on top) while the staging just seemed to have happened. The BPC/LES jettison procedures don't happen at the same time, but about 30 seconds later. Call it poetic license. In this scale a LES is hard to make and well, even the distance between the stages and the interstage ring isn't correct at all. Otherwise the Saturn would have been on a meter long rod. It's just a display to show the rocket going through this process...
Base picture shows a cloudless Florida coastline, the rocket shooting toward the equator. (a wild guess..)

More stuff on a stick: this is Skylon, a European (British) proposal for a reusable rocket plane with engines that can act as jet engines as well as rocket engines. Fascinating and aesthetically stunningly beautiful. 1/200, if I recall correctly.


My favourite rocket of them all: the Saturn 1 in its SA-5 configuration. Here shown during staging. about 1/400 if I recall correctly.

Next is my rendition of the rendezvous of Gemini 6  and 7. They flew together for one whole day on which they repeatedly managed to do a rendezvous and had a lot of fun
together. it's in 1/72 and the models are from Delta 7 Paper Models.

Beat Army! Astronaut Wally Schirra playfully lets the GT 7 crew know what Navy aviators think of the USAF.

After separating from the upper stage, the small "guillotines" used to sever the umbilical cables between Gemini 7 and its booster weren't working properly. So the spacecraft had several garlands of gold insulation foil and cables dragging behind it. When Gemini 6 visited, Schirra noticed it and found it quite funny.


This is what was proposed to NASA in 1968 for creating an orbital workshop, as they called it. The idea was to refurbish a used SIVb stage in space into this space habitat.
The plan also provided in the use of a modified lunar lander as an observatory. This is made in 1/96. The parts are mainly Ton Noteboom's kits but the lander is U-Don's. A lot of it is scratchbuilt, like the solar panels, the upper compartments of the workshop and the frame structure inside the SIVb tank. I think parts of the Apollo spacecraft are from Surfduke's website, which unfortunately has disappeared from the face of the earth. Luckily, I do have all of his models saved.

I like these kinds of "what-ifs" a lot. there will be more to follow. sometime in the future. (-;

What about some more dioramas? Here's my take on Sojourner on Mars. The little robotic car was made in 1/24 (originally 1/12) and the diorama base plate was made from a ceiling tile with kitty litter as rocks. The model is John Jogerst's.

A little while later I redid the whole scene with addition of the Pathfinder lander that John Jogerst released.  It later was renamed Sagan Memorial Station. This was done in 1/33. Even smaller. Sojourner fits on my thumbnail.

Here Sojourner visits a rock called Yogi.
I also did some more earthy events, like this unloading of a Saturn IVb stage from a weird plane called a Super Guppy. For years this was the biggest plane for transporting rocket stages. Now it's been replaced by the Beluga made by Airbus Industries. Which is also a weird looking plane. This is done in 1/400 and the plane is a kit by Gary Pilsworth. I scratchbuilt the interior. The SIVb is Ton Noteboom's and the kart was of my own design. The truck is a redesign of the Haworth truck by Data Developers, inc.


Funny enough I have never made good pictures of the 1/48th Voyager model I made. Probably because it is hard to fit into one image due to all its protruding antennae and other equipment. Still, it's my all-time favourite model. I loved the building process and I was very pleased with the end result. It's all paper except for the trusswork. That's brass.
I had the finished model accompanied with a very touching poem about the spacecraft written by Gerrit Krol, a well-known poet from my hometown. A crude English translation of the poem can be found on my build report at The model was again designed by the very avid Ton Noteboom, by the way. I reduced the scale to 50% of its original. I seem to like building small. It now has the company of another probe, Juno, another 1/48th build. This made me decide that 1/48 was the scale I wanted to do all my probes and satellites in.


Yuri Gagarin's fiery return to earth: His service module wouldn't completely let go after separation and it caused the ball-shaped capsule to almost burn up. 1/72. I made the flames from separate layers of tissue paper, which I painted with an airbrush and accentuated with a regular brush. I stiffened it with water-diluted white glue. Leo Cherkashyn designed the model.


"The five degree slope to the stars": Columbia on her way to the launch pad for her maiden flight in 1981.All pieces of this fabulous model are free and come from AXM paper models. Originally it is 1/100 but this one here is in 1/400. The base is made from plaster of Paris. I used modeling grass fibre and some model railroad gravel. The Crawler and launch platform were detailed with lots of small scratch built pieces, like the air conditioning carts and generators. Here you can start reading the build report. It has a little bit of a slow start with a couple of inbetweenies but there you go.


This wasn't the smallest shuttle I ever built. That would be this one, a 1/2400 scale shuttle on ascent. I don't know whether I can do another one today. My eyes have deteriorated a little too much, I am afraid...


Here's another smaller scale model showing the Atlas V 551 launching Juno during the separation of some of the solid rocket motors. 1/200. The metallic brass coloured core booster is covered in frost.This model was designed by John Jogerst. For this model I used metallic coloured paper. I have a big pile of such types of paper. Really comes in handy if you want to give an extra realistic touch to your models.


Juno itself, the space probe that is on its way to Jupiter. Model design by John Jogerst with a lot of scratch building by yours truly. 1/48. Build report here.


ISS and Endeavour while Soyuz TMA-20 flies close by returning to earth. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli took legendary photos of the shuttle docked to the station. The ISS parts came from AXM paper models and John Jogerst. the Soyuz and Endeavour both are from AXM. 1/400. This is the first thing I posted on this blog and the build report is a little scattered between other early posts. But you could try and start here.


