Moebius 1/144 Discovery Spacecraft: Part 3

Last time, I finished lighting and preliminary painting on the engine compartment of my Discovery spacecraft from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This time, I’m working on the cockpit. I’m using the Paragrafix photoetch set for this, combined with the HDA Modelworx decal set.

HDA Modelworx decals for Paragrafix cockpit (Moebius Discovery)
Click to enlarge

There are two areas to light—a rear corridor and the cockpit itself. There’s a degree of inconsistency in how these two areas are lit, especially when comparing the two films, 2001 and 2010.

Discovery cockpit reference 1
Discovery cockpit, 2010

But in exterior views the cockpit looks fairly warm and dim, so I’m going to light it that way using an array of little SMD LEDs, while making the corridor brighter and colder.

Discovery cockpit reference 4

Here are the photoetch parts primed and glossed, ready for the decals:

Paragrafix photoetch & HDA Modelworx decals for Discovery cockpit
Click to enlarge

The two objects in the middle are the acceleration couches, which are provided as plain bits of brass to be folded into shape. In the film, they’re covered in the white padding that appears on many interior surfaces of the Discovery.

Discovery cockpit reference 2

I printed up some coverings for the photoetch, intending to make decals, but then decided that just wrapping the parts in printed paper would work fine:

Seat padding for Discovery cockpit (600 dpi)
Paragrafix photoetch seats detailed with padding
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Notice the big expanse of empty floor in front of the couches in the model, compared to the area of controls and screens visible in my film still of the cockpit interior, above. It’s actually impossible to reproduce the film’s appearance using the Paragrafix kit—there’s just not enough room below the windows. But, to be fair, that’s largely because the Discovery film sets notoriously wouldn’t have fitted inside the command sphere as depicted by the models used in the film. And, in any case, the sight-lines through the narrow windows of the cockpit probably don’t allow much of a view of the area in front of the couches, anyway. But I do want to put some sort of light source there, tucked out of sight, so that the couches and pilot get some front illumination, as if from that bank of television screens.

I also needed to revise the appearance of the rear wall of the cockpit—the photoetch and decals make this look like it’s striped with white padding but, as my film stills show, this wall was a pretty dark grey (with a few white panel lines evident in 2001, but not in 2010).

So I printed up replacement detailing for that wall, and again just glued the printed paper in place.

Revised back wall panels for Discovery cockpit (600dpi)

Here’s the rear corridor, partially folded with its decal in place.

Paragrafix cockpit tunnel detailed with HDA Modelworx decals
Click to enlarge

The decal covers holes in the photoetch brass, which I’m demonstrating above with a bit of backlighting—I’ll build light-boxes behind all these holes to illuminate the various windows, buttons and screens.

And here’s the little corridor box assembled:

Paragrafix cockpit corridor with HDA Modelworx detail
Click to enlarge

Those big gaps in the ceiling will be covered with a styrene-sheet diffuser and another light-box, to simulate the overhead strip lighting of the real thing.

And here’s the partially folded cockpit, test-fitted into the kit part that forms the spacecraft windows:

Paragrafix cockpit parts partially assembled
Click to enlarge

All those multicoloured details represent illuminated control panels, which I’m planning to light with wrap-round light boxes, along with the main overhead lighting panel and the six side panels.

The Moebius kit provides a transparent window, but I’ve decided to dispense with it, since it’ll obscure some of the interior detail. I’ve replaced it with photoetch window-frames from Paragrafix:

Paragrafix cockpit window frame and revised Moebius Discovery kit part
Click to enlarge

These are unrealistic compared to film images—I’ll deepen them with some styrene strip in due course.

I’ve also added a photoetch pilot figure, representing the character Frank Poole, as seen in my film still above. I’ve had to amputate his feet to get him to fit into the correct position, because of the rather high floor of the Paragrafix part, but this intervention will either be invisible through the windows, or obscured by the little light-box I’m planning on adding.

Paragrafix figure and HDA Modelworx decal for seated astronaut, Moebius Discovery
Click to enlarge

Next time, I’ll get some lights into all this.

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