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Old 30-06-2011, 04:13 AM   #1
B.P. Taylor
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Default Space Tug and Barge

I thought I'd share with you another project that was one of my entries in the model contest at Wonderfest this year. I call this one an Interplanetary Freight System concept (but you can call it a Space Tug and Barge). This idea came about as a way of addressing the problem of moving materiel around the inner solar system (if we can ever manage to leave low-earth orbit again!). It was built from a couple of little sketches and a lot of improvisational modelmaking. It received a gold award in the contest.

The first set of images are of the Space Tug and Barge. As you can see, the Tug includes two work pods and two escape capsules for the six-person crew...











In an alternative configuration, the Tug would be replaced by a propulsion module and the instrument module (barely visible in the first image above) with a small two-person landing craft. For some reason, I always seem to incorporate Eagle influences into my own designs- -maybe because it makes so much sense...









Hope you enjoy them...
B.P.
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Old 30-06-2011, 05:39 AM   #2
KevinD
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Magnificent! A very realistic looking concept, convincingly shot too.
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Old 30-06-2011, 06:35 AM   #3
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I love those work-a-day craft, some of the most interesting designs come from concepts like this.

The two yellow "workbee" vehicles docked in the first image are genius. It makes more sense to have them docked like this than in a garage arrangement like the EVA pods in 2001. I have seen road hauling trucks carry a forklift to facilitate moving it's own cargo it's an extension of that. It is no surprise you have the medal, that's one of the best concept and execution miniatures I have seen this year.

We love your work....
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #4
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Another cracker, B.P. The photography disguises the model scale somewhat - how large are these variants?
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Old 30-06-2011, 12:35 PM   #5
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The total length of the Tug/Barge configuration is about 28 inches. To give you another scale reference- -the work pods and escape capsules were based on the 'foot' of the Star Wars AT-AT, so it's actually a fairly small model.

B.P.
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Old 30-06-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
Alex Dumas
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This is breathtaking! The design seems to me very plausible. And the craftmanship is simply superb

I hope you won something at WF for such a work of art. And you should email Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeler to write an article on this project.
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Old 30-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
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He got the gold Alex, deservedly so IMHO.

I keep looking at this and just realised that the paint scheme and colour use are superb, this miniature is amazing.
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Old 30-06-2011, 07:24 PM   #8
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Brilliant!

Say, are those S99 Eagle RCS units on the workpods?

And how did you achieve the 'tarp' covering the cargo? Vac-u-form styrene sheet stretched over some parts? Or formed & painted tissue? (I like the addition of patches to the tarp, showing that it's prone to tearing... very realistic!)
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Old 30-06-2011, 08:10 PM   #9
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Excellent work, from design, to construction, to paint and decaling. The detailing is so realistic I can't spot a single recognizable greebly. I also would like to know how you did the tarp, and the sides of the cargo module.
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Old 30-06-2011, 09:53 PM   #10
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Superb work and I really like your lighting of the model for the photography. Well done!

Keith
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:06 AM   #11
B.P. Taylor
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CR- -Yes, the RCS thrusters are indeed from the Eagle. Nothing gets past you guys! By the way, the fuel tanks on the work pods are beads from the craft shop. And regarding the tarp, you guessed corectly- -it is a thin styrene vacuform. It was pulled (no vacuum) over a bunch of cargo containers I had used on a previous project. I finally got a useable tarp on my fourth try. It was then filled with spray insulating foam to firm it up a bit. Likewise, each side of the barge is a single vacuform panel. I first machined a pattern in MDF on the milling machine, then drilled many holes into each recess so the softened styrene would draw down tightly. They were then glued to a plastic slab-sided box.

Another note- -Though it's impossible to see in these images, I put the name of the pilot to one side of the 'cab' on the tug. It reads 'M. TRIM'- -one of my design heroes.

