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Moebius 2001 XD-1 DISCOVERY - Polystyrene - 1/144 - Yves Vidal - Finished

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In parallel to the building of the frame to display the model, I am starting the antennae module, containing the infamous AE-35 device that is the reason HAL 9000 invokes to terminate the astronauts aboard the Discovery: 


The parts are very delicate and the main cross was broken in my box. A coat of German Grey before applying the white color on top.


Below is a picture of Stanley Kubrick, inspecting the original antennae prop built for the 2001 Movie: 




Edited by yvesvidal

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Well, this is what I have been working on, for the past few days. The cold weather has been slowing me as I can only paint outside (cans). The effort has been concentrated on the display for the Discovery vessel. I want to represent it orbiting around Jupiter as it completed its mission, after getting rid of the crew.


The frame is 48 inches by 18 inches (diorama) and is made of premium pine of 1.5 X 0.75 inch. I have used that kind of wood and know that it will hold very well in time, without any warping.


The frame is glued and re-enforced by metal corners. The "T" shaped pieces will be used to hold the vessel. 




Two 3 mm rods are taking care of holding the long Discovery in its cradle. In retrospect, 4 mm would have been better but I did not have the special nuts that went into the model. I will compensate the lack of rigidity with some brass tubing.



The rods are also electrical conductor for the lights.


The concept seems to work.... It is now time to paint... Primer first...


and then final paint: two coats of gloss black.


Now, the holders can be permanently mounted with 4 mm screws: 



In the meantime and while the weather was preventing me from painting the frame, I tried to approach Jupiter in two ways: Artistic painting and Pictures from NASA: 


The picture is of course more accurate but presents the drawback to show the seams of the paper sheets, when you place your nose on it. I could have asked FedEx to print it for me on glossy paper but that would cost more than $90 without any warranty that I would be happy with the result. I can always go back and do that later....


The painting is more beautiful with vibrant colors and is for the time being unfinished. I have used Liquitex Soft Body artistic acrylic paints diluted with a tiny amount of water and airbrushed on a foam board. The tormented Jupiter atmosphere is done with a regular brush. 


People who have seen both, told me they like the painting better..... So, this is what I will be using until I refine the painting with more details and a fine mist of white on top.


After mounting the vessel, this is what we are getting: 



Of course, that sky will require a few stars and a couple of moons to be more realistic.



It is relatively easy to swap the background, so I may try the picture solution, even though I like my painting a lot :-) - Crazy project, don't you think?








Edited by yvesvidal

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Some progress on the crew space, the sphere. As mentioned earlier, I am limiting myself to the cockpit and the hallway right behind it.



The Paragrafix kit also offers the main corridor between the exit door and the deck (the exit David Bowman uses after being denied access to the ship by the neurotic HAL 9000) as seen below: 


The PE set has also a couple of parts to depict the emergency hatch: 


The cockpit is basically composed of one main piece that is folded in multiple directions and of two seats: 


The brass is of excellent manufacture and rather thick, which is ideal to keep the walls flat and straight. The cuts representing the various screens and controls are exquisitely done and mimic perfectly the movie prop. However, they are flat like all PE parts. Using styrene pieces, it is possible to make the deck more realistic. I am using half-round 1 mm pieces and the tiniest flat strips you can find: 


The rear hallway is another part that is folded to form the corridor: 


Again, lots of precision and details are available. The black box on the left is the HAL 9000 eye. 


The seats are microscopic and require an intricate folding: 


Again, I am using 0.5 mm round strips to simulate the cushions where the crew can sit.  The outer shell of the seats is made using the 1.0 mm half-round styrene bits.


Overall, this cockpit is a lot of work for what you end up seeing through the front shield. The deck is pretty much ready to be closed: 


You can see some of the colored controls, done with a piece of Scotch tape glued on the PE: 


I am using clear color Tamiya acrylic paint applied with a tiny brush. Other sections are done with colored markers. It is very, very small and frankly a waste of time. But it looks good.


