by James Lowe
I built this Discovery inspired spaceship about 2 or 3 years ago. It
was my first attempt at building a large, freelanced spaceship from
odds-and-ends, and although its construction is somewhat crude, it's
still one of my favorite models.
As its name implies, I a big fan of the 2001 spaceship Discovery, and
with a large collection of discarded plastic vitamin and supplement
bottles, I thought I had the basic components to build something
interesting that was inspired by Discovery. Also, I wanted the
spaceship to have some sort of shuttle-bay, and the Bandi 1/450-scale
Thunderbird 2 kit provided just the vehicle to build one for. If the
T-bird 2's scale is the reference, then since the Age of Discovery is
about 58 inches long, its scale length would be about 2,175 feet, or
about 2/5 of a mile long, making it roughly 3x the length of 2001's
The model was built using a 1-1/4 inch PVC pipe as a spine. Plastic
vitamin bottles were prepared by cutting off their threaded ends and
drilling a drilling a 1-1/4 diameter hole in their bases. They were
then slid onto the spine and epoxy was used to hold them in place.
Removing the labels from the bottles was a little tricky. The old
technique of using a hand-held hair-dryer to gently heat the label and
peel it off was applied many times. Any residue from the label's glue
was removed by lightly scrubbing the bottle with a critic cleaner and
then cleaning up with warm water. The main engine outlet on the back
end on the main spine was an air exhaust cover from a broken
hair-dryer. The forward module that contains the shuttle-bay was a
plastic protein jar, and the fairing between it and the other modules
on the spine was a foot from a discarded computer floor-stand. The
semi-spherical flight-deck extension was from a Christmas ornament kit.
The airlocks on the lower portion of the flight-deck extension were
snap-caps from vitamin bottles.
The two outer propulsion cylinders were the cores from paper rolls used
in a large computer plotter. Their output ends are fitted with nested
PVC pipe joiners.
Cutting out the shuttle-bay from the protein jar was an exercise in
patience in order to get the doors to line-up and the interior walls to