June 2018 Meeting

We had a great meeting on Friday, June 29, at the Girl Scouts of America San Diego campus on Upas Street. Gary Williams presented a check to the San Diego Model Car Club with their portion of the money we received from IPMS USA for Model Expo. We also discussed what worked and did not work at this year’s Model Expo. We did our usual Show n’ Tell. Finally, David Weeks did a presentation on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo recovery vehicles.


2018 San Diego Model Expo Contest Pictures and Results

IPMS San Diego and the San Diego Model Car Club would like to thank all of the participants in this year’s San Diego Model Expo. Without the people bringing in models for the contest, there would be no Model Expo. We would also like to thank the San Diego Air and Space Museum for their graciously hosting us again this year. Additionally, we would like to thank all of the volunteers and judges who brought together all of the pieces of the contest to make it a success. Finally, we would like to thank all of the vendors as well as attendees.






Award winners and other entries are listed below by category. Best of each category and the special awards are listed towards the bottom of the page.

Display Models

Junior Category Awards

Other Junior Category Entries

Aircraft Category Awards

Other Aircraft Category Entries

Military Vehicle Category Awards

Other Military Vehicle Category Entries

Diorama Category Awards

Other Diorama Category Entries

Ship Category Awards

Other Ship Category Entries

Figure Category Awards

Other Figure Category Entries

Science Fiction, Real-Space and Miscellaneous Category Awards

Other Science Fiction, Real-Space and Miscellaneous Category Entries

Automotive Category Awards

Other Automotive Category Entries

Special Awards

Star Wars Designer and Model Maker Colin Cantwell will be at this year’s InterGalactiCon

Breaking news! Colin Cantwell will be attending and talking about his work at this year’s InterGalactiCon!

For anyone who builds science fiction models, Star Wars represents a seminal event in the genre. Unlike previous science fiction movies and television shows in which everything was nearly pristine, George Lucas’ concept of a “used universe” showed us spacecraft that were dirty and damaged, adding a visual sense of realism to the 1977 movie. For much of this, we have Colin Cantwell to thank. Mr. Cantwell designed and built models of most of the spacecraft that flew in Star Wars – A New Hope, including such iconic ships as the Tie Fighter, the X-Wing and the Millenium Falcon. Mr. Cantwell pioneered the use of kitbashing – taking pieces of existing model kits and putting them together into something entirely new. This process was used extensively in Star Wars – A New Hope. Mr Cantwell’s other credits include 2001: A Space Odyssey, War Games and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.



InterGalatiCon will be held Friday and Saturday, June 15-16 at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

For more information – please see their website: http://www.intergalacticonsd.com 

May 2018 Meeting

We had a good meeting on Friday, May 25. This is our last meeting before the San Diego Model Expo on Saturday, June 9. Please see the latest update for details.

Meeting photos were taken by Ethan Idenmill

San Diego Model Expo 2018 Update 3

It’s almost time for the San Diego Model Expo for 2018!

It will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Annex at Gillespie Field, 335 Kenney Street, El Cajon, CA 92020.

Note – we are still looking for volunteers to help judge, setup, tear down and sell raffle tickets.

To volunteer to judge, please contact our lead judge, Jerry Jackson – leadjudge@ipmssd.org

To volunteer to help setup or tear down, please contact our contest coordinator Manny Gutsche – contestcoordinator@ipmssd.org

To volunteer to help sell raffle tickets, please contact our Secretary, Joel Hendricks – secretary@ipmssd.org

The themes for this year are:

“Poke the Bear” – The Soviet Union, 1917-1991

60 Years of the Chevrolet Impala

Please see the full flyer below:



The registration form is here:



The individual contest entry form is here:



Please note – you must submit one registration for all of your models together and have one entry form per entry. The registration form must be turned in during registration. Each entry form stays with its model entry and is used for judging and contest photography.

The list of categories is here:



There will also be a special award for the best 1/48 scale Boeing Stearman PT-17 model – the winner will get a ride in the Stearman formerly owned by Steve McQueen! (Note – the model winner must agree to donate his or her model to the Allen Airways Flying Museum. Please see the flyer below for details.

BillAllen_Stearman_Flyer (2)


Project Mercury Test Shot!

Scratch-building a 1/48 Scale Little Joe Launch Vehicle

Photo of the Little Joe 1 shot.


During the summer of 1958, as development and design advanced on Project Mercury, the United States’ first manned space-flight program, it became apparent that a low-cost launch vehicle would be needed to accomplish various full-scale testing associated with the launch and recovery environment of the Mercury mission. The resulting vehicle came to be called “Little Joe” after sectional drawings showed a four-hole configuration for the large solid rocket motors. This layout reminded the designers of the crap-game throw of a double deuce on the dice.

The Little Joe vehicle was one of the first boosters designed in the U.S. that utilized the concept of clustering large multiple solid rocket motors to launch payloads for research. The main solid rocket motors chosen for the Little Joe vehicle were derived from the Sergeant rocket and were called either Castor or Pollux depending on the anticipated booster flight profile. Both the Castor and Pollux motors had the same nozzle and casing dimensions and burned for the same length of time, about 35 seconds. The difference was that an individual Pollux delivered about 40,000 lbs. of thrust, while each Castor motor’s output was closer to 55,000 lbs.

As the design progressed, four Recruit solid rocket motors were added to the layout, which enhanced the operational flexibility of the vehicle. Each Recruit had about 35,000 lbs of trust and would burn for about 2-1/2 seconds. The main requirement of the booster was to qualify the Mercury spacecraft and its escape motor during the maximum dynamic portion of the Atlas launch trajectory (commonly referred to as Max q). Other test objectives of the Little Joe program included the confirmation of the Mercury capsule’s load bearing integrity during launch and abort, high altitude abort, parachute deployment after launch vehicle separation and recovery techniques after landing.

Requests for proposals to build the airframe and its associated launcher assembly were disseminated to the aerospace manufacturing community during the fall of 1958 with twelve companies responding. The Missile Division of North American Aviation won the competition and was awarded a contract on December 29, 1958 to build seven airframes and the launcher assembly. Each Little Joe could be built and launched for about $200,000.00 or about one fifth the cost of a Redstone booster launch.

The initial payloads for the Little Joe launch vehicle were pre-production mercury capsules, called boilerplates, these were designed and built at the NACA/NASA Langley Research Center. Five boilerplate capsules were used on the first five launch attempts with two McDonnell built production capsules used on the last three flights. Both of the initial boilerplate and production flights were failures with their payloads being destroyed at the end of those flights. The last two flights used the same production capsule with the last flight qualifying the MacDonnell spacecraft for manned spaceflight.

The Little Joe launch vehicle was designed with enough flexibility to accommodate several different flight regimes. This flexibility resulted from installing either two or four Castor or Pollux solids as well as the four Recruit motors. The first series of lower altitude Max q tests (LJ-1, LJ-6, LJ-1a & LJ-1b) used two live and two inert Pollux and four live Recruit motors while the three production capsule flights used two live and two inert Castor motors as well as the four Recruit motors. The one high-altitude flight (LJ-2) used the ultimate configuration, four live Castor and four Recruit motors. The process of certifying the production spacecraft and launch escape system (LJ-5, LJ-5a & LJ-5b) also included certification of the operational parachute recovery system, retrorocket package, the orbital hatch, and the spacecraft to booster umbilical fairings. Since the Little Joe was envisioned as a low-cost alternative to the Redstone and Atlas boosters, no guidance system was developed. Four large fins that surrounded the lower exterior of the booster were used to stabilize the vehicle in flight.

Flight-testing with the Little Joe began in August 21, 1959, and all of the flight tests took place from the Wallops Island Station, located on the eastern shore of Virginia. The eighth and last Little Joe flight occurred on April 28, 1961.


The Model

Digging into the program showed that all eight of the original Little Joe flights had slight differences in markings and details. So I decided to model a specific flight, finally settling on the LJ-1b round, which was the first flight to demonstrate the primary objective of the Little Joe program, a successful abort sequence while flying the anticipated Atlas Max q ascent profile. This mission was flown on January 21, 1960.

I began the model after drawing up a set of plans for the little Joe booster, payloads and the launcher assembly in 1/48 scale. Using .040” sheet styrene the cylindrical booster parts and the spacecraft adaptor were vacuuformed off of wooden masters. Sheet stock of the same thickness was used to make the disks that held the motors as well as the ring frame. The Recruit and Pollux motor shapes as well as the fins, were initially scratch-built and then multiple copies were resin cast to make up the sets needed.

After the motor support disks were fitted into the cylindrical section the two booster haves were glued together and the resulting seams filled and sanded. (See Figs.1 & 2) .005” thick sheet styrene fin-reinforcing plates were then added to the outside of the booster under the location of the four fins. After the airframe was scribed attention moved to the fins themselves as well as the adapter. The fins were mastered out of .020” styrene sheet and constructed in such a way as to allow for the inclusion of a stub wedge, which could be attached to the airframe and created a positive attachment surface for the fins to the airframe.

