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Space Shuttle Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6 (1:144)

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Hello everybody,


here's the result of the "double" Flour test after I've brushed off the loose flour. cool.gif 


As one can easily see, the flour layer has become denser after the more intensive application of spray glue, which was to be expected. Consequently, one has to develop a certain sense of time for the duration of the spraying, which is why it is called not for nothing: The proof of the pudding is in the eating! top2.gif




This is the view of the "double" floured half of the Dummy.




And here is the comparison of the two Flour tests, on the left the flour layer after the first test (in fact it was the second test) after a relatively short spray adhesive application and on the right the flour layer after the more intensive spraying. top.gif




And tomorrow I will then prime both Dummies in the hope that one can then recognize more and better evaluate the patterns. up040577.gif

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Hello everybody,


now it was time to try the white Vallejo primer out of the can. cool.gif


By the way, it's been a felt eternity, since the last time I primed/painted something about which I can barely still remember ... smiley215.gif In addition, these are my first attempts with Vallejo colors/primers, which I want to use shortly. up045518.gif


Each can of Vallejo primer contains two spray heads, namely a Pocket Cap for larger flow rates and medium line widths, ideal for larger surfaces, as well as a Skinny Cap for low flow rates, recommended for fine lines and small details, as one can read in the manufacturer's flyer.  


Since these caps are unfortunately not marked and their nozzle openings appear almost the same size, one has a problem or spoiled for choice. smiley_worship.gif 


After a long search, I then still found pictures of both types, of which I then haave used the Pocket Cap (left).  




On this occasion, I then subjected my Suction device (Wiltec) to a first practical test, whereby I started with the small Dummy on the rotary spit.  speak_cool.gif




After switching on, the LED lighting comes on first, and then the fan comes slowly up, which is unmistakeable. huh.gif




After shaking the spray can for about 1 minute, I started spinning the spit and spraying, but it began quite fogging in because the Dummy was a bit outside the roofing. rolleyes.gif Maybe I should have used the Skinny Cap with the finer nozzle. undecided.gif


Since I did not want to spray too much primer, I preferred to stop after a few turns, especially as light splashs of primer occurred, huh.gif which may also have been due to the fact that I had not previously warmed the spray can, which I should rather have done ...  up040472.gif


And this is now the result of the priming based on the Patterns 2 and 4




While I can make friends with the Pattern 2 already, top.gif




I think that the Pattern 4 with the double tape layer (0,5 mm onto 0,75 mm) seems to be a bit too raised, even though the surface profile will even further be leveled by means of the following airbrushing.  hmmm.gif




Since the primer layer seemed a bit too thin for me, I also sprayed a second primer to achieve better coverage, whereby I heated the can in the water bath before and shaken it for about 2 minutes. huh.gif


As one can see in this picture, the layer has also become noticeably denser, which means that the stripes of my favorite Pattern 2 are not so clear visible anymore.  




If I now still imagine a multi-layered airbrush finish above, then the surface profile could already go in the right direction, which comes closer to the original images of the SOFI pattern.  top.gif


On this picture you can see the area in the lower part, which I had twice floured. 




And this is now the larger Dummy with the five patterns after comparable (short) priming time, for which I had used the Pattex Spray Adhesive, which might not have had the optimal adhesive power, what led to a slighty too thin flour layer. undecided.gif




On this picture one can see, that at the Pattern 3 the MEK-gluing of the Evergreen Strips has partially resolved. rolleyes.gif




And so it looks after the two-time priming. cool.gif








The result is:
After all, what I have seen so far, I would prefer the Pattern 2. top.gif


Now it remains to wait for the effect of the airbrushing, whereby I slowly have to think about the orange-brown color mixture, smiley215.gif although for the test-painting initially a simple color is sufficient. up040577.gif

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Hello everybody, 


with the orange-colored shades of the External Tank (ET) we have been engaged oftener already, and it is known that the increasing discoloration of the ET towards darker shades is related to solar radiation, the Shuttle stack is exposed to, while he is standing on the launch pad waiting for the launch.


Consequently, one will not be able to get along with one hue alone, because the Intertank is darker anyway, but rather one needs some more or less intense orange-brown color blends, depending on which Countdown situation one wants to display on the launch pad, which is a matter of opinion. top.gif 


Originally, I had thought of the Countdown phase right before the launch for my Diorama and so far I had oriented myself by my often shown STS-6 Reference photo, on which the shades of the ET appear relatively bright, but without knowing which phase this photo comes from exactly.  huh.gif But since the Payload canister can be seen, the photo should be from the beginning of January 1983.


