Author Topic: One man space station  (Read 13202 times)

Offline Frank3k

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One man space station
« on: September 17, 2012, 10:55:03 AM »
I recently bought the Dragon 1/72 Mercury Redstone kit (review at Modeling Madness) primarily for the Mercury capsule.  The capsule is nicely detailed; no interior but far worse, no heatshield. The retrorockets and the open door on the nose are on the sprue, so I don't know why they left the heatshield off.
Since I couldn't build the capsule on its own (I didn't feel like scratchbuilding the heatshield) I thought that turning it into a one-man space station would be a novel idea. I had a vague recollection of a planned long duration Mercury, so I googled it and found Project Gemini: A Chronology. In their list of illustrations, there's figure 3, a proposal for a one manned space station based on Mercury:



One of the tubes that makes up the Redstone kit was just about the right length for the orbital laboratory. An engine intake from an old Revell Battelstar Galactica viper kit fit perfectly as an adapter shroud at the rear. Since I don't plan on building the Atlas Agena stage, I'm going to put a small engine in the rear. I didn't like the bare look of the station, so I made a couple of 1960s style solar panels:



Everything is tacked on right now. The inflated docking tunnel is made of Depron coated with some superglue and Acryl marine glazing putty. The fairing is just styrene. I still need to add some external doodads and reshape the tunnel.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 11:40:04 AM »
Oh, that looks quite promising.  I wonder if this was a predecessor to the MOL? 

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 09:37:22 PM »
 Now that's interesting! I had to look twice at the access tunnel before I figured it out ( but its early
 Monday morning...) the 'shield' over the tunnel is probably the oddest thing to my eye-I assume that
 would have been flush with the capsule surface on launch.

 Don't forget some camera windows-I suspect this bird would have been pretty much dedicated to
 reconnaissance.

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 10:50:46 PM »
Wow! That's such an awesome concept vehicle, one I never heard of! Super cool man.

Alvis 3.1

Offline Doom!

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 11:57:13 PM »
Frank, way cool project. Lookin' very nice.  :)
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Jeff G.

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2012, 02:13:36 AM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 04:00:51 AM »
Wow Frank, your projects just keep getting better and better!

This is an awesome concept and already it looks like you're well on the way to building a real stunner if those fantastic solar arrays are any indication!

Brian da Basher

Offline Frank3k

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 08:04:39 AM »
Thanks for the comments! I'm glad I was able to turn my disappointment with this kit into something fun to build.

Evan, this does look like an early MOL concept. The Mercury capsule had a lot of design issues (Gordon Cooper had to make a manual re-entry on the last Mercury flight) so it's not surprising that they moved on to Gemini ASAP.

Craig -  it took me a while to figure out the tunnel arrangement. The fairing was easy to make, the inflatable tube is what's taking up most of the time. 
The astronaut would probably have to climb into the capsule through the fairing and somehow through the deflated tunnel. I suspect that the fairing hatch was wide/long enough (or hinged at the front) to allow the tunnel to hang outside the fairing while the astronaut was shoe-horned into the capsule.

I don't know if the fairing would have detached in orbit once the tunnel was inflated, but since I made it, I think I'll assume that it stayed attached (as a shield). The astronaut would have to undo the Mercury hatch (probably hinged, to keep it from floating around and the edges from puncturing the tunnel) then squeeze his way into the tunnel, close the hatch, then open the station hatch. I doubt he would want to go back and forth much; he'd probably spend the two weeks in the station part. At 182 cu. feet (vs 60 cu feet), that was almost as much room as an Apollo command module!

Offline apophenia

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 05:00:35 AM »
I'm glad I was able to turn my disappointment with this kit into something fun to build.

The spirit of whiffing in a nutshell!  Great save and a fascinating subject  :)
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 09:49:39 AM »
I've made some progress over the last two weeks. I replaced the "organic" tunnel with a plastic tunnel from the Pegasus "Power Plant Construction set":



The aluminum is just bare metal foil and it's supposed to represent a thermal blanket.  I may or may not keep it.