Fig.1 – A. Basic vacuuformed pieces for the airframe and adapter. B. Cylinder haves cut out. C. Interior of cylinder halves with mounting locators for the rocket motors. D. Motor and cylinder alignment disks.

Fig2 – A The original Pollux motor shape with its resin copy above and the recruit motor below. B. Motor cluster in alignment disks. C. Airframe cylinder with Castor/Pullux motors dry-fitted. D. The layout of the motors in one half of the airframe.

The two halves of the spacecraft adapter were sanded to the correct length, attached together and then the location of the twenty bolt attach cutouts were cut away near the top of the adapter. The locations of the cutouts were determined by using a paper pattern that was taken from the plans. The cutouts were backed with .010” styrene sheet stock and all voids were filled. A short lip was added to the inside of the top of the cylindrical booster and a .005” by .020” styrene ring was glued to the outside of this lip. The lip and ring centered the adapter on the launch vehicle cylinder and created a panel line between the adapter and the top of the booster.

At the bottom of the booster, a modified cruciform I-beam was created that supported the lower portions of the recruit motors and the fins on the launch pad. This was made of .010” styrene strip and sheet. The sheet was cut to the cruciform shape and the strip was used for the sides of the shape.

After construction on the booster was finished, work turned to the payload. The LJ-1b round utilized a Mercury boilerplate capsule shape. While the size and shape of the boilerplate was the same as the production capsule, the exterior details were completely different. For the spacecraft shape itself, I vacuuformed parts for the crew cabin section, parachute compartment and the antenna canister. The exterior details on these parts were added using strip and sheet styrene of various thicknesses. These parts were then resin cast.

Fig.3 – The scratch-build boilerplate Mercury Capsule master parts. B. The resin copies of the boilerplate parts. C. The Little Joe adapter; on the right, the bolt-holes are being cut out, on the left, all bolt-holes are finished and the adapter seams have yet to be filled.

I used some of the 1/48 Revell/Monogram Mercury kit parts for the escape tower but scratch-build most of the assembly. Styrene rod was cut to make the tower legs and a jig was created that allowed the three basic parts for each tower leg to be assembled. The three tower legs were temporarily attached to the kit aero-wedge fairing and also to the modified bottom of the escape motor. The new antenna cap was then attached to each leg and .020” styrene rod was cut to fit for each horizontal and diagonal tower strut needed. The kit also supplied the main escape motor exhaust nozzles.

Fig.4 – A. The jig used to make the escape tower legs. B. In the upper left is the jig used to align the main motor nozzles on the escape motor end cap, the modified nozzles are to the right and the modifications made to the end cap in the lower left. C. and D. both show the finished escape tower.


The Launcher

The launcher was based on photographs taken by Sven Knudsen as well as contemporary photographs and drawings supplied to me by Ben Gunther. I re-drew the launch pad and support mast based on these sources and used these drawings as well as a scaled parts breakdown to create the launcher for the model.

The launcher consisted of the base, launch vehicle support, pivot and jackscrew cover, and the umbilical mast assemblies. Because the Little Joe was unguided, the launcher was constructed to allow the vehicle to be aimed in both azimuth and elevation. Both movements were controlled by electrically powered jackscrews with limit switches that could be manually set to prevent over-travel. The elevation change was limited to 20 degrees from the vertical while the azimuth travel was limited to 90 degrees.

Construction started with the tripod shaped base assembly, which supported the rest of the launcher. .010″, .015″, .020″ and .030″ styrene sheet as well as Evergreen tube was used to make the base assembly. The launch vehicle support assembly was tackled next and this structure with its four launch vehicle support pads needed to fit the bottom of the Little Joe airframe. The U-shaped rectangular boxes were constructed with .040″ sides and joists and covered with .015″ skins. The mast support pads were added, as were the four booster support pylons. The jackscrew cover assembly was tackled next. This was constructed mainly out of .015″ sheet stock and included two “ramps” which allowed the legs of the support assembly to be positioned at an 80-degree elevation.

Fig.5 – A through D. In-progress shots of the build-up of the launch stand base.

Fig.6 – A. through D. The jackscrew cover for the launch stand.

The mast assembly consisted of two I-beam sections constructed out of .015″ sheet for the web and .010″ strip for the flanges. The stabilizing arm at the top of the lower mast included a small length of piano wire to attach the top of the booster to the mast. The various lines and mechanical devices used to retract cables and such were then cobbled together.