Source: retrospaceimages.com (STS-6)


Similarly bright shades can be seen on the pictures at the Roll-out of the ET-8 (10.09.1982)


Source: forum.nasaspaceflight.com (Jester)


as well as during the Roll-out of the Challenger (30.11.1982), here in the fog shortly in front of the pad 39A.  


Source: NASA


On this photo from the Lift-off (04.04.1983) the ET shades appear much darker, a detail that I did not attach much importance to for a long time, because the whole mood of the photo appears somehow darker, which might have been due to the weather or to the photo itself. hmmm.gif


Source: NASA


However, this strong discoloration of the ET becomes plausible given the unusually long resting time of the Shuttle stack on the pad, which  at STS-6 in contrast to other missions with 4 months lasted much longer than originally foreseen, which would have been the main reason. huh.gif


The reason for the delay in the launch, which was originally scheduled for the end of January 1983, was a hydrogen leak in the area of the main engine SSME No. 1 of the orbiter that occurred during a test run, Flight Readiness Firing (FRF, 18.12.1982), but which could not be localized exactly at first. analintruder.gif


In this Flight readiness test, which every orbiter has to complete before his maiden flight or after major technical overhauls, i.a. the three main engines are tested to prove their full functionality for approx. 20 seconds and then shut down.


Here is an image of this FRF, which I initially thought was a launch image, but with its brighter color shades of the ET it does not fit to the Lift-off image with the dark hues, what has been pretty confusing me at the beginning. smiley215.gif


Source: NASA


Luckily, in the NSF forum there is a special, very detailed and highly interesting thread  Challenger STS-6 – A Walk into History with a lot of photos and information over the entire course of this first Challenger mission, which was a great support for me for understanding all the operations. speak_cool.gif


This leak and its exact locating has kept NASA busy for quite a long time and led to a delay in the launch date, as major maintenance work had to be done on the orbiter's main engines. rolleyes.gif


Therefore, it was necessary to perform another FRF test (25.01.1983), where it can be seen on this photo that the colors of the ET had darkened further.


Source: forum.nasaspaceflight.com (Ares67)


But even during this FRF, a hydrogen leak occurred, which was caused by a 3/4 inch long hairline crack in the combustion chamber manifold of the engine SSME No. 1. smiley_worship.gif Since in the other engines further leaks occurred too, which were obviously a problem of the welds of these new engines, then at the beginning of March 1983, all three main engines were dismantled on the launch pad. 


Source: mainengine.de


While the welds at the two engines SSME No. 2 and No. 3 were reinforced, engine SSME No. 1 was replaced by a new engine whose welds were also reinforced for safety's sake.  huh.gif 


After detailed error analysis and a problem-free test of the last 16 hours of a normal countdown, the engines were reinstalled on 10.03.1983, after which the Challenger finally could start for her maiden flight on 04.04.1983. top2.gif

So I know now, when the ET-8 had which kind of shades, and I can decide accordingly, whereby today I tend but rather to the lighter shades.   up040577.gif

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello everybody,


and thus again back to the color shades of the External Tank, wherfore I've looked at my STS-6 Reference photo once again more exactly, cant-believe-my-eyes-smiley-emoticon.gif to be able to assign them to the available Vallejo colors, whereto I am focused on the sprayable colors from the range Model Air (MA)


Source: retrospaceimages.com (STS-6)


After careful viewing, I have come to the conclusion that this image is not so well suited for determining the color shades, since half of the ET is more or less covered by the shuttle or the right half of the ET is also still shaded. rolleyes.gif


Therefore, I have now selected this photo of the first Flight Readiness Firing (FRF, 18.12.1982) for the further detailed consideration, on which the ET seems to be illuminated relatively evenly.  top.gif


Source: NASA


As one can see, the ET colors are in my opinion less orange-brown color shades than rather yellow-brown shades.  up045518.gif


First of all, I tried using my Paint Shop Pro (Jasc) to determine the RGB codes of the different color shades in order to get a better feeling for the colors. cool.gif




Concerning the indicated RGB values, it should be noted that the values in the vicinity of the destination vary slightly and thus can not be considered as absolute values.  i5684_no2.gif


One can also consider the classic RAL Color Chart what I've tried in this image for three places on the LH2 Tank/Intertank based on the color Ochre brown RAL 8001. And as one can see, one gets quite close to the ET color shades by adjusting the brightness.




