Author Topic: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)  (Read 6020 times)

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Oceaneer99

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VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« on: September 14, 2009, 11:57:25 PM »
I started building a model of the VKA-23 spaceplane (1960 design), a Soviet Union spaceplane concept that was never built.  The model is based on a rough 3-view that has a lot of errors.  Here is a link for more information:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vkasign2.htm

The model was built with salvage wood.  The fuselage is clear pine bought at a building salvage store, while the wing and wingtips are a piece of shipping pallet which turned out to be pretty nice wood.

Model with rough shaping:

http://smm.solidmodelmemories.net/Gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-3267

Fuselage rounded, wingtips getting their proper shape:

http://smm.solidmodelmemories.net/Gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-3276


lastvautour

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 04:22:54 AM »
Yet another project shapping up to be a winner.

Lou

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 08:55:25 AM »
VKA-23 is glued together and fully shaped.  I brushed a coat of thinned Elmer's wood putty over the whole thing and sanded it smooth using a thin medium-grit sanding sponge.  I used some Squadron putty on a few divots and sanded those, too.

I'll be trying the Deft lacquer sanding sealer on this one.

I did learn that when I thinned out my model airplane dope sanding sealer (it had lost some solvent in the jar due to evaporation) that I should have used lacquer thinner rather than just acetone.  Lacquer thinner has acetone plus other things in it (MEK, etc.) that slow drying time somewhat.  I should probably give up on that bottle at this point, especially with an entire quart of the Deft.  If anything, I'll probably want to pour some of the Deft into a smaller bottle.

Garet

lastvautour

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 11:01:20 AM »
Does the Elmer wood putty com ein a tube and is it tan coloured? I bought some of that on sale. It works pretty good for small areas, but would not want to fill an inch deep hole with it.a large area. It is pretty soft and easily dented before you harden it with paint or dope sealer.

Lou

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 12:58:21 PM »
I have a plastic can of it, but I think it comes in a tube as well.  And yes, it is tan colored.  It is soft and sands easily, so I was mostly using it to fill in scratches, which I did by thinning with water and then brushing it on.  For bigger dents and divots, it is too soft and you end up sanding into it.

I'm rediscovering my father's technique of using some sort of soft filler (used to use drywall spackle) followed by lacquer sanding sealer.

In general, I've instead used many many coats of sanding sealer, then sandable primer to get a smooth surface.  I wanted to see if the putty technique would keep it down to about 2 coats of sealer.  Of course, I'll need to put primer on after that, and the solid color of the primer usually lets me see all sorts of little imperfections in the shape and finish.

Garet

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 02:28:28 PM »
I drilled a 1/4-inch nozzle in the aft end of the spaceplane and made a dowel stand for the model for when I apply the sanding sealer.

The first coat of Deft sanding sealer went on nicely last night.  There were a few drips on the edges which I fixed by sanding with a medium sanding sponge before using a fine sanding sponge on the whole airplane.  Photos to follow when I take some.

Garet

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2009, 11:34:52 PM »

lastvautour

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2009, 05:14:23 AM »
Love the wood grain. Excellent blending of the tips. It is a great looking project.

Lou

dave_t

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2009, 05:56:29 PM »
When I first saw the photos earlier today, it looked like the fuselage was carved with facets. Now I see it is the grain pattern, funny.

 The finish looks good, guess I'll hafta buy some Deft now (I somehow missed the earlier discussion on the subject).

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 12:34:45 PM »
Thanks for the comments.

Dave, yes, I see that the grain does look like facets in some of the photos.  I actually had a hard time when carving it (going from square to octagon to 16-sided) because the grain kept throwing off my eyes.  I had to mark the corners with a pencil, and then as I started to round it, feel the shape with my fingers.  It's not a perfect half-circle in cross section now, but the rough 3-view implied that it was somewhat squared -- not a constant radius of curvature.

Lou, as to the wing tips, I started out with a fairly thick piece for the winglets and then used a belt-sander to taper them after they were attached (scary!).  I was inspired by your technique of starting with thicker vertical stabilizers.

The spaceplane has primer now, and I fixed a small hollow in the nose, along with a minor divot or two here and there.  All in all, it went much faster than previous models, so the overall coat of filler combined with the Deft really did speed things up.  I'm hesitant about the overall filler coat on some models because you really do have to sand off a lot of the filler (it is very soft), and if you can't get your sandpaper in everywhere, it would be a mess (a ship model, for instance).  I suppose the solution there is to do the filler and sealer coats before assembly.

I'm planning to airbrush the finish, which is black underneath, white topsides, and orange control surfaces.  I have older bottles of Tamiya acrylics that should do the trick.  If the airbrush doesn't work out, I'll hand brush the finish, as there isn't anything too tricky about it.

I plan to make a stand for this one -- it will be my first stand.  I found out that the real concept did not have landing gear: the cosmonaut was supposed to eject at low altitude after reentry!

Progress is slow this week Ken Burns' program about the National Parks is on TV this week.  I hadn't turned on the TV since the US eliminated analog TV broadcasts, and although I'd bought a digital tuner, it was completely out of whack for some reason, and I spent the 30 minutes before the show taking apart the antenna connections and finally getting the tuner to auto-tune the stations.  For some reason, the previous tuning was now bad.  ???

I did find that there is a modern vehicle that looks a lot like this one, the XCOR Lynx. I haven't found three-views, but there are photos of their wind tunnel model at their web site.

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2009, 10:44:05 AM »
I'm brushing the white parts of the VKA-23 spaceplane.  So far, I have four coats of Tamiya gloss white on the top sides of the VKA-23.  However, I'm not used to the feel of the Tamiya: it goes on a little bit like lacquer, and if you go back over with the brush, you make a mess.  It seems to have its initial cure very quickly, so lap marks are also a problem.  I thinned the paint a bit, which helped.  I've done light sanding between coats, and so far, it's been okay, but I worry about the final coats. I may need to thin even more for the last few coats.

I still may try spraying the last few coats of Tamiya white, and the black, orange, and canopy colors, since it seems like it will airbrush okay.  I'm seriously considering changing to Testors Model Master acrylics, as I like the feel of those as they brush on, and I've airbrushed those before also.

Garet

cliff strachan

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2009, 11:50:35 AM »
Hi Garet,
If one must have painting problems it seems that you are one of the most able to cope. Therefore, as a topic that may be of interest to the Group in general besides myself in particular,  the question is:What does one do when they have deposited a blob of enamel on  wood ready-to-paint?
Cliff.

dave_t

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2009, 10:27:45 AM »
Garet,
     Do you happen to know how the Spaceplane was to be launched? What scale did you work in?

  You achieved a very smooth glossy paint surface, probably better than the real thing would have looked ;)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 10:32:46 AM by dave_t »

Oceaneer99

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2009, 11:55:22 AM »
Dave,

Thank you for the kind words.

Here is the model after airbrushing Tamiya gloss white on the upper surfaces.  There is some overspray onto the winglets, which is why they look mottled:


http://smm.solidmodelmemories.net/Gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-3325

As I suspected, the Tamiya acrylics are really better suited for spraying than brushing.  My first attempt did not go well, however.  I pumped my tank up to 90 psi and regulated the pressure down to 25 psi, but couldn't get the paint to come out, so I increased pressure to 30 psi.  In hindsight, I hadn't thinned the paint enough, so I ended up spraying at the too-high pressure and making a rough, orange-peel surface.  I sanded this flat using a very fine sanding sponge and then tried again with more thinner.  This time, I sprayed at 25 psi, and things went fairly well.

The air tank is my modified fire extinguisher, which is about 3 gallons volume.  Since I wasted so much air the first time, after painting the VKA-23 and the engines from my Ascender spaceplane, the tank was down to about 30 psi, and I had to pump it up again to clean the airbrush.  The second time around, I pumped the tank only to 80 psi (bicycle pump, 0-60 psi is easy; it gets harder and harder after that), and had plenty of air for the painting and cleaning.  Cleanup was faster than I expected, so I'll probably do more airbrushing in the future.  My old (toy) Badger airbrush sprayed almost like a rattle-can, so it took me a few minutes to realize that this one (single-action Paasche) builds up slowly and needs to be held closer to the surface and moved more slowly, but could be used to spray fairly fine lines, such as soft camouflage edges (I was using the large #5 spray tip).

I used a sheet of folded cardboard as my "spray booth", with a desk lamp for extra light.  The Tamiya has a lot of alcohol in it, so that was the only objectionable odor.  I need to make an airbrush holder, since every time I put it down, it wanted to slide off the workbench, pulled by the air hose.

When I was trying to find the book I have that has airbrush problem symptoms (I never did find it; I had forgotten that it is a model railroad book), I did find my references on hand brushing.  One article mentioned that certain flat paints are very forgiving of hand brushing, and I would certainly agree.  I have never had problems hand brushing Testors Model Master Acryl II paint, but the gloss Tamiya acrylic didn't work very well that way.  On the other hand, it makes for a beautiful gloss finish when airbrushed.

Some of my models have a gloss finish, even with the Model Master paints.  I rub the last coat down with super fine sandpaper and then give it several coats of Future.  I painted my pink Spitfire that way.

From the limited information I have about the spaceplane, it was to be launched atop a booster rocket, but had internal liquid fuel tanks and an rocket engine.  Apparently, there was no landing gear, though, so the pilot was supposed to eject from it at low altitude after re-entry!

I haven't worked out decals yet, though many of the concept drawing of similar Soviet spaceplanes have international orange control surfaces, which I'm planning on using.  I'm also planning on building a stand that will fit into the aft fuselage where the nozzle would be. 

Some of the actual test vehicles had decidedly low-tech markings: one unmanned re-entry plane had lettering that looks like it was sprayed through a cardboard stencil.

Garet

lastvautour

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Re: VKA-23 Spaceplane (USSR)
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2009, 12:44:50 PM »
Garet, excellent work. I tried to thin the Elmer's Putty and finally had to go back over the article to see that water was the mixing agent. I tried alcohol (smelly), lighter fluid (smelly) and universal thinner before I remembered your experience. I am trying a test patch using coloured water. Not that I wanted to, it just happened that way. This gave me a darker putty than the tan but it should work out. As for sprays, enamel goes on better but acrylic is easier to clean up. I have a Testor Aztec a-la-cheap and it works for me. I eagerly await your completed spacecraft.

Lou
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 04:16:19 AM by lastvautour »