Build Thread: Ton Noteboom's 1/24 Mercury Capsule

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by ekuth, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    After finishing the Fortezza shuttle and matching stack, I wanted to take on something (relatively) easy. I'd had this one printed out and sitting in my "to do" drawer for a while, so I decided to get to it.

    Model here:

    Again, this is a free model found on Jon Leslie's wonderful site, so I don't think there's a problem posting the link. Anyone feel differently, let me know and I'll yank it.

    So, with the preliminaries out of the way, let's get to it!

    Our first page of parts, cut out and ordered:

    View attachment 4790

    Ton gives pictoral directions with his model, which can be both good and bad, depending on the complexity. This model is fairly straightforward, and I built from the top down, as shown in his directions.

    First up is part M5. Simple cone. He states to place a 6mm bead on the inside to fill the gap at the top. Being your typical American, ignorant of the metric system, I chose one at random out of my craft box that seemed to fit, and colored it with my good friend, the black sharpie marker.


    View attachment 4791

    And the topside:

    View attachment 4792

    Next, we attach the bottom to our M5 assembly, part M5a:

    View attachment 4793

    And add part E2. I deviated here and printed two part E2's and sandwiched them together so I would have a printed top and bottom. Don't forget to edge color! I used a red RoseArt colored pencil that I moisten to get even coloring.

    View attachment 4794

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2014
  2. milenio3

    milenio3 Active Member

    Ekuth, you are going fast my friend.

    Good idea on the tip. Man, do I like your clean built!
  3. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Onwards and upwards...

    Next up is the part M4 assembly, with part M4B on the top and part M4A on the bottom. Ton doesn't use glue tabs, so be sure to cut and place very carefully. This is all friction fit work, and glue fillets help alot. Be sure to let dry before handling. Pay close attention to which side of part M4 is the top! (It's the side with the thicker grey band.)

    Top (M4B):

    View attachment 4795

    Bottom (M4A):

    View attachment 4796

    Now on to the part M3 assembly. M3 is an either/or part, so you dont have to worry about which end is up. Part M3B on the top, part M3A on the bottom (although I don't think it would make any difference.)

    View attachment 4797

    Moving on to the M2 assembly. Pay attention to which end is up here. Ton marks them for you. (It's the side with the little oval areas near the edge) Part M2A on the bottom. Note that part M2B (that goes on top) is in two pieces- the part with the thick black ring goes on top of the other one. Just to keep this clear, I glued the black ring part on the bottom of assembly M3.

    There was a bit of a GOTCHA here, but I'm not sure if it was something I did or not. Anyway, the diameters of parts M2A and M2B were a little too small for the interior of M2. Either cut them a little larger, or do what I did and glue a thin band of cardstock on the inside edges of M2 before you cement the top (M2B) and bottom (M2A) in place to get a good friction fit.


    View attachment 4798


    View attachment 4799

    Attached Files:

  4. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Getting good, now...

    I missed taking photos of the finishing step for the M2 Assembly, which is to cut out the part MC2 strips and glue them in place over the blue lines surrounding the outside of the M2 part. There are 12 of them and they're small, so be careful and take your time aligning them. You can see them in the next shot.

    Next, we take our M5, M4, M3 and M2 assemblies and glue them together:

    View attachment 4800

    Now comes the fun part. Form your M1 assembly by shaping the cone, carefully aligning the edges. Edgecolor BEFORE YOU GLUE!. Part M1B goes on the top, as shown:

    View attachment 4801

    And part M1A on the bottom. I put a cardboard backing on part M1A, as this is the part that holds the shape of the cone and it needs the extra support. I highly recommend you do the same. Bevel the edge of the cardboard to match the shape of part M1, and glue in place:

    View attachment 4802

    Getting eager now, aren't you?

    Glue our assembled parts M5 - M2 on top of our M1 Assembly. She's starting to come together nicely!

    View attachment 4803

    More as I get time to build. :grin:

    Attached Files:

  5. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Build, continued...

    Now we start work on the latticework:

    Ton didn't list the latticework structure on the instruction sheet for some reason, so I had to puzzle it out from the reference photos.

    First, we assemble the bottom retaining ring, the Part E1 assembly. Ton gives us two options for part E1; black or red. The black matches the rest of the capsule, the red matches the latticework structure. I went with red. Form E1, edgecolor, and glue part E1A into the bottom. (Be sure to cut out the middle of E1A.) Edgecolor the underside. Glue this on top of our previously assembled capsule structure so that it rests immediately above the M2 Assembly (the part you glued 12 small strips to in the last sequence). Fiddle with it until you get the ring perfectly centered. There's not alot of wiggle room here, so be precise.


    View attachment 4817


    View attachment 4818

    Time for some of that latticework. Cut out parts E3. Ton provides some white duplicates (part E3a) that he directs to glue to the back of the red E3 pieces... I chose to print a duplicate of the E3 parts to keep the inside of the latticework red. Whichever you choose, glue them to the backside of the E3 parts, carefully checking the alignment on the edges. Be sure to edgecolor once you're done.

