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International Space Station

 

Revell-Monogram 1/144

30" x 26" x 20" - Gosh!

 

In orbit above my desk, dwarfing the Apollo LEM even at half it's scale. One visitor asked if it was a radio antenna...

I laboured over this one for longer, I suspect, than any single project in recent memory - it was a huge undertaking, and although I know I could build it better, now, I'm still extremely pleased with the result. This model is the hugely ambitious 1997 design for the ISS, when both the US and Soviet space programmes still had money... At best, it now seems likely that only about half of this design will actually be built...

 

The main boom, two-and-a-half feet long, and a cluster of modules during assembly on their aluminium supporting rods. All the longest structures had internal metal struts, and connecting the little elbow joints inside an already-assembled module was an interesting challenge...

 

Painting took forever, and with many square feet and what felt like more different shades of grey and metal than a 16bit image can display... The silver was probably the easiest, as it's a very thin paint and spread readily... the white was a bitch, sticky and quick-drying in spite of extra thinners.

 

The solar panels were just plain laborious - eight of the biggest ones, each nine inches long with one side a mix of metallic blues and the other a matt black - both were hard to finish well without brushstrokes... I'd airbrush them now, though and I think that would help a lot.

 

During a dry-run... round about then I managed to snap the shaft of one of the big solar panels, and wasn't able to support the repair for long enough for it to dry properly... it now has a distinct droop... :-(

Unlike the other kits, the ISS is hung on 60lb kite line from an inch-long steel eyebolt sunk into the ceiling joist... Apart from breaking my heart if it fell, it would be likely to break my head too... One last picture, next to Revell's publicity shot:

 

 

Other resources:

Starship Modeller's review of this kit

Another builder's opinion

The NASA Human Spaceflight Centre's Space Station Gallery

Japan plans tearoom for the ISS

 

 

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