In addition to the single porthole in the picture above, I added a telescope/camera port (closed):



The dull aluminum and the shiny aluminum are the same paint. I bought some Createx Auto Air Colors acrylic paints a while ago. This is the first time I've used this paint and it's fantastic. The shiny aluminum is straight from the bottle (thinned with windshield wiper fluid for airbrushing). The dull aluminum is the same paint, mixed with Vallejo matt varnish and thinned for airbrushing. Easy to mix, easy to clean up and the results are as good as other lacquer or enamel based metallics.
Since it's an acrylic (and compatible with Vallejo, as I found out) you can mix up quite a range of shades.

Here's a picture of the bottle info:



Next I have to add a couple of antennas (maybe a radar dish) and some details. I may redo the solar panels, though.


Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 10:15:31 AM »
Looking great so far.  Love those Pegasus accessory kits.  Still trying to come up with a good reason for stocking them in the parts box. 
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Offline apophenia

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2012, 10:28:47 AM »
Looking good! The new tunnel is great  :)
"She always found it peculiar to encounter a time she had actually lived through rendered as a period." William Gibson, Zero History

Offline Doom!

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2012, 11:26:08 PM »
This reminds me of the "Hammer Lab" in the Novel "Lucifer's Hammer" by Niven and Pournelle. Your latest progress looks great!  :)
Doom!
Jeff G.

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 04:14:48 AM »
Wow that's "out of this world" awesome, Frank!

I really like the new tunnel and I think the foil replicates a thermal blanket wonderfully!

The colors appear very realistic as does the cool camera port.

I'm really enjoying following this project!

Brian da Basher

Offline Frank3k

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 04:38:42 AM »
Thanks guys. I hate painting and my favorite part of this already fairly painless build has been the aluminum paint. It's easy to use and doesn't stink (even with a paint booth, I could still smell metalizer fumes).

Jeff - I have the Power Plant and Chemical Plant construction sets. The shapes are great, but this is the first time I've needed to use a part.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2012, 08:14:44 AM »
I have the Power Plant and Chemical Plant construction sets. The shapes are great, but this is the first time I've needed to use a part.

I saw the kits on SSM a month or so back and started to load up the shopping cart with a few items, before I knew it the total was in the three figures category and never having purchased from SSM before I got cold feet and quit my shopping session. 
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Offline finsrin

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2012, 10:46:10 AM »
One of a kind subject and your build is right on.   :)
Fits into a space pioneers display and likely to fool many who are not in the know.

Offline Doom!

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2012, 11:16:29 PM »
I saw the kits on SSM a month or so back and started to load up the shopping cart with a few items, before I knew it the total was in the three figures category and never having purchased from SSM before I got cold feet and quit my shopping session.
Jeffry, Can't help with the three figures catagory but I can vouch for the SSM store...great service and speedy delivery, if you find yourself there again you can buy with confidence.  :)
 
Doom!
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2012, 09:51:46 AM »
I think this one's finished:



I had the capsule and tunnel perpendicular to the solar panels, but that looked too symmetric. I rotated the tunnel (or the panels) slightly and I think it looks better. The engine is a plastic pearl and the nozzle is from the kit.



I brush painted the fairing; I'll remove it and paint it by airbrush. It's held on with some museum wax.



Not much in the way of sensors, but I see that my cat assistant added one of her cat hairs:



I added the stabilizer panel to the nose:


This is the one thing that is so annoying about this kit - it has all the parts to make an in-orbit Mercury except for the heatshield. Other than that, this was a fun and very enjoyable build.

Here's a quick & dirty Photoshop:

« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 10:24:11 AM by Frank3k »

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2012, 10:42:14 AM »
Excellent build.  The photoshop is cool.

Send a copy to John Glenn.  ;D
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Offline sotoolslinger

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2012, 11:31:03 AM »
That is awesome Frank :o :-* BTW I am in Cypress ;)

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2012, 04:40:31 PM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2012, 10:23:53 PM »
Wow is that fantastic! Looks museum quality and the photoshop "money shot" is icing on the cake!

Most excellent, Frank!

Brian da Basher

Offline Doom!

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 12:21:29 AM »
Finished up beautifully!  :-*
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Jeff G.

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: One man space station
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2012, 02:39:05 AM »
 Looks great, Frank.