Card 1/96 scale
Space Shuttle "Atlantis"
Space Shuttle "Atlantis"
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This is a card model of the space shuttle "Atlantis" in 1/96th scale. The model was designed by Raimondo Fortezza and is offered for download on the Italian website www.marscenter.it, along with models of the ISS and Soyuz spacecraft and launcher.
All the models are in 1/100th scale, but I printed out the shuttle pages and took them to a photocopying shop, where I had them resized to 1/96th scale by enlarging them 104 percent. That way, the model will go nicely next to my 1/96th-scale Energia-Buran stack. I'm planning on buildling the ET and RSRMs next.
Although the model, as offered, is fairly decent by card standards, I made quite a few modifications and tweaks to enhance accuracy and reflect Atlantis' current configuration. The biggest visual change is replicating the Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation (AFRSI) blankets, which I did with a textured craft paper. The paper was cut into tiny squares and rectangles and glued to the model.
The SSMEs were scratchbuilt out of two types of metallic paper, and I also modified the rudder to model the later version with the drag chute. The wings were modified, detail was added to the payload bay doors, and various other changes were made to the kit throughout.
Since I'm building the model in the launch configuration, the forward RCS ports are modeled covered (as they are at launch) and I have yet to weather the bottom, which I'll either do with pastel chalk or a light-gray mist with an airbrush. The kit pieces, while doing a decent job of replicating the High-temperatures Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) tiles are too black for the bottom and need to be lightened considerably.
The nose is the kit piece, but I worked it with various sizes of wooden balls (using a computer mouse pad as a mat) to get to the approximate shape. Once it was close, I "painted" the piece with woodworking glue, and when that dried, I was able to sand it to shape. It was painted with acrylic craft paints that I mixed to get the appropriate gray-green color of RCC panels; same deal with the RCC panels on the wing leading edges, but I darkened the base color to replicate the different colors you see in photos of the shuttles. (On the real shuttle wing leading edges, some RCC panels are newer than others, hence they have a different color.)
Most of the model is 65-lb. cardstock, but various other types of papers were used. The glue used was Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive. And for those who keep count, I went through about six No. 11 X-Acto blades to build the model.
Building this makes me wonder yet again why no plastic kit manufacturer ever got around to offering a 1/96th-scale styrene kit of the shuttle. I know Tamiya had one in 1/100th scale, but wouldn't a 1/96th shuttle look nice next to that 1/96th-scale Saturn V?
Model, Images and
Text Copyright © 2009 by David Hanners
Page Created 3 February, 2009
3 February, 2009
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