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Horizon Mercury-Atlas WIP

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Horizon Mercury-Atlas WIP
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 01, 2016 9:32 AM

Started their 1:72 Mercury Atlas kit.  The kit looks quite accurate and detailed.  The molding on the main tank/body is not the greatest, and that section is molded pretty thin, which makes aligning the two halves a real chore (the edges are also, as a result of the thinness quite narrow and not real smooth.  The seams between the tank halves must be finished flawlessly, since the finish must be shiny.  But, lots of primer, and a bit of putty, and the seam is coming along. I know lots of primer tends to weaken panel lines, but the recessed panel lines are a bit overdone anyway, so the primer actually helps with that.

Pics in the next day or two.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, July 01, 2016 2:54 PM

Hey Don, I am looking forward to this.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, July 03, 2016 11:03 AM

Sorry for the wait for pictures.  For WIP photos I use flash, in workshop.  Couldn't get flash- thought batteries in (external) flash unit were gone, so I got some good ones at store and replaced them.  Tried again, and camera battery was dead!  It is charging now- maybe that had been problem before.  Soon!

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, July 03, 2016 1:19 PM

Okay- got camera working, here is shot of present status.

The main body is primed, and has just been sanded with #600.  Trying to get a super smooth glossy black as undercoat for Alclad polished aluminum.  Still got some work on that.  The base is airbrushed MM flat aluminum.  The engine nozzles are my own mix of gunmetal and a flat dark navy blue.

I won't do much on the capsule till I get that tank finished- figure I still have a lot of work left on that, so starting capsule now but only in spare time waiting for booster parts to dry.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Sunday, July 03, 2016 3:51 PM

This is such a cool rocket, Don. It is looking good. I am looking forward to see your process using the Alcald.

I know that Alclad can be a difficult thing to pull off, probably more so with such a large piece. How did you handle the joins? How did you seal and fill them befor paint?

Thanks for sharing and I will be following along.

Steve

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, July 04, 2016 8:45 AM

Bakster

I know that Alclad can be a difficult thing to pull off, probably more so with such a large piece. How did you handle the joins? How did you seal and fill them befor paint?

 

Steve

 

I handled the seams (so far anyway) with a combination of a heavy primer and a little bit of putty, plus a lot of sanding and filing (with needle files).  This did obscure some of the panel lines (all horizontal), so I had to rescribe them in the area of the seams.

Unfortunately, the booster tank had the most visible seams.  This is a bit of a problem, because they will be the most visible because of the high visibility of the polished look of the stainless steel bare metal finish. 

I was also worried about the capsule.  The fine detail near the seams would be easy to obscure when working down the seams, but hard to rescribe.  I need not have worried- the capsule went together beautifully, with invisible seams.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Monday, July 04, 2016 2:09 PM

Say Don, thanks for sharing that. I remember building this kit when I was I kid and I remember that ugly seam on the booster. It sounds like that you have it it licked. Good deal.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, July 05, 2016 9:08 AM

Bakster

Say Don, thanks for sharing that. I remember building this kit when I was I kid and I remember that ugly seam on the booster. It sounds like that you have it it licked. Good deal.

 

You must be remembering the old Monogram kit.  This is a fairly new kit by Horizon models.  Other than the booster seam, it is far advanced from the old Monogram kit.  The capsule is a real gem (they sell the capsule as a seperate kit also).

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, July 05, 2016 9:26 AM

Ah yes, Don. That sounds right. I am glad to hear that this is newer kit.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 06, 2016 9:22 AM

Working on the escape tower was really finicky.  I had to build a little jig to hold the base down while I glued the three tower pieces together and matched up the nine joins in the tower structure.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Wednesday, July 06, 2016 12:35 PM

It looks good, Don. I like the jig that you made too.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Thursday, July 07, 2016 10:56 AM

Hey Don, remembering Atlas launches as a kid you've got me watching this build. I was always impressed by what I assumed to be the turbo pump exhaust blowing out the side almost as big as the engine flame. What a machine! Lotsa stuff launched by Atlas versions. Have you considered perhaps some propane vent to make it even more realistic? Just kidding, keep up the good work!

