Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shinkai (しんかい) 6500

Here are some images of Bandai's 1/48 scale Jamstec Shinkai 6500 Manned Research Submersible.

This is one of the best kits I have seen in a long time. The detail is amazing plus there are lots of moving parts and removable panels. It even comes with a lighting pack.
What I found interesting is the lack of glue that was required in assembling such a complex kit.
It also comes with one of the most complex display stands I've seen.
However this kit isn't cheap. It retails at around $100 CDN.

From Wikipedia"
The Shinkai 6500 (しんかい) is a manned research submersible that can dive up to a depth of 6,500 m. It was completed in 1990 and has the greatest depth range of any manned research vehicle in the world. The only manned expedition to have gone deeper was the dive of the Trieste bathyscaphe in 1960. However, the vessel could not navigate along the bottom of the sea bed. The Shinkai 6500 is owned and run by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and it is launched from the support vessel Yokosuka.
Two pilots and one researcher operate within a 73.5 mm thick titanium pressure hull with an internal diameter of 2.0 m. Buoyancy is provided by syntactic foam.
Three 14 cm methacrylate resin view ports are arranged at the front and on each side of the vehicle.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mercury Redstone 3

Here are some images of Dragon Models 1/72 scale Mercury - Redstone 3 Rocket.

From Wikipedia"

Mercury-Redstone 3 was the first manned space mission of the United States. Astronaut Alan Shepard piloted a 15-minute Project Mercury suborbital flight in the Freedom 7 spacecraft on May 5, 1961 to become the first American in space, three weeks after the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had carried out the first orbital spaceflight.

The capsule, launched on a Redstone rocket from Launch Complex 5 (LC-5) at Cape Canaveral, Florida, reached an altitude of 116.5 miles (187.5 km) before falling back on a ballistic trajectory and splashing down 303 miles (488 km) away from the launch pad, off the Bahamas. During the flight, Shepard observed the Earth and tested the reaction control system of the spacecraft. Earth photos were taken by an automatic camera mounted in the spacecraft's window.

The countdown began at 8:30 p.m. the previous night, with Shepard entering the spacecraft at 5:15 a.m. ET, just over two hours before the planned launch time. At 7:05 a.m., the launch was held for an hour to let cloud cover clear - good visibility would be essential for photographs of the Earth - and fix a power supply unit; shortly after the count restarted, another hold was called in order to reboot a computer at Goddard Space Flight Center. The count was eventually resumed, after slightly over two and a half hours of unplanned holds, and continued with no further faults.

Mercury-Redstone 3 finally lifted off at 9:34 a.m. ET, watched by an estimated 45 million television viewers in the United States. Shepard was subjected to a maximum acceleration of 6.3g just before the Redstone engine shut down, two minutes and 22 seconds after launch. Freedom 7's space-fixed velocity was 5,134 miles per hour (8,262 km/h), close to the planned value. Ten seconds later, the escape tower was jettisoned. At the three-minute mark, the automated attitude control system rotated Freedom 7, turning it so the heatshield faced forward ready for re-entry.

Shepard was now able to take manual control of the spacecraft, and began testing whether he was able to adjust its orientation. The first thing he did was position the spacecraft to its retrofire attitude of 34 degrees pitch (nose of spacecraft pitched down 34 degrees.) He then tested manual control of yaw, motion from left to right, and roll. When he took control of all three axes, he found that the spacecraft response was about the same as that of the Mercury simulator; however, he could not hear the jets firing, as he could on the ground, due to the levels of background noise.

The secondary objective was to make observations of the ground from the spacecraft; returning the spacecraft to automatic control, Shepard found that he was able to distinguish major land masses from clouds easily, and could make out coastlines, islands and major lakes, but had difficulty identifying cities. He had problems working with the spacecraft periscope - early Mercury capsules had a small periscope rather than a viewing window - and had to abandon an attempt to change optical filters on it.

Under automatic control, the spacecraft had developed a slight movement as it passed through peak altitude; Shepard now switched into the "fly-by-wire" mode, where the pilot used a controller to order the automatic system to fire the rockets for the desired positioning, rather than manually controlling the individual jets. Adjusting roll and yaw, he found the pitch position was around ten degrees too shallow - 25 degrees rather than the desired 35 for reentry - and as he began to correct it, the timed retrorockets fired to send him into reentry. The retrorocket pack - strapped atop the heatshield and so requiring release before reentry - was successfully jettisoned, but the confirmation light failed, requiring Shepard to activate the manual override for the jettison system before it confirmed that the rockets were fully released.