Fig.7 – A. & B. The launch vehicle support assembly. C. The umbilical mast.

The base for the model was made out of .040″ styrene sheet glued to a ¾” plywood sheet cut large enough so that an acrylic dust cover could cover the model. The mounting pads for the launcher were added, as were sections of the rails that supported the scaffold, which was used during the erection of the vehicle onto the launcher. An oak frame was then added to finish off the sides of the base.

A last test fit of all of the major sub-assemblies was carried out and any tweaks were performed before disassembly and the process of painting and decaling could begin.

Fig.8 – final fit-up of all of the major parts of the model. All of this is temporarily glued together with Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue.


Paint and Decals

The Little Joe launch vehicles and boilerplate capsules were finished in high-contrast colors to aid in photographic documentation of the flights. I ended up using an old Scale-Master solid color sheet that was a very close match to Testors International Orange (FS 12197) that looked to be close enough to the orange used on the Little Joe vehicle. This allowed me to use the decal sheet on the fins and the cylindrical areas of the model.

Prior to painting the launcher, the small assembly details were finished off. These included rivets made with white glue, Grantline bolts and grab handles out of some railroad detail sets I had. The sub-assemblies were then given a primer coat, any flaws were taken care of and Testors Medium Gray, FS 35237 was applied. The model base itself received a coat of Floquil Concrete and the metal rail guides were hand painted using Testors Metalizer Magnesium. Some general staining and blast effects were added using thinned paint and pastel chalks.

On the Mercury launch escape system, the tower and escape motor parts were first primed with Testors Lt. Gull Gray and then airbrushed with several light coats of Floquil Reefer White. The escape motor casing and antenna canister were then painted with the International Orange color. The tower, bottom of the escape motor including the three nozzles and the stability wedge had Testors Flat Black applied. The tower jettison motor was painted with Floquil Reefer Yellow. After all escape tower/motor parts had dried, the parts were carefully assembled using 5-minute epoxy.

The main airframe cylinder, adapter and fins were all primed with Alclad primer and then Alclad II Dull Aluminum was applied. The fins were masked leaving the leading edge exposed and Testors Metalizer Aluminum was used to give some color variation. Paper patterns were created for the orange and black markings on the fins and these were cutout from the Scale-Master solid decal sheet and applied with some Micro-Sol to help settle them down. The International Orange panels on the cylinder were also cut out of the solid decal sheet using paper patterns for size. It took two sets of decals to get the orange opaque enough on the metallic surfaces. I drew up the UNITED STATES stencils for both the airframe and capsule in my antiquated 2D-CAD program and the file was sent off to Rick Sternbach of Space Model Systems. Rick kindly created the decals on his now defunct Alps printer, which truly finished off the look of the model.

The exterior of the Castor motors were painted with Floquil Reefer White and then masked to paint the orange and yellow colored bands on the nozzles. The interiors of the nozzles were painted with a deeper shade of Alclad. A similar technique was used on the recruit motors with the exterior colors being red and Alclad II Jet Exhaust.


Final Assembly

The capsule was attached to the adapter section and the Marman Clamp cover and fairings were created and applied. After a coat of primer the entire capsule/Marman clamp fairing/adapter was painted Floquil Reefer White, then masking was applied to spray the upper half of the boilerplate Folquil Old Silver and the lower part of the adapter Alclad Dull Aluminum. The white on the capsule side and the Dull Aluminum on the adapter was then masked off with the resulting area sprayed Testors International Orange. After masking off the orange band on the adapter the Marman clamp cover/fairings were painted flat black. Paper patterns were also created for the orange panels on the capsule shape and the solid orange decal sheet once again supplied the color for those areas.

For final assembly, the launcher subassemblies were attached together using 5-minute epoxy and the launcher was attached to the base. After the motors and their cruciform support were attached to the bottom of the airframe, this was attached to the launcher. The capsule/adapter assembly was then added to the top of the airframe and the umbilical wiring added from the launcher to the rocket. Finally the escape tower assembly and the fins were attached to complete the model.

At 1/48 scale, the Little Joe is small enough to sit comfortably on the shelf yet large enough to show-off some of the details of the real thing. All of the North American Little Joe boosters were used in the test program but the launcher and two replicas are still in existence. It’s a long trip out to the Wallops Island Visitors Center, that’s where the launcher and one replica is exhibited. The other replica resides at the Hampton Air Power Park, Hampton, Virginia.

