MARS Center Shuttle -- Atlantis

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

  1. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member


    Outstanding job. Your photos above are difficult to distinguish from the actual vehicle.

    I especially like your chalk work for the scorching.
  2. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks. I, too, was pleased with how the pastel chalk turned out. I wasn't sure what to expect, frankly, and it turned out better than I thought it would. Although, truth be told, I was a bit understated in the underside weathering; I've seen some photos of the Orbiter's belly that looked more gray than anything else.

    Then again, I was admiring the job this morning and then it hit me: When I wind up attaching it to the ET, you won't see that much of the underside anyway. Kind of a bummer.

    I'm supposed to pick up my order from the photocopying shop tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to start on the ET this weekend. I took Bill Spencer's stuff in and had it photocopied at 104 percent to make it 1/96th scale; for the ET, I'll be using his pieces as templates, and I may use most of his RSRM pieces outright, but with some additional detail and scratchbuilding.

    I've amassed a nice little file of various technical drawings and photos of the ET's plumbing, orbiter attachment fittings and other details so I'll not be able to blame any screw-ups on a lack of research....
  3. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    I started building the External Tank today. got the nose and bottom dome done, and I got the tube cut down that I'm going to use as the body for the ET.

    I'm using a rust-colored textured craft paper that I found for the ET. My plan is to add some of the color variations seen on the ET either by sanding the paper or using pastel chalk. I hope the texture shows up in the photos; I'm thinking it'll look pretty decent once done.

    As for the ET's body, I'm using a model rocket tube as the basis, then I'll put some of the paper around it. I figure for a model of this size, I need the rigidity that a model rocket tube provides. I couldn't find any in the diameter of a 1/96th-scale ET, though -- 3 3/8ths inch -- so I got one that was a bit bigger, cut a slice out of it lengthwise, then used the slice I cut out as a backing and made a butt joint. I had to do it to two tubes to make it the length I need. I had Bill Spencer's 1/100th-scale ET parts enlarged to 1/96th scale, and used it for the nose parts and bottom dome.

    Once the body is dry, I'll apply the outer skin (seen at the right in the second photo) and then glue everything together. I can hide the major seams with plumbing, and then it is on the doing the intertank and adding the Orbiter attachment fittings.

    Attached Files:

  4. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Ok, the ET's body is done, except for sanding and minimizing some of the join lines. Once that's done, it is on to the plumbing....

    Attached Files:

    • ET1.jpg
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  5. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    I should note that the ET in the photos above doesn't have the intertank applied yet. That's next, and I'll be adding the corrugations with thin strips of a double lamination of the same paper used to build the ET.
  6. exzealot

    exzealot Member


    A couple of notes: First, your application of chalk on the bottom side really improved the realism of the heat tiles - nice job!

    AND, the use of textured paper for the external tank is something I would never have thought of. It simulates the insulation very realistically. When you get to the solid rockets, maybe the use of semi-gloss photo paper would make a nice contrast to the liquid tank.


  7. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks for the kind words, Ken. I did sand the ET last night and it looks better now than in the photos; the join lines don't jump out at you quite so much.

    The paper I've selected for the RSRMs (or SRBs) is a "coated text" paper that has a semi-gloss look and slick feel; it is a type of paper often used for brochures. I had planned to do the nose and forward skirt section in a cream-colored paper so they match what I've seen in photos. But oddly enough, I've read on various space and space modeling discussion forums frequented by NASA "pad rats" that the color of the nose and forward skirt is actually white, it's just that it's a different type of white than that used on the sollid-propellant casings.

    Still, those structures look cream-ish to me, so I'll probably go that route. I enlarged Bill Spencer's SRB pages to 1/96th scale, but I may wind up scratchbuilding them because the parts don't scale with 1/96th-scale drawings of the shuttle stack that I have. It's only off by a few millimeters lengthwise, but the only thing I really need printed sheets for are the "Loaded" markings, and I can cut them out and glue them on. I will probably use his parts for the flexible insulation curtain surrounding the exhaust nozzle, and I'll probably use his aft skirt as well.
  8. Bengt F

    Bengt F Active Member

    Marscenter Atlantis Space Shuttle 1:96 Scale


    I´ve been away from this forum for a while now. I was amazed to see your progress with the Atlantis orbiter - a real jaw-dropper . . .

    I especially admire your tenacity in rebuilding the OMS pods in the rear section - what a difference! The have a perfect rounded look now, and the texture is so real. And you´ve got the underside looking very even and 'scorched' ash-grey now - very convincing. And the brown color and texture of the insulated ET body is perfect. The side-by-side photo of the Leo Cherkashyn Buran-Energia model and the Atlantis model is really appealing - can´t wait to see both the finished shuttle packages standing there.

    Amazing artistry, David - thank you for sharing all the photos.

    Bengt :thumb:
  9. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    The texture is perfect sir!!! Great job!!!

    wait... I think I may have seen that type of textured paper at our local bookstore/office supply store...