Shepard resumed fly-by-wire control after retrofire, reporting that it felt smooth and gave the sensation of being fully in command of the craft, before letting the automatic systems briefly take over to reorient the capsule for reentry. He then kept control until the g-forces peaked at 11.6g during re-entry; he held the capsule until it had stabilized and then relinquished control to the automated system. The descent was faster than anticipated, but the parachutes deployed as planned, a drogue at 21,000 ft (6.4 km) and a main parachute at 10,000 ft (3.0 km).

Splashdown occurred with an impact comparable to landing a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier. Freedom 7 tilted over on its right side about 60 degrees from an upright position, but did not show any signs of leaking; it gently righted itself after a minute, and Shepard was able to report to the circling aircraft that he had landed safely and was ready to be recovered. A recovery helicopter arrived after a few minutes, and after a brief problem with the spacecraft antenna, the capsule was lifted partly out of the water in order to allow Shepard to leave by the main hatch. He squeezed out of the door and into a sling hoist, and was pulled into the helicopter, which flew both the astronaut and his spacecraft to a waiting aircraft carrier, the USS Lake Champlain. The whole recovery process had taken only eleven minutes, from splashdown to arriving aboard.

The flight lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds and the spacecraft traveled 302 miles (486 km) from its launch point, ascending to 116.5 miles (187.5 km). Freedom 7 landed at these coordinates: 27.23°N 75.88°W. It reached a speed of 5,180 mph (8,340 km/h).

Following the flight the spacecraft was examined by engineers and found to be in excellent shape, so much so that they decided it could have been safely used again in another launch. The Freedom 7 is now on display in the lobby of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. It was placed there after Shepard's death in 1998.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

XP-34 Landspeeder

Here are some images of Revell's 1/25 scale XP-34 Landspeeder from Star Wars.
I don't know about you but doesn't the Luke Skywalker figure look suspiciously like Chuck Norris? But I digress.
As has been stated before what one does to any snaptite pre painted kit worth its salt is to of course glue it and add more paint to it which is what has been done here.
Things added to this model is of course more dirt, scratches and dents. I also added a couple of instrument panels to the interior plus more detailing on whatever that thing is on the hood.

From Wikipedia"

Landspeeders are fictional antigravity craft used through the Star Wars movies and Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are depicted both in civilian and military capacities, and several versions have been merchandised as toys and models.

Landspeeders first appear in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Two of them—Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) XP-34 and a V-35—were designed by Special Effects genius John Stears and were fitted around cars; Skywalker's landspeeder was built around a small sports car manufactured by Ogle Design. One of the major challenges the production crew faced was disguising the wheels to create the illusion that the craft was hovering.[2][3] For certain shots, they shot from camera angles that masked the wheels; for long-distance shots, they used reflective material, gelatin on the camera lens, and shadow effects. A small blur could be seen under the speeder, which George Lucas called "The Force Spot" (stated in Special Edition Tape). Production designer Roger Christian used an angled mirror and a broom attached to the vehicle's underside to create, at certain angles, the illusion that the craft was hovering and kicking up dust. Star Wars creator George Lucas used digital technology to enhance the landspeeder effects in the Special Edition of A New Hope. Industrial Light and Magic's (ILM) Doug Chiang design the Naboo Flash speeder with a "race car look" while the Gian speeder's appearance is ILM's response to Lucas' request that the Naboo troops have "a pick-up truck with guns."

Expanded Universe material describes speeders as using a "repulsorlift" that allows them to travel above a world's surface; a key differentiating point between landspeeders and airspeeders is the altitude the repulsorlift allows the craft to reach. In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) sells his landspeeder in order to pay Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to take him, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to Alderaan. Naboo security forces use landspeeders in their attempt to retake the capital city of Theed in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and various speeders appear in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Speeders are playable-controllable craft in a variety of LucasArts titles.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

U.S.S. Kubrick Composite

Here is my composite image of my 1/537 scale kit bash Clarke Class U.S.S. Kubrick NCC - 2001 cruising over Hurricane Ivan.
Plus I am honored to show a Schematic of the Kubrick as drawn by Mr. Jim Stevenson. Great stuff!!

