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Earth- Moon Express

[Proudly Sponsored by BLAP! Models]

Sponsored by BLAP! Models

by Sergio PALUMBO

Scale: 1/72

My name is Michael, here again on the way to Earth and then back to the Moon, always on the move for business...

Ordinary travel is two days long, complications apart, obviously...I stay in the cockpit of my short- distance cargo vehicle, all wrapped in my spacesuit, given the cold temperature inside...The power generator is malfunctioning again - it is almost twenty years old by now, I think...in another life likely it should have been brand new on some spacecraft of the old generation...- I wonder how it may still run today...but so it goes...other than that I don't believe our company had been following all the safety regulations, so why is this battered scrap merchant still allowed to space flights nowadays...? Good question, but the answer is quite predictable...Until there are vehicle inspectors and security attendants willing to be easily bribed by money, everything will be possible...and our vessels will be authorized to space deliveries, of course...there's an unfair competition outside there, my chief often says, you must save money in some way or other...so he saves mostly on upgrades on the instrumentations of his own starships and cargoes, as far as I can see...after all, actually we don't live in the "perfect" future we've been supposed to only twenty years ago...

It was in 1969, if I well remember, when Mankind put his feet on the Moon for the first time in history...now the landing site is a sort of museum, down there inside the most industrialized part of the city of Von Braun...I think that even the stick the old U.S. flag was attached to at that time should be still on site, even if it's not probably the original one, maybe, as a commercial advertising appears currently just under the stars...and other than that, frankly I don't remember, but...did it ever have a brilliant Cola sign just on the right at that time...uh? Probably not, as far as I know...

Speaking about my job, one cargo container I have on the back of my ship even today keeps inside a large storage of that famous ( so- called) Moon Beer ...it's a beverage they brew in a dome on the other side of Moon, they say that it has a unique taste...well, really I don't know, I do not like it...I imagine that its large spreading in the fast food restaurants on space stations is only due to a trendy behaviour of the young boys nowadays..." Drink Moon Beer and fly to the stars ..." or " Be a Man of this time: Drink Moon Beer, not be grounded on Earth..." and such slogans on the way...

But this time- and that's really unusual- I've got even a container from SBB, Switzerland, and they are really proud of deliveries exactly on time, so I must pay attention not to be late even a minute not to upset my precise commissioners....

They could even suggest me not to bother about the other containers delivery, and just to think mainly at theirs...the only fact is that I have only a ship and all the containers come together, I can't leave them away in space...but one message from them hits my data pad every hour just to have a confirmation of my exact position on the route, in case there is any delay...oh, boy, take it easy, we have really a small business here...probably if this single container had not be forgotten in the process of being stored together with hundreds of others like that aboard the massive Hungarn II cargo (and I'd have just liked to see the face of the captain of that ship when the first complaints came from the Swiss commissioners...how could he think of being ever forgiven...?) , probably they'd have never noticed we even exist... On the sides of my cockpit I've put two color drawings of Barbarella, taken from an old movie down on Earth more than 80 years ago, it was a Science Fiction movie actress, or a porn one, exactly I don't remember...anyway it seemed very cool to me to be put on my space vehicle...yeah, looking at her I must say that she is really very, very c...uhn?

Ah, incoming communication...it's from Base Five...sending me an upgrade about space traffic conditions data from arrival bays at destination, nothing important by now...I'm still so far ...

Well, our small business will never see longer voyages, my ship for example is not fit to travel for long distances, only this short route, the so- called "Earth- Moon Express..." and then I think that space pilots like me can only dream of passing one day through the closest Space Portal positioned near Jupiter that opens the road to the next system of planets for the starships coming from Earth...actually, I'm pretty sure I'll never see that, but on holiday, if only one day I'd have enough money to board a sparkling star cruising vessel....

The days of travel pass easily fast, in the usual mess that surrounds me (electronic sheets and bottles floating all around in zero- g ...), while I keep in touch with the instruments listening to the music of my data pad, watching an holomovie, sometimes even an action story or some TV News ...

I didn't tell you anything about our aliens "cousins" visiting us sometimes from outside space, but I think by now everyone on Earth should know that...Uhm, another incoming communication from SBB , ...oh no again, well, be quiet please, I'll do my best to be on time... if I do not freeze here before cause of this damn' old power generator that keeps a not so warm company with me all along...

About the model:

The vehicle, given its fictional shape, is meant not for direct Earth ground-orbit travel, but only for space take off from Moon ground platforms to get to space stations around Earth, whence the containers would be eventually shipped -via orbital lifts- to several surface transport systems."

The "spacecraft" is in 1/72 scale and has been made as a scratchbuilt using various remaining parts from some car kit in 1/87 (for the containers...), a modern battleship gun turret as the main front space pod with the cockpit( at the bottom there is a shoulder pad from GW old Barbarians miniatures, perfect to close the canopy in some ways...),a pill box for the main hull, an old phone card cut sideways- just put on the back- and parts of some plastic bottles to make the belt- put around the surface of the hull - which is meant to be electronically activated so to let the containers go throughout in case is necessary to place each of them much closer to the other just to save space. The figure is a pilot from a WWII Corsair, the spacesuit painted with a sort of "warm" colors just to give the idea of a a sort of old heavy blanket put on the man to protect himself from the cold temperature inside caused from the unpleasant malfunctioning of the power generator.

The exhausts on the back are two pieces in resin taken from a modern airplane kit and the antennas system on the front (as a communication transmitter- receiver...) is made by means of some remaining plastic parts and half a barrel from accessories in 1/35 ( just under the space pod).

The primer is Chaos Black from GW, and the colors are Vallejo and GW acrylics with many ink washings, oils for the weathering and dust in some points just to make the spacecraft look more like an old and battered vehicle.

The decals of Barbarella and many others (exhaust signs, caution and danger signs) are from Scifimodels UK , but some are also from old GW kits or 1/72 aircraft boxes by AMT- ERTL , Hasegawa and so on.

Image: Starting point

Image: Cockpit

Image: Port side

Image: Front/left

Image: Fly-by

Image: Cockpit

Image: Above

Image: Above/left

Image: Head-on

Image: Underneath

Image: Behind

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This page was last updated 14 July 2009. © 2009 Starship Modeler