    Now to make gluing to the attachment ring we just put on easier, I bent the ends of the prongs up slightly to match the angle. I used CA glue to put these on- if you do too, only use a teeny tiny bit. One swipe at the top of the prong to secure it to part E2 (the red triangle on top of our capsule assembly) and a little bit on the end of each prong is more than enough. Glue so the top end of each prong (the part that glues to E2) is just a hair above E2. In other words, dont glue it flush. This will help to attach the other latticework we'll be doing soon. See the picture below to see what I mean:

    View attachment 4819

    That's all for now... more later.

    Attached Files:

  6. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    GAH! So much for the easy parts.

    The upper latticework is a living nightmare of precision cutting. Of course I had to make it more difficult on myself... Ton gives the lattice as a one sided piece- which would mean the interior of the lattice would be white. YUCK!

    We can't stand for that, can we?

    I didn't think so.

    Sooooo... we either color the white with, say... a red Sharpie marker; or we do what masochistic modelers like me do:

    Copy the image of the latticework to MSPaint, flip it horizontally, convert the JPG to PDF and print it! Wallah, instant reverse image for the inside of the latticework.

    Of course, this means that we have not one, but TWO lattice structures to cut out...

    We love ourselves, don't we? :grin:

    So, after that's done, we carefully align them and glue them together.

    Score the fold lines and glue the edges. I cut off the tab provided by Ton and used CA to join the edges. Here's the latticework, assembled:

    View attachment 4820

    Now keep in mind, this is before edgecoloring and final straightening, so don't judge it too harshly yet. However, my eyes are burning from being too tired and I'll edgecolor it tomorrow, which will be another fun step. :roll:

    Just for kicks, here's a dry fit of the latticework in position on the capsule assembly:

    View attachment 4821

    More tomorrow. Hope you guys are enjoying the build thread.

    Attached Files:

  7. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    And the cheering section goes wild!!!

    Yeah Baby, that's what I'm talk'n bout!

  8. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    looks great! Out of curiosity you do your edge coloring after assembly?? I dont think I have seen that too often.... How do you do your edge colors?
  9. OldSalt

    OldSalt Member

    And the awestruck crowd goes WILD!!!! Great super-clean build. Thanks for sharing!
  10. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    wow!!! thanks for documenting this build so well. you've really outdone yourself with the photography (and the build) One suggestion, you must run out to the stationary store and get a red sharpie marker and do those edges on the red support structure. the white edges are really noticiable.

    heres another thought I just came up with. if on the main capsule while its flat, you take a ball point pen and trace out the panels from the inside pushing hard, you will score all those painted panels on the capsule giving them a bit of texture and a slight 3D effect that would be really cool. I hope that I explained that ok. you can still do it to your model, simply reprint the cone sheet of the capsule (maybe at 101%) score the lines and re-wrap the capsule.
  11. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Thanks for the praise guys!


    I do my edge coloring both before and after assembly- it depends on the part I'm working on. Primarily, though, I do it after on the outside edges. I always color the seam lines before, and will run a little color on the glue tabs as well. With the lattice, I decided to do it after assembly, due to the intricate nature of the piece.

    I use a combination of Sharpie markers and RoseArt colored pencils. You have to be careful with the Sharpies to avoid bleeding- it's something of an art getting it right. The colored pencils won't bleed, but do require more work (I moisten the tips to get the color to flow better) and the resulting color isn't as pronounced. However, this can be a benefit if you're shading rather than filling.


    Thanks Jon! I hope you don't mind my providing the links to you site in my threads. It was your site that got me started on the hobby.

    As I said above, I hadn't done the edgecoloring on the latticework yet, so you're seeing it unfinished. I definately wouldn't let that detail go! I just posted the pic at about 2:00 AM my time, so it had to wait.

    I use a really nice Olympus 6.0 Megapixel camera (model FE-120) for my pics. I always use a tripod and the timed shutter to get clear shots. It has a both Macro and SuperMacro mode so I can get in reaaaaaallly close. I never use flash on my pics because it washes out the details.

    Shoot, I wish I had thought of the panel tracing you're talking about before I did the cone... hmmmmm.
  12. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    MIND??? Its encouraged... Love seeing my name/website published/talked about.

    Good to know about the camera. My Flash just busted on my Sony DSC-W1, I'm thinking the camera needs to be replaced soon.

    all you have to do is make up another wrap for the cone...
  13. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Cool. Glad you don't mind... I'll be doing lots of builds from your site!

    The Olympus is great. Took me 3 digitals before I found the right one.

    Actually, I decided to go another route... can you guess what I'm doing?

