Static Display Models

I started building plastic display models when I was 3 years old and haven't quit yet! My interests are mostly aircraft and spacecraft in various scales. Below are some examples of my more recent work...

Apollo Saturn V with Launch Tower

Saturn V with launch tower, 1/144 scale

Apollo Saturn V rocket with launch tower - This project started life as the Airfix 1/144 scale Saturn V rocket. After completing the rocket more than five years ago, I decided to scratch-build a launch tower to go with it. I mainly wanted a place to keep the rocket without knocking it over! Scale drawings of the tower were made from high-quality scanned photographs I obtained from official NASA web sites and several other commerical web sites to assist in building the structure. I have links to all of these sites in the Static Models section of the links page. I scaled everything to 1/144 and drew my own set of plans prior to beginning construction.

The rectangular Mobile Launch Platform (MLP) base is constructed from a 1/8" poplar plywood box covered with sheet plastic. The tower is constructed from round and sheet plastic with a wooden support post in the middle for strength. The wooden support post is used to simulate the central elevator shaft. The floor of each section of the tower was scratchbuilt using screen door mesh to simulate the grate floor. I-beam, round, and rectangular Plastruct and Evergreen styrene plastic stock were used to simulate the rest of the steel structure. The swing arms are functional, and the complete launch tower is almost three feet tall.

The project took almost 9 months to get to the stage shown in the photographs. However, it is still under construction and I continue to add more details. I eventually plan to add a fiber optic lighting system along with spotlights around the perimeter of the MLP to simulate the illumination of the structure at night. Stay tuned for more details!

Photo note: The photo of the Saturn V rocket and launch tower above was made in a totally dark room, shot with a 30 sec shutter speed, f8.0, ISO 400, and a Canon 70-200mm lens at 73 mm focal length attached to an EOS 5D body. I was experimenting with using cheap LED flashlights to try and simulate the night lighting of the full-scale Saturn V and LUT (launch umbilical tower). The results were poor, but when I tried "painting" the model with the LED flashlight, the results were quite impressive.

F-16 Thunderbird Fighting Falcon

F-16 Thunderbirds Fighting Falcon, 1/32 scale

F-16 Fighting Falcon in Thunderbird colors - This project originated from a Hasegawa 1/32 scale F-16 Fighting Falcon. The cockpit tub and seat have been replaced with a those from a Black Box resin kit.

The finish is simple white paint over the entire model with decals from the stock kit for the red and blue trim. The decals were extremely difficult to work with, but the end result turned out pretty well. Lots of solvent was required to get the decals to snuggle down over the curves, but the different pieces all fit together nicely and gave an impressive end result. I've displayed it on a mirror to show off the "Thunderbird" underside. All other details are from the stock Hasegawa kit.

Bell XS-1 #2

Bell X-1 #2, 1/32 scale

Bell XS-1 #2 - Built from a Revell 1/32 scale Bell X-1 kit, this aircraft was the second in a series of 3 Bell XS-1 aircraft. The first XS-1 (S/N 46-062), the famous Glamourous Glennis flown by Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager, became the first manned aircraft to exceed Mach 1 on October 14, 1947. The second aircraft (S/N 46-063) was flown by the NACA for research during the same time period. Pilots such as Herb Hoover and Bob Champine were among the first civilians to fly faster than the speed of sound. My model of 46-063 shows the distinctive all-white NACA color scheme, dramatically different from the all orange color scheme of 46-062.

During my research, I found several paint scheme variants that followed the aircraft through its life. I chose to use the yellow stripe on the tail with the NACA wings logo.

SZD-16 'Gil'

SZD-16 'Gil' Sailplane, 1/48 scale

SZD-16 'Gil' Sailplane - The SZD-16 'Gil' is 1/72 scale and was built from a Polish kit of unknown manufacture. Always looking for unusual subjects, I found the glider kit in a model shop in Las Vegas, NV (Imagination Unlimited).

I plan to include this model in a diorama of a glider tow operation using a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog in 1/72 scale from the Airfix kit as a tow plane.

I don't have the L-19 and tow diorama ready yet, but I plan to soon. Check back periodically! Trivia note: SZD stands for Szybowcowym Zakladzie Doswiadczalnym, a Polish manufacturer of gliders and other aircraft.

Long-EZ N3R

Rutan Long-EZ cockpit, 1/5 scale

Rutan Long-EZ in 1/5 scale - To date the most unusual static display model I have ever created! It started life as an RC model from the old St. Croix Long-EZ kit. The model was bought partially complete and used as a display model at NOAA/ATDD for years. I finally decided to give it a "facelift" and make it a true scale model, complete with interior and all the works. All cockpit details, including the seat upholstery, are scratchbuilt. The propeller is motorized and the wingtip lights are LED's which actually work. The model is a faithful representation of the Long-EZ N3R that was flown for environmental research by NOAA/ATDD and NOAA/FRD for more than 10 years. The picture to the left shows the cockpit only. A picture of the rest of the plane is coming soon.

PT-17 Super Stearman

PT-17 Super Stearman - This classic biplane is shown picking up a banner. This scene (and the aircraft) are modelled after a real banner towing Stearman operated by Heads Up Aerial Advertising. The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 450 HP radial engine that provides plenty of reserve power for banner towing. The model was built from a 1/48 scale Lindberg kit (Photo not available).

Rutan Voyager

Rutan Voyager - This very unusual aircraft was the first to fly non-stop around the world unrefueled. Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager flew this aircraft around the world from December 14 thru December 25, 1986. The kit is from Amodel (of Czech origin, I believe). It is 1/72 scale (Photo not available).

Visit Ed's Static Models links page.