Images of the model can be seen here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enterprise Refit Under Construction

Her are some images of my kitbash/scratchbuild 1/1000 scale U.S.S. Enterprise Refit under construction.
I think that if one were to refit the Enterprise, the logical way to do it would be to build the new shell over the old one. After which the old shell would either be removed manually or beamed out. the pylons, nacelles and sensor arrays would of course have to be completely replaced.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Phase II Enterprise

Here are some images of my 1/1000 scale kit bash of the Phase II Enterprise from the failed late 70's television program.
Looking at the interweb I've noticed that there various interpretations of what the Phase II Enterprise would have looked like if it were completed. So I figured what the heck I might as well throw mine into the mix as well.

From Wikipedia"

Star Trek: Phase II was a planned television series based on the characters of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, which had run from 1966 to 1969. It was set to air in early 1978 on a proposed Paramount Television Service (a forerunner to UPN). The series was to follow the adventures of the Enterprise crew on a second five-year mission, and be a continuation of the Star Trek franchise.

Several attempts at a Star Trek motion picture were made in the 1970s, including Gene Roddenberry's 1975 treatment The God Thing, and a later attempt called Planet of the Titans, which proceeded to script stage only to be abandoned in 1977. It was decided instead to create a new Star Trek television series, for a new national television network to be owned by Paramount. This was announced on June 17, 1977 with a projected start date of May 1978.

Pre-production work started, with sets built, several television grade models (including the Enterprise itself and many of the pilot episode's models) made, deals made to bring back most of the original series cast, and several actors cast. It was planned to use the original series uniforms. Principal photography had not started, but test footage had been shot. Story writing had proceeded to thirteen scripts, enough for a half-season.

Work on the series came to an end when the proposed Paramount Television Service folded. However, following the success of the science fiction movies Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the planned pilot episode entitled "In Thy Image" was adapted into a theatrical production, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Several minutes of test footage, including a view of a redesigned Engineering Room, costume tests with crew, screen test footage of David Gautreaux as Xon and costume test footage of Persis Khambatta as Ilia, were included in a featurette on the DVD release of the Directors Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The series was planned to have included William Shatner and DeForest Kelley reprising their roles as James T. Kirk and Leonard McCoy. Conspicuous by his absence was Leonard Nimoy, who declined to return due to a marketing issue over the Spock character, his displeasure over Roddenberry's screening of Star Trek blooper footage at various conventions and obligations to the play Equus, although early scripts included him. Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov were all to return, with promotions to Lieutenant Commander for Uhura and Sulu, and to Lieutenant for Chekov. Chekov would have been chief of security. The character of Christine Chapel would also return, having become a doctor since the original series, in which she was a nurse. Phase II would also have marked the return of Janice Rand to the Enterprise.

The series would have included several new characters, such as Commander Willard "Will" Decker, the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Ilia, and the Vulcan Lieutenant Xon.

According to the series bible, Xon was to be a full Vulcan, and unlike Spock, fresh out of the Academy at 22. Doctor McCoy was to have been protective about him. The character of Xon did not appear in The Motion Picture, although David Gautreaux had been cast in the role. When Leonard Nimoy finally agreed to reprise Spock, his Vulcan replacement as Science Officer became Commander Sonak, and appeared briefly in the film; after only a few lines of dialogue, he was killed in a transporter accident. This was to preserve Xon, and the actor who had so carefully developed him, for a possible future production. David Gautreaux made a cameo appearance in the movie as a human, Epsilon 9's Commander Branch.

The concept of the brilliant young Vulcan scientist, Xon, almost survived into a later movie. One premise developed as a possible sequel to the first movie included a male Vulcan called Doctor Savik. A variation of that name, Saavik, was later given to a female Vulcan when elements of several premises were combined for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and elements of Xon, such as his search to understand humans, would be transferred later into the character Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Also, the concept of a full-blooded Vulcan dealing with humans is explored with T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Wil Decker is established in the show as coming from a long line of Starfleet officers. The early script notes that he was the son of Commodore Matt Decker, who had been featured in "The Doomsday Machine" (an episode of the original television series), and would "command some landing parties", anticipating the TNG situation where the first officer usually took down away teams. The role of Decker remained uncast until after the film project officially began, at which time Stephen Collins was cast.