In all these comparisons, however, it is important to note that even the normalized RAL colors do not appear completely authentic on PC monitors and the color rendition depends on the respective screen settings anyway, whereby color comparisons are complicated or have to be taken with care.   hmmm.gif


Since one can not get any further with the RAL colors in the practical color selection, I finally got back to the Vallejo-Model Air assortment to find corresponding colors, which I then also can order. 


Thereby I came across the following three colors, whose brightness I then adjusted gradually, resulting in the darker shades. 


Vallejo Model Air 71.033 – Ochre Yellow for the LO2/LH2 tank with the color shades B-20, B-30, B-40,


Vallejo Model Air 71.077 – Wood for the Intertank (B-20),


Vallejo Model Air 71.076 – Skin Tone for the lighter areas




In this image, the selected color shades (marked blue) are placed on the appropriate places on the ET that match well with the ET shades.  speak_cool.gif  




So I'll order these three airbrush colors first, and I'm curious how they even come out. The only question is, what other colors I should mix with the original colors to get the darker shades? smiley215.gif


Here is an overview of the Model Air colors, in which I have marked the three colors. 




Perhaps for the MA71.033 and the MA71.077 the darker neighbor color MA71.034 would be suitable, and for the MA71.076 maybe the MA71.077?  hmmm.gif


For useful hints or suggestions I would be grateful. bow.gif It would be nice if Mike (crowe-t) could say something about that, who experimented a lot with color shades on his shuttle stack.  up040577.gif

Edited by spaceman
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The colours you've selected, and the enormous amount of time you've spent arriving at them, is remarkable Manfred!

I'm getting the sense that researching the finer details is where you get your enjoyment from this hobby!


Keep up the wonderful work on this! I'm still watching!   :thumbsup:  :clap2:

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Thank you, Pete, that you're still looking in on me. bow.gif


And your feeling does not deceive you, researching the finer details is an important motive power for my work, top2.gif and that's why time is relative for me and plays a rather subordinate role. up040577.gif


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Hello everybody,


after I've printed out my new Reference photo with the selected brighter ET color shadings




now I'm going to order the matching Vallejo Model Air Colors together with the associated Airbrush Thinner. top.gif

Source: modellbau-universe.de


Actually, I had so far assumed that the Model Air Colors in the practical dropper bottles are already sprayable. hmmm.gif 


That this is not the case, I have learned now in this interesting video by Jens Kaup, in which he gives important tips for working with Vallejo colors that should be considered. smiley236.gif 


Important tip for working with Vallejo colors


The video is unfortunately only in German, rolleyes.gif but it is very vivid and therefore hopefully understandable. top.gif


In that he says, that as practical as the dropper bottles from Vallejo are, the poor color mixing is a problem, wherfore relief is provided. The consistency of the Model Air colors is too thick for fine airbrushing. Here it helps to fill up each new color vial simply with Vallejo Thinner




and to insert a Stainless steel hex nut M5 as shaking aid for better mixing.  speak_cool.gif 




Of course, Stainless steel balls (0.25 inch) fulfill the same purpose. up040577.gif


Two simple measures with great effect! top2.gif

Edited by spaceman
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everybody,


my ordered Vallejo colors (7x Model Air, 2x Model Color, 1x Thinner) have arrived meanwhile, and I did buy a handful of Stainless steel nuts M5 too, 




so I could actually start with some mixing tests. up040577.gif

Edited by spaceman
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Hello everybody,


but there is another interesting source, and this is this Airbrush Beginner Course CD by Heinz Wagner, which I had bought a long time ago and have now looked again. Therein my friend Heinz is presenting his Test method for testing and determination of the sprayability of colors that is simple yet ingenious. speak_cool.gif


First, I did insert a M5 Stainless steel nut as a mixing aid into all Vallejo vials, as described in the video by Jens Kaup in my penultimate post, which surely can not hurt. 




Then I did shake each vial for three minutes, eek.gif




as recommended on Heinz Wagner's CD, whereby I could hear the clacking of the nuts when shaking the Model Air colors, but not at the two Model Color colors (2nd row on the right) what suggests that they are thicker and therefore not sprayable at all, as indicated in the video, which is why a diluting with water 1:1 to 1:2 should take place.  up045518.gif


Source: Airbrush Beginner Course CD (Heinz Wagner)


And now to his simple Test method, whereby holding the vial on the top of a ruler (30 cm),


Source: Airbrush Beginner Course CD (Heinz Wagner)


and let dropping a drop from that height. huh.gif


Source: Airbrush Beginner Course CD (Heinz Wagner)


And if the diameter of this color point is between 11 mm and 14 mm, the color should be sprayable in the opinion of the Airbrush Guru. up046118.gif