A Mil Mi-6 helicopter carrying a fake spacecraft, meant to represent the Vostok spaceship, which was still secret at the time of this happening in 1962 at the Tushino airshow. In fact what it was carrying, was the nose cone of the rocket with an added circular wing to mislead the western press. The helicopter was designed by Forest Shining Designs and the 'Fakestok' was originally from a discontinued 1962 Maly Modelarz kit but in the end I used other model's parts to make something similar but with a better fit. 1/96. Fakestok beginnings can be read here.

My rendition of Ralph Currell's N-1 rocket, Russia's equivalent of the Saturn V. In real life it wasn't so successful, though.. This one is made in 1/144 (just like the Saturn V next to it, but that one's quite ugly, unrealistic and from plastic) but I still want to do the N1 in 1/96. The rocket's base will be huge!


The next shots are from my diorama of Liberty Bell 7 during recovery. The recovery failed due to a blown hatch (capsule) and an overheated engine (helicopter). The whole story and build is here on my blog. Read it. Design of the capsule was by Surfduke, the helicopter was designed by Emil Zarkov. Scale: 1/96

The base was made out of plaster of Paris, the surface was painted and then covered in transparent acrylic paste, which dries rock hard. This way you can create shiny water-like textures on the surface. The white heads are added later with white acrylic paint.


Tintin's famous and iconic moon rocket. The model, designed by Jason Sutton, is long gone from the Internets due to copyright infringement claims from the Hergé estate. 
Mine has interior lighting, by the way. This model is the most visited page of my blog. 1/96. And no, I am not sharing the plans.


Another iconic SF rocket: Mondschiff Friede from Fritz Lang's famous movie "Der Frau in Mond" (1929). This very rocket was designed by German Rocket scientist Hermann Oberth.
The model however, was designed by Ralph Currell. 


NEAR-Shoemaker, a little probe that landed on the asteroid Eros, while it wasn't made to do that. 1/144. This model was found on NASA's website.


Ranger 7, an early lunar probe on its crash course to the surface of the moon. The model was designed by John Jogerst. I used shiny metallic coated card for it. The base is made from papier-maché. 1/48.


A Soyuz FG launcher. Hidden inside the white shroud is a Soyuz spacecraft. The rocket was designed by Leo Cherkashyn, the Soyuz inside is from Alfonso Moreno's AXM paper models. 


a Titan IIIe, the type of rocket that launched both Voyagers in 1977. The model is designed by Mark Cable. I used several types of metallic coloured paper and semi-gloss photo paper for this one. 1/96. a Tiny version of Voyager is folded up inside the fairing.


The X-37b, the secret space spy plane of the USAF, during landing. Model designed by John Jogerst, with a recolour by me. 1/48


Atlas with a Mercury capsule on top. The Atlas is made from silver coated paper.  The escape tower is made from bits of sewing pins. Model design by Precision paper models and the capsule is from Surfduke. 1/96.


Curiosity's landing on Mars. This diorama now is in the National Space Museum in Lelystad. Models designed by John Jogerst. 1/48.

Mark Cable also designed this one; America's biggest for now: Delta IV Heavy. Several kinds of textured paper used in this one. 1/96.


A little odd one. A ballistic missile turned satellite carrier: Dnepr. It still is launched from underground tubes. It now is a pure Ukrainian launch system but it is not used that often. The model was designed by Leo Cherkashyn. 1/96.

Plastic stuff by Paper Kosmonaut
Perhaps I should also show you some more of my plastic works, too. My nick might be Paper Kosmonaut but that doesn't mean I do an occasional piece of styrene. Here's my Vostok. It's the Plasticard model, East German crudeness, devoid of any detail. I built the whole of the interior from scratch and added a lot of inner details in the other pieces.

The interior was -as said- completely scratch built. I made it up as I went ahead, while I made use of many books and documents on how the interior looked. The umbilical plug is clinging to the Sharik using a magnet. I used a busload of magnets in this thing. The Sharik itself is held onto the service module with a couple of magnets, too. 

Something I still can look at and be very pleased.. It looks quite realistic. Nothing like any actual model up for sale has to offer. At least the Plasticard model gives you the actual space to work in, the full inner sphere, as Revell's equally sized model depicts the insides as a kind of cylindrical shape inside the sphere. Moulds of both models were made in the late sixties and there was not any attention to details in those days. Even in the big scale these models were made in, the detail was less than superficial. But that gives you more of an opportunity to do things yourself and just use the model as a basic shape.
Lots of added wiring.
The innards of the last stage: toroidal fuel tanks and the engine plumbing. All scratchbuilt. The triangular parts on the rim are hiding strong magnets to keep the Vostok's service module in place. The toroidal tanks were  made from styrofoam rings. The insides of the stage are covered in insulation foam made from the stuff they often wrap flatscreen TV's in when boxed.

Here is Revell's 1/110 old kit of the Jupiter C with the launch platform and service structure. A nice build. It was (and still kind of is) moveable, the tower can be lowered but due to the tension I put on the cables on the tower it now is static. But you still can move the scaffolding floors. The moulds of this model are antique so some parts are a bit crude to today's standards but it still is a nice kit.The weird scale is due to Revell using just a couple of standard sized boxes where all kits had to fit in. So the kit was sized to the box it came in instead of the other way around.

And next to it you can still see some of the Vostok model.
As this *is* a space blog I will refrain from showing my plastic airplanes collection but I also have quite a number of planes.. Okay, Just one shot:

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