Saturday, February 27th, 2010

plastic model space shipMy basement workshop filled with the reek of burning plastic as I cut the hatch out of my scale model Apollo command module this afternoon. I want to display it with the hatch open and the model doesn’t come with a removable hatch, dammit. What would be so hard about that?

It’s probably better that they didn’t, after all, because the hatch they molded into the shell of the CM had a window that didn’t look right. Building one from scratch would have been a pain, but since I’ll have to build one anyway to display it opened up, oh well.

So I put a cutting wheel in my Dremel tool, bit the bullet and sawed a rough hole out of the plastic body of the model. Trouble is, a Dremel tool spins so fast (if you haven’t invested in a variable speed control, which I haven’t) the cutting wheel doesn’t cut the plastic so much as it melts it. Hence the stink.

I wasn’t planning to make any big modifications to this model, but I kept going back photos of the CM to look for details I could add to make it look a little better, and this one became my favorite:

Apollo 9In fact, this photo has been a favorite of mine for years. That’s Dave Scott standing in the open hatch of Gumdrop, the Apollo 9 command module. The LM pilot, Rusty Schweickart (“Rusty” is a perfect astronaut’s nickname, isn’t it?), snapped this photo of Scott while Schweickart stood on the “front porch” of Spider, the moon lander. They were the first crew to take an LM into space and fly it around to make sure it worked the way it was supposed to. It did.

I wanted to be an astronaut the minute I saw this photo. I wanted to stand in the open hatch of a space ship as I casually wound the key of the film feed on my Hasselblad camera so I could snap a few photos of my home planet as it rolled beneath me. Fucking wow.

But, since I suck at math so bad that any space ship they strapped me into would spontaneously combust, I’ll be happy enough with my little plastic model. And it’s going to have an open hatch with a little plastic astronaut standing in it, just you wait.

apollo model | 10:13 am CST
Category: hobby, play | Tags:
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