Max

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 07, 2016 12:37 PM

Finally got my polished Alclad.

 

The top part actually does have good Alclad- it is just that this is a flash shot, and the top of the tank is reflecting dark areas of my shop, not lit by flash.

My main desktop has corrupted drivers for flashcard and USB drives, so had to boot up my laptop, which doesn't have any of my passwords and such.  It will be a pain- hope I  can fix the driver thing.  Takes time away from my modeling, however.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 08, 2016 9:13 AM

Started applying decals yesterday.  The kit decals are amazing- maybe the best decals I have ever used.  This is good, 'cause I will have to put some decals down on that polished aluminum, and I had been fearing that.  With the decals working so well on painted surface I have more confidence, and may procede to ones on the tank section today.

One thing that I am worried about is a display stand.  The kit includes a stand that is supposed to fit up into the sustainer engine nozzle.  It does not fit that well- the model is not that secure sitting on it.  I am afraid of it falling over, and there is a lot of small detail on the outside of the model.  I may have to turn shafts that fit nozzles (more than one might be a good idea), but those nozzle shapes are complex and I don't see a good way to turn those shafts.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Saturday, July 09, 2016 6:50 AM

Here's a picture I found of your project showing the turbopump exhaust I mentioned above. Impressive machine for sure. Hope you got your computer figured out so you can get back to the project! 

Max

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, July 09, 2016 9:34 AM

I suspect the booster and sustainer engine jets are overexposing the camera.  The main engine exhausts were also quite rich in flame on Atlas and Thor boosters.  Those engines had film cooling- small holes drilled in the combustion chamber and nozzle coated the nozzle inside surface with raw kerosene (RP-1), that flowed along the nozzle to protect the nozzle from the flame.  The main combustion used up most of the oxygen, so the kerosene did not burn in the nozzle area.  But as soon as that unburned, but hot, fuel reached the outside air, it burned, surrounding the main jet with that envelope of flame.  I saw a number of night launches of Atlas when I was stationed at Vandenberg in the sixties, and it lit up the whole countryside when it lifted off!

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 3:40 PM

Don Stauffer

I suspect the booster and sustainer engine jets are overexposing the camera.  The main engine exhausts were also quite rich in flame on Atlas and Thor boosters.  Those engines had film cooling- small holes drilled in the combustion chamber and nozzle coated the nozzle inside surface with raw kerosene (RP-1), that flowed along the nozzle to protect the nozzle from the flame.  The main combustion used up most of the oxygen, so the kerosene did not burn in the nozzle area.  But as soon as that unburned, but hot, fuel reached the outside air, it burned, surrounding the main jet with that envelope of flame.  I saw a number of night launches of Atlas when I was stationed at Vandenberg in the sixties, and it lit up the whole countryside when it lifted off!

 

Woah!  Don, you were stationed at Vandenberg in the 60's?!?  We were too.  My Dad was with SAC and ran one of the silos there for a while, 1963-1965, or thereabouts.  We lived on Ocean View Blvd.

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 8:52 AM

Yep, in early sixties- till 64.  I was a Minuteman Launch Officer and MLO instructor.  I sat alert on a couple of our test birds that had telemetry pulled and nukes put in place during Cuban Missile Crisis.  Hummm- at my age name recognition goes slowly, but your dad must have been an MLO in our squadron, I'll keep searching my wetware data base.  We lived in Lompoc while I was stationed there.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:32 AM

I think he was a major by then.  Arthur E. Beaird

I have fond memories of going to the silos with him.  We even sat at what I was guessing was a training console and practiced a launch drill, or two.  I got lots of Commies back then!!  Big Smile

I also remember visiting the site where a missile failed at launch, dropping into the silo and exploding.  The crater went all the way back to the first blast doors, IIRC.  I think my Dad said they estimated that there was about a 10% LOX/fuel mix when it went off. 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 14, 2016 9:12 AM

That must have been the Titan 1 explosion.  What a crater that was.  The missile was still in the silo when it went off. I have heard that missile and all the silo cribbing was blown up in the air, turned over, and fell back into crater.  One of the giant blast doors was blown a hell of a long ways away- forget the exact distance.  That happened just before I got there.  BTW, I believe that was not intended to be an actual launch. I heard it was intended to be just a wet-propellent-loading exercise several days before launch.  It launched anyway, though the distance it covered wasn't great.