Photos of the Finished Model

April 2018 Meeting

During our April meeting, we welcomed a lot of new folks to our club who brought models for show n’ tell. We also held our bi-annual model contest which our Lead Judge, Jerry Jackson, used as an opportunity to train new judges. Full results of the contest are in the picture below, but Tim Shipley won the Best in Show for his 1-48 Stearman. Our Tie Fighter group build continues. Our next meeting will be held on Friday, May 25. That will be our last meeting before the San Diego Model Expo which will be held on June 9.

All pictures were taken by Ethan Idenmill

EVA Models 1/32 Scale Lunar Roving Vehicle



The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was an electric-powered vehicle designed to operate in the low-gravity vacuum of the Moon and to be capable of traversing the lunar surface, allowing the Apollo astronauts to extend the range of their surface extravehicular activities. Three LRVs were used on the Moon: one on Apollo 15 by astronauts David Scott and Jim Irwin, one on Apollo 16 by John Young and Charles Duke, and one on Apollo 17 by Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

During 1965 and 1967, the Summer Conference on Lunar Exploration and Science brought together leading scientists to assess NASA’s planning for exploring the Moon and to make recommendations. One of their findings was that a Local Science Service Module (LSSM) was critical to a successful program and should be given major attention. At MSFC, von Braun established the Lunar Roving Task team, and in May 1969, NASA selected the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) for use in manned lunar missions and approved the Manned Lunar Rover Vehicle Program as a MSFC hardware development.

On 11 July 1969, just before the successful Moon landing of Apollo 11, a request for proposal for the final development and building the Apollo LRV was released by MSFC. Boeing, Bendix, Grumman and Chrysler submitted proposals. Following three months of proposal evaluation and negotiations, Boeing was selected as the Apollo LRV prime contractor on 28 October 1969. Boeing would manage the LRV project in Huntsville, Alabama. As a major subcontractor, General Motors’ Defense Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, California, would furnish the mobility system (wheels, motors, and suspension), Boeing in Seattle, Washington, would furnish the electronics and navigation system. Vehicle testing would take place at the Boeing facility in Kent, Washington, and the chassis manufacturing and overall assembly would be at the Boeing facility in Huntsville.

The first cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to Boeing was for $19,000,000 and called for delivery of the first LRV by 1 April 1971. Cost overruns, however, led to a final cost of $38,000,000, which was about the same as NASA’s original estimate. Four lunar rovers were built, one each for Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17; and one used for spare parts after the cancellation of further Apollo missions. Other LRV models were built: a static model to assist with human factors design; an engineering model to design and integrate the subsystems; two one-sixth gravity models for testing the deployment mechanism; a one-gravity trainer to give the astronauts instruction in the operation of the rover and allow them to practice driving it; a mass model to test the effect of the rover on the LM structure, balance, and handling; a vibration test unit to study the LRV’s durability and handling of launch stresses; and a qualification test unit to study integration of all LRV subsystems.

LRVs were used for greater surface mobility during the Apollo J-class missions, Apollo’s 15,16 and 17. The rover was first used on 31 July 1971, during the Apollo 15 mission. This greatly expanded the range of the lunar explorers. Previous teams of astronauts were restricted to short walking distances around the landing site due to the bulky space suit equipment required to sustain life in the lunar environment. The range, however, was operationally restricted to remain within walking distance of the lunar module, in case the rover broke down at any point. The rovers were designed with a top speed of about 8 mph (13 km/h).

The LRV was developed in only 17 months and performed all its functions on the Moon with no major anomalies. Scientist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt of Apollo 17 said, “The Lunar Rover proved to be the reliable, safe and flexible lunar exploration vehicle we expected it to be. Without it, the major scientific discoveries of Apollo 15, 16, and 17 would not have been possible; and our current understanding of lunar evolution would not have been possible.”

The LRVs experienced some minor problems. The rear fender extension on the Apollo 16 LRV was lost during the mission’s second extra-vehicular activity (EVA) when John Young bumped into it while going to assist Charles Duke. The dust thrown up from the wheel covered the crew, the console, and the communications equipment. High battery temperatures and resulting high power consumption ensued. No repair attempt was mentioned.

The fender extension on the Apollo 17 LRV broke when accidentally bumped by Eugene Cernan with a hammer handle. Cernan and Schmitt taped the extension back in place, but due to the dusty surfaces, the tape did not adhere and the extension was lost after about one hour of driving, causing the astronauts to be covered with dust. For their second EVA, a replacement “fender” was made with some EVA maps, duct tape, and a pair of clamps from inside the Lunar Module that were nominally intended for the moveable overhead light. This repair was later undone so that the clamps could be taken inside for the return launch.

