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I'm starting a work-in-progress with much trepidation. I'm not the most focused builder, not of one project at a time anyway, so "progress" may be a relative term, and updates may be far between. 


Yes, another 1/144 Ark Buran. Got this as a present for myself for Christmas 2019. Another thread here somewhere has the saga of the missing decals, which (with no help from Ark at all) I managed to finally purchase in May, I think. All went into a box and recycled as a Christmas present to myself this year. In the meantime, I'd discovered some errors and omissions in the decal sheet and set about revising and correcting a set for myself. It was a long and long process. I think I actually redrew half of the Buran's tiles. But now that that's done and printed, I figured there was nothing to stop me from actually building the thing. 


From what I've seen on-line, a common problem with the kit is the fit of the upper wings to the fuselage, a common problem with lots of wings to fuselages. Wherever possible, I tackle that by joining the wings to the body at first opportunity. Here I wanted to make sure the two upper wings fit with the one piece lower wing section, so I taped the fuselage halves together, and the upper and lower wings. I used some bolts and nuts to act as reverse clamps to push the sides of the hull into the wings, and let everything cure. 



There. No impossible to fill gaps. I removed the bolts and more cement on the bottom side, and more high-tech clamping until everything had cured again.




Then, belts and braces and all that, I cemented strips of styrene  along the joints inside the wings, to make sure everything was rock solid. 



Why, observant viewers, is the bottom of the cargo bay facing the wrong direction, with the nose gear bay in the back? Somewhere either when I marked the parts numbers on the unmarked  parts, or because in the instructions themselves there might be an error, the sides of the bay went on reversed. Too late now to figure out which of us was at fault. But the sides of the bay do seem to be sided. There are little slots in both the sides of the hull and the sides of the bay that probably should match up. I don't know if that's actually important, but I decided to pretend that it was, and so reversed bay when I slid it into the hull. That puts the nose gear at the back, which is not a problem as this is a gear-up, cargo bay-open model, so I just cut the landing well off. 


So it was time to close the fuselage halves. Except. That cockpit sure seems like an empty hole even behind those tiny windows. Wonder if anything can be seen in there?


Turns out quite a lot can be seen in there, actually. 

Edited by starseeker
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In case anything would be visible, besides emptiness, behind the cockpit windows, I roughed up a crude cockpit for the Buran. 





Turns out you can see things through the windows, not much, but enough to know if there is or isn't anything there. I based the cockpit on some four-way cockpit plans from the Buran site. Of course, that cockpit never flew, so anything would work. The seats are based on some photos and painted them Model Master Stainless Steel Melatizer, as that seemed the best match. The interior color is Vallejo silver-grey, which appears neither silver nor related to gray, but a light tan. Close enough for Russian government work. (Note how it's flaking off the model's hull. It sticks to the bare Evergreen  styrene just fine, tho'. Wash you plastic bits well before painting!) Stuck a floor and airlock on the lower level, in case anything can be glimpsed through the floor hatches, but nothing can.


Will probably replace the kit clear with thin styrene behind the photoetched frames from the detail set I bought with the kit. I've seen the frames applied right on the surface of the model, which makes them stand proud, I'll recess the frames when the time comes. Which might be sooner than I think?


Za Zdarovje!


Edited by starseeker
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This morning, putting the fuselage together. Really straightforward, as long as you treat this as your basic limited run kit. 

First up, since this will be an in-orbit model, the landing gear doors needed to be closed. As with all the joins in this model, everything should be reinforced to insure something doesn't crack along a seam later. Removed the tops of the wheel bays to make it easier to fit strips of styrene inside to support the bay doors. Took a surprising amount of sanding before the bay doors actually fit. Attached them from the outside first, then quickly added strips of .040 x .080 to one of the long sides from the inside, pressed  the long side of the strips and doors from the inside up against the flat side of 6" steel ruler so that the seam was smooth from the outside. Repeated with the other side of the door, then added strips inside the front and back of the wheel wells. 


Also added strips of styrene to the top and bottom of the nose, which would be a particularly uneven and fragile join otherwise. 


Added two strips of .040 square inside the top of the base of the tail, to help pull it together, and to the inside front edge of the wing/fuselage bottom, another particularly weak and (in dry fitting) uneven joint. 



The port side of the payload bay had been cemented into position early on to get a good fit  and add strength to the assembly as I worked. Now cemented together the upper hull halves, clamped the joins with tape and CA. While all that is curing, I pulled together the gap between the starboard  payload bay wall and that side of the hull. There was a considerable gap all along, and a difficult  warp at the front end. I found a sturdy straightedge (an 8" file) and clamped the hull (via the file) and the top edges of the payload bay  together. Pressure must be put only the top edges of the payload bay or the bay edges will warp. Avoid clamping the fine detail inside the bay edges or the detail will likely be damaged.


