By the end of my previous post in this build log, I had my Space Station V model almost completely assembled and coated with primer. I decided to keep the station in two halves for ease of painting—the rings would mutually block access to each other once assembled.
The first decision was to settle on colours for the completed and uncompleted sections of the station. Fantastic Plastic’s box art goes for a rather lurid red-and-white combination:
That doesn’t really reflect the subtle shading of the station depicted in the film:
So I mixed myself up some very light grey, from Tamiya White and Light Gray, and an unsaturated red-brown from Tamiya White, Red Brown and Red. (Don’t ask me the proportions—it was very much an experimental mixing process until it came out looking the way I wanted it.) After hand-painting a few details in dark grey and white, to produce a little tonal variation, I airbrushed on my pale grey mixture. The red-brown was hand-brushed on to the girder-work, taking care not to clog any of the small holes in the stringers.
Here’s the result, after picking out all the windows in black:
You’ll see I’ve deviated from Fantastic Plastic’s paint plan in another way—in the movie, only three sections of the incomplete ring are painted grey, and one “under construction” section is still coated with the “red oxide” finish of the open girder-work.
Then I coated it with gloss acrylic varnish, and brought out some of the moulded detail with LifeColor “Liquid Pigment” washes—two shades of grey for the completed sections, and some Burnt Umber for the red-brown paintwork.
After that, I printed myself a decal sheet full of random little shapes in various translucent grey shades, to add some “greebly” detail in emulation of the appearance of the model in the film. I also designed and applied some decals to the featureless interiors of the docking ports. These were quite busy objects in the movie, as you can see from this interior view:
I couldn’t hope to match that in detail, but I was able to suggest some of the internal structure. Here’s the active docking port of the functional ring:
And the inactive port of the partial ring:
Two other tasks needed to be completed. The first was to assemble Marco Scheloske’s lovely little display stand for the kit:
The parts for this are quite a loose fit, so it needs to be propped vertical while the glue dries. (It’s also, as you’ll see from my photograph, a bit of a dust magnet.)
I also needed to set up the Orion space clipper, somehow. As previously reported, the kit comes with three different sizes of Orion, and only the smallest seems to be a reasonable match for the docking sequence in the film. It’s pretty small:
The one that came with my kit was also missing a chunk of its nose, as a result of a moulding problem, so I had to rebuild it with a little epoxy—you can just about make out the translucent tip, above.
I’ve seen builds of this kit that attempt to position the Orion on docking approach, as in the film, but it always ends up looking like it’s just stuck to the end of a stick. I decided instead to emulate Robert McCall’s classic movie poster, with the Orion leaving the station.This gave me a “realistic” reason to have something connecting the back of the Orion to the station docking port—a drive plume, of some sort, as in McCall’s painting.
I took some Plastruct 1/16″ clear acrylic rod, notched the end so that it could align neatly with the Orion’s two engines, and tinted it lightly with white and yellow. After using a very fine paintbrush to suggest the location of the Orion’s windows and Pan Am logo, here’s the result:
With all that ready, it was time to connect the two halves of the station. I had to build myself some little corrugated cardboard spacers to ensure the two rings were neatly aligned:
And then place the departing Orion perpendicular to the docking hub, held in place with tape while the glue dried:
So here’s the final result:
I tried some shots with a black background and high contrast to suggest space, with variable results:
And finally, here it is on its stand:
It’s certainly the hardest build I’ve ever done, in terms of just getting everything to align with everything else. Time for something straightforward, I think.
Addendum: Eventually, I got around to making a few composite images, featuring the model space station and various real views of the Earth from low orbit. Here they are: