Jump to content

Launch 14 - Cooper's Rocket

Recommended Posts

Hey All,

It's me RichO, I'm getting down here from the sci/fi, real space section, Apollo Crawler at 1/72. This is the first posting of a diorama build I have been considering for some time now.

I have decided to start this thread to help fill the void of the crawler build, which is coming to a close. And to get me thinking in the general direction of this build. This is a build that I have been thinking about for a couple of years now. All during the crawler build I have been gathering kits and materials for this dio. At this point I feel I should start this thread with some general info and ideas of what I have in mind.

This is a diorama dedicated to the memory of Col. Gordon Cooper. The last American to orbit the earth solo.


Gordon Cooper saw some funny things while in orbit that changed his life. I admire him for speaking the truth. You can look it all up if your interested.

This is what I hope this build will look like at the end of the process, that will take,... who knows how long.

Launch Complex 14


I'll have to crop the tarmac a bit to get the scene into the shape and space that I have for this build. Thanks to Mike and Dave, I have a scene that is all dio and just the rocket will be built in the model section. like most military dio's I have seen,... I will have my background structures, ( the launch tower and the service tower), I will have my ruined street (the tarmac and infield surfaces), I will have all the litter and debris strewn about ( the signs, and lights, and post, and vehicles...) the vehicle will come last...the Mercury Atlas 9-Faith 7. To be built in the space section.

These are the kits that I have to work with and to kit bash if I need to...All the kits are Revell, and some are older than my wife...all are originals...





I have decided to build this dio onto a pedestal, as apposed to a thinner frame. This dio will be vertical and should have a tallish pedestal for its base. Much like the statue of liberty has a tallish pedestal for its vertical composition.

The first step was to figure out some material that would be strong enough to support this whole endeavor, and I wanted something that had an industrial sort of look and feel to it, and something that would not appear out of place in or around the tarmac or the launch area. I needed it to blend in.

So as most scratch builders do, I always keep an eye out for stuff and junk to use. one day while I was at the market, I got one of "Those" carts... the floppy wheels, it wont turn, a little bent. And while I was looking at this thing I noticed the texture of the plastic that the cart was made out of.

Where I live, when the carts go bad, they go to cart heaven, out behind the building...


So I went and pinched one while no one was looking and cut it apart to get the sides of the pedestal material...


Then I figured out the general shape of the layout. This is what I came up with...


The circle is the rocket on the launch pad, and the masking tape is where vehicles will be placed. You can see the related layout of the rest of the structures. The idea is to get the tarmac up, off the table a couple of inches to help reinforce the vertical.


I also have an idea of a sort of 3d effect with some sort of structure under the tarmac base on the inside of the pedestal. not sure just yet but I'll figure something.

So that's where I'm at with the base at the moment. I have the general layout, I have the dimensions 16 inches wide x 30 inches long x 4 inches tall, and I have the material to start the build.

Be back later when I figure out how to join the corners of the pedestal and what to put inside the base.

Thanks All...later


  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish you good luck on what I consider to be a titanic project. I am very worried about the strength and weight of the base/structure.. Clearly it needs to be very strong and will therefore be very heavy. I hope you realise this. I'd hate to see the thing collapse.

Good luck, again.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


I have considered the weight of tarmac and model kits not to be so great, that the stiff heavy plastic sides could easily carry the load. Also I will have a stiffener inside the pedestal for center support. These model kits are at 1/110 scale and are small in size, with almost no weight. The heaviest thing so for is the plastic that I want to use for the pedestal. The overall scale of the launch complex is not very big at all. I will build 99% out of styrene, so I should have no worries.

Please check back to find out if I have totally misjudged this whole thing and it all fails to launch. Thanks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So long as you brace everything properly, I don't see weight being to much of an issue. Even at 1/110 scale, this is going to be sizable. Tagging along for this one.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey All,

Thanks Guys for tagging along!

I made a decision about the pedestal for this build. So the first thing to do was to cut the bottom plate and mark it where things are to be placed.


The markings are for the placement of the lattice support, 1/4 inch from the edge of the bottom plate. Then the inside markings for the construction of the inside details and the placement of the internal support. Hard to see in this photo.

Once I got the dimensions all worked out. I next started to prep the lattice for building. After washing the parts of the lattice, I next trimmed up the corner supports. These came from the corners of the cart.


And then bonded the corners together with special plastic epoxy.


The final dimension of the bottom plate is 18.5 inches x 34 inches. The pedestal is 18 inches x 33.5 inches x 5 inches tall.


The next thing for me to do was to find images of what I wanted to build for the interior support. I thought of industrial piping, or large gas tanks, or...I really was not sure of what to do, but I knew what I did not want. I needed some thing related to this build and to the space program, but also related to the scene itself. I also did not want to take away from the diorama itself but still needed to be interesting enough that someone would notice.

I found an image of a bank of old style mission control computers. This is great!! A perimeter of mission control computers built on the outside wall of the internal support structure. I wont build them this complicated, but something very similar. (check the bottom of the posting)


I don't just want the lattice to sit on top of the bottom plate, so I have to disguise it some how to hide the joining. I am thinking of some sort of industrial piping around the bottom perimeter, like so...but still looking...( Britmodeller wont let me show you)


This is where I'm at in this build. Not much progress at the moment but big progress on the design side. I'll be back later with securing all to the bottom plate.

Thanks for watching, RichO


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I'm not sure how that last post got so mess up but I hope you can figure it out. Pleas ask me any questions, Thanks, Rich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RichO, on 16 Jul 2016 - 2:32 PM, said:

Hey All,

This is a diorama dedicated to the memory of Col. Gordon Cooper. The last human being to orbit the earth solo.