And now it's just a matter of letting everything cure for a day or so before fitting the the lower wing/hull into place. It's a very tight fit to get the landing gear doors into the slots on both sides of the payload bay but with gentle flexing, it can be done. And it leaves just a slight uneven-ness along the leading edge seam of the wing. Much easier to give that a quick hit with a sanding stick than try to fill the gap between the hull and wing root. 


Also note that I've removed the speed brakes from the tail fin and the ailerons from the wings before assembly. Photos of the US shuttle in orbit often show the speed brakes open in space and sometimes the ailerons slightly relaxed. I have no idea why. Maybe those hydraulic systems are relaxed once the spacecraft is in orbit? I'll definitely open the speed brakes slightly, if for nothing else than visual interest, like this model will need any additional visual interest? I don't know about the ailerons yet, but it's nice to have the option.  


Next up, sanding the wing to fuselage joins. Tho' on the Round 2 Galileo. Again. Oh, what fun that's been. But that whole other story, best left alone. 

Edited by starseeker
My typing is hooribel?
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23 hours ago, Norman said:

Following this with interest !

Me too!


Martian 👽

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Not much progress here the last couple of days. I can't find any information on how the Burans elevons worked, but since the Buran was pretty much a copy of the US shuttle, I figured they very likely worked just the same way: hinged at the bottom edge and sliding out from under the flexible covering on the top edge. Which means that the top edge of the elevon would have to be extended slightly.  I separated the inboard and outboard elevons from each other and I used strips Evergreen along the upper edges of all four pieces, .020 to the inboard elevons and .015 for the outboard elevons, just so their trailing edges wouldn't be perfectly lined up. So that their top and bottom edges would still be reasonably flush with the wings, the elevons were stretched to be a little thicker, by a thickness of .020 styrene stuffed into where there would have been an even joint at the side.



Now there's an exciting picture. And here's another, oh, joy. Once the gap was stretched a bit, I fit a wedge of styrene into the other side to close it off, as the edge will probably be visible.  



And once all four elevons had been re-attached, seams and gaps everywhere were filled and sanded. And since I was using up some Tamiya White Ever-Shrink as my filler, filled and sanded again. And filled... again.

Which is where I am now. Watching putty dry. 



I also slit the rudder/speed brake, into 4 pieces, added the inevitable strip of evergreen as a wedge to the cut edges, and cemented it in an open position, top pair very slightly offset from the bottom at the trailing edges, Again, so as not to look too perfect. 


Noticed that the payload bay doors are evenly divided into 4 segments. On the decals I drafted, according to the tile map I was using, the rearmost segment was actually wider than the evenly-sized forward 3. This also matches the tiles on the hull sides and appears to be accurate on the few photos of the Buran landing.  I filled the recesses with .010 x .020, I think, which filled the gaps perfectly. Ark's decals, as far as I know, match the molded details. But seems to me that I thought Ark's decals were too short to fully cover the doors. I could be wrong - it's been a while. But w/o filling the gaps, the divisions on my decals would obviously not match the molded-in divisions. 


Sanding the gap filling styrene, noticed the the kit's pair of open doors have ripples running length-wise all along them. Possibly from having all the detail molded onto their inside surfaces. As the outside won't really be visible with the doors in the open position, I'm not going to bother trying to smooth them. Enough filling and sanding, already!! 


I hope. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress, as promised, is spotty, but there is some despite other projects getting in the way. Here's a photo that better shows the slight droop of the repositioned elevons, and the opened rudder/speed brake.



Meanwhile, a lot of repeated filling and sanding, I think all the gaps are finally filled. They look worse than they really are, as most are either quite thin or quite shallow, at least after many being filled with thin styrene strip. But there are a couple significant ones along the nose bottom and at the joins at the intersection of the fronts of the wings and the nose. The elevons, top and bottom, needed some extra work to smooth out the cuts and the filler strips.



In the meantime, started adding some of the aftermarket etch. The etch will add significant detail all around and seems a really good thing to have. It is very fine and a little difficult to position and secure. Fine tip tweezers are very much needed here. Note that etch parts 28 and 29 seems to be reversed on the etch parts layout. The instruction illustration shows them on the proper sides.



Wonder how much more I can do before I need to start priming and painting?

Edited by starseeker
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