Lt. Ilia, a Deltan, is established as an empath. Both the Decker and Ilia characters appear in The Motion Picture, although neither of them survive it. The Motion Picture establishes that Decker and Ilia had a pre-existing relationship. Persis Khambatta was cast as Ilia for Phase II and was carried over onto the film. The TNG characters William Riker and Deanna Troi are derived from Decker and Ilia. A number of screen-test shots of Persis Khambatta in Ilia makeup were taken, as well as footage of costume tests.

Two scripts for the series ("The Child" and "Devil's Due") were rewritten for use in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Several episodes of Star Trek: Phase II were scripted:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sea Harrier Composite

Here is my composite image of Airfix/Heritage Aviation's 1/24 scale BEA (British Aerospace) FRS1 Sea Harrier flying over an ocean beach.

Images of the model can be seen here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sea Fury's

Here is my composite image of two Sea Fury's flying in formation against a blue sky. The model is Fisher Models 1/32 scale Hawker FB 11 Sea Fury.

Images of the model can be seen here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

F 117 Nighthawk Composite.

Here is my composite image of Testors 1/32 scale Lockheed F 117 Nighthawk flying over tree topped mountains during winter.
What I like about this image is the angle of the aircraft as it gives it a odd appearance.

Images of the model can be seen here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Computer Died

Just to let everyone know that my computer finally gave up the ghost. However all is not lost. I have just been able procure a brand new iMac so I should be back up and running in a short while.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spanish F 104 G Composite

Here is my composite image of Revell's 1/32 scale Lockheed F 104 - G in Spanish markings flying through a winter mountain pass.

Update: Read how this forum analyzes this composite. Photoshop experts all. LOL!!

If you don't speak German you'll need Google translate.

Phantom F4-J Composite

Here is my composite image of Revells 1/32 scale F4-J Phantom cruising over a rainforest jungle.

Images of the model can be seen here.

From Wikipedia"

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their respective air wings.

The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry over 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. The F-4, like other interceptors of its time, was designed without an internal cannon, but later models incorporated a M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959, it set 15 world records, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.

The F-4 was used extensively during the Vietnam War, serving as the principal air superiority fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, as well as being important in the ground-attack and reconnaissance roles by the close of U.S. involvement in the war. The Phantom has the distinction of being the last U.S. fighter flown to attain ace status in the 20th century. During the Vietnam War, the USAF had one pilot and two weapon systems officers (WSOs), and the US Navy one pilot and one radar intercept officer (RIO), achieve five aerial kills against other enemy fighter aircraft and become aces in air-to-air combat. The F-4 continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle and F-16 in the U.S. Air Force; the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy; and the F/A-18 in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The F-4 Phantom II remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel (suppression of enemy air defenses) roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. It was also the only aircraft used by both U.S. flight demonstration teams: the USAF Thunderbirds (F-4E) and the US Navy Blue Angels (F-4J). The F-4 was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab–Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms in the Iran–Iraq War. Phantoms remain in front line service with seven countries, and in use as an unmanned target in the U.S. Air Force. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built, making it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Type XXIII U-Boat

Here are some images of Dave Porter's 1/72 scale Type XXIII U-Boat and here is his description.

This is a Alanger’s type XXIII U-boat in 1/72 scale. This was a pretty simple build with not many parts. Unfortunately the fit isn’t very good and the detail isn’t great either. The good points are that the kit comes with two very well molded crew members and the price is right for the model.

I finished it Tamiya colors and artists oil paint.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nakajima Ki 84 Hayate (Frank) Prototype Composite

Here is my composite image of Hasegawa's 1/32 scale Nakajima Ki 84 Hayate (Frank) prototype flying over rice fields in Japan.

Images of the model can be seen here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G Composite

Here is my composite image of Revell's 1/32 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 G in winter camouflage flying over a winter mountainous terrain.

Images of the model can be seen here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Orion Nuclear Starship

Here are some images of my scratch built Orion Nuclear Starship, based off off earlier drawings of the concept.

From Wikipedia"

Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft (Nuclear pulse propulsion). Early versions of this vehicle were proposed to have taken off from the ground with significant associated nuclear fallout; later versions were presented for use only in space.

A 1955 Los Alamos Laboratory document states (without offering references) that general proposals were first made by Stanislaw Ulam in 1946, and that preliminary calculations were made by F. Reines and Ulam in a Los Alamos memorandum dated 1947. The actual project, initiated in 1958, was led by Ted Taylor at General Atomics and physicist Freeman Dyson, who at Taylor's request took a year away from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to work on the project.

