Author Topic: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece  (Read 1934 times)

Offline elliottwolf

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I lead a team of scientists and engineers working in food logistics.  Our work heavily implicates thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. Instead of designing airplanes, we design the aerodynamic systems that freeze fruits and meats, and otherwise keep the food supply cold.  As we are responsible for the safety of a large portion of the global food supply, we highly value the teamwork and precision embodied in aviation and spaceflight.

We thus decided to "pimp" out or office in San Francisco with various homages to aerospace. At the top of the list was a shuttle launch.  We wanted to recognize not only the wonder of spaceflight, but the complexity of the ground support equipment.  We are experts in refrigeration, which (among other things) is necessary to make liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Putting a shuttle into orbit is not just an exercise in aerodynamics, but also in chemical engineering and logistics.

I was separately very fortunate to cross paths with Col. Mike Mullane, one of the crew members of STS-41D, the first flight of Discovery in 1984. He exhorted many of my non-technical colleagues to value science in American industry (and in particular the fluid dynamics that we rely on in the food industry). It was an inspirational interaction and furthered the connection we already felt between aerospace and less "sexy" industries.

Hence the genesis of this project: Discovery on LC-39A in 1984 at 1:144

The build used the following kits / detail sets:

1.   Revell 04911 1:144 Launch Tower & Space Shuttle
2.   LVM Studios LC-39 Sets 1, 2 and 3 (Very unfortunately, I couldn’t get ahold of sets 4 and 5)
3.   Warbird space shuttle tile decals
4.   Warbird space shuttle 14405 decals
5.   More Evergreen strips / tubes / rods than I care to admit

 A disclaimer: I am deeply impressed with Roma847’s multi-year journey documented here:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30316.0

I relied on a great deal of his research.  I am a (far) less skilled, less patient and less historically accurate modeler than he.  We had a long list to build for the office and couldn’t afford to spend years on the one project (though I wish I could).  All-in this build took about 6 months of weekend work, much of which was eased by using Roma847’s posts as references. Vielen Dank für Ihre Beiträge

Elliott Wolf
VP & Chief Data Scientist
Lineage Logistics
San Francisco, California, United States
« Last Edit: 05/10/2018 01:18 AM by elliottwolf »

Offline elliottwolf

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #1 on: 05/07/2018 11:50 PM »
The first set of detailing over and above the raw kit was to the ET.  I attempted to avoid major modification of the kit (sorry, I didn't have it in me to use Shapeways to replace the rather lackluster intertank on the kit).  I was reasonably pleased with the effect of replicating the foam ramps by using yellow-painted Tamiya tape.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2018 01:03 AM by elliottwolf »

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #2 on: 05/08/2018 04:15 PM »
That looks fantastic!!

Offline roma847

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #3 on: 05/08/2018 10:52 PM »
Hi Elliott,
congrats to your awesome Launch Pad.
It looks like you also used the mini MLP from the Revell Kit, which has been nicely modified, right?

***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Offline elliottwolf

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #4 on: 05/09/2018 01:29 AM »
Manfred,

Thanks so much for your kind words.  This doesn't hold a candle to what you've built, but i'm glad it looks good from a distance :).

Indeed, this uses the mini-MLP.  I'm ashamed to say I didn't recognize it was so far out of scale until I started reading your thread.  I didn't make alternative arrangements due to the size of the space I had for the pad in our office and general lack of diligence. 

And in addition to the scale problem, you are aware of the complete lack of detail in the unmodified kit:





To make my modifications, I used mostly evergreen sheets and evergreen strips.  Railings were the extras provided in the Revell kit:



I had many parts from many model kits left over that I managed to use to approximate tanks, valves, etc.  Landing gear from 1:48 and 1:32 kits got something resembling a desired effect.  Though it's (of course) nowhere near historically accurate. 

The Sound Suppression System was a black hole of Evergreen: rods and a cigarette lighter:



I made additional details out of yet more Evergreen:



Ladders are n-scale model train ladders:



« Last Edit: 05/09/2018 01:35 AM by elliottwolf »

Offline roma847

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #5 on: 05/09/2018 08:43 PM »
Hi Elliott,

you have created a cool mix of the old Revel Kit and some modified details, my respect.

