Here is my second
attempt at a Lunar Lander (the first being mumble years ago). I bought the kit
at Fairford 2003, as it was going cheap, £2.99, and it fitted nicely into my
loose modelling theme of 'unique aviation moments'. I had already decided that I
was going to cover it in gold foil, but needed more details. Justin Davenport
put me onto this
brilliant site that contained a whole host of information on how to build a
representative Lunar Lander from the very basic and inaccurate Airfix kit.
|First came the
difficult preparations and research. Which chocolate had the best gold
foil? How much foil would I need? :o)
Then came the initial
modifications to the descent stage. Building up of the rear equipment
compartment, cutting out the equipment bay door next to the ladder leg and
adding the bulge (of an internal tank) by using the centre piece from a
contact lense case. Then came the foil covering. 3 different types were
used with about 50 individual bits needed.
image below to see larger image
Then came all the 'stretched
sprue' bits. Well I can't stretch sprue - melt it, snap it, set fire to it, YES,
all to easily. So I used 0.8mm strut for the flame guard supports and handrails.
Next I began to tackle the long
list of mods required to correct the ascent stage.
image below to see larger image
||The front flange
came off first, to be replaced by a foil covered cocktail stick
The front door needed cutting out and a new one building.
The details above the door needed cutting off and just some putting back
in the right places.
A docking window was cut in the roof and the docking ring needed major
Finally the body work needed modifying. As this was my first attempt at
"cut'n'shut", I only modified one of the two locations that
needed fixing. It turned out quite well - I should have been braver!
It was at this point that I
realised that tiny bits of detail, even in 1/72 scale can be done and are worth
it for the effect they can have on the final model. I nearly didn't bother with
the docking ring mods, but being so visible on top of the kit the extra effort
has transformed it from a cone of plastic into a docking ring and the model is
much better looking for it.
At about this time I came across
a photo in 'New Scientist' which showed all those flimsy panels on the back of
the ascent stage. So out came the thin sheet and on went some bent panelling.
Again, a small thing but it transformed the look of the model. The top aerial in
the shot above was a hopelessly thick molding in the kit. So I used some 0.8mm
strut and toothbrush bristles to make a new one. Then came some more foil, about
25 peices for the ascent stage. The painted panels were hand brushed using
Humbrol enamels; good old Matt Black #33, Silver #11, Chrome Silver #191 and
Ivory #41 for the off white panels.
Other extra bits added were some
1/35 scale washers to represent external lights. (Also very useful as static
vents - both sides - on EH101 kits). All 3 windows had to be scratch built, as
the two kit windows were badly dimpled. A large Quality Street tub came in handy
for that (More chocolate :o)). Some antenna supports, and the leg wires and
equipment bay door support were made from 'tinsel' wire I got from a fly fishing
stall at a country show. Finally the 'solar panels' were painted red and then a
coat of Tamiya clear blue applied to give that glossy purple look.
If any model needed a base it was
this one. I painted a polystyrene tile black, dimpled it with my hands and
elbows to make craters (bit too shallow though I think) and used PVA to stick on
some crushed wood ash to get that dusty grey look. Then I set up the low
lighting and tried to take some shots 'on the moon'.
I know there are still things
wrong/missing, but having recently seen photos of the one in the Smithsonian I
am very pleased with the model. It looks great on the shelf and the ommisions
remind me to keep trying that little bit harder.
As a final thought. It was only
66 years from the Wright brothers giant leaps to Neil Armstrong's one small step
..... and that step was 35 years ago.