Вале́рий Фёдорович Быко́вский, Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва and Влади́мир Миха́йлович Комаро́в would argue with you about that.

MA 9 flew 15 - 16 May, 1963

Vostok 5 flew 14 - 19 June, 1963

Vostok 6 flew 16 - 19 June 1963

Soyuz 1 flew 23 - 24 April 1967

All were solo orbital flights. Did Russians suddenly lose the status of human beings?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hey All,

I'm slowly getting back to work after the crawler build. I spent some time this weekend getting this build under construction.

I left off the WIP post with the photo above. I did like the retro look of the old style control panels, so I decided to go with this sort of affair...

card pattern designed to scale...


Once I worked out a design or two, I started to work out the details in styrene...




I might also try to come up with a couple of more designs...


This will give you an idea of what I'm after with the pedestal...



Something on the inside to get a little attention, not to much detail, just interesting and curious.

Next I was also working on the internal bracing at the same time. I worked out the size in card and looked at the placement. I realized that I had a lot of space on the inside of the bracing...Then what about using the internal space as storage for transporting...I have enough room for the launch ramp and both towers underneath the tarmac on the inside of the bracing,...like so...


I can build the the base of the tarmac with mounting holes in the corners so I will be able to run a lag bolt through both bases...

like so..(only the bolt is on the inside of the lattice)...


With this design, I can simply unbolt the corners, lift off the top (that is the tarmac) and place or remove the structures for transport.

This being my first diorama, I am realizing that I can actually work all over this thing at the same time, and get all sorts of stuff started and under construction. Extremely different from my last build where everything was so scripted.

I have also started with the construction of the launch ramp itself, but all this is still in pieces and I have still to work out the geometry of the ramp angle...photos to follow shortly.

Alright, be back soon, thanks, Rich

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites


' just thought I'd through this in today also.

I have been working on the ramp today and I think I am close to what I need.

This what Revell wants me to build...


and this is what the real deal looks like...


when you look at the two photos above, you can see quite a difference between the two. The real ramp is a bit more extended, with doors and piping.

I cut some card to get a better idea of the ramp angle, and extended everything out a bit, to match the real photo better.



I'm getting a lot closer to what I'm looking for. I'll tighten the measurements up when I decide about all that external piping.

Later, Rich

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Barside, I have a pile of old cereal boxes, much like a stack of scrap paper.

when I looked at the Revell kit, I noticed that if I had built it the kit way, the loading trailer for the rocket could not get up the ramp. It would scrape the bottom and get high centered at the bend.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Sarge, ' might be something to think about. I have to cast about 6 of 'em. It might be worth it. I feel that I need to try to match the old Revel inadequacies, as apposed to trying to improving them. I will attempt to extend the ramp but I need it to look like Revell did it. The kit is from 1962, so the details are soft and simplified. I'm just going to add a bunch more but not improve it to much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Good start Rich



Thanks Richard, The build is going slow to start but I have plenty of ideas.

I like the whole concept Rich and you have made a great start.

Amazing to think those 'archaic' computers were use to put men into space!!! More power in a mobile phone these days!!! LOl.

Thanks Skidsolo, I don't know what those people were thinking flying around with one propeller and all. Can you imagine flying to the moon sitting on a tank of kerosene?!!

To add some of those 'archaic' computers...



I'm starting to get a nice variety now. Maybe a couple of more, I'll see.

Thanks for looking...Rich

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments everyone,

Hey All,

More with the panel designs... I built two more this weekend ...


That gives me seven panels in total...


I'm thinking I've had about enough fun building these, time to move on...

I've been watching what Ian is doing with his T2 hanger, and it got to thinking about the material that I needed to use for the construction of the internal bracing. Something strong and light... corrugated styrene panels...The corners can get a little tricky with measuring these.

In this photo you can see how thick this is...4mm for this end panel...


I have cut the corrugated panel from a political sign...4mm. Then I cut a panel of clean sheet styrene, 1mm thick to use as a backer for the computer panels. For now, this is just to get an exact measurement for both end panels of the support interior.

The next step is get some sort of layout for the different panels. The two ends of my interior rectangle measure 12.5 in. x 5 in. however this is not set in stone just yet, and I don't want the two ends to have the same layout...just to be different.


That's it for now...the next step is two get an exact measurement for the two long sides. I'll do this by figuring the layout of small panels.

I'll be back with the number of computer panels I need to cast and the mold process.

Thanks for watching, Rich

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You nailed it Hendie! Early to mid 60's. Perfect timing.

I just need the rest of the build to feel the same. Thanks

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey All,


  I thank everyone for looking. Thanks Bar Side for the photo.  Time for another weekly update.


  I have worked out the layout for the two ends of the inner support.  I made them different from each other, and had to locate the electrical panel in different spots for each end, I'll show later.


Here are the final layout for the two ends...






Because I only need four of the electrical panels, and this particular piece is the hardest to cast, I chose to mold this one first.




I wanted to have the final piece stand out a bit from the background, so I built a spacer on the back to add some depth for the casting...






The next step was to build the dam around the piece...




Then poured the rubber...






I let everything set over night, and poured the resin copy...




I see a bunch of sediment not dissolved in the resin...time for a new bottle.


  I have two more of these to cast, then I will set the two on the end panels and start the final construction of the inner support.


  Back later all, thanks.



  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • RichO changed the title to Launch 14 - Cooper's Rocket

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...