By using energetic nuclear power, the Orion concept offered high thrust and high specific impulse, or propellant efficiency, at the same time. As a qualitative comparison, traditional chemical rockets—such as the Saturn V that took the Apollo program to the Moon—produce high thrust with low specific impulse, whereas electric ion engines produce a small amount of thrust very efficiently. Orion would have offered performance greater than the most advanced conventional or nuclear rocket engines then under consideration. Supporters of Project Orion felt that it had potential for cheap interplanetary travel, but it lost political approval over concerns with fallout from its propulsion. The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 is generally acknowledged to have ended the project.

The Orion nuclear pulse drive combines a very high exhaust velocity, from 20 to 30 km/s, with meganewtons of thrust. Many spacecraft propulsion drives can achieve one of these or the other, but nuclear pulse rockets are the only proposed technology that could potentially deliver both (see spacecraft propulsion for more speculative systems). Specific impulse measures how much thrust can be derived from a given mass of fuel, and is the standard figure of merit for rocketry.

Since weight is no limitation, an Orion craft can be extremely robust. An unmanned craft could tolerate very large accelerations, perhaps 100 g. A human-crewed Orion, however, must use some sort of damping system behind the pusher plate to smooth the instantaneous acceleration to a level that humans can comfortably withstand – typically about 2 to 4 g.

The high performance depends on the high exhaust velocity, in order to maximize the rocket's force for a given mass of propellant. The velocity of the plasma debris is proportional to the square root of the change in the temperature (Tc) of the nuclear fireball. Since fireballs routinely achieve ten million degrees Celsius or more in less than a millisecond, they create very high velocities. However, a practical design must also limit the destructive radius of the fireball. The diameter of the nuclear fireball is proportional to the square root of the bomb's explosive yield.

The shape of the bomb's reaction mass is critical to efficiency. The original project designed bombs with a reaction mass made of tungsten. The bomb's geometry and materials focused the X-rays and plasma from the core of nuclear explosive to hit the reaction mass. In effect each bomb would be a nuclear shaped charge.

A bomb with a cylinder of reaction mass expands into a flat, disk-shaped wave of plasma when it explodes. A bomb with a disk-shaped reaction mass expands into a far more efficient cigar-shaped wave of plasma debris. The cigar shape focuses much of the plasma to impinge onto the pusher-plate.

where C0 is the collimation factor (what fraction of the explosion plasma debris will actually hit the impulse absorber plate when a pulse unit explodes), Ve is the nuclear pulse unit plasma debris velocity, and gn is the standard acceleration of gravity (9.81 m/s2; this factor is not necessary if Isp is measured in N·s/kg or m/s). A collimation factor of nearly 0.5 can be achieved by matching the diameter of the pusher plate to the diameter of the nuclear fireball created by the explosion of a nuclear pulse unit.

The smaller the bomb, the smaller each impulse will be, so the higher the rate of impulses and more than will be needed to achieve orbit. Smaller impulses also mean less g shock on the pusher plate and less need for damping to smooth out the acceleration.

The optimal Orion drive bomblet yield (for the human crewed 4,000 ton reference design) was calculated to be in the region of 0.15 KT, with approx 800 bombs needed to orbit and a bomb rate of approx 1 per second.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Abandoned Tram In A Winter Wonderland

Here are some images of Lindberg's 1/48 scale Tram Car kit left abandoned amongst some trees during winter.
In case anyone's curious the snow is baking powder.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Here are some images of my scratch build model of the Daedalus Spacecraft.

From Wikipedia"

Project Daedalus was a study conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society to design a plausible unmanned interstellar spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use current or near-future technology and had to be able to reach its destination within a human lifetime. Alan Bond led a team of scientists and engineers who proposed using a fusion rocket to reach Barnard's Star, only 5.9 light years away. The trip was estimated to take 50 years, but the design was required to be flexible enough that it could be sent to any of a number of other target stars.

Daedalus would be constructed in Earth orbit and have an initial mass of 54,000 tonnes, including 50,000 tonnes of fuel and 500 tonnes of scientific payload. Daedalus was to be a two-stage spacecraft. The first stage would operate for two years, taking the spacecraft to 7.1% of light speed (0.071 c), and then after it was jettisoned the second stage would fire for 1.8 years, bringing the spacecraft up to about 12% of light speed (0.12 c) before being shut down for a 46-year cruise period. Due to the extreme temperature range of operation required (from near absolute zero to 1,600 K) the engine bells and support structure would be made of molybdenum TZM alloy, which retains strength even at cryogenic temperatures. A major stimulus for the project was Friedwardt Winterberg's inertial confinement fusion drive concept for which he received the Hermann Oberth gold medal award.

