MARS Center Shuttle -- Atlantis

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by dhanners, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    AFRSI Blankets

    Hi David,

    You are really doing a wonderful job of this model - the leading edges of the wings look fantastic. I also like the way you handle the AFRSI blankets.
    I came to think of something, by the way; if you have problems of a good fit around the round areas of the OMS pods, have you tried to roll the craft paper sheets before you cut them out and fit them? It might be easier to have a round shape, if they are sort of 'pre-shaped' already.

    All the best from Stockholm,
    Bengt :thumb:

    I found this very nice photo of STS-115 Atlantis landing at Kennedy Space Center - the low, harsh flood-lighting really brings out all the joints and seams of the AFRSI blanket pattern - in fact, it looks just like your model!:

  2. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks for the tips, gang. I did spend some time a few years back researching the "proper" weathering and areas of discoloration on the shuttle, so I think I've got that covered when the time comes to do it to this model:
  3. exzealot

    exzealot Member


    If I didn't know better, I would swear that this is a photo of your model.

  4. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks for the kind words. The next bit of assembly will involve the nose section, and it kind of makes me nervous. In my opinion, shuttle models (both card and styrne) are made or broken by the forward cabin and nose. You've got to get all those compound curves, soft bends and occasional sharp bends right or the whole thing will look off. Add to that the fact that the cross section of the rear of the cabin top is different from the vehicle's cross section at the rear of the payload bay doors, and it makes for some inventive modeling.

    I hope to get some photos posted tonight of the progress so far. I'll probably start on the nose this weekend.
  5. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Here's where things stand now. I just taped stuff together for the photos, so don't get on my case about fit issues. At least not yet....

    I'll be covering the black lines that represent the T-seals on the wing leading-edge RCC panels with thin strips of gray paper to more accurately replicate what the real T-seals look like.

    Also, don't worry about the underside. It'll be weathered after everything else is done.

    Attached Files:

  6. Shin_kazama

    Shin_kazama Member

    i was just being superstitious, about the flag flowing with the wind representing the superstitious wind blowing against the soldier compared to front to forward flag sewn/painted which to me kinda represents the winds pushing the soldier on..

    nah forget about it....sign1
  7. NYC Irish

    NYC Irish Member

    I think that it is more about respect to the flag and having it "facing" the direction of travel/ front of the Orbiter..

    I think anyway...

    And of course well Done, Great build

    John John
  8. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Enough of the "reverse" flag/superstition thing already. The website has a bit on it, showing a photo of Air Force One with the reverse flag on the starboard side. It goes on to say:

    "...The flag decals show the union (the blue area) on the side closer to the front of the plane. On the plane's left, the decal shows the flag with the union at the left, as usual. On the plane's right side, is a "right flag" or "reversed field flag" or "reverse flag," with the union on the right. This is done so that the flag looks as if it is blowing in the wind created by the forward movement. You can see this on cars and trucks as well."

    And on the space shuttle....

    It also says that when a flag patch is worn on a servicemember's right sleeve, a "reverse" flag is to be used because it places the union closest to the heart.

    Now back to modeling. I'll take the MARS Center page with the fuselage sides on it down to a print shop on my lunch hour and get it reverse-printed at 104 percent (so it's in 1/96th scale) and then cut out the reverse flag and glue it over the wrong flag that's on the model. Simple fix.
  9. underwoodl06

    underwoodl06 Member

    Thanks for clearing up the superstition David, That is pretty much my thought process on it but now I know the exact reason.
  10. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    I spent my lunch hour at a Kinko's doing the re-sizing and printing of some extra sheets for the model, plus the payload bay sheet with flags that I can reverse. The place was a madhouse, and as I was walking back to my office, it struck me that I had printed out everything at 106 percent -- and it should've been 104 percent to make it 1/96th scale. Ugh. I'll have to do them over. But I'll go to some other copy shop.