Also on the Apollo 15 mission during the initial checkout it was discovered that the front steering mechanism did not work. However the rover was designed with both front and rear steering so that on the first traverse only the rear steering was used. Prior to the second traverse the astronauts succeeded in freeing the front steering mechanism.

The color TV camera mounted on the front of the LRV could be remotely operated by Mission Control in pan and tilt axes as well as zoom. This allowed far better television coverage of the EVA than the earlier missions. On each mission, at the conclusion of the astronauts’ stay on the surface, the commander drove the LRV to a position away from the Lunar Module so that the camera could record the ascent stage launch. The camera operator in Mission Control experienced difficulty in timing the various delays so that the LM ascent stage was in frame through the launch. On the third and final attempt (Apollo 17), the launch and ascent were successfully tracked.

(Excerpted from Wikipedia)

The Model

I bought the EVA Models 1/32 Scale Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) at the 1998 IPMS Nationals, which was held in Santa Clara, California. With resin castings which are delicate and crisp and the well-detailed photo-etched parts, the kit is typical for a multi-media offering. A very nice, well-detailed 3-page assembly instruction sheet was included. Two astronaut figures and a lunar base are also included in the kit.

The box contains 93 resin parts; 10 of which make up the two figures, plus the base and one other that is the alignment former for the High-Gain Antenna. Also there are 24 photo etch parts on a single fret and some miscellaneous styrene rod. There are many small and delicate resin parts, so care needs to be taken in removing them from their carrier. I used an X-acto micro saw to remove the smaller resin parts. There were some minor pinholes in some parts and occasionally while sanding the carrier remnants off of the parts, more were revealed. I found that Squadron White Filler Putty worked just fine in filling those holes.

I started work on the kit with the wheels and fenders. After cleaning up the wheel, a determination of what direction was “up” based on the location of the attachment points for the suspension was needed. Then a hole was drilled straight into the bottom of each wheel to accept a short length of .050 stainless steel wire to attach it to the base. The “chevron treads” were a breeze to put on, I just follow the directions given. The only change I made was to use 3/16” diameter rod instead of the 1/4” suggested to form the chevrons so that when they are attached, they are definitely pushed out to fit the contour of the wheels. I made sure to create two pairs of wheels; all of the chevrons needed to “point” forward when the wheels are attached to the chassis frame.

Painting the wheels started by airbrushing the inside and outside wheel hubs with Testor’s Metal Master Non-Buffing Steel. Paper masks were then applied to the hubs and the rest of the wheels were airbrushed with Testor’s Metalizer Buffing Titanium. After letting the wheels sit of a day, the outer portions of the disks were masked and the center hubs on the outside the electrical motor housings on the inside were airbrushed flat white. After removing the masking the attachment points for the suspension were brush painted with Testor’s Metalizer Non-Buffing Aluminum. Taking a small amount of SNJ’s aluminum polishing powder and a old cotton shirt, the chevrons were lightly rubbed to give them a slightly different sheen that the rest of the wheel. For the final step on the wheels I used Scale-Master Sheet #SS-3 White Striping and Sheet #SS-2 Black Striping to make the white and black markings that go on the outer sides of each wheel disk.

The main fenders are really delicate so after carefully removing them from their pour stubs I used a dulled #10 X-Acto blade to adze their edges. I wanted the inside ridge to match the existing ridge on the outside of each fender. All of the fender extensions were left on their carriers to ease the process of painting and decaling. The color for the fenders was made from Floquil Railroad Colors. I mixed a little Reefer White into Reefer Orange to take the orange down some, and then I mixed in some Floquil Tuscan to darken the tint. I tried to match the color to photos taken of the rovers on the moon. After all sides of the fender parts were painted the insides of the fenders and the extensions were airbrushed with Testor’s Medium Gray and then an overcoat misting of Testor’s Gunship Gray. Both front fender dust flaps (part 27) were base painted with Testor’s Dark Ghost Gray then over-sprayed with the Medium and Gunship gray on the insides like the rest of the fender parts. The American flag decals on the fender extensions were applied over a white decal rectangle taken from the “spares” box. The final step was to take a mix of Floquil’s Gloss and Flat Clear and overcoat the outside surfaces of the fenders and extensions.