This velocity is well beyond the capabilities of chemical rockets, or even the type of nuclear pulse propulsion studied during Project Orion. Instead, Daedalus would be propelled by a fusion rocket using pellets of deuterium/helium-3 mix that would be ignited in the reaction chamber by inertial confinement using electron beams. The electron beam system would be powered by a set of induction coils tapping energy from the plasma exhaust stream. 250 pellets would be detonated per second, and the resulting plasma would be directed by a magnetic nozzle. The computed burn-up fraction for the fusion fuels was 0.175 and 0.133 for the First & Second stages, producing exhaust velocities of 10,600 km/s and 9,210 km/s, respectively. Due to the scarcity of helium-3 it was to be mined from the atmosphere of Jupiter via large hot-air balloon supported robotic factories over a 20 year period.

The second stage would have two 5-meter optical telescopes and two 20-meter radio telescopes. About 25 years after launch these telescopes would begin examining the area around Barnard's Star to learn more about any accompanying planets. This information would be sent back to Earth, using the 40-meter diameter second stage engine bell as a communications dish, and targets of interest would be selected. Since the spacecraft would not decelerate upon reaching Barnard's Star, Daedalus would carry 18 autonomous sub-probes that would be launched between 7.2 and 1.8 years before the main craft entered the target system. These sub-probes would be propelled by nuclear-powered ion drives and carry cameras, spectrometers, and other sensory equipment. They would fly past their targets, still travelling at 12% of the speed of light, and transmit their findings back to the Daedalus second stage mothership for relay back to Earth.

The ship's payload bay containing its sub-probes, telescopes, and other equipment would be protected from the interstellar medium during transit by a beryllium disk up to 7 mm thick and weighing up to 50 tonnes. This erosion shield would be made from beryllium due to its lightness and high latent heat of vaporisation. Larger obstacles that might be encountered while passing through the target system would be dispersed by an artificially generated cloud of particles, ejected by support vehicles called dust bugs, some 200 km ahead of the vehicle. The spacecraft would carry a number of robot "wardens" capable of autonomously repairing damage or malfunctions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bat Pod

Here are some images of Moebius Model's 1/25 scale Bat Pod from the movie Batman "The Dark Knight".
At a cost of about $25 for the kit it is a small, measuring about 5 3/4" long. But man is it cool. Batman cool.

From Wikipedia"

The Batcycle for the 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight (directed by Christopher Nolan) is called the Batpod and its mock-up was done by Nolan and later designed by Nathan Crowley, who designed the Tumbler for Batman Begins (2005). The bike has 20" front and rear tires (the Tumbler's front wheels), and is powered by a high-performance, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine - geared toward the lower end for faster acceleration and with no exhaust pipes. The exhaust is routed through the hollow steel/aluminum/magnesium tubing used for the frame of the bike. The Batpod is steered by the shoulders instead of hands, and the rider's arms are protected by shields. The two foot pegs are set 3½ feet apart on either side of the tank, which the rider lies on, belly down. The sound effects for the Batpod came, in part, from the sound of the Tesla Roadster's electric motor.

The Batpod ejects out of the Tumbler's front end, making the Tumbler's front wheels both of the Batpod's. Because the Tumbler is ordered to self-destruct, the Batpod allows Batman to continue his pursuit. For the film, the bike is armed with grappling hooks, cannons, and machine guns. Six models were constructed for the film's production to anticipate some of them crashing.

One action sequence in the film shows the wheels rolling against their normal axes, seemingly for added stability in sharp turns or other maneuvers. This also allows for instant changes in direction - if the driver approaches a wall, the Batpod's central frame will rotate to keep the driver upright.

The term Batpod is mentioned by Alfred only once in the movie and so far is the only Batman device to receive the prefix "bat" in the Nolan franchise.

The Batpod can be seen again in the Dark Knight Rises. In this adaptation Batman rides a black batpod while Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway, appears to have a silver one of her own. During filming on August 9, 2011 a stunt performer collided with a camera while filming a chase scene involving Catwoman's batpod.