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First WIP resurected

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Nothing new but I finally got around to re-instating the images after the Photobucket issues and that has instilled some impetus for continuing with the build.


Hi all,


I’ve been a member on here for some time without contributing anything of note worthy, but hopefully soaking up some of the great skills and generous advice that are regularly on show.  So, I thought it was about time I stopped sponging, put myself in the firing line and have a go at a WIP, so wish me luck!


The build is going to be the Revell 1/144 scale Space Shuttle Discovery and Boosters.




I picked the kit up quite cheaply a while ago but I must say upon opening the box I wasn’t overly impressed with the contents; a fair bit of flash, poor fitting parts and some odd details, so the lid was quickly replaced and the kit consigned to the darker reaches of the stash.  I should add that I’m no Space Shuttle expert/nerd but have always admired the whole Space Shuttle concept and always wanted to build one, but even I could see that, the engine bells for instance are, well, odd to say the least, just a stack of decreasing diameter discs, to me they look like the Master modeller ran out of time and the base form was all that was available to mould.


In fact, it was the engine bells that prompted the start of the build, having just sent an ongoing project to the naughty shelf (anything that could go wrong did!) so looking around for something to occupy me for the rest of the evening I started trawling through some collected reference on the laptop and found a good clear image of the rear end of the orbiter and the main motors and wondered if I could use the kit parts to hang a little more detail on rather than go down the aftermarket route.


It seems like a strange place to start a build but it was something to do and quite enjoyable, if a little fiddly. The main motor bell was coarsely filed and filled to remove the steps then sanded to approximately the correct profile.  The locating spigot was removed and a 2mm thick plasticard rough disc was glued to the top of the bell and sanded to match the profile, drilled and a new locating spigot glued in place.  The overall effect is that the bell is now slightly over scale length wise.




Now the fiddly bit, gluing eight 0.6mm plastic rod ‘ribs’ around the bell tested my patience, supply of fingers, clamping tweezers and expletives all at once, and this was only the first of three!




The pipe work was formed from more 0.6mm plastic rod and 0.3mm copper wire, additionally the inside of the bell was repeatedly scored with a scalpel blade to give a little texture.




Not wholly accurate, but much better than the kit original.


Now that the Shuttle has moved well and truly to the front of the stash, one thing I’ve started working on is artwork for some home-print decals to represent the heat tiles that are a dominating and essential feature of the orbiter.  The artwork is created as monotone vector line art in CorelDRAW exported as a bitmap and the streaking, discoloration etc. ‘airbrushed’ in Corel Photopaint, the tricky part will be ‘mapping’ the two-dimensional print to the kit surface so I figure it’s going to be a fair bit of trial and error with test prints to get the right shape.


The sample below shows a test piece for the body flap of the Orbiter, if at the end of the day I can’t make it work I will use some proprietary decals (if I can get any) along with some oil weathering to get the prominent streaking effects caused by re-entry scorching.




More later.

Edited by MarkSH
Restoring images after photobucket changes
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General assembly of the orbiter fuselage is fairly straight forward, providing that some additional tabs are added to enable more substantial fixing of the two halves, however to make sure that the top payload bay was correctly aligned so the bay doors fitted properly I had to allow a small step in the belly of the orbiter which was disguised with a liberal application of green filler.  Additionally I have added a black painted flight deck floor and front bulkhead to seal the area and make it hopefully completely dark inside.

Once the two halves were mated, it was obvious that the length of the payload bay was too long for the doors so a shim was added to the rear of the crew compartment and sanded to the correct profile this allowed the doors to fit more snuggly






The kit body flap is supposed to be attached by a flimsy and not realistic hinge arrangement, I have extended the body flap on either side with 2mm plasticard, trimmed and sanded to shape, locators for the kit hinge have also been removed. The actual hinge points for the body flap are linked by a ‘floor’ presumably curved to accommodate the profile of the flap itself. The kit fuselage  hinge points have been removed and replacements glued in place and sanded to the roughly correct shape.  The body flap now sits much more snuggly between the hinge points and with the addition of the ‘floor’ will look a bit more accurate.




Revell’s depiction of the external fuel tank for the STS is accurate for diameter and length but has some spurious detail such as raised ribs around the circumference at five points other than at each end of the intertank section also an extra pipe run that I can’t see on any reference photos, plus the vertical ribs on the inter tank section are too insubstantial and the cable trays and re-pressurisation lines are treated as just raised ridges, oh well in for a penny, so I decided to remove most of the surface detail on the external tank and try and reinstate it more to scale.  This would mean some serious rough filing and sand papering so the tank halves were strengthened with two balsa cross sections and extra tabs and then glued together to ensure that the reinstated details matched up.




Some aggressive filing underway.




Slow progress I know, more later.

Edited by MarkSH
Restoring images after photobucket changes
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Hi all,


After removing most the moulded detail on the External Tank (ET), it was time to decide how I would represent the foam texture.  I have seen the post on BM linking to someone’s experiments with various sand / flour and glue combinations, eventually settling on the flour mix with very impressive results, however I’m hoping for a gluten free model so I’m going to use the liquid poly and stiff brush stipple method.


I have removed the moulded detail representing the LOX and LH2 pressure lines and the cable tray and have created the raised areas on the upper tank body for mounting the lines and tray.  These were glued as rectangles and then sanded to shape.  The lines are made from 0.6mm rod whilst the brackets are drilled out 1mm sheet scraps.  The cable tray is a 2mm strip of 1mm plasticard.  It’s all slightly over scale but again I think it looks better than the kit moulding.  I have started adding the intertank stringers as well.




I have added some detail to the base of the ET, I don’t know what they are, possibly access/inspection hatches but it all adds interest.




I used the kit's flight deck window decals as a guide and created a window surround from 10 thou plastic card.  I wasn’t originally intending to do anything but use the kit decals but the moulding and fit of the window area was appalling.  Hopefully with a bit of blending and some raised TPS detail I should be able to disguise it, the one thing I have leant from studying images of the Space Shuttle is that it is anything but smooth!




Again not much to show, more later.


Edited by MarkSH
Restoring images after photobucket changes
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Hi all,


Apologies for the slow progress, but it's taken me a bit longer to do the External Tank than I anticipated.

I have added most of the stringers to the intertank section and also the pipework running down the full length of the ET.


For the pipework 'support blocks' on the lower section of the ET I used drops of my homemade 'Gloop' micro brushed onto the pipes and allowed to settle in place.




I have also completed one pass on the ET foam texture, but I think it'll need another to help blend in some of the detail and the mess I 've made in adding subsequent detail. It actually proved quite easy if a little time consuming working in sections a generous amount of liquid poly is applied and then the plastic is stippled with an old cheap round oil painting brush, Its proving much more difficult to get a decent image of the texture.




I've also done some work on blending in the window 'wrap' I created for the Orbiter, I'm not entirely happy with the effect and the rear most windows are a little squewy so a rethink. may be required.




Anyway that's all for now,



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After a long break I have found renewed enthusiasm for my STS build.

I have started to apply my representation of the Thermal Protection System blankets that covered particularly sensitive areas of the Orbiter, nothing more than rectangles of masking tape painted over with a generous layer of my 'Gloop'.

Additionally I have created raised strips on the Nose, leading edge of the vertical stabilizer and OMS engine modules to accommodate the TPS blankets more smoothly.

I have also added the hinge point representations on the payload doors.

The wings are attached and I am in the process of sanding and re-scribing.




Cheers, M.

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