Now it was on to the chassis frame, I assembled the forward chassis section (Part 3) to the four torsion bar receptacles and after airbrushing the battery covers flat white and masking them, the frame was airbrushed with Testor’s Light Gray. Using thinned Testor’s Medium Gray, the battery covers were then accented. The rear chassis (part 2) was assembled with the remaining torsion bar receptacles, and its inner support (part 6) were also painted light gray. After drying, parts 2 & 6 were assembled together. Next, all of the torsion bars, made out of the .025 styrene rod were attached and brush painted with the Testor’s Non-Buffing Aluminum. The center chassis was then assembled and the frame was painted with the light gray. After the frame was masked, the floorboards were airbrushed with the Testor’s Non-Buffing Aluminum. To attach the three chassis sections, I super glued the sections together and then drilled a .028 hole through the inside of the center chassis frame into each side frame member of the front and rear chassis assemblies. Then a length of .025 stainless steel wire was glued into each hole to support the weight of rest of the vehicle and the seated crewman. I didn’t bother to fill in the holes, as the seat assemblies and the footrests would cover them. The brackets on the side of the center chassis were painted with flat white and the white and black markings were cut out of decal material.

There was a little flash on the webbing on the seat backs, so a lot of care was taken when cleaning the edges of the webbing and the tubular frame, as they are very fragile. The seat bottoms were painted separately from the seat backs. I airbrushed the bottom seats parts flat white and after masking, I airbrushed both the canvas covering of the seat bottoms and the webbing on the seat backs with Testor’s Sand. After drying, the horizontal webbing members on the seat backs were brush painted with Testor’s Non-Specular Sea Blue, and the frame was hand brushed with the light gray. The seat parts were then weathered with Testor’s Medium Gray and drybrushed with Testor’s Camouflage Gray. After drying, the carrier was sanded off of the seat backs and the parts glued together with CA glue.

For the assembly of the High-Gain Antenna, I followed the kit’s assembly instructions with the following changes. Prior to step one, I painted the groves in the resin former black so that when the wire mesh is applied, the groves are still visible, as this would help later in the alignment of the ribs. I then proceeded through step five. In step six, after gluing the inner end of each rib to the etched disc, I only tacked the outer end of the ribs to the wire screen. Then I proceeded to complete steps seven and eight. (You will find that after attaching the deployment mechanism central core (part 31) to the ribs they are strong enough to survive the removal of the antenna from the former and your chances of gluing the screen to the former is considerably lessened.) After I had attached part 31 to the inner ends of the ribs, I went back and re-attached any rib outer ends that had popped loose. (In my kit, the curvature of the ribs was not quite the same as the curvature of the resin former.) I then proceeded to step ten and cut the antenna off of the former. After it was loose, most of the rib ends had again popped loose, this turned out to be a good thing as I found it much easier to trim the edges of the wire screen without the ends of the ribs being glued down. It was also easier to attach the length of the ribs to the wire screen without the resin former. I could put my finger under the mesh and carefully glue the rib down. After all of the ribs ends were re-glued, I carefully brush painted the ribs with the Testor’s Non-Buffing Aluminum. I did change the length of the large rod called out in step 7 of the general directions that goes between part 45 and 49 to 1/2” instead of 3/4”. This looked a little more in-scale to me based on the LRV lunar surface photos.

I replaced the resin “mast” which supports the High-Gain antenna. The new support included a replacement for the short steel rod and was, I felt, more structurally sound. It includes two telescoping steel tubes and a length of .025 K & S stainless steel music wire. The existing resin part was used as a guide in cutting the lengths for the new parts. The larger steel tube is approximately .060 O.D. and .042 I.D., while the smaller tube is about .040 O.D. and .028 I.D. I replaced the small length of .025 steel music wire included in the kit with a longer piece that ran the length of the support.

The Storage Pallet Assembly was built as per step 4 in the instructions; the only exception was that I painted all of the major pallet parts light gray instead of flat white. Part 19, the Control & Display Console, was painted flat white, masked, and the face painted flat black. When dry, the dials and switches were drybrushed with Camouflage Gray and the details painted, I used the same color mix for the arm rest as was used on the fenders. The hand Controller (Parts 22A, 22B) was assembled, painted flat white and attached. after painting the handle of the Lunar Communications Relay Unit (LCRU) (Part 9), white and the left side instrument panel black, the rest of the unit was covered with a deep gold foil. The Television Control Unit (TCU) (Part 32) and TV Camera (Part 21) also had foil applied after being painted. The thermal control mirrors on the TCU and camera were made out of Silver Shrink Mirror. The parts for the 16mm Camera and Low-Gain Antenna were assembled after being painted, the only change being the replacement of the support rod for the Low-Gain Antenna with a piece of .025 steel music wire. Finally the outer wings of the footrests were removed and the footrests were air brushed with Testor’s Non-Buffing Aluminum. All of the subassemblies were then set aside until after the chassis and suspension were put together.