    I think I'll take a little walk later :twisted:
  10. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Well, before I do the ET's plumbing, I had to do the intertank. I built it out of the a different colored orange textured paper. And, of course, one of the big visual (not to mention structural) elements of the intertank are the ridges. There are four different areas -- front (nearest the Orbiter), back, and two sides. The front and back ridges seem taller, so I laminated three thicknesses of the paper and cut the resulting piece into thin strips. Then I started gluing them on the piece, using a popsicle stick held on its side to provide uniform spacing between each piece. For the side pieces, I simply cut the orange paper into thin strips and glued them on, again using the popsicle stick for spacing.

    I've still got more work to do on the intertank, but I thought I'd post some photos of the progress so far....

    Attached Files:

    • IT1.jpg
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    • IT2.jpg
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    • IT3.jpg
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  11. Shin_kazama

    Shin_kazama Member

    thats a serious build.

    i may try AFRSI-ing my AXM shuttles son, but using the material you used on your plastice Atlantis model, 3M microporetape...
  12. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Well, here are a couple more photos I probably won't be able to see on my computer. No idea what the problem is, but I can't see any posts after Hans Christian's post yesterday.

    Got started on the ET plumbing, but still have more work to do. The gray cable trays are laminated paper. The small silver tubing is silver thread....

    Attached Files:

  13. Nando

    Nando Designer Extraordinaire

    Me too, i can't see Your post whom I can read in the automatic
    notification of the thread's subscription. But I can't see the 11th page
    until You posted the last message, AND NOW I can see the 11th one, but
    not Your last post. :cry:

    I hope this help to solve the problem.

    BTW Your Shuttle is astounding and Your Work on the skin of the ET is wonderful.

    Best, Nando :thumb:
  14. exzealot

    exzealot Member


    This looks great!

  15. bill516

    bill516 Member

    dhanners its really Looking good, have you noticed how the pics of your build seem to be different colours, shows just what a hard job it is trying to match the original.

  16. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Yeah, I noticed the differing colors myself. On my computer, anyway, the photos in my first 1/4 post, before adding the plumbing, more closely resemble the "real" color of the model. As for the "real" color of the ET, don't get me started....

    I still have the nose spike, a few panels to add here and there, the 17-inch fuel and oxydizer feed lines to do, as well as the biggies -- the aft and forward orbiter attachments. The forward one is a relatively simple bipod, but the aft attachment is a whole complex deal on its own. I was hoping to get started on some of it last night, but I went out to go get some groceries, only to discover I had a flat tire. And when I tried to change it -- all in below-freezing Minnesota weather, mind you -- I discovered that when the shop last rotated my tires, they stripped one of the lug nuts so there was no way I could get the tire off.

    Just goes to show there are some problems an X-acto knife, straightedge and white glue won't fix.

    Once I'm done with construction on the ET, I'll use pastel chalks to add light horizontal bands to try and replicate the look of the ET. Originally, I was planning to do most of the ET's coloration with paint, but after I found the rust-colored paper, I decided to try and do everything I could out of paper and avoid paints where I could.

    I will say this -- after getting the ET done, the SRBs should be a breeze, relatively speaking. Then it's just a matter of getting everything lined up and glued together.

    And now, for some reason, I can see all my posts. I deleted the redundant ones.
  17. underwoodl06

    underwoodl06 Member

    David it looks absolutely astounding. I can't believe that it looks so great. It's almost like the real tank. Clever trick using the thread for the piping. You'll definitely have to get some good closeups of the intricate details like the cable trays. Hope you get the tire fixed and get your groceries. Lol, Also, can't wait to see the finished tank.
  18. Hans Christian

    Hans Christian Active Member

    Now THAT"S an ET!!!
  19. dhanners

    dhanners Member

    Thanks for the kind words, gang. I've made a couple of improvements and finished the 17-inch LO2 feedline, but I won't be gluing it on until I get the aft orbiter attachment fitting done, which hopefully will be this weekend. The forward orbiter attachment doesn't look like it'll be too hard to scratchbuild, and then I'll have the ET done. Who knows -- if I can cruise through the solid rocket boosters on Sunday, I could be done by the end of the weekend....

    It'll probably take awhile to get everything lined up, though. I know on Leo's Energia-Buran model, as well-designed as it was, it was a bear getting the big center tank, the boosters and the Buran all lined up and spaced properly and straight.

    I have had difficulty with one part, though, and that's the fairing that is supposed to cover the upper part of the LO2 feedline on the intertank; it's the part that looks like a bullet cut lengthwise. I've tried it out of paper about two or three times, and just can't get it to look right. I finally ended up carving one out of basswood. I may use it directly, or I may use it as a former to help mold paper to the right shape. (And if I just use it directly, I'll tell myself it's ok because paper is made out of wood, so I'm just using a "pre-paper" piece in construction....)
  20. THE DC

    THE DC Member


    Awe not not a strong enough word...

    Is that made of paper?:thumb:

    The DC

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