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MPC's Pilgrim Observer (doing something different while stuck on the kitbash)

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While I'm stuck at the point of designing and building open airlocks for the kitbashed patrol ship, I decided to do the ADD-ish thing and work on the recently arrived MPC kit of the Pilgrim Observer.

At beginning of this month I splurged on it and a book I'd been wanting: at 30 and 40 dollars each, I will certainly be eating cheap for the rest of the month!


It would be nice if Pilgrim Observer was same 1/144 scale as the ISS kit, which is also yet to be begun, but the PO model isn't even the same scale as itself! 😮 


This is a nice article about Pilgrim Observer and mentions the "well, it kinda depends" scale of the kit components, http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns2.php#id--Pilgrim_Observer


Deciding to assemble something on the Pilgrim Observer kit led pretty much instantly to making changes to it.

Chose to start with the command module capsule with its service module. Instructions appear to have back plate of service module recessed in to it to rest on a pair of semicircular tabs & the length of tab keyed rocket nozzle which locks CM capsule and SM together confirms that.

Um, no, not gonna happen on this one. And, besides, that would leave some vent louver detail on SM cylinder venting nothing. So with a bit of thin styrene sheet to shim the outer diameter of the back plate and a bit of thin strip inside to reinforce the join I glued back plate flush with end of SM.

Dug out some of my space books to flip through Sunday and yesterday afternoon and evening looking for ideas how I might want to add some details to engine thing for the Command Module;


There are a pair of 'mystery slots' at capsule end of SM, one each side, they are shown in diagram. Hmm ... Ah, how about fabricating some solar panels to go there - or better yet, found Paragrafix's etched metal detail set which has some. Purchasing it will have to wait until next month. http://www.paragrafix.biz/product_detail.asp?PPartNum=PGX143


At this point today the CM is starting to shape up in a way I'm pleased with. Am going to acquire Paragrafix etched brass detail set which has those solar panels mentioned earlier - they will be mounted at the mid-body mystery slots & the location Paragrafix shows them at will be taken by some 'radiators' thrown together out of I'm not sure what, yet. But I do know they will fold and rotate like the wings of those Grumman fighter planes. Index card and masking tape suggest those radiators. And, foil to represent insulation will cover aft end from ring around nozzle to edge of body.


Most fortuitously, one size on a variable leather/fabric punch pliers thing made styrene discs perfectly sized to drop in molded holes on service module aft plate: a little halfway gelled Plastruct Plastic Weld held them just fine.


True, the radiator mounts are in line with the solar panel mounts further forward, but they need to be kept out of plume of maneuvering thrusters which locate where pinhole in facing side of body is.

Am pondering mounting solar panels on a brass rod running fully through body for both sturdiness and to allow them to pivot, partly because I'm not yet too old to like models with moving parts 😁

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Well , this should be neat!

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A bit of progress - chrome removal. Used some model railroad paint remover to de-chrome part of the nuclear engine. Allowed part to soak overnight. Unusually, on all inside corners, on both internal and external areas of the part, there was what looked a bit like amber hued shellac and was a flaky/sticky consistency. 
After rinsing part and allowing it to dry, the whatever it was did come right off with the tip of a knife blade.

External surfaces are already done in picture.




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