Only a fraction of what you see below will be visible when the deck is placed behind the window frame: 




My camera is completely unable to focus and take decent Macro shots. Maybe it is better this way, as you cannot see my sloppy work.... The deck is glued to the window frame: here again, perfect fit from the PE parts.



Below is pretty much what you can see.....


My next work is to seal all the cracks with thick cement and paint the seams matt black. I want to make sure that the light will not leak and only comes from the controls and from the hallway. The entire sphere will be the light chamber.



Honestly, an enormous amount of work for very little return. Modelers attempting the PODs bay will have more fun but also a lot more work.



Edited by yvesvidal

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That's what it's all about. The details only YOU can see. It's what makes you happy and what's fun to you. As long as there's photographic evidence, others will know.


That said, it is a crying shame that all the panels are behind the curve. Hopefully once it's all together there will be a little color reflection. 


Job well done.

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Trying to finish this Discovery vessel. I am still waiting for "Cold" white LEDs to finish the cockpit and create the light chamber with both halves of the sphere.


In the meantime, I did paint some panels, as seen in the movie and other reference materials. It takes a lot of masking, but the result is worth it: 


There are basically three shades of paint used on these parts. The sphere is also getting a similar treatment: 


And the bottom part is getting ready for its white coat and panels tainting: 


There are different schools for painting the panels, including a study of the movie and still frames which is not the easiest to do. I am basing my approach on the fantastic model of the Discovery done by a Japanese company. Their model (absolutely unreachable for us at $13,000 in the scale of 1/10 of the movie prop) is the closest and most realistic rendition ever made of the Discovery. My model is an approximation of their masterpiece.....



Edited by yvesvidal

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There are a number of builds of this model Yves and I think yours could stand up there with any of them.


Supposedly Moebius is claiming that it is in the process of designing my personal favorite from the movie, the Aries 1B. They claim a 2021 release date but if their Proteus release was any indication it will be more like 2025.:( I always kind of liked the moon bus as well but when I built the old Aurora kit when young I just had to modify it to what I thought it should be from avid reading of various SF books by Heinlein and others. That is almost always a problem with me building SF models. 

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2 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

I think I saw the moon bus on oldmodelkits.com

The modern remake by Moebius is available almost anywhere, without paying the sometimes outrageous prices on OldmodelKits.com. The aftermarket stuff, just like all other models can add up quickly though.

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Moving along with no coming back..... I created a little cross of styrene, with 5 micro-LEDs: 


The fifth LED is not yet connected: 


We now mount the cross on top of the cockpit deck: 

DSC04285.thumb.JPG.03ba99c066118e26a3b5f9b95ece7d74.JPGOur first trial: from the outside, it looks good....but the inside remains kind of a mystery as the window is so small: 



You can see some of the control panels below: 


Trying different angles.... yes, twisting your neck you can see some of the controls.....


The electrical connections to the main bus are done. There is enough slack in the wires to remove the sphere: 


It is now time to glue the cockpit deck inside the upper half, and to glue the upper half to the rear bulkhead. The rear bulkhead (and the sphere..) holds by a very tight coupling (that brass tube over the spine) and three strong magnets. The three small prongs of the kit are helping too. We will not loose the living spaces on our way to Jupiter: 




Quite a tall model.....








Edited by yvesvidal

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2 minutes ago, thibaultron said:

Try adding a resistor to the cabin lights, this would make the console lights more noticible.

Yes, it is a camera/picture issue. When you look at it, it actually is not so bright and you can see some of the controls. It is just that the control lights are so recessed that it is almost impossible to see them.



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I am almost done with the vessel. There will be some pictures and some comments I would like to do about the kit and how I approached it. Hopefully, my mistakes can help other modelers to not fall in the same pitfalls.


