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Hamiltonian

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the kind words. My first experience with Green Strawberry, and I found the various bits fitted together very well, and also fitted into the kit part quite neatly. The decals were a nightmare, however. I don't know if I just got a bad batch---some of them were excellent, but some barely seemed to be decals at all. The markings for the lab area were particularly bad, and just wouldn't come off the backing, despite prolonged soaking. I eventually lifted the TV screen decal with the back edge of a scalpel blade, grabbed the corner with tweezers, and peeled it forcibly, lifting paper fibres as it came off. It's now essentially glued in position with varnish. Oh. And the decal numbers on the instruction sheet and the decal sheet don't match, in some instances, though that's fairly easily spotted and resolved. There are also some issues with proportions, but that's not Green Strawberry's fault. The three pod bay doors in the movie set seem to have been set in a less curved wall than the three pod bay doors in the Discovery model, so there's no way to resolve the mismatch between exterior and interior. Apart from the surgery on the lighted corridor, I've made one other mod to what came with Green Strawberry. The spacesuit racks are provided as photoetch pieces that locate in shallow dimples in the floor and ceiling. I thought they'd be a bit of a pain to position and make secure, so I've drilled through the floor and ceiling and racked the spacesuits on fine brass rod instead. I'm not entirely sure yet how I'll get them positioned, but once they are positioned, they'll be very easy to make secure.
  2. So. There then ensued some high-risk wire-stripping and soldering on the underside of the Green Strawberry pad. And then I could get the extended pod pad into position: And light it: One of my headlights (lower left of image) isn't quite bedded home, I see---I'll give it a shove. The Green Strawberry kit includes some nice little photoetch parts to seal off the underside of the pod pad, but I could see a short circuit waiting to happen there, so I copied the photoetch in styrene. The pod arms will go on in due course, but I want to fiddle with the support struts a bit to see if I can make mounting and demounting less of a fiddle, and I know I'll just break the pod arms while my attention is elsewhere, so they're staying in their little plastic pot for now. Next up, I need to install all the ceiling lights. The pod bay roof comes up to the bottom edge of the upper hemisphere of the dome, and there's not much clearance above that before we get to the Paragrafix cockpit and its light boxes. More dry fitting and trimming lies ahead.
  3. More progress with the pod bay and my pod lights. I got lights behind the computer screens and the red door light of the lab bay. Still to be done is to add the downlight above the ladder, which I'll do along with the main ceiling lights. Looks a wee bit grubby in this photograph--I rather overdid my efforts to bring out the seams in the padding around the window and door, but I've since toned it down slightly. The rear wall was just a matter of decalling and painting, using reference stills. More problematic is the port-side wall, which contains the iconic illuminated tunnel you can see to the right of Bowman, above. The Green Strawberry kit provides this as a couple of solid hunks of resin, and some nice photoetch and decals to produce the interior appearance---but no way of producing the lighting effect. I decided to replace the octagonal tunnel parts with thin folded styrene sheet, so I could rig a light box around the tunnel. With all the photoetch in place, and the tunnel folded into its final configuration, I discovered I had light coming through between some of the photoetch strips, which hadn't perfectly closed up edge to edge. So I stuck a light temporarily inside the tunnel, so I could see where light was coming through inappropriately, and painted those spots black on the outside. Like this: You can see I used a cuff of the original resin tunnel, both as a former for the styrene and to block light for the last few millimetres, beyond the end of the photoetch strips. I used warm white LEDs, to reproduce the contrast in white point between the pod bay lighting and the tunnel visible in my reference still, above. Here's the result: There's supposed to be a little blue light in the control panel on the wall. I drilled this out and slipped in a bit of fibreoptic to borrow light from my tunnel, but the result wasn't bright enough. I was going to leave it alone, but a bit later I had to carve a corner off the tunnel light box to get it to fit snugly inside the hull, and I took the opportunity to add a small light box with a bright white LED inside my warm white light box! Back at the pod: once I had a small LED inside, I started melting 0.75mm fibreoptic to form the headlights. I held the end of the fibreoptic strand close to a heated soldering iron, and watched the end blob out, trying to catch four examples all at the same size. Here they are in place on the pod, which is now glued to its pad with the wires run through: There's also a red "HAL eye" in the centre, which has blown to pink in this photo, unfortunately. At this point I confess that this is my second attempt to light a pod. During my first attempt I managed to get a large amount of Tamiya transparent red inside the pod while trying to colour the HAL eye, which then ran out through the other fibreoptic ports and wrecked the outside paint and decal work. So since my previous post I've stripped this thing back to the primer, repainted and redecalled. I've edited my previous post to show the current version of the pod. Next I wanted to check that my extended pod pad could actually line up nicely and convincingly with the kit pod bay door and the Green Strawberry interior. First I had to do a bit of surgery on the central pod bay door, to get the size of the opening correct. Annoyingly, Moebius have moulded the outer ring of the door frame as if it were part of the door---so after some scribing, drilling, chiselling and sanding, I managed to separate the ring from the door I got that glued in place and then slid the Green Strawberry interior into the lower half of the hull. It takes up a lot of space! After my first trial fit decided I needed to trim a millimetre or so off the tunnel light box, because the thing was sitting a little proud at that side. Then I was able to check the run of my pod pad supports, decide on a length, and check the electrical connection. I'll follow up with another post later, since there seems to be something flaky with image insertion at present.