    As I was walking, I also started giving thought to re-doing the rear end, largely because I have concerns about the joint contour between the front of the OMS pods and the PBDs. I'll just have to see how things fit. I think when they designed this particular shuttle model, they designed it with the aim of displaying it with the PBDs open, so their fit when closed wasn't a huge concern. That's my suspicion, but I could be wrong. I've never designed a card model kit, so I wouldn't begin to criticize the work of someone who has. But I may be building this model in a way the designer never really intended.
  11. Shin_kazama

    Shin_kazama Member

    i got the same experience once on my early build of alfonso's shuttle Atlantis...

    it should have been printed with pagescaling=none but i had printed a 96% zoom ratio.

    and having things printed from different shops, you may end up printing it at 100% but different versions of adobe pdf/photoshop have different settings..
    like 100% from another shop may end up just 92% for another.

    i suggest patronizing and frequenting one single shop.

    also, befriend one of the shop guys, as what they say, familiarity will result in some price slashing:thumb:.
  12. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Well, I took a bit of a detour, finally biting the bullet and re-doing the rear section. I got concerned about the fit of the payload bay doors, and when I started looking at the thing, I noticed that one of the OMS pods (which I was never happy with to begin with) was off-center and the more I looked at it, the more it bugged me.

    I built a new rear section (after getting the MARS Center parts photocopied at the correct 104 percent this time) and, taking a bit more time to figure out the fit of the OMS pods, I think I got it. The instructions were not at all helpful in this, but I did a lot of dry-fitting and it worked out. Also, this time around, I decided to put the AFRSI tiles on after the OMS pods were formed, not before. I've dry-fitted the rear to the fuselage. You'll note the new, improved, REVERSED American flag.

    I had the sides of the rear section copied onto a light cream-colored paper, as many of my reference photos show that section of the orbiter with a slight discoloration.

    Next, I'll "launch" into the nose section....

    Attached Files:

  13. Flight deck

    Does ant anyone know where I can find a flight deck for my shuttle?
  14. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    I've no idea where one might find a flight deck to go with this model, although I'm thinking there's probably one around....

    Got the nose shaped and glued on. It's a bear to build a structure like the shuttle's nose in card, but here it is. I haven't yet applied the AFRSI blankets, so this is the "bare" version. And, thankfully, the blankets will cover up some of the flaws and glue stains. The glue is still curing, and once it has cured, I'll start doing the fine-tuning on the shaping, primarily the chines.

    I was pleasantly surprised with how the nosecap turned out. I did a lot of shaping of it before gluing, and once it was shaped and glued, I smeared a thin film of woodworking glue on it and, once that was dry, I sanded it to a shape I liked. Then I painted it to resemble RCC, which is a gray with a bit of a greenish tint. (While I was doing it, I also repainted the RCC panels on the wing.)

    The star tracker doors were opened up and backed with a three-layer lamination with holes cut in it. The three RCS exhaust openings in front of the crew cabin were cut out with a paper punch and small black cones were glued inside; later, I'll paint around their edges with a metallic-colored paint. I didn't open up the other RCS ports because I'm building the shuttle in the launch configuration, and at launch, all the RCS ports (except the three in front of the crew cabin windows) are protected from the elements by plastic coverings that blow out when the RCS motors fire. Later, I'll add small pieces of paper cut the appropriate size and shape to replicate the covers.

    I stuck on the new rear end (it's not glued yet) for the photo.

    Once the glue is cured and I get it shaped the way I like it, I'll glue on the payload bay door formers and clamp the model up, then the rear end, then the payload bay doors, engines, elevons, etc.

    Then I just have to start on scratchbuilding the ET and SRBs....

    Attached Files:

  15. underwoodl06

    underwoodl06 Member

    Wow David, The star trackers look fantastic and I'd have to say practically realistic in depth. Your build is turning out great and especially clean compared to (at least that I know of) my first build of this shuttle model especially with shaping the nose.