Before closing the sphere, it is recommended to paint the inside black or some opaque color. Let's remember that the sphere itself is used  as a light chamber and as such, the white LEDs are blasting totally uncontrolled: 


First mistake (now too late to correct it: I painted using a brush, as I did not want to spray black all over the white external paint. That is not good enough. You need to spray (air brush) to really get something opaque and to prevent the light from seeping out. I have the black coat, the white plastic, the German grey coat and multiple coats of mat white. You will not believe it, but the light managed to seep through in a couple of tiny places. It can only be seen in complete darkness and not in moderate low light. The brush stroke are not as thorough as the airbrush and in retrospect, spraying inside with German Gray would have been better than brushing black mat paint.


Below are a few pictures taken in full obscurity. On the right seam joining the two halves, you can distinguish a small light leak.... Some leaks also above the windshield. I probably will end up reducing the voltage of the LEDs, to tone them down a little.



The entire vessel is now completed. It is quite difficult to picture it, due to its length. Doors are hand painted with a white background airbrushed. 








Second big mistake I did (and this because of the light circuitry in the sphere) is to close the two halves of the sphere AFTER painting. Big mistake.

The reason is the two halves are not matching exactly and because of the rear bulkhead already glued, the lower half was protruding a little bit, forward. So, I sanded a little bit the rear part of the lower half to make it fit better in the front. In addition and that is the big problem, when gluing the two halves, I ended up damaging the white paint on the seams. I had to delicately sand (without butchering the painted panels), mask again and do some touch-ups with my airbrush. Not a pleasant job and rather nerve wracking. So, if you decide to build that model, follow the instructions, glue the two halves together, spray the inside opaque, do all the interior details that you want to add, glue the rear bulkhead and paint the whole sphere separately from the rest of the vessel (white plus panels masking). Think how you are going to connect your electrical wires ahead of times..... There is not much room and the steel rod does not give you a lot of latitude to play.


Anyway, you can see on the next two pictures, the coupling of the two halves and the rear bulkhead. It is not too bad, but it could have been better. I am working at filing up the triangular gap and paint it carefully.



Overall, it is a great kit with parts joining neatly and cleanly. The two halves are a little bit delicate to glue together and a few modelers have been complaining about them in other forums. In retrospect I did not have much of a choice but I should have handled the painting of the sphere as one block.


What remains is to finish the background painting, and install the power supply on the frame. Stay tuned...







Edited by yvesvidal

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That just looks awesome! Funny how 20/20 hindsight is always crystal clear. I did wonder if that was going to give you issues gluing the halves on separately. In the long run, no one will even know unless you post it on the internet...um...😁. Seriously though, you've done a fantastic job. Can't wait to see it mounted in all its glory. Job well done sir!

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On 2/8/2020 at 1:11 PM, Hubert Boillot said:

Impressive work. I am going to sound a dissenting voice, but I like the picture of Jupiter better. It would contribute to make the whole set-up more realistic, IMHO.



I hear you Hubert, and of course, there is no way my poor painting skills can compete with a picture from NASA. However, the seams between the sheets are not giving me complete satisfaction and I have tried to improve on my painting a little bit. Jupiter is not an easy planet to depict due to the variety of colors and the tumultuous atmosphere. Here is where we stand right now. I have also included a couple of moons partially hidden from the sun by the enormous planet in front of them:



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Was just this morning talking to a bro of mine who is very into high-tech model railroading.  He has been getting refurb GoPro off of eBay and fitting the camera element in locomotive cabs.  Turns out much of the bulk on those cameras is about the battery and power supply.  DCC trains are already on 12 volt poser, so that's a simpler start.


He's convinced that GoPro or Polaroid will ad da broadcasting element to their product line in the very near future.  Which means the model railroaders might be able to drive the train from the view from the cab.

Ok, extend that thought--imagine if a person had a camera inside a model like Yve's, the display o nthe wall could very well have that internal view, and the rather odd sensation of being seen peering into the cockpit, too.  These sorts of thing boggle my mind more than a bit.

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