Archive for July 16th, 2009

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The Big Seaview is 95% finished!

July 16, 2009
Seaview on display in the cabinet.

Seaview on display in the cabinet.

For over a year, off and on, I’ve been working on the Moebius Models 1:128 Seaview from the 1960s TV show Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. It’s 39 inches long and features a detailed interior for the section visible through the four big windows in the bow. Unfortunately, this photo doesn’t do it justice:

The bridge through the front windows.

The bridge through the front windows.

I’ll work on getting some better images of the bridge and observation deck. I used two aftermarket sets – a set of LEDs, a cold light panel, photoetch and decals from Just An Illusion, and a photoetch set from Paragrafix Modeling Systems. The aftermarket sets are beautifully done, even though I found working with the tiny photoetched brass pieces frustrating. There are even tiny tables and chairs for the observation deck!

The JAI set includes clear resin replacements for the walls of the bridge. Using paint and the provided decals, and with the electroluminescent panel on the ceiling, the walls can be made with illuminated dials and panels. I found it very hard to do, though, and so I ended up using the original plastic walls with some decals, some paint, and some lights drilled out. I drilled out two of the TV monitor screens and placed backlit plastic and decal screens in the spaces. (One of them shows Arthur Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense in the early 1970s, when the show was to have taken place. He has the same last name as my son-in-law, so it was sort of a affectation, but he was a real version of the person who should have been contacting the Seaview periodically.)

I also had a small circuit board that blinked four LEDS – red, blue, green, and yellow – in alternating sets of two colors. I epoxied the LEDs to some fiber optic strands and drilled out some of the lights on the “computer” panel and a couple of other panels as well. Unfortunately, the computer panel is very near the back of the bridge, so it’s kind of hard to see, but it’s there!

I ran the power wire from all this stuff through one of the drain holes I cut using the Paragrafix template. It runs to a battery box I got from Radio Shack with a push button and a 9V battery. I’m hiding the battery box behind this resin base I bought and painted up years ago for the Polar Lights/Aurora small Seaview. I don’t recall who made this base. I think I got it from CultTVMan. The base will ultimately be used to display the miniature Flying Sub (with lighting), Diving Bell and Mini-Sub. That’s the Mini-Sub just sitting on it right now:

Mini-Sub

Mini-Sub

The Seaview isn’t done. I have two screws holding the lower bow section in right now, which means the seams are too large. I was afraid that the electrical work might be fragile, and I didn’t want to make it permanent just yet. (The lower bow section contains the hangar for the Flying Sub, with the observation deck/bridge assembly attached to it.) Eventually I will epoxy it in and repaint that lower section to blend it in.

The stand was designed by Kent Faulring and made out of aluminum to his specifications. He had several made up and I managed to grab the last one around the first of the year. It’s much cooler than the two plastic pedestals that come with the kit!

The Flying Sub and Diving Bell are being painted. They will be placed on the base, with the power wire for the Flying Sub running through a hole in the base. I think I’ll attach a stiff wire to the top of the Diving Bell to look like it’s suspended – just not from the Seaview!

One more image:

Taken with a flash.

Taken with a flash.

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Apollo 11 launch image

July 16, 2009

Apollo 11 launch supersonic

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Apollo 11 liftoff – 40 years ago today

July 16, 2009
The crew of Apollo 11

The crew of Apollo 11

There are several things of interest out there for the 40th anniversary. NASA is replaying the mission audio in real time here. There is a re-creation by the John F. Kennedy Library here, but it broke my browser the first time I went into it, and now it’s stuttering. Good idea and gorgeous imagery – I hope it works for you.

The best thing is that some restored video from the moon walk is now available. Apparently the original was accidently erased so the tapes could be reused. (While it seems to a lot of people that NASA has had unlimited amounts of money – it’s much more of a shoestring operation than you might think. That’s why we’re still launching using 45-year-old crawler-transporters, and in a lot of places at KSC, nobody cuts the grass.)

From what I read, these tapes were found at a college in Perth, Australia. The downlink of the video came to the Australian station. From there the signal was compressed to be send to the US. There was no direct hookup to the TV networks – they literally turned a TV camera on the video screen in Mission Control! That’s why the video looked so bad – lending itself to the conspiracy nutjobs in the process.

Raising the flag!

Raising the flag!

The new version is significantly better, within the limits of a special-built camera that had to withstand the trip to the moon, operate in a harsh, airless environment of great heat and great cold, and work with no human intervention – using late 1960s technology. I’m glad NASA has made these available. Check them out.