My friend Mike (crowe-t) from ARC Forums has also built an awesome Shuttle stack using the mini Revell MLP (1:200), to pay tribute to the last Discovery Mission STS-133.


Source: arcforums.com (crowe-t)

BTW, what color did you use for the ET, which looks well and would nearly fit my STS-6 Stack, only the Interank would have to be a bit darker orange.

« Last Edit: 05/09/2018 08:44 PM by roma847 »
***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Offline elliottwolf

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #6 on: 05/10/2018 05:37 PM »
Manfred,

Thanks again for the kind words.  Very nice work by Mike! He did an especially nice job shading -- something I have yet to master.

To your question: the ET color I mixed started with Model Master International Orange. I mixed in Tamiya XF-68 until I got something that looked right.  I added a little XF-15 flat flesh to knock down the orange but keep it a light shade. I can't tell you the precise mix as it was just by eye.

Funny story about the international orange.  I had it handy because I had built an X-1, barely visible in one of the pictures next to the shuttle stack.  We have it in the office because of Mike Mullane (the STS-41D crew member).  When he talked to my colleagues he emphasized that the first time the shuttle launched, it had John Young and Robert Crippen inside of it.

One of the main reasons they felt comfortable flying without an unmanned test was that the aerodynamics of the shuttle had been so precisely modeled in advance, using techniques similar to what we use to freeze food.

Where the X-1 comes in is that it is the opposite extreme. There was no computational fluid dynamics in 1946.  So the X-1's fuselage is the exact same curve as a .50 Browning Machine Gun bullet, which was known to be stable in supersonic flight.  They didn't know what else to do, so they made a bullet with very thin wings the exact length of a B-29 bomb bay and hoped for the best.

How far we've come......
« Last Edit: 05/10/2018 05:38 PM by elliottwolf »

Offline elliottwolf

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #7 on: 05/13/2018 05:49 AM »
I'm curious whether anyone has found a good way to texture the space shuttle, approximating the thermal blankets.  I may build a shuttle as part of a 1:144 ISS and would like to improve upon this build, or go so far as to replace the shuttle here if someone can recommend a sufficiently compelling improvement (the FSS and RSS were the hard part!).

I attempted a desired effect by cutting irregular shapes / sizes of Tamiya 6mm masking tape, placing them in something resembling the thermal blanket configuration on the nose and rear, and painting over them.  I'm not sure how durable this is; thankfully nothing has peeled off so far.  I'm also sure there is a better way.

The various decals available for super-detailing a shuttles give extremely detailed tiles, but not the thermal blankets.


Offline mike robel

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #8 on: 05/13/2018 03:56 PM »
I have used First Aid tape to simulate thermal blankets.  It looks okay after it is lightly painted over.

Offline roma847

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #9 on: 05/13/2018 11:31 PM »
Hi Elliott,

a friend of mine from the ARC Forums came up with a brilliant idea and used this Linen card stock for his Monogram 1/72 Space Shuttle, which seems to be the closest looking to actual AFRSI Blankets for this scale.


Source: arcforums.com (egt95)


Source: arcforums.com (egt95)
And I found this cloth tape, which might be also a suitable option.





« Last Edit: 05/13/2018 11:33 PM by roma847 »
***************
Regards from Germany

Manfred

Under construction:
1:144 Launch Pad 39A with Challenger STS-6

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #10 on: 05/15/2018 10:25 PM »
Like, Mike, I have used medical tape on my 1/144 and 1/100 shuttles.  I like the card stock that Manfred mentions for the bigger 1/72 kit, it looks great!

Offline elliottwolf

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Re: 1:144 LC-39a with Discovery (STS-41D) as Office Showpiece
« Reply #11 on: 05/20/2018 07:06 AM »
Mike / Manfred / Ronpur,

Thanks very much for the guidance on the texturing! Great information.

Apologies for the late reply amidst my travels,

Elliott