  4. Thanks. Talking of fiddly bits ... I've been making progress with the little hollow Falconware pod I'm planning on lighting. It's printed in translucent plastic, so I brush-painted the interior with about four coats of Tamiya white primer, followed by a couple of coats of flat black, followed by a couple of coats of white, and seem to have got a decent level of light-proofing. There are channels that will take 0.75mm fibreoptics for the headlights, and I drilled an additional hole for a 0.25mm HAL eye. These are difficult to keep clear of paint, but I found that a little interdental brush of the kind I use in cleaning my airbrush was just the right size for the headlight channels, and I twisted my fine drill bit through the HAL channel intermittently to keep it clear. The arms have their own mounting channels, confusingly also 0.75mm wide and extending into the interior! There's a definite potential for having the arms and headlights misplaced. I've now marked up the exterior, with a mixture of hand-painting and tiny custom decals I printed to reproduce some of the more obvious markings. I also did a tiny bit of weathering with LifeColor Smoke, to bring out some of the excellent detail on the Falconware pod. Here's the finished article, poised on a UK penny for scale. It looks a bit scrappy at this level of enlargement, but I think works OK at a normal viewing distance. I'll get an LED inside it next, and then start sliding in the fibreoptics. The arms are very fine and look potentially fragile, so they'll go on very late in the build.
  5. Preliminary wiring of the Green Strawberry pod-bay. I have a couple of square-section brass tubes of the right gauge to replace the pod platform support arms---the smaller slides inside the larger. With a bit of chisel work I made space for the larger brass tubing on the underside of the resin pod-bay floor. The smaller tube is a neat press-fit into the underside of the pod platform. I dry-assembled the pod platform and a couple of short lengths of brass tubing as a gauge on which to align the larger tubing, before soldering on wires and epoxying in place: You can see I've also drilled a small hole through the centre of the pod platform, and excavated away a little resin so that I can run wires from the pod through the platform, and attach to the brass support arms. Here's the top view, with the pierced photoetch part in place on the platform: I don't plan on running the platform in and out---I just intend to have the illuminated pod sitting in the "extended" position, but with the option to remove it to allow an uninterrupted view into the pod-bay through the open central door. The breakable electrical connection will be via the metal-to-metal contact between the two sections of brass tubing. In a fit of ridiculous profligacy, I replaced the solid resin Green Strawberry pod-bay console with the photoetch version from the Paragrafix pod-bay. I'd have struggled to light the Green Strawberry version, but the Paragrafix lights up nicely: Here it is in place on the detailed pod-bay floor, with a "proof-of-concept" LED lit via the nested brass tubes. To improve the electrical contact, I tamped a couple of tiny balls of kitchen foil into the larger brass tubes, so that the inner tubes slide in and then make contact against a conductive stop. It all seems to work pretty well---I can wave the assembly around without breaking the electrical contact. The Green Strawberry decals behaved as if they were about thirty years old---quite adherent to the backing, but also pretty fragile---there's a little patching and one recalcitrant wrinkle visible above, but I don't think it'll be a huge issue once the thing is lit from directly above by the ceiling lights. As you can see, Green Strawberry provide parts for three support structures under the stowed pod platforms. They're pretty fiddly---one fragile resin part and five photoetch struts each---and mine required a little modification to sit at the right height. They're also going to be largely invisible in the assembled kit, and I have yet to glimpse any such structures when reviewing the film, though I may have missed something. I'm not sure they were worth the bother, but they're there now. I started work on lighting the little "lab area" to one side of the pod-bay, through which the astronauts move using a ladder which is pointless in free fall and orientated wrongly for acceleration (but then, the whole pod bay would be stood on end under acceleration). The whole area is dimly lit by the downlight on the ladder, the light from the pod-bay coming through the window, and some computer screens glimpsed at left of frame above. Green Strawberry provide a solid resin part for this wall of the lab, detailed with a photoetch part and a decal, so I dug out the resin behind the photoetch "screens" so I can light them. The part on the left, above, is the outside wall of the lab, visible in this view from the film: I've drilled a little hole in the door control panel so that I can reproduce the noticeable red light visible in the film. Realistically, I should glaze the window and have the airlock door closed while the pod-bay door is open---I'll fiddle around and see how it all looks once assembled.