    View attachment 4822

    Attached Files:

  14. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    even better! you've added a double layer on the white edges! lots of cutting, but it will be worth it in the end.
  15. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Embossing Tip

    Hi ekuth,

    Thanks for a wonderful build thread! More cheers, hip-hips and hoorays from the crowd! I chime in and agree that your pictures in the existing light are very professional and clear. It´s a good practice to use a tripod for steady shots and you can also have your hands in the picture. Very well done and very instructive - it´s a pleasure to watch.
    Your Mercury build is beautiful and you are a fast builder as always. Very impressive.


    I am actually thinking about doing something similar - I have built Ton´s 1:24 model about half way (I´ve cut all the zillion circles and the red latticework escape tower is finished) but I am simultaneously doing a re-colouring of the Delta 7/Fiddlersgreen 'Friendship 7' Mercury capsule (it´s a bit too blue).
    On this model the pattern on the panels is drawn up. I thought I might try to emboss those lines from the printed side of the sheet, giving it a more realistic look, especially with side lighting. I think I´m going to do it on a plastic light table, with a thin mat or felt in between, to get a deep texture. I´ll test some tools, for example a knitting needle or pin, a folding bone or some other blunt object with a handle. Embossing through a plastic foil might help prevent the printed surface from cracking up. I think I read somewhere (Gil?) that it is also advisable to moist the paper ever so lightly, so it doesn´t 'buckle'.
    Have you heard of anyone else who successfully did this to a Mercury card model? I am all ears . . .
    With this kind of structural reinforcement horizontal-wise (I think this was the intention on the real spacecraft) it might be a little difficult to get a nice, even round shape when you start rolling the capsule 'skin' - I think it´s probably best to pre-roll it in advance - what´s your opinion on this, Jon?
    I know René Pinos/formerly 'Harrier' built Ton´s model over on but I don´t remember seeing that he embossed it.

    Here´s a picture the "Liberty Bell 7" Mercury capsule, in which astronaut Gus Grissom orbited (it is also this capsule that sunk, when the hatch blew from a malfunction) - the deep metal-plate reinforcement line pattern on the panels can clearly be seen:


    Best regards,
    Bengt :grin:
  16. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Thanks Bengt!


    Close... but nope!

    Okay, here is the latticework after edgecolor correction. Which I have officially decided that I hate to do. BLEAH!!!!

    Still, it's worth it for the look. Sigh.

    Almost done with the ribbing on the capsule... it's coming out quite nicely, I think.

    Lattice Off:

    View attachment 4941

    And another dry fit:

    View attachment 4942

    Attached Files:

  17. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Mercury Capsule Model with Launch Escape Tower by Ton Noteboom

    A-Okay, ekuth,

    The red escape tower looks very good now, after colouring the edges! Well done.

    By the way, did you watch the take-of of the space shuttle 'Discovery' yesterday evening? They finally made it, on the second (favourable) attempt.
    It´s all over the front pages here in Sweden, because we finally got the first Swede in space - 49-year old mission specialist Christer Fuglesang (which by the way has a very proud Norwegian father, who watched it in Florida). Christer will help mount a new truss segment and perform repair work on the International Space Station. We wish him the best of luck here in Sweden.

    Bengt :grin:

    PS. (edited in): I noticed the beautiful brass or golden clock on the wooden stand on your desk - is it some kind of gift?
  18. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Thanks Bengt. The tower was a real pain, but as it's one of the primary pieces on the capsule, I couldn't be lax. I'll be moving on to more interesting territory later today and I'll post some more shots.

    I did indeed catch the launch... one of our satellite TV channels broadcasts all the launches in HD, which look splendid on my 80" bigscreen. :grin:

    Very cool about Christer! I'll ask my friends that work for JSC in Houston if they know him. Chances are, they do- one of my friends there is a mission trainer who works the simulations with the astronauts; training them for emergencies, simulations, ect.

    LOL. The clock is actually a desk set my wife bought me for Christmas two years ago. Engraved, brass. Pen and pencil set. The ironic thing is that the end of the pen and pencil are perfect for forming small cones...
  19. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Back to the Build!

    Alright... after finally finishing the ribbing detail on the capsule assembly and coloring it just so, I turned my attention to finishing our nemesis, the latticework assembly. Fortunately, it gets interesting again. Next up is the escape tower rocket assembly.

    Parts for the escape tower rocket:

    View attachment 5009

    Again, starting from the top down. First is our top (up, that's what Ton calls it, no part number). Simple cone shape.


    View attachment 5010


    View attachment 5011

    Next on the list is the Part A assembly. Form your cylinder:

    View attachment 5012

    Now notice that there are two strips that are glued in place on the outside. Parts E and E2. Part E runs horizontally and E2 vertically.

    Part E applied:

    View attachment 5013

    Attached Files:

  20. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    WOW!!! Just WOW!!! :-D

    Also sir, I like your idea of white gule-on-syringe tool!!! Precision gluing!!! :-D

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