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

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

  1. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Part E2 applied:

    View attachment 5015

    Now we put our formers into place, starting with Part B on the top.

    This is more friction fit work, so watch your tolerances and be careful, shimming as necessary.

    Notice the hole in the middle of the piece- Ton does not specify to cut this out, but I did. Main reason being that this is where our tube for the top piece we just did will be attached, and I know from experience that a simple butt edge glue here is structurally weak. I prefer to get the tube down in there for some extra support.

    Part B in place:

    View attachment 5017

    And Part D for the bottom:

    View attachment 5018

    Next, we need to take a plain piece of regular weight paper for our tube for the top. You can either color it with a marker, or do what I did and reprint this page, using the body of Part A for my red area. Roll the tube to fit snugly inside the hole we made in Part B. I wrapped the paper around the needle of my glue syringe- I suppose a toothpick would do as well.

    Once you have it formed, CA glue one end to the inside of our "Top" cone:

    View attachment 5019

    Another view. Looks like a little red toadstool.

    View attachment 5021

    Attached Files:

  2. rlwhitt

    rlwhitt Active Member


    Killer build, great pics (as has been covered already!), lookin' great!

    One question - what sort of syringe is that you are using?

  3. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Now we take our "toadstool" assembly and use a drop of CA to glue it inside of our Part A assembly. Careful not to use too much CA or you'll get a nasty fillet around the hole.

    View attachment 5022

    Moving right along, we turn our attention to Part F. Glue this in place on the bottom of the Part A assembly, with the red band facing up. Now glue Part G to Part F, aligning it carefully so that the little red triangles are facing UP.

    View attachment 5023

    Now, take Part H and turn it over so that the red triangles are on the BOTTOM. Glue this to Part G, carefully aligning the triangles. You will notice that the triangles on Part H are slightly smaller than those above on Part G... don't worry, you didn't mis-cut. Our latticework will be glued here in a bit.

    View attachment 5024

    Now, we form a cone of Part I.

    This next part is CRITICAL.

    Pay close attention to the alignment of the circles and triangles when we glue this to Part H. The circles should be BETWEEN the triangles. The easiest way to ensure this is to line the seam on Part I up with the tip of one of the triangles on Part H.

    Proper alignment:

    View attachment 5025

    Now, form Parts J into small cones. I colored the inside black before glueing, I recommend you do the same. Once formed, glue them in place over the blue circles on Part I. I recommend you align the seams on each cone so that they point to the INSIDE of Part I. This will help to hide them.

    All three cones in place:

    View attachment 5026

    Attached Files:

  4. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    :grin: Underside of the now completed Part A assembly, showing the proper placement of the escape tower rocket exhaust tubes:

    View attachment 5027

    Now the payoff for all that work on the lattice! Glue the Part A assembly to the top of the latticework. The top of the lattice is the smaller end. Align carefully! I used CA to secure, with a drop on each corner for strength.

    View attachment 5028

    Now, we can dry fit it to the capsule and see how she looks! What's that you say? Why not glue it to the capsule now? Because we still have to work on the retro pack assembly and the bottom of the capsule, silly! Safest to wait until last to secure this. Trust me.

    But, at least we can get a preview:

    View attachment 5029

    Ahhh.... that was worth the work.

    Next up, we'll put the bottom on our capsule. This is part HS1 and HS1a. Ton does a decent job coming up with a texture that looks like gold foil, but I went hunting and found some of the real deal (well, not real gold, but it looks really nice). Extra points for anyone who can tell me what I used. And no, I don't smoke.

    So, form HS1 into a cone shape and let dry.

    HS1a is another of those parts that needs a cardboard backing, so laminate that and cut out, beveling the edges to fit the inside curve of HS1. Glue in place:

    View attachment 5030

    Now glue your foil in place, leaving a smidgeon extra around the diameter so we can wrap it over the edge and glue it to the underside. Be sure to leave a hole for the retropack assembly. Glue doesn't stick to foil too well. I took and printed another part HS1 to use as a template for my foil and it worked great. Crinkle your foil paper and smooth out before glueing to give it that authentic look:

    View attachment 5031

    Now glue the whole assembly to the bottom of our capsule assembly. Starting to look like a spacecraft!

    Attached Files:

  5. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member


    I use a large syringe that I scavenged from one of my inkjet refill kits. It works great, keeps the build clean and allows you to easily control how much glue you're putting on. I believe it's a 30cc capacity. One filling will generally last me an entire build. 8)
  6. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    damn that foil looks good. candy wrapper???
  7. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Correct, sir! Give the man a prize. :grin:

    Specifically, it's the wrapper from a Hershey's Symphony (Almond and Toffe Chip w/ Milk Chocolate) 1/2 pound bar. $1.25 at Wal-Mart beats $8.00 for a 2 pack of gold foil at Michaels Craft Store. Produces almost a full size (8.5 x 11) sheet of lovely, glueable gold foil.

    Never thought I'd be buying candy purely for the paper! :roll:
  8. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    And the chocolate is a bonus!:grin:

  9. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Let's finish her up!

    On to the final parts: The Retro Pack!


    Parts cut out and ordered:

    View attachment 5042

    First step is to form Part A into a cylinder. The dotted line goes at the top. Glue Part B to the inside of Part A, aligning the bottom of the notches along the edge. (Although you may want to omit this part. More on that in a moment.) Then, flip Part A over and glue Part C on the inside to that it butts up against the bottom of Part B. Roll Part D to fit inside Part A and glue it inside, just a single card layer thickness from the bottom edge of Part A. This will give us an edge to glue Part E onto. Speaking of, glue Part E onto the bottom of Part A, flush with the edge. This finishes the Part A assembly.