Source: Airbrush Beginner Course CD (Heinz Wagner)


And then I tried that, cool.gif




first for the Model Air 71.033 (Yellow Ochre). But to my astonishment the diameter of the color point was < 10 mm. smiley215.gif




And since the tests with the next three Model Air colors have shown this surprising result too,  




then I started carefully to add a few drops of the Vallejo Thinner step by step (3, 6, 10, 15 drops), then did shake again for three minutes smiley_worship.gif and retested, but without getting drops > 10mm, which has disillusioned me pretty much.  up051928.gif




During dripping I also noticed that sometimes at first only a bubble comes out of the dropper and only then the color comes, and that the drops of paint on the paper have sometimes even contained air bubbles, which may possibly falsify the result. 


The following tests I have done on glossy paper, the first tests on the other hand on normal copy paper, because the absorbency of the paper could probably also have an influence on the diameter of the color points, I think, right? up047089.gif




After that I was stumped and a nervous wreck  up046565.gif and have communicated these results Heinz Wagner, in the hope that he has an explanation.  up040577.gif

Edited by spaceman
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The paint needs to be at about the consistency of milk to spray through the airbrush.  The best way to test is to put a small amount into the airbrush and try spraying it.  That seems like too much work to have to measure drops and as you said the air bubbles can falsify the result.



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Thanks Mike for your tip, :worship:


so an airbrush expert speaks, who has a good feeling of the milky consistency of sprayable colors for years and did airbrush many fantastic models already ... :coolio:


But unfortunately I do not have that cool feeling like you yet, and so this would mean a tricky trial & error approach for me, because you know better than me how fast an Airbrush nozzle clogs when using too thick paint, which is not sprayable, isn't it? And then you have to clean the gun before the next attempt ... hmmm.gif


That's why I first prefer a measurable test that somehow can communicate this feeling to me, especially now I want to use a new and better airbrush equipment. That's why I have to slowly approach ... up040577.gif 

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Thanks for the kind words!  


When you are spraying the acrylic paints use cotton swabs dipped in either window cleaner(Windex) or lacquer thinner to clean the front nozzle where the needle sticks out.  Water based acrylics have a tendency to clog the nozzle but periodically cleaning it with a cotton swab will allow you to keep spraying.


I'm sure you will soon get the hang of airbrushing.



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Hello friends,


since the results so far have not convinced me, I have become more courageous and have according to the advice of Jens Kaup topped up the vial with the Model Air 71.077 (Wood) with Vallejo Thinner. top.gif


Then I did shake again for 3 minutes and then carried out the test. And lo and behold, this time the color points were at least approx. 11 mm in diameter, whith what I can better warm to. up039822.gif




As a result, his tip seems to be correct, especially as it meets the criterion of Heinz Wagner (> 11 mm), according to which this color should be sprayable indeed, what makes me smile.  yahoo.gif


BTW, my friend Heinz has not commented yet, but I suppose he might be surprised by this result, I guess. up040577.gif

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I assumed you were quite familiar with an airbrush Manfred! How did you paint the MLP?

This method of determining the proper consistency of the paint, seems much too time consuming. Shake the bottle for 3 minutes? My goodness, how much had the paint settled?  These bottles look quite small, do they in fact hold 1L of paint?  :rolleyes: Is there propellant in the bottle too, that requires complete mixing?


I'm joking of course    :woot.gif:  ... but if the paint is just a bit too thick, you can increase the compressor's pressure. Plus seeing as this paint is called AIR, I would assume that it's ready to spray with just minor, very minor adjusting.

I can tell if the paint is too thick by seeing how it drips off the mixing tool, ( a brush ) and if it's just a bit too thick, I just add a bit more of thinner in my airbrush's paint cup.


I hope you won't have to go through this entire process every time you use some of this paint. 


But thanx for posting this procedure ... it is interesting!


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Thanks Pete for looking in on me again,  :worship: and a little bit of fun is always good ... smiley228.gif


How nice for you, if you are able to do the airbrush technique blindfolded, an old hand, so to speak ... smiley250.gif


My airbrushing at the MLP were a longer time ago and concerned only small parts and were carried out with a simple Revell Basic Set, with which one could regulate almost nothing. :rolleyes:


But from now I will use the Vallejo Colors along withmy new equipment, with which I can also regulate the pressure and then collect my own experiences with it.


