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First Time - Mons Viatoris Space Race Memorial

[Proudly Sponsored by BLAP! Models]

Sponsored by BLAP! Models

by Marco Scheloske

Scale: 1:160

The not-so-far future: mankind has established a permanent moonbase, “Port Luna”. Over the years it developed from a pure scientific outpost to a civilian one as well. More and more tourists came to visit the moon, and an acute businessman saw the need for some special attractions to show the travelers more than rocks and dust.

That was the date of founding of the “Mons Viatoris Space Race Memorial”, a monument in the tradition of Mount Rushmore honoring the brave ones who extended the final frontier further and further.

Soon “First Time”, as the sculpture was named colloquially, raised to THE place to visit when arriving on the moon, either as a tourist or as a new crewmember of the moonbase. It shows busts of Laika (first living being in space, 03. November 1957), Yuri Gagarin (first man in space, 04. April 1961), Alexey Leonov (first spacewalk, 18. March 1965) and Neil Armstrong (first man on moon, 21. July 1969).

This diorama, showing two astronauts visiting the “First Time” memorial, was built completely from scratch. A couple of pictures were used as references for the busts, which were sculpted from Apoxie Sculpt (bodies) and Magic Sculpt (faces). The “Mons Viatoris” (what means “mountain of travelers”) landscape was made from a styrofoam core, plaster of paris and automotive putty on a wooden base. In the next step the four figures were encased into the sculpted rock.

The model was first painted dark grey (“Adeptus Battlegrey” from Citadel), then drybrushed with several lighter greys and finally a little bit with white. I avoid a wash, because for my taste the model would have looked too smooth - the lights and shadows are harsh on the moon, so drybrushing only was the way to go for me.

The astronauts are originally n-scale (= 1:160) diver figures from Preiser. I chopped their heads and the flippers off, then I used little balls taken from pen ink cartridges as helmets.

Those were painted with flesh color from behind so that there seem to be faces behind a visor at the end, the figures themselves got several coats of white paint to simulate spacesuits (of course not so clumsy ones like those we are used to in our time), a few colored spots as "eye candy" and colored shoulder pads. The backpacks are made from sheet styrene and little oxygen tanks that came with the figures. I bent the arm of one of the figures so that the astronaut is saluting to the four legends shown in the monument, showing his deep respect for their bravery. That way two aquanauts became astronauts…

Finally I created the plaque and printed it onto metallic golden cardboard, containing the name of the diorama and the memorial itself, the names of the four heroes, the dates of their individual "first time", and finally the dedication of the monument:

"We loved the stars too much to fear the night."

Image: Beauty shot

Image: Astronauts, from behind

Image: Cosmonauts, front

Image: Taikonauts, right

Image: Over the shoulder of giants

Image: Heroes on sticks

Image: Base, roughed out

Image: Plaque

Image: References

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This page was last updated 2 June 2009. © 2009 Starship Modeler