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Mission CRS-11 Launch Date 3rd June 2017

 

The model was purchased from Buzz Media Labs 2017 and is a resin 3d print. I originally bought it to be displayed alongside a commemorative patch that was planned to be transported to the ISS on the CRS-11 flight. Part of the payload was rescheduled and the patch was eventually transported to the ISS aboard a later flight by an Antares/Cygnus.

 

The flight was significant in that it marked the first time that a Dragon capsule was being reused

 

The kit as supplied, all laid out. All resin parts apart from the main section of the first stage which is a PVC tube, and a half round section of styrene for a cable duct. The kit ids also supplied with small magnets and engineered so that the second stage is detachable

 

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The detail is very good, and from what I have seen so far and the parts fit together really well with a minimum of clean up

 

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The grid fins are nicely detailed, they are the older aluminium type, and I think this was the penultimate time they were used. They were replaced by one made from a titanium alloy on later flights

 

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The kit supplied decals, and an AB Emblems mission patch

 

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A quick check on the orientation and fit of the second stage aft bulkhead, engine and bell. 

 

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The pusher mechanism that is used for stage separation

 

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The trunk, second stage and top section of the first stage

 

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One of the grid fins with the supports removed and trial fitted

 

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Overall, I am very impressed with the quality and level of detail on the kit. A couple of the cable ducts and the stage pusher are a little warped and will require a bit of persuasion. I am not sure if they were like it when supplied, or as a result of being stored away in the stash for three and a half years.

The kit does not come with any instructions, but most of it is straightforward, and there are some good reference photos to be found.

 

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To get familiar with the location of the parts I taped them to the stage

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Then it was time to set about making everything fit nicely. The vast majority of the model will be white with the exception of a few parts. Bearing this in mind I am going to attempt to make those parts fit as good as possible and fit them together after they have been painted.

The first parts attacked were the Dragon Cargo capsule and its heatshield. The heatshield will be a silver finish.

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The nose fairing was cleaned up as well

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The capsule to trunk fit check

 

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The capsule did not sit down snug to the trunk, so a session with the Dremel remedied that.

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The aft bulkhead of the second stage was fettled up and fitted

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Second stage engine and bell cleaned and trial fitted

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The Octoweb that houses the Merlin engines will be painted black. To make the fit to the stage as good as possible a hole was cut in a piece of emery sheet. This was fitted over the flange of the Octoweb and placed into the first stage tube and then the Octoweb was rotated to sand it flush to the tube

 

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A nice fit was achieved, which should allow the two parts to be painted and then fitted without the need for filling

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The mating faces of the 1st stage and interstage received the same treatment

 

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There was a slight difference in the two mating diameters, some small pieces of styrene were cut to make it a tighter fit, and to centralise the two parts

 

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The two sections fitted together

 

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Next up was the fitment of the trunk to the interstage, and as can be seen form the next two images the profiles of the two sections of the fairings were mismatched.

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The were no locators to line up the two parts, and the inner diameter of the trunk was smaller than the interstage.

To overcome this a styrene guide was made

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Then the sides of the guide were slowly shaved away until the trunk fitted nicely, and was also centred correctly

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All the way home successfully

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The excess material was filed away, this left some gaps to be accounted for

Small pieces of styrene taped into place and epoxy glue poured in from the top to form and fill to the correct profile

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Whilst the glue was setting the landing leg assemblies were cleaned up. They have a small fairing at the top which is supplied as a separate part. The small fairings required a clean-up with the Dremel to make them a nice fit.

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All four completed

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Some more steady progress made, the reprofiling of the fairings on the trunk turned out well. Looking at photos of the Falcon on the pad shows there is a lip in the fairing where I have made the repair. So just to finish a small strip of styrene will be added, that should tidy things up nicely.

 

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I was at a bit of a loss in how to straighten up the sections of the cable tunnel that were warped. Then I recalled somewhere some one saying that resin parts can be straightened by warming them in hot water so I thought let’s give it a shot. It worked like a dream, boiled the kettle, dunked them in the hot water and pushed them into the corner of a mitre box, held in place for a minute or so and straight as you like.

 

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The temporary packing between the two pieces of the first stage was removed and a permanent packer was glued in place

 

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A marking out tool was lashed up to mark the centre line along the length of the tube

 

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Centre lines marked, and the position of the locator peg for cable duct marked

 

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Cable duct trial fitted again

 

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Whilst looking through photos of the launch vehicle to find out where stuff fits, I noticed that the cable duct has a flange which is not present on the kit. I think what I may do is make a flange from thin styrene.

A shot of the cable duct

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Did I mention what a beast this model is, when stacked it weighs in at just over a metre tall !!!

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I decided with going for the flange on the cable duct, so the outline was traced on to some 0.2mm styrene sheet and cut out. Got it right at the fourth attempt, was having one of those off days, nearly thought about binning the idea at one stage.

 

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After it was cut and laid on the tube it dawned on me that basically I was laying a flat piece on a curved surface and there would be a gap along the sides. This also nearly made me ditch the idea. After a quick cuppa a plan was made.

The styrene was securely taped and clamped between two steel rules and gently folded to give a Vee section

 

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The styrene then had a small rod glued to it to help line up and the sections of duct were added one by one. At this stage the ducts are glued to the styrene only. Folding the styrene worked a treat and it is a snug fit against the tube and cable ducts

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All the ducts in place. The whole assembly is in two pieces

 

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The smaller cable duct was then added to the opposite side

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Flanges were added to the landing led leading edge fairings. The fairings need scalloping on the back face, and the styrene required a fold to make everything a snug fit. I had a bit of brain fade when scalloping them out. I thought why not trap them on the mat between some pieces of styrene to hold them whilst the Dremel was in action. The first one promptly disappeared across the room at a rate of knots, took me half an hour to find it. Lesson learnt and then they were held in place with some double-sided tape!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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All the parts are now identified and the locations known. The only outstanding thing was the orientation of the second stage engine relative to the bulkhead. That was determined after watching a few videos from Oli Braun about the models.

 

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Whilst searching through images of the CRS-11 flight to determine positions of things, and any mission specific markings I also saw some small hatches at the base (the ones either side of the 35 on the top left image. They don’t look as if they are a flush fit, so they are a prime candidate for a thin styrene cut-out stuck to the tube. I did cut a couple, and although they were close in shape to each other the slight differences were noticeable to my eye. This has given me the last nudge towards buying a Cricut or Cameo machine, an idea I have been toying with for a while as I fancy cutting masks. I should also be ideal for cutting out shapes in thin styrene as well.

 

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Wow im liking this build ! pity the supplier has ceased taking orders ! keep posting !

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On 15/03/2021 at 10:11, Norman said:

Wow im liking this build ! pity the supplier has ceased taking orders ! keep posting !

Yes it is a pity as I fancy doing a block 5 as Demo 1. He is trying to clear the backlog of orders, a victim of his own success. Unfortunately real life has got in the way of my model making for a while due to work commitments, but will definitely be back with more 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a small update, still tied up with work so unfortunately no bench time

As mentioned above my aim is to build models that compliment my space memorabilia collecting. Due to circumstance the piece that was to relate to the Falcon did not happen.

I cooked up an alternative plan.

The second stage engine above the bell is wrapped in what appears to be silver Mylar insulation

 

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This area is depicted on the model  as a contoured area that I intended to paint a “chrome” colour

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The plan now is to clad it with a piece of Mylar insulation, and I have managed to get hold of a piece of mylar that was flown aboard the ISS. The Mylar was used to package items that were then placed outside the station and remained there for  11 months before being returned to earth aboard a Dragon capsule

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