To attach the wheels to the chassis I created a 1/2” plywood base jig and on it, located the wheelbase and wheel width and then drilled holes to accept the .050 steel rods that were in the bottom of the wheels. The center of the jig was built up so that the chassis sat 15-1/2 scale inches above the bottom of the wheels and located so that the wheels were in line with the velocity-square dampers (Part 26). The jig center section had the same dimensions as those of the LRV center chassis. The chassis was then spot-glued with Aleene’s Tacky Glue directly to the center section of the jig and the wheels were placed into their locator holes. This is why it’s important that the locator holes drilled into the bottom of the wheels be as straight as possible, as they will determine the look of the vehicle after the suspension pieces are put on. To complete the suspension was a simple matter of cutting the .035 styrene rod provided in the kit to the correct lengths and adapting the velocity-square dampers to the top of the wheel and chassis. I used Zap-A-Gap CA to secure all of these parts. The dampers were pre-painted while the rods were brushed painted with the non-buffing aluminum after the vehicle was removed from the jig. While the vehicle was still glued to the jig, I attached the fender parts to the wheel. The instruction sheet implies that you do this prior to attaching the wheels to the suspension, but I wanted the fenders to be lined up with the vehicle’s local horizon. I used small strips of black shrink tubing cut to 1/32” wide for the runners on the main fender parts. The extensions were then attached to the shrink tube runners. After all suspension parts were applied the tacky glue was wetted and the vehicle carefully lifted off of the jig.

The last steps were to apply all of the subassemblies to the vehicle. I used the jig as support while attaching the seats, control console, footrests, aft equipment rack, antenna assemblies and cameras. I went to an electronics supply store and got the thinnest white insulated wire I could find and used it for the cabling between the antenna, the camera and their control assemblies.

The vehicle scales out very well to the documentation that I have. The 90” wheelbase measured out exactly, while the distance from between left and right wheels ended up being 75” instead of the 72” that my documentation shows. This was done so that the wheels would sit in the tracks on the lunar landscape base supplied with the kit. If one wants to include the hinging mechanisms between the chassis section then some modifications might have to be made to the forward and aft chassis frames to keep the wheelbase at 90”. The width of each wheel is right-on at 9” and the diameter is also correct at 32.19” (Yea, like I could really measure that .19”!) The finished diameter of my HGA mesh measured out to 33”, while the diameter that I have for the real thing says it should be 38”. This difference could very well be caused by my construction method as there certainly can be some leeway in the final diameter based on how one attaches the ribs to the center disk. The seats appear to be a bit too wide and the configuration of the seat covers is not the same as the lunar vehicles. This would be very hard to change and I don’t think it would be worth the hassle.

All in all, this is a really great kit! The build-up went relatively smoothly, the only problems I encountered were related to my unfamiliarity with the media used in the kit. I also had some difficulty with the HGA build-up. The results, however, were well worth the work. When finished, the kit looks great and you get a very complete, visually stunning replica of the LRV.

March 2018 Meeting

We had a great meeting on March 30 at the Girl Scouts headquarters. We had lots of show n’ tell. Thanks to Dan King for taking photos.

For next time, please bring an entry for our semi-annual club contest. If you are interested in judging at ModelExpo, this contest will be a good opportunity to give it a try. Also, if you are interested in helping to take photos at the ModelExpo, we will have a training session. Finally, please bring your Tie Fighters for the continuing group build.

San Diego Model Expo 2018 Update 2

We are busy preparing for the San Diego Model Expo for 2018, which will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Annex at Gillespie Field, 335 Kenney Street, El Cajon, CA 92020.

The themes for this year are:

“Poke the Bear” – The Soviet Union, 1917-1991

60 Years of the Chevrolet Impala

Please see the full flyer below:



The registration form is here:



The individual contest entry form is here:



Please note – you must submit one registration for all of your models together and have one entry form per entry. The registration form must be turned in during registration. Each entry form stays with its model entry and is used for judging and contest photography.

The list of categories is here:



There will also be a special award for the best 1/48 scale Boeing Stearman PT-17 model – the winner will get a ride in the Stearman formerly owned by Steve McQueen! (Note – the model winner must agree to donate his or her model to the Allen Airways Flying Museum. Please see the flyer below for details.

BillAllen_Stearman_Flyer (2)