    View attachment 5043


    View attachment 5044

    Now form Part F into a cone shape:

    View attachment 5045

    And glue to the bottom of Part E, on the underside of the Part A assembly:

    View attachment 5046

    Attached Files:

  10. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Now we take this entire subassembly and glue to the bottom of our capsule assembly, inside the blue circle. Now we see the reason we might want to leave out Part B above... while it does provide nice teeth to glue to the heat shield, it also makes it difficult to get a nice tight seam between the two parts. Deciding that there was plenty of surface area to make a good bond already, I carefully cut the teeth off of Part B and glued it flush with a nice fillet of glue:

    View attachment 5047

    Now for the fun fiddly tiny bits.

    Take Parts G and form them into cone shapes. Take Parts H and form them into cylinders. Glue Part H inside of the center of Part G, aligning the stripes to match. I used CA glue for this step.

    Now Glue Part I on the edge of Part H. I found it easiest to push Part I into Part H from the backside, gently working it down the cylinder until flush with the edge. Put a drop of glue on the inside to secure. White glue was used here.

    Repeat this 3 times until you have these nice little guys:

    View attachment 5048

    Now glue our assembled Part G's to the blue circles on Part F. I noticed that Part G is slightly larger than the blue circle, so run your glue bead accordingly. White glue seemed the best bet here. Try to align the stripes on Part G to match the outside edge of Part F.

    At this point, roll the incredibly tiny Part J into three cones and CA glue them in place on the teeny tiny circles on Part F. Look close, you'll see them.

    All parts in place:

    View attachment 5049

    Now for the tie down straps. Take Parts K and center them along the edge of Part F, between Parts G. Refer to the photo below for proper placement. A drop of CA on the edge of Part F seemed the easiest way to attach these. Angle them down slightly as show.

    View attachment 5050

    Now take Parts L and glue them to Parts K, aligning the bottom section of Part K with the triangular section of Part L. See below:

    View attachment 5051

    Attached Files:

  11. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Now, secure the long black sections of Part L to the middle of Part F, running them between Parts G. Attach the other end of Part L (the pipe looking section) to the edge of our heatshield, trimming as necessary. Secure this end with a drop of CA. With that, the retro pack assembly is finished.

    View attachment 5052

    Side View:

    View attachment 5053

    Now, the moment we've been waiting for: Let's glue that latticework assembly in place!

    Place a SMALL drop of CA inside the bottom of each of the latticework beams. Place the beam ends on top of the small parts we left sticking up on the top of the capsule. Very, very, very carefully (and quickly) align the latticework on top of the capsule, checking for straightness.

    If you mess this up, it will never look right and will haunt you in your sleep for all eternity.

    And with that, our 1/24 Mercury Capsule is done!

    Glory shot time!

    Straight and tall:

    View attachment 5054

    Close up of the tower:

    View attachment 5055

    Close up of the capsule:

    View attachment 5056

    Attached Files:

  12. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Close up of the Heatshield/Retro Pack:

    View attachment 5057

    The whole enchilada.

    View attachment 5058

    Hope you all have enjoyed watching the build and that it will be helpful if you decide to tackle this one for yourself.

    I found it a fun build, not as complicated as other of Ton's offerings.

    Model Rating (1 to 5; 1 being Easy, 5 being Insanely Hard): 3

    Difficulty of construction: 3
    Quality of Instructions: 3

    Hours spent: Roughly 8 to 10 (a good weekend project)


    Like all of Ton Noteboom's models, this one is extremely well designed and accurate. While I would not recommend them for beginners, this particular model is a good way to get your feet wet on his style. As noted in the build, he prefers friction fit over tab construction for his formers, which can be challenging.

    Instructions are almost entirely done with exploded diagrams and a few reference shots, but these are generally very sparse and can leave you scratching your head at critical junctures in the build. :-?

    Often, it can be difficult to determine whether a part goes on the inside or outside of another. Occasionally, steps are not shown, such as the latticework construction.

    By the same token, more experienced builders might enjoy the challenge in figuring out the finer details for themselves. 8)

    If you're looking for a beautiful and moderately challenging build, try this one on for size. You won't be sorry! :)

    Attached Files:

  13. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Mercury Capsule Model with Launch Escape Tower by Ton Noteboom


    A very nice heat shield with the matte wrinkled gold foil! Looks really good.
    And your careful work with the retro pack is inspiring - now all you have to do is paint the insides of the tiny thruster nozzles of the retro pack matte gray with your smallest brush . . .

    On the whole, one of the best build threads I´ve seen - thanks!

    Bengt :grin:
  14. ekuth

    ekuth Active Member

    Thanks, Bengt!

    Honestly, I don't have a brush that small. I'm not even sure a .000 would be able to do it. Perhaps a really really small needle... :roll:
  15. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    Now there's only 1 thing missing... The ROCKET :-D

    But that would be very big... maybe later [​IMG]
  16. Nothing

    Nothing Longtime Member

    great certainly inspire me to step up my game!:grin:
  17. C Greg

    C Greg New Member

    the 6 mm bead

    To make the 6 mm bead for the top cone, I tore off a bit of Kleenex (facial tissue), added some tacky white glue and rolled it into a ball. Painted with acrylic craft paint. It ended up smooth.
    However, I made the bead a bit too small and so it sticks out a little too far. Maybe next time...

  18. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member

    Good Evening Ekuth,

    Brilliant job on the Mercury, and your build-thread is much appreciated.

    I'm just finishing up work on your SA-5. Excellent design made it a lot of fun. Although MY modelling skills lack somewhat, it came out very nice. Thanks for making it available for everyone.

    Steve Austin

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