And finally, as Alex suggested, I am considering another article for Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller. Fortunately, I documented this one pretty well so I should have plenty of pretty pictures to compensate for any shortcomings in my writing abilities. Trying to explain in a clear, concise way how you built a model is definitely a challenge.

Thanks again for the kind comments.

B.P.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.P. Taylor View Post
And finally, as Alex suggested, I am considering another article for Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller. Fortunately, I documented this one pretty well so I should have plenty of pretty pictures to compensate for any shortcomings in my writing abilities. Trying to explain in a clear, concise way how you built a model is definitely a challenge.
B.P.
A challenge made much easier with pictures!
(Ahem...)
"First, I put the pieces shown in photo A together like this, photo B. Then I added the details shown in photo C. Progressing step by step from photo D through photo M gets us to the painting stages. Primer coat in photo N, basecoat in photo O..." And so on. See? Easy!

In all seriousness, I'd love to see the step-by-step on this project... I hope that you do find time to write the article!
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:37 AM   #13
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I can only echo other member's comments - it's a wonderfully realised build. Very clean and tidy. The excellent lighting casts harsh shadows, bringing out the detail and highlighting the fact every component is perfectly placed upon the design.
I love the colours too!
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:21 AM   #14
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Great craftmanship!

I must admit, I do not like the design too much, but you just did a wonderful job in making a realistic looking space craft.

The idea with the two small "Work bees" is also convincing. Good job!
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:34 AM   #15
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I certainly understand what you say about the design. It is an odd-looking (perhaps even ugly) vehicle, but I didn't really set out to come up with a 'pretty' ship- -my aim was to create a vehicle designed to do a specific task, so I suppose, in this case, function won out over form! The best compliment I've gotten on this model (besides the comments from you guys, of course) was from a friend and fellow modeller (who also happens to be a space industry analyst) who told me that when (or if) we expand into the solar system, we'll very likely see vehicles that look like the Tug and Barge.
Up to that point, I wasn't sure if I'd been successful or not...

B.P.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:32 AM   #16
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This design has given me a great idea, when the current build competition ends I want the brief of the next one to be:

To design a vehicle used in the transportation of parts or construction of the structure of Moonbase Alpha. You could also design a rig or other custom device used to adapt the Eagles role to this task.

That should get the juices going.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.P. Taylor View Post
I certainly understand what you say about the design. It is an odd-looking (perhaps even ugly) vehicle, but I didn't really set out to come up with a 'pretty' ship- -my aim was to create a vehicle designed to do a specific task, so I suppose, in this case, function won out over form! The best compliment I've gotten on this model (besides the comments from you guys, of course) was from a friend and fellow modeller (who also happens to be a space industry analyst) who told me that when (or if) we expand into the solar system, we'll very likely see vehicles that look like the Tug and Barge.
Up to that point, I wasn't sure if I'd been successful or not...

B.P.
I really hope you did not take my comments too negative. You certainly were very successful in making a very realistic looking spacecraft with brilliant solutions. It just looks like constructed by an engineer, not designed by a designer, while your Eagle 1b looks much more like the combination of the work of an engineer and a designer. (By the way, I hope that you will also add the whole rear part with the gravitation ring sometime...)

Anyhow you did a great job!

Cheers

Ron
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #18
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I agree with the not being mad on the design.
Well, I like the barge, just the front end.
Love the wee yellow guiding tugs though. Brilliant.
It's the photography that makes it.
It does look so believable.
That I'm not 100% on the desidn doesn't seem to matter.
Your detail and workmanship make it great stuff!

Ronnie.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:38 AM   #19
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Regardless of the 'ugliness' of the design, it's very utilitarian, and as such, very realistic. I do hope that in the future of real space exploration & industry, design can come to the fore in addition to pure functionality, but then again, in the vacuum of space, it isn't a necessity.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:42 AM   #20
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I like it precisely because it is so functional looking.

Look at the Apollo LM.

Keith
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