    Do you have any idea what the extra set of windows are that come on the page just to the left of the cockpit? I can't quite figure out what they are for because I have not seen any of the orbiters with the black tiles around the 2nd set of windows from the center.

    Finally, about the interior, there is an interior that comes with the original 1/72 scale betexa model. So it will be hard finding it. Good luck.
  16. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    I agree, that's one fine looking "nose"... :-D

    It will look better once its covered with its second "skin" :-D
  17. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    I have no idea what the extra set of windows are for. Maybe they're extras to do Enterprise? I dunno....

    Thought I'd add a couple of photos while things are drying. Please excuse the messy workbench. I applied the AFRSI blankets to the nose, and now I'm letting my homemade PBD formers (the things that the big blue clamps are holding) dry; I used woodworking glue on them since they're heavy cardboard.

    Since my AFRSI blankets covered the lettering and warning placards on the starboard side, I photocopied the MARS Center sheet onto relatively thin paper and cut out the placards and the Atlantis letting that goes on both sides by the cockpit. It's just as well, as the model has the lettering in the wrong location for the Orbiter as it is now.

    Once the glue on the PBD formers is dry and cured, I'll tweak their shape with a sanding block to make sure everything is uniform. I'm trying to think through whether it makes sense to glue the rear on first or the payload bay doors.

    I'll probably be done with the Orbiter tomorrow. Then I'm on to the rest of the stack.

    Attached Files:

  18. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Ya-hoo. Major construction of my 1/96th-scale Orbiter Atlantis is done. I've still got some tweaking and touch-up to do, like detailing the payload bay hinges, but everything is glued together. There's no parts left on the sheets or in my sub-assembly boxes that I can see. This wasn't the easiest build in the world, but it wasn't a nightmare. If I were to do a second one, I learned some good lessons on this one that I could apply and make things a bit easier.

    In the last photo, I posed it next to my build-up of Leo's Energia-Buran to give you an idea of the relative sizes of the U.S. and Russian space shuttles. And eventually, after I've build the ET and SRBs, I'll display them side-by-side.

    Attached Files:

  19. underwoodl06

    underwoodl06 Member

    David, it looks fantastic and it turned out to be a really clean build in my opinion, especially after taking the extra step of teaking the details here and there. I can see a practice build in bottom picture right below the nose of Atlantis or is that another build?

    Secondly, What is the misplacement of the names and details on the nose of the shuttle? I'll have to definitely take a look at that when I get back home after Christmas.
    Also, did you make your own PBD formers from scratch or from an existing model some where? If you have a print out made up, It'd be great if you could publish it to the people. I would find it useful when I make my models of Columbia, Atlantis and Endeavour.

    I can't wait to see your work on the Stack build.
  20. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks for the kind words. That shuttle in the background is an old Revell styrene 1/144th-scale shuttle I built years ago. It was in storage in my garage, but I brought it in halfway through the build because I realized that having a 3D model nearby helped me figure out how some of the paper parts should look once done. I didn't have it on my first go-round with the OMS pods, but having it around helped with my second try with them, in particular.

    As for the PBD formers, there are five of them. The rear four have the rounded U-shape. For them, I made a template out of joining the piece for the rear of the payload bay with pieces from the front of the OMS pods. There's a trapezoidal piece that makes the rear of the payload bay; if you're building the kit with the PBDs open, it is to be glued to the front of the engine section. I took that piece and glued it to a piece of cardboard. Then, I cut the (roughly) hemispherical pieces off the front of the OMS pods and glued them to the edges of the trapezoidal piece, kind of like gluing on Mickey Mouse's ears. That produces the appropriate shape, the rounded "U" shape. I then used that piece as a template to cut four similar pieces out of cardboard.

    For the front PBD former - the one that goes right next to the back of the crew cabin -- I used the kit piece that represents the back of the crew cabin (or front end of the payload bay) as a template and cut it out of cardboard.

    I should note that before I start a build, I usually make two or three photocopies of each page of pieces so I have extra pieces, in case I need them -- as in this example.

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