  6. I'm strongly suppressing the urge to report that "I'm afraid I can't do that" ... At present the plan is to have just the centre door open, with a pod deployed on its platform, headlights on, but with the platform removable to allow inspection of the pod bay through the open door. If for some reason I can't get that to work, I'll open a second door, because the deployed pod will block the interior view. However, preliminary work last night on wiring the Green Strawberry stuff suggests I'll be able to go ahead with Plan A - I'll post some photos soon. Yes, there's a certain amount of frustration in sealing all that cockpit stuff away and looking at it through a slot. I might try to make a small video, since the detail is better appreciated from a continuously varying viewpoint, as you rotate the assembly in your hand. My little illuminated lap consoles are currently visible from a steeply downward viewpoint, but very difficult to photograph. I suspect they'll become invisible once the kit is full assembled, with the additional overhang above the windows. But I'm in any case glad I added the extra light at the front of the cockpit, which does have a visible effect on the Frank Poole figure--though no-one will notice but me!
  7. Cockpit lighting now done. One light box on the roof, and then a pair of lightboxes, each with two LEDs, on either side. With the top lightbox in place, here's the complicated construction for one of the side boxes: And a little later, with some of the reflective interior in place: Once completed, I checked that everything was working OK by peering in the "rear door" - that is, the hole where the illuminated corridor attaches. Here's the ceiling panel: And the side lights: Then I placed the rear tunnel and sealed everything up: The final effect is difficult to photograph (for me, at least!). There's a contrast between the warm and relatively dim lighting of the cockpit itself, the blue glow of my simulated monitors (lighting up the pilot figure), and the bright, cold light of the rear corridor - but in photographs it looks either as if the corridor is painted blue or the cockpit painted yellow, or both, according to the background illuminant. And the coloured lights tend to blow towards white if the interior is suitably exposed. With my excuses in place, here it is. The ambient illuminant is sunlight. The Tamiya paint pot lid gives you a feel for the size. I'm in a quandary about when to fit this inside the command sphere. Without the transparent windows, it'll be difficult to mask, and I'd be more than a little vexed if I got a paint leak into the interior. At present I'm thinking I'll keep the sphere halves separate right up to final painting, and brush-paint the window frame on this assembly before fitting it into the painted sphere. I'll probably do the same with the pod bay, the open door of which will also be difficult to mask reliably. On to the Green Strawberry pod bay next, starting with checking how best to illuminate my Falconware pod, and how to get electricity to it in a manner which will allow me to remove the extended pod pad so that the pod bay interior can be inspected through the open door.
  8. That's a great result. Love the illuminated docking ports. Is the Orion III photoshopped in, or does it have some kind of separate stand?
  9. Some lighting progress. I botched together a little lighting box for that big space at the front of the Paragrafix cockpit. I'm increasingly dubious about the proportions of the Paragrafix part, compared to the "real thing". There's certainly no room to reproduce the large central instrument panel below the windows in anything like the correct proportions. I contented myself with a low box, pierced to allow a (pretty random) glimmer of instrument lights through a pair of lap panels, created from the spare HDA Modelworx decals, and a central shaded light source that should push some light into the front of the cockpit, as if coming from the large central instrument panels and screens. The back of the box (and the wiring) slide under the kit window part neatly, and the wire run should emerge through a handy little gap between the photoetch and the kit parts.. The central light has a little reflective shade, partly to push the light where I want it to go, and partly to stop it illuminating the upper window frame. For the overhead lighting in the cockpit corridor, I used thin styrene sheet as a diffuser, and constructed a monstrous reflective lightbox (yes, it will fit inside the dome!) in an effort to get a uniform lighting effect without a visible hotspot. Then three more lightboxes---one for the door windows and control button at rear, one for the computer panel at right as you look into the corridor, and one for the "HAL eye" on the left wall. You'll see I've also added a styrene flange to help with getting a good solid bond between the corridor and the cockpit---I really don't want that to fall apart once the whole thing's assembled! And a fair bit of work chasing light leaks from my botched boxes, but I'd rather lightproof the boxes than try to lightproof the whole command sphere. Here's what it looks like inside: (I'll need to give the corridor floor a bit of a hoover before final assembly.) The overhead lighting came out OK, I think, though it gets a little dark towards the front of the corridor. Then again, strip light panels often do the same thing; and then again, that part of the overhead will probably be unobservable in the assembled model. The window lights at rear needed revised after initial assembly. At first I relied on the decal film to filter the light, but they turned out glaringly bright. So that lightbox came off, and another little bit of styrene sheet went into place to tone down the brightness. There's also a little blob of clear glue over the door control button, just to take the edge off it a bit. With the cockpit all folded up, and