BTW, the Wagner-Test itself is very simple and not complicated, and now I also know how to adjust the Vallejos to make them sprayable and can finally airbrush the rest of the MLP equipment like SSWS Pipes, Rainbirds, Water Bags etc. ... up040577.gif


The proof of the pudding is in the eating ... hunger.gif

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Hello everybody, 


still under the impression of the many colorful Easter eggs eier-faerben-smilies-0008.gif I 've grabbed the brush and started to mix the first ET colors. cool.gif


I started with the sprayable-thinned Vallejo Model Air 71.033 (ochre), which I wanted to darken a little with the help of the Vallejo Model Air 71.034 (sand brown).




For this I have filled 4 drops of the MA 71.033 in a crown cork and placed it next to my test drop on the image, whereby this shade corresponds pretty well with the bright ET color tone in the lower part. up039822.gif




Then I added a drop of the MA 71.034 to it and mixed it with the brush, what corresponds about a shade between MA 71.033-B-30 and B-40




whose test brushstroke I've put on the lower ET area, 




and in front at the Nose cone that of pure color MA 71.033.




And already with this mixture, some of the shades can be quite well represented, I think.  up045518.gif




And so I will now also test the shades of the other two colors MA 71.076 (skin color) and MA 71.077 (wood).  up040577.gif

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Hello everybody,


and so the mixing went on. top.gif


As previously announced, I first tried mixing the lighter color shade, namely from the two colors MA 71.076 (Skin Tone) and MA 71.077 (Wood)




whereby I have dripped one drop of each color in the crown cap, which already run into each other here. huh.gif




And so the mix of both colors looks like.




And as one can see in the reference photo, the shade of the mixture (1:1) is almost perfectly hit right away. speak_cool.gif




Then I also tried mixing the darker color shade of the IT for which now still the color MA 71.034 (Sand Brown) comes into play, which I've mixed together with the MA 71.077 (Wood) in several tests with different proportions MA 71.077: MA 71.034, whereby I've slowly felt my way, from 1:1, over 2:1 and 3:1, up to 4:1. huh.gif




Here is the comparison in the mixing ratio 3:1 to see, which already fits relatively well to the IT's color shade, whereby 2:1 looks similar. up045518.gif




And here all previous color shades are to see once again. up039822.gif




After comparing the Mix shades on paper now the comparison on the white primer on the Flour&Strip Texture of the ET Dummy is to be done, which will give yet the final indication of how well the shades actually fit the reference photo, whereon I'm very curious.  up040577.gif

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Hello friends,


here are the first pictures of the Mix color shades on the both floured and partly twice primed dummies with the five different Stripe patterns, cf. Posted February 21
, whereby I have applied the colors not by airbrush, but with the brush. top.gif


In the foreground of the following color-tone comparisons stands my favored Pattern 2, consisting of single turns of 0,75 mm Tape (distance 0,5 mm), glued as a continuous spiral (Barber pole).




The three Mix color shades in the following picture correspond to the last preferred MA Mixtures


Mix-1 - MA 71.076 (Skin Tone) : MA 71.077 (Wood) - 1:1


Mix-2 - MA 71.033 (Ochre) : MA 71.034 (Sand Brown) - 4:1


Mix-3 - MA 71.077 (Wood) : MA 71.034 (Sand Brown) - 3:1




here again from a slant position. 




And this is the comparison on the short dummy, which was both once and double floured, cf. Posted February 27




And this is the Mix-1 on the once-floured area. 


These are the Mix color shades on the two dummies in a vertical arrangement, first on the big dummy, 






and here on the short dummy, where the simple flour state seems to me almost as sufficient.  








And finally still the comparison of the three Mix color shades with the reference photo, whereby the Mix-1 fits best to the brighter areas of the Closeouts.  speak_cool.gif 




In contrast, in my opinion at the Mix-2 for the LH2 tank




and even more so at the Mix-3 for the Intertank is missing a little bit of Orange




These two color shades came out much better on paper, 




wherefore I have still to modify their mixture by adding a bit more Orange.  up040577.gif

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The colors look very good.  You should try spraying samples with the airbrush.  When the paint is brushed it can look slightly different than when it's airbrushed. 



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Thanks Mike, :worship:


I 'm going to try spraying with the airbrush too. top.gif


and what do you think about the differently floured and primed SOFI patternsmiley215.gif

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I like the more subtle SOFI patterns.  The flour looks a bit out of scale(a bit too much texture) but with some clear acrylic sprayed over after the colors are painted, it should even it out more.



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Thanks Mike,


okay, but which pattern do you mean? hmmm.gif

BTW, I also don't take pleasure yet in the texture completely, so I'll try coming up with some other ideas ... idea1_2.gif

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