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does anyone know what the command modules were covered in to get the mirror finish? its some sort of ablative coating right? im wanting to create odyssey as it is displayed now at the comsosphere.

heres a shot of the recovery


and the way it is now


any ideas for how to simulate the rust color effect as it is now?

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Hey... you're in luck. I'm reading David Harland's excellent book on the Apollo 11 "The First Men On The Moon". A very nice read. :)

Anyways, the Apollo CM was covered with a mirror bright aluminum Kapton tape. It's not an ablative covering per se, but some of the tape was lost with then vehicle hit the dense atmosphere.

Check-out the Apollo 11 "Columbia" build. This is one half of a Apollo stack. I'm re-doing the "Eagle" after getting my mitts on the New Ware LM detailing set.


I used Bare Metal brand chrome foil. It comes in a sheet and I simply cut the foil to scale width and then it was peel and stick. With Bare Metal Foil you don't need foil adhesive because it already has an adhesive backing. I referred to Space In Miniature's Book #6 to get the proper tape pattern.


Once the foil was down, I gently rubbed over the seams to smooth out the surfaces.


The areas around the thrusters are red because on the real ships these areas were sealed with a red RTV sealant.


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as far as the rust looking effect, that's something i'm playing around with as well. the actual color of the capsules appears to vary quite a bit from mission to mission or the different photos just make them look different. i've seen some pics that make it look really grey and some with more of a tan and brown pattern and others like the one you posted that look more rusty. so i don't know if they really are different or they are just under different lighting.

one thing i have noticed on pretty much all of the close up shots is they have a composite pattern to them. kind of like a cross between a fiberglass pattern and a carbon fiber look. the one i'm trying to do is a grey-ish color with a tan composite pattern over it. i've experimented with spraying a dark grey thru pantyhose material over the tan color. it seems like it will work, i just need to figure out the proper tightness to stretch the material to give it a uniform scale look. i'll try to dig up some reference pics i've been using.

good luck on your build and post pics, i'm very interested in seeing it.


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According to the book Virtual Apollo, "... the outer structure is the heat shield and is made of a stainless steel brazed honeycomb between two steel alloy face sheets." The Mylar strips, which were applied to reflect the sun's heat when the spacecraft was in 'Bar-B-Q' mode, was applied to this outer structure.

Your two photos seem to show two different vehicles. The freshly recovered one still has some 'gold' material on it, whereas the one on display seems to be just rusty.

If I was to do either one, the freshly recovered one would have some candy bar wrapper cut into strips and applied to replicate the gold residual material and just a grey paint to show the stainless steel, dulled down substantially.

The one on display would just be rusty coloured paint weathered with pastels to show all the different textures shown in the photo.

I don't think there'd be a 'quick' way to replicate the 'rust' ... just paint it.

I wonder why the gold material was removed on the display?


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something else to notice. the "gold" mylar material is actually a silver as Randy shows on his beautiful CSM he posted but does have a definite gold tint to some of it after re-entry. i believe it's something to do with the reaction of the material to such extreme heat. i think that's why monogram gold plated their capsule instead of chrome plated it, which would have been more accurate.

here are a couple of really good shots of Apollo 13's recovery. they show all of the different colors and layered effect after re-entry. you can almost make out the honeycomb pattern i was speaking of. it's really subtle, but if it can be replicated, i think it would add a nice level of detail.



i believe all of the ones that are on display have been "cleaned" of all of the mylar coating. it's a shame really, i would love to see what it really looked like in person but oh well.

hope these help.


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