Also saw a Titan II blow up shortly after launch.  That raised a lot of alarm because the fuel was quite toxic, and they had monitors on poles all over the base to warn of any of the stuff in the air.  Saw shockwaves from the blast visible against high overcast, heading inland, and then reflected back over base from coastal mountain range.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by CrashTestDummy on Thursday, July 14, 2016 11:03 AM

I don't remember that titan II explosion, but do remember watching some launches that were destroyed in flight.  Not sure it was the intentional end of the missle test, or if the missle was destroyed because something was happening to it. 

When that happed, if we were out watching the launch (you'd hear the rumble and run outside to see the missle go up and out over the water), and they detonated the missle, we'd be ushered back into the house.  I was told so we don't hit hit with potential flying debris, even though the missle was miles away. 

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 14, 2016 2:59 PM

Getting close to done.

 Have to do a little more on base, and finishing decals.  The big "UNITED STATES" down the side will be a bit hard- it has to go both over and under some piping, and the little pipe hangers between the pipe and the tank will make that hard.  Will have to put slits and small holes in decal.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, July 14, 2016 7:01 PM

Hey Don, it looks very cool. The stand is cool too. Nice job, sir. Thanks for sharing your build.

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Thursday, July 14, 2016 7:44 PM

Hey Don, been watching this build with intrest, It's looking good. I might have to build one of these! What is the overall height? (I've been measuring some shelves.)

Max

GAF
  • Member since
    June, 2012
  • From: Longview, TX
Posted by GAF on Friday, July 15, 2016 12:19 AM

Don,

She's looking good!  I was wondering if anyone would get around to building the Horizon model.  It appears to be a nice kit.

Gary

anti-glare panel

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, July 15, 2016 8:38 AM

Hodakamax

Hey Don, been watching this build with intrest, It's looking good. I might have to build one of these! What is the overall height? (I've been measuring some shelves.)

Max

 

About sixteen inches not including stand. 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Saturday, July 16, 2016 1:18 PM

Thanks Don, darn, shelf height is only 15''. I'll figure out something!

Max

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Tucson, AZ
Posted by Archangel Shooter on Saturday, July 16, 2016 3:26 PM

She's a beauty! I like that metal finish you did. I remember all those Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches and now it's considered history. I don't feel that old.

 Your image is loading...

 On the bench: Trumpeter Ticongeroga

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 10:43 AM

Okay, it is finished!  I like to photograph my models out in sunlight, so I set up outside today, in spite of eighty plus temps and wilting dewpoint.  First shot is against a posterboard backdrop.  I do not yet have a backdrop appropriate for space models, and the models are large enough so that it will have to be a big photo-backdrop.  Even so it cramped the shot.

Next I tried one without a backdrop.  Don't know which is best.  That thing is a fairly big model!

I think it is a better shot because of a different sun angle.  Maybe for space vehicles I need to resort to photoshop.  I have been downloading shots of NASA launch sites- maybe I should composite.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 1:28 PM

 Hey Don, Looks good out in the sun. Really nice job! You might try shooting it on an overcast day and away from surrounding objects to show the polished sections. Being a commercial photographer we all have that classic problem of unwanted things reflecting in shiny objects. You might try placing large sheets of white boards such as foamcore in strategic locations around it. You need both some dark and light reflections to make it realistic. That's the way we do it with Photoshop as a last resort. Hope this helps!

Max

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