Last time, I finished wiring and lighting the interior of the command sphere, and had it assembled and preshaded.
The final part of the build was to put together all the various cargo pods along the spine of the spacecraft, as well as the dish antennae that featured as a plot device in the film.
By my reckoning 358 parts had to be built into 71 subassemblies for the cargo pods:
These assemble, around the spine sections at bottom right above, into ten separate units of triangular cross-section, and one square-section unit that supports the dish antennae. All the units are different, and I had to annotate my instruction sheet to keep them all in the right order, assigning numbers from 1 to 10 as I constructed each one. For ease of painting, I initially left them partially assembled:
And once I’d got the base coat and preshading done, I completed each unit, sticking a number on it as I went along.
I used some more of Aztek Dummy’s rectilinear masks to produce a bit of surface mottling, and a dark grey wash to emphasize the surface detail.
The small antenna dishes needed a slight modification—the kit parts inaccurately give them each a central spike, but in the “real thing” the central spike was a feature of only the large, central dish:
it was easy enough to omit the small central spikes and blank off their locating holes with a suitable small disc of thin styrene sheet (punched out with a leather punch), to reproduce the appearance in the film.
At this point I decided that my final blending coat needed to go on while the individual components were still separate, to ensure good coverage—so I treated the command sphere, the engine compartment, the engine bells, and all the cargo units individually, but with the same mix of paint—two pots of Tamiya flat white, with some German Grey stirred in incrementally until I had the very light grey finish I wanted, and then a few drops of Blue just to nudge it towards a cold white point.
Finally, everything was slid on to the steel spine, and the spinal rods were cemented to the command sphere, the central sleeve, and the engine block—bearing in mind that I’d shortened one of them and it needed to go at the back of the assembly! The final act for the model itself was to connect the command sphere wiring to the battery pack in the engine compartment:
Then I needed to set about getting it properly displayed. The kit comes with three stands, each supported by a steel rod, so I had no worries about their ability to bear the extra weight I’d loaded into the engine compartment and command sphere. There’s a flat tripod for the engine compartment, a broad shallow dish for the command sphere, and a little intermediate cradle to stop the central spine from sagging. I finished these in matt black, except for the support cradles, which were painted to match the model itself.
It’s not immediately obvious how to position the engine compartment cradle, but a bit of experimentation finds the sweet spot:
The subtle shading of the command sphere panels shows up best when photographed against a neutral grey background:
The rectilinear mottling on the engine compartment is sufficiently subtle to be almost subliminal, which is more or less what I wanted:
And the primary effect of preshading on the cargo modules is to enhance some of surface detail:
Although the kit instructions position the central stand directly under the antenna module, it fits anywhere along the spine. Obviously it needs to be somewhere fairly central, but for me the most aesthetic result was to place it equidistant between the two other stands, slightly behind the antennae.
Here’s the completed model on its display base, with the three stands cemented in position:
The base comes from a UK company called Lasacryl, who make gorgeous custom display cases.
The mission patches that complete the display are from an Etsy seller called Demogorgon.
They’re a good match for the mission patches featured in the film:
Here are the engine lights in action:
The completed cockpit is difficult to photograph, but you should be able to see my little Frank Poole figure peering out at you from the pilot’s seat:
And the pod on its extended platform:
With the extended pod removed, we can peer inside the pod bay:
And the whole thing in its display case:
Finally, I couldn’t resist placing my model against a couple of more dramatic backgrounds. First, heading for Jupiter:
And an homage to Peter Hyams’ film, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, in which the abandoned Discovery is found “parked” close to Jupiter’s moon Io, and discoloured by the sulphur erupting from Io’s volcanoes: