David Hanners’ Concept CEV

CEV “Schirra”

Scale: 1/32


This spacecraft is loosely based on concept drawings of a crew exploration vehicle featured on Lockheed Martin’s CEV website. I figured that since there are supposed to be several CEVs, perhaps they’d name them after the original seven Mercury astronauts, hence the name, “CEV Schirra.”

The model was built with sheet styrene, styrene tube, styrene strips and half-rounds, stretched sprue, the dosage cup from a Tylenol bottle, the bottom of a plastic medicine vial, part of a table tennis ball, metal tubing, nozzles from the spares box, aluminum foil and gold foil from a roll of Rollo candy. The details:

COMMAND MODULE — The capsule is a truncated cone, so I figured how big I wanted it and fed the dimensions into an online shroud calculator that gave me the two-dimensional plans. These were transferred to .015 sheet styrene and cut out. Before forming it to the rounded shape, I scribed panel lines and cut holes for the RCS, windows and star trackers. The shroud was then glued into a rounded shape, and lengths of styrene tubing were cut at an angle and inserted into the RCS holes, cut flush with the surface and sanded. The windows were cut out with a paper punch and backed with scrap styrene. Forward and aft bulkheads were cut from .030 styrene. After cutting a large hole in the forward bulkhead, I cut down the dosage cup from a Tylenol bottle and used it for the docking tunnel. The “hatch” is the bottom of a medicine vial. Surface detail was added with sheet styrene. Handrails were made from stretched sprue and small bits of sheet styrene.

SERVICE MODULE — The SM (I guess that’s what it is) is a simple cylinder, built much the same way as the CM: .015 sheet styrene formed into a body around two .030 styrene bulkheads. The cylinder was then covered with aluminum foil; I left a few crinkles in it to simulate the effects of outer space on bare metal. I used sheet styrene and corrugated styrene for the 16 radiator panels. The styrene was cut into long strips, formed around a pencil holder that was roughly the size of the SM then dipped in hot water for a few seconds so they would retain their curvature. Once they were cut to size and glued on, I marked where the solar arrays would go, drilled holes and inserted metal tubing to hold the array arms. The RCS housings are sheet styrene heat-formed over two different male molds I made from wood, and the RCS nozzles are small slices of styrene tubing. Another short truncated cone was used for the bottom propulsion section, and an even smaller truncated cone was reversed and placed in the middle of that to produce a “well” for the service propulsion system nozzle, which came from the spares box. The sides of the well were detailed with half-round styrene strips. The OMS nozzles are spares from a 1/144th-scale Revell shuttle kit. The antenna was made by cutting a circle from a table tennis ball, and the mount was scratchbuilt out of styrene tube and strip. The umbilacal housing between the SM and CM is strip styrene.

SOLAR ARRAYS — The solar arrays are strips of .015 plastic glued to styrene strips, which were then glued to metal tubing that can fit into the tubing in the SM.

FINISHING — The CM was airbrushed with Testor’s Metalizer “Jet Exhaust.” Pactra medium gray acrylic was brush-painted onto the rear engine section. Testor’s “Steel” and “Aluminum” and “Magnesium” and Badger acrylic Flat Black were used for detail painting. All decals were homemade on my computer and printed out onto white decal film. The NASA “meatball” and American flag were copied from online sources and printed out onto white decal film. The “CEV Schirra” emblem, “United States” markings, HRSI and LRSI tiles, hatch markings, windows, warning markings, access hatch and front and backs of the solar arrays were created on the computer using the “Draw” function in Word. The gold foil on the propulsion section came from a roll of Rollo candy.

David Hanners

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