I bought the Dragon 1/72 Mercury Redstone kit primarily for the Mercury capsule. The capsule exterior is nicely detailed but it has no interior; far worse, it has no heatshield. The retrorockets and the open nose door are on the sprue, so I don’t understand why they left the heatshield off.
Since I couldn’t build the capsule on its own (I didn’t feel like scratchbuilding the heatshield) I thought that turning it into a one-man space station would be a novel idea. I had a vague recollection of a planned long duration Mercury, so I googled it and found Project Gemini: A Chronology. In their list of illustrations, there’s figure 3, a proposal for a one manned space station based on Mercury:
This was a a good project that would allow me to build the Mercury capsule “in orbit” without having to deal with the missing heatshield.
Luckily, one of the tubes that makes up the Redstone rocket part of the Mercury kit was just about the right length for the orbital laboratory. An engine intake from an old Revell Battlestar Galactica viper kit fit perfectly as an adapter shroud at the rear. Since I wasn’t planning on building the Atlas Agena stage, I decided to be creative and added a small rocket engine in the rear of the adapter shroud. The station looked a little bare with just the capsule and a tube, so I made a couple of 1960s style solar panels, to provide power. The panels are just printed paper on styrene, with some Bare Metal Foil gold material on the back.
I scratch-built the fairing for the docking tunnel out of styrene. The inflated docking tunnel is made from tunnel looking parts from the Pegasus “Power Plant Construction set”, covered in Bare Metal Foil:
In addition to the single porthole in the picture above, I added a telescope/camera port on the opposite side.
The dull aluminum and the shiny aluminum color are both Createx Auto Air Colors acrylic paints. The shiny aluminum is straight from the bottle (thinned with windshield wiper fluid for airbrushing). The dull aluminum is the same paint, mixed with Vallejo matt varnish and thinned for airbrushing. Easy to mix, easy to clean up and the results are as good as other lacquer or enamel based metallics. Since it’s an acrylic (and compatible with Vallejo, as I found out) you can mix up quite a range of shades.
Other than the annoying lack of a heatshield, this was a fun and easy build.
The build thread on “Beyond the Sprues”
updated February 17 2020