Overheard at the foot of the Saturn V

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by X Sonic, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. X Sonic

    X Sonic New Member

    This was like a science fair at the local elementary, but I was asked to exhibit some space stuff. I brought my recently semi-completed Saturn V, the Apollo capsule, some print-out information, a couple of books and related items.

    I stood nearby to answer any questions (and to make sure that nobody touched the Saturn V because it wasn't attached to anything to keep it from toppling over. Before I take something out for public display, I think carefully about how I would react if there were an incident and the item was damaged or destroyed. If I feel like I can't live with that worst-case scenario then I won't bring it out for display.

    So that being said, there were some interesting things that I observed or overheard. I found that if I stood right by my display, people would avoid it, as if I looked like I was trying to sell them insurance or an investment opportunity. It worked better if I stood just within earshot and then I could move in to answer any questions or say something to encourage space-related conversation. The thing that I heard most frequently was "That's the space shuttle", from PARENTS, as they shuffled by the display. I resisted the urge to rush over and say something like, "Excuse me, sir, do you see any wings on it? Shouldn't the space shuttle have wings?" but I held my tongue. Besides, those people had no interest and were gone barely before they finished mumbling their words.

    Other people recognized the Saturn V, and I rather enjoyed listening to them talk about it and the Apollo program. And then there were some who looked at it as if there were something iconic that they should know, but just couldn't find it within memory. So I would prompt them with something like, "It's the moon rocket, that took American astronauts to the moon..." "Oh, yes, that's right..."

    Now almost all of the other displays and exhibits were made by students, and there was one 10 year old boy walking around with his parents, giving them a tour of his classmates' works. When they came by my area, he said to his parents disdainfully, "They just BOUGHT this."

    I couldn't stay quiet for that! I clarified that it was a model, that I had downloaded from the internet and built, out of paper. The kid looked a little confused, but still convinced that this was some kind of 25 piece kit that somehow just snaps together quickly, without paint or glue.

    "Yeah, but you just print it out and put it together", he retorted. Well, there was no point in arguing that, and they had already shuffled off to find something that didn't look so manufactured and phony by that point anyways.

    After all that, the Saturn V has gone into storage. If I get the opportunity to do this again, I will hopefully have a few weeks advance notice, and I will use that time to finish up the exterior details that I wasn't able to get to this time. I will also do the internal tanks and motors, and plan to display it horizontally and seperated by stages to give people a better understanding of how it works. I'll need to build an entirely new interstage - my current one is over-reinforced with cardboard rings and wood dowels, it's designed to hold stage 1 and stage 2 together solidly but it sure doesn't look pretty on the inside!

    Attached is a photo...I think it looks a little lopsided, but by this point a few kids had tugged at it or bumped the table, so it might have gotten out of alignment...
    lyter1958 likes this.
  2. zathros

    zathros SENIOR Administrator

    I am sure the kids couldn't keep their hands off of it. I'd consider making some internal supports, and filling small sections with "Great Stuff, letting it expand, and when it stops expanding, push down the top cover piece cover, it will stick to the paper, and give rigidity to the model. Great display!! ;)
  3. nero_on_fire

    nero_on_fire New Member

    If you are thinking of the foam used in construction, just don't! I read a blog some years ago where someone tried it, the results were horrible:



    The problem with construction foam is, that it is very unstable and expands uncontrolled in every direction in different speeds and lenghts. The risk of literally destroying your model is very high...
  4. X Sonic

    X Sonic New Member

    Thanks for the warning. I had used that foam for trying to make diorama landscape some years ago, and saw some of it's crazy unpredictable properties. My experience was that laying down small, thin layers or strands was ok, but if you made a big blob (like a mountain), the outside cured long before the inside did, so the inside might keep expanding and trying to push out. Sometimes it succeeded. I never tried using it inside a model though...

    Also at some time in the past, I saw that it was used to make simulated "explosions" or fireballs in a diorama. I experimented with that, but couldn't get satisfactory results. But I have seen other people who used it very well for that purpose. Of course, it has to be painted up nicely for that too...

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