found that I needed to carve a little out of the kit's window part to get it snugged home properly. Having learned the lesson of the rear windows, I've added styrene diffusers to the little ring of side lights within the cockpit, as well as to the overhead at rear. There are so many major light sources in this assembly that getting a balanced illumination is going to be tricky. My plan is to use warm white lights for the illumination here, in contrast, to the cold white of the corridor, but I'd also like it to be a little more subdued. You'll see the rear of the cockpit has also acquired a step, built of styrene and detailed with an offcut from the spare HDA Modelworx decals---this padded structure was fairly prominent in the movie scenes, and I think will be visible through the windows. Getting light to the front overhead instrument panel will be awkward, since there's very little clearance between the photoetch and the kit dome. Above, you can see I've made a start on a reflective "light channel", which should eventually take light into this area from another monster lightbox on the roof of the cockpit. Then I'll glue the kit window part in place and build the complicated lightboxes I'll need for the side panels. Talking of the windows, I took a photograph from the outside with everything dry-fitted, just to demonstrate that the lightboxes didn't create a problem, and that my surgery to get the photoetch snugged up wasn't visible from the outside. I've extended the window frames with styrene strip to better match the appearance in my reference photo earlier in this thread. It's not perfect (the rear part of the frame shouldn't be vertical), and I may yet tear out the Paragrafix photoetch frame and replace the whole caboodle with styrene sheet.
  10. The wash has gone nicely. I found it difficult around the spoke roots---mine ended up rather over-concentrated in those fiddly areas. Looking forward to the lighting!
  11. Lovely result from what looks to have been an intermittently trying build. Applause.
  12. Progress on the Paragrafix cockpit with HDA Modelworx decals. Here are the bits, with the photoetch primed and glossed ready for the decals. The couches are plain brass, whereas the real things had strips of white padding around them, so I added a little detail: I'd actually intended to print the padding pattern as a decal, but quite liked the "padded" effect produced by merely wrapping the paper pattern around the brass. I created the pattern by scanning one of the brass couch patterns before folding, and then sketching the padding using that scan as a template. And a reference frame from the film: Here's the cockpit corridor decaled up, with a bit of back-lighting to show where I'll be adding my lights behind the door and wall. There's a little HAL panel at left, which I've filled with a blob of clear red paint and will illuminated separately. And assembled: The roof will get a thin layer of styrene sheet as a diffuser, and a big lightbox. I'd been toying with the idea of omitting the transparent part for the cockpit windows, just so that we could get a better view inside, and then I discovered a big through-and-through flaw in the kit's transparent part, just next to where it joined the sprue. So that decided that. Here's the kit window part, with Paragrafix's frame added. I've added some styrene strip, top and bottom, to fill the slots that would have been occupied by the transparent part. I also did a bit of movie research to check the extent of the black paint around the window. I've seen kits in which the entire recess is painted black, but in the film the black paint was confined to just the lower "shelf". Back in the interior, there's a problem at the rear of the cockpit. The decal sheet and photoetch have a sort of corrugated fan arrangement in black and white in this area, but in the film it was smooth and dark grey with just a few pale panel lines: In 2010, even the panel pattern has disappeared ... You'll also see that Paragrafix's couches are actually shaped like those in 2010 - the couches in 2001 were quite asymmetrical and hosted a small control panel - but I decided I couldn't face trying to scratch build them. So I printed up some replacement marking for the rear bulkhead: And here they are in place on the partially folded cockpit: The window section is just a trial fit - I'll get the interior painted up before I fix it permanently and fold over the cockpit roof. I used Paragrafix's photoetch astronaut, and an HDA Modelworx decal to add Frank Poole to the left seat. He's a bit flat, obviously, and may look a little strange when viewed from the side windows, but there seems to be a significant gap in the aftermarket material here. I considered ordering up a set of 1/144 naval figures, clad in dungarees, and adapting one to depict a flight-suited astronaut, but I wasn't confident that such a thing would be a fit for Moebius's "1/144 scale" in this kit. As you can see from the photos and movie stills above, there's a considerable expanse of empty floor in front of the kit couches, where the real thing had quite a complicated instrument panel. Experimenting with my dry-fitted windows, I figure I should be able to see the edge of the control panel directly in front of each couch. I'd also like to get some light into that area, because at present all the light is behind the couches, and the Poole figure will be silhouetted. So I'm going to botch together a low flat light box to provide some diffuse light, as if from the forward TV screens, and use a couple of the spare decals from the HDA Modelworx sheet to provide some representation of the two control panels. (You'll see I've amputated poor Poole's lower legs in anticipation of snugging the light box up towards his lap.) I'll report back once that's in place and the cockpit has been folded into its final shape.
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