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john53

Shuttle and stack build

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I have the old 1/144 Airfix shuttle and stack kit, the Smithsonian edition.

The stack is complete , the shuttle is missing the clear parts. I was going

do just the orbiter but decided it would be better to display this all in one

piece.My main concern is fixing the missing windows, I saw a thread here

that mentions window decals. Also I am looking at doing Atlantis and want

to locate decals as the Airfix kit is lacking there.Any advice is most welcome,

I'm not looking at pumping in huge amounts of money, that and I have been

doing a lot of scratch building. Is there a thread or has anyone filled windows

with plastic card stock and then used the decals? Any help would be appreciated.---John

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I recently built just the Orbiter and used decals for the windows. Seeing as you have no clear parts, filling in the windows with styrene is a great idea. Some filler and a decal, it'll look great!

 

This link to my build looks odd, I hope it works for you.

 

Hotdog here on this forum has decals for the Airfix Orbiter, he'll probably chime in.

Pete

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Pete thanks for the well done build blog. You really did a super job!

Basically I am going to button up the orbiter and mount it on the stack.

I was going to display it similar to yours but saw a cool stand that has

the whole unit in flight at about a 45 degree angle, think it was an Airfix

stand. I like the way you super detailed and also used scratch building

techniques. I am a product of the 50s and remember all the launches

from Cape Canaveral , a lot we watched on TV in elementary school way

back in the early 60s. I also built the old Revell Mercury, Gemini and Apollo

models from that era. I redid the Mercury and Gemini kits last year. Thanks

again for the information and inspiration to dive into this. Are you eventually

going to do the stack? Will be watching.---John

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I started the orbiter. I am going to go by Pete's blog and any other build blogs I come

across for ideas. I built the payload even though the doors will be glued shut. Maybe

it'll help the doors from caving in. Next will be the main engine bulkhead, wings, doors

then scratch building the cockpit window area. I plan on buying decals for the windows

and Atlantis specific decals as Airfix's are outdated and not very accurate.---John

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Installing the Payload Bay will indeed strengthen the fuselage John ... but it would've been easier to install the styrene for the "windows" from the inside. With all the filing and sanding you'll be doing on the "windows" your new patches may break their glued bond.

 

And I won't be building another stack ... I love seeing the Shuttle in all its glory with its Payload Bay doors open and all that lovely detail in there! I built the 1/144 Revell stack as one of my first models 11 years ago ... and may do the 1/72 stack.

 

And you and I are in the same age group John ...   :thumbsup:    I recall the early US Space program too, i'm Canadian, and still have a lot of LIFE magazines from back then.

Pete

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Thanks for the help Pete, wished I had thought about that windshield going in from the

inside. Oh well live and learn. I'm going to try and trace around the outside with some light

paper and make a template then transfer that to the lightest card stock I have. Maybe I can

"bend" the windshield to it's proper form, trial and error. Anyone with ideas please feel free to

chime in, I'm open to suggestions to make life easier!---John

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Don't use too thin a piece of styrene ... maybe .020" at a minimum. And I've built a couple little shuttles, even 1/100, and if you're planning on just a press fit type of "window", I would advise against it. Even with the kit part, the amount of sanding needed to get the window to fuselage seam smooth, will de-bond and push the patch back into the model. You'll need a nice strong bond and I would suggest nothing pretty. A wider piece on the inside, big enough to give it a lot of strength and a lot of surface area for glue. Then a more form fitting piece to glue on top of that first piece ... then file and sand to shape. 

 

You'll save yourself a lot of frustration this way. But I'm not able to make life easier for ya John ...   :rolleyes:

 

Hope this helps ya!

Pete

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The "windows" are glued in and a first coat of putty added. I'll

wait until it dries up good to start sanding and shaping.---John

WWccc0q.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been in a slow process of repopulating my Columbia thread after the big photobucket crash. I didn’t realize how many pictures I posted in it.  It has a lot of good photos of that build. 

 

Anyhow, while dealing with the windows on the orbiter, things were just not going right. I had tried using the clear plastic to see through but sanding putty scratched it beyond repair. So I decided to just use it as a glue in part. I filled it with putty, shaped the area, primered it, masked the widow areas and painted it with a metallic dark grey. I made a window template with masking tape using a window decal I bought from Hotdog then painted the base white over it. I thought it turned out well. But I was always looking for away to deal with the window problems on the 144 scale. 

 

I just thought about it. Check out my Challenger build. Although it’s not finished, I believe I may have a photo of the windows on that. I did the same thing to it as I did to Columbia. Just a little thought for yourself. 

 

Keeping an an eye on your build. 

 

Mike. 

Edited by egt95

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Thanks Mike, I'll definitely check it out. Here's what I want to

sand and contour it to. From what I have read the window decals

are right but no kit maker makes the window area right, so the

decals never fit 100% correct.---John

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Posted (edited)

I just recently purchased the Dragon 144 shuttle with sca. The cabin part is molded in clear plastic and represents the windows perfectly (in my opinion). There must be a way to replicate it. Maybe Shapeways can come with something. The only problem with it is they molded the star tracker and hatch on both sides. 

 

Anyhow. Hotdog has excellent decals. His attention to detail is well above and beyond any of the aftermarket ones. As soon as he gets his stuff together after his move, I’m sure he would be more than happy to print a set for you. Just let him know what orbiter you are depicting. 

 

By the way, which name are you planning on?

Edited by egt95

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The one in the picture-Atlantis.---John

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First round of sanding done. I just added another "layer" of putty.---John

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I have it sanded and it needs more putty and more shaping. The left side

is coming along but the right is still low. I also have a few pin holes.---John

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I added more putty and sanded it, looks almost there, just added a bit

more. I added the wings. Wow! talk about wing root gaps! This will definitely

require card stock shims and lots of putty.---John

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Thanks I will. I filled the wing root gaps with card stock then troweled in

mass amounts of putty. Looks like it may need more, should I be surprised?---John

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Is the gap due to poor fit ? or because the payload bay wall bows in ?

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Posted (edited)

That could be part of it. A spreader bar might have helped like certain planes

I built where you "jack" the fuselage out to get a tighter fit in the wing root.That's a good thought.

Hmmmmmmm.....thanks---John

Edited by john53

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I sanded the wing roots then added the cargo bay doors. They went on fairly

decent, a slight gap on the top filled with super glue and a step in the right

rear where the door meets the corner of the fuselage. I added putty there.---John

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I added the nose gear door, main gear doors and upper nose panel. The window area is pretty much

done, a little fine tuning needed. The main gear doors needed only a little sanding, the nose doors were

a mess. They required massive amounts of putty on one side and the other side stuck up in the air

requiring sanding. Gotta love the fit of some of these parts, there is none.---John

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This is coming along nicely!

... and the fit ... ah-h-h ... the fit. I'm always amused when I read the aircraft forums about what you guys consider "the fit". I build mainly Real Space subjects and our kits are all from the 60's, 70's and I'm thrilled when I get a kit manufactured in the 90's. The fit is awful! One builder here, doing his 1/72 Shuttle, took a power sander to the belly of the model to sand down the seams.

I regularly use a file and sandpaper to get the seams smooth. All I can say John is ... "Welcome to the club!"  :cheers:

 

Even the new Dragon kits, while the fit is fairly good, the inaccuracies of the Real Space kits is the downfall. We, real Space modellers, just can't catch a break.   :crying:

 

But I don't want a kit that just "falls together" ... the fun for me is in taking that piece of dung and wrestling with it to make it look pretty good.

I'm still trying!

 

I think I see that you've got at least one other model on the go, keep up the good work! and thanx for posting!

Pete

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Posted (edited)

Thanks ---John

Edited by john53

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Got more work done. I sanded the wing leading edges along with the tail leading edges.

I gave the cargo bay doors another once over, had a lump from the super glue I used as filler.

It shows a seam but actually you're seeing the gaper where the clear super glue is. I expanded

my "universe" and now wet sand from 250 to 2,000 grit. I bought some new sand paper at Hobby

Lobby, it goes from 350 grit to 12,000 grit, Alpha Abrasives made in Canada. Great for polishing out

boo boos in canopys.  I've also found lots of decals, may actually consider tiles even though my

budget doesn't really allow it. I'll save my pennys.---John

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