Space modeling involves scaled reproductions of
rockets, spacecraft, astronauts, etc. Here we also
models built with computer design software.
A space modeler builds from kits,
such as the well known plastic kits from Revell,
or, if really serious, develops the models from scratch.
This requires obtaining scale drawings of the originals
and reproducing the parts.
Replicas, i.e. pre-built models, are purchased
for display and educational purposes and for Collecting.
Plastic kits are also collectibles but this usually
means they must remain untampered with and in their
Note that the term model rockets refers
also to small powered rockets, which may or may
not be scaled versions of real rockets and missiles.
This page is dedicated to non-powered scale
models. See the rocketry
section for powered rocket information.
Good modeling, whether from scratch or
from a kit, requires great craftsmanship. A realistic
model of a historical rocket or spacecraft should reproduce
as closely as possible the original craft, e.g. the
painting should be faithful to the original color schemes,
For many important rockets and spacecraft
there are no kits available. Instead one can model them
with parts you devise yourself. Modeling from scratch
demands a lot of creativeness in devising ways to reproduce
the various parts. Furthermore, it may required considerable
detective work to track down original scale drawings
or blueprints and then obtain the sequence of variations
from the drawings.
This French firm (English
homepage), founded and operated by Didier
Palix, produces and sells various aerospace models
including rockets and launch vehicles. Recently, they
debuted a series of 1/72 all plastic kits of the famous
Russian launcher Semiorka (or R7).
Magellan This British company offers a big selection of
space models in plastic and resin as well as laser cut
- Space Kits Series Tomas Kladiva in the Czech Republic supports this
model store devoted to Space model kits. Products include
resin models and photo etched brass sets and space
decals. Models include Mercury Redstone, Apollo modules,
Mir and more.
Scott Lowther posts detailed plans and information on
models that include both historical craft like Gemini
capsules as well as newer craft such as the X-33 and
the Hyper-X scramjet.
RealSpace offers numerous spacecraft models such as
the ISS, Gemini, etc. See the Catalog.
"Since 1991 Glenn Johnson at RealSpace Models has
offered resin kits of factual spacecraft and launch
vehicles. The goal is high quality, accurate multimedia
stand alone models and conversions for existing styrene
kits.." - web site
The famous plastic model kit company offers a page about
its space models. It also provides an online site with
lots of tips and info about modelling.
& Fantasy Modellers - UK
This store and modelling information site focuses on
science fiction and fantasy models but also has begun
to offer models based on "real space". In
2009 they also released the first volume of a series
called the Real Space Modeller.
Bricker - Burt Rutan's son Jeff
and grandson Cole Zellner have built LEGO models of
all of Burt's flying vehicles, including SpaceShipOne
and SpaceShipTwo. Building plans should be available
for sale in 2012.
showing time lapse of the building of a Lego
The Denmark-based LEGO Group announced
Friday (March 2) that its Hayabusa
369-piece building set has now gone on sale in Japan.
A limited number of the sets will be made available
worldwide through LEGO's online store at a date
still be decided for later this year. The model
retails for $49.
This video shows how space replica building became
full time jobs at Bigelow
Aerospace for some lucky space modelers:
Space Rocketry Models:
Nick Proach company does custom space models to
order. These are high-quality precision models with
extensive detailing. Some current production models
can be bought from his catalog.
Each full stack and orbiter display
model in the series has been personally signed
and endorsed by the Astronaut who was aboard
a specific shuttle mission! Included with each
shuttle is a mission patch chosen by the Astronaut,
a biography compiled and approved by each Astronaut,
a scale detailed shuttle display model with
signature plate, and high resolution photos.
Limited to only 100 signed shuttles per Astronaut.
Aerospace Replicas - "Dave Gianakos, a long-time
modeler of aerospace subjects, is retiring from his
'day job' as an airline pilot of 36 years and starting
up a new modeling company called Precision Aerospace
Replicas. He can build most any type of subject requested
by the customer, in most any size, and at a reasonable
price. He is currently doing two large satellite projects
for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
He can also do a masterful job on plastic model kits
and customizing them to the customer's desired look."
Nowadays for many people, especially younger
ones, the word model implies a computer 3-D design
model rather than a tangible physical model. Such virtual
representations are great fun to build and manipulate
and often beautiful to see. In some cases, the models
can be transferred into simulators and games.
While often used for Sci-fi spacecraft,
3-D models can also provide very detailed and faithful
representations of historical spacecraft. Creating these
from scratch can take as much time and energy as building
a physical model.
Just as CAD-CAM models are used by engineers
to build physical versions, hobbyists also can first
design a model in 3-D and then use it for building a
animation film based on Von Braun's and Bonestell's
vision of how space exploration. Using 3D graphics
and animation techniques, the Australian firm Surfaces
Rendered is creating an alternative space history
of the 1950s and 1960's...more in
Costs for 3D printing systems are falling rapidly and
will soon be in the hands of many hobbyists. They can
be used to make highly accurate parts and structures
for models and even entire replicas.
Paper modeling, also referred to as card modelling,
is one of the most elegantly simple of the modeling
approaches. Basically with just stiff paper, scissors,
glue and paint, amazingly detailed and beautiful models
can be created.
There are many sites devoted to paper modelling, although
only a subset include patterns for space related models.
There are spacecraft kits (as paper cutout patterns)
downloadable from the web.
Several are free. Also, there are some design
instructions for models.
Papermodels of Planes,Buildings,and toys toys! FREE
SAMPLES!" This rich site is devoted to paper models
of all kinds but includes Aerospace
sections that include several space related models:
NASA and the on-line crafts site Etsy
had a space-crafts
competition in 2011 and a number of weaved space
items were submitted. Unfortunately, Etsy took down
most of the web pages displaying the entries and winners
a few months after the end of the contest. I managed
to find images of some of the items:
Dodenhoff's Little Space Museum
Karl D. Dodenhoff has put together a great site both
for modelers and space history buffs. Lots of images
and detailed technical information on the US and Soviet
Field Guide to American Spacecraft
Created by Jim Gerard as the "The most complete
guide to historic spacecraft on the World Wide Web!"
Lots of info on spacecraft including the location of
any prototypes, full-scale models, or retired vehicles.
Jim Ball's site is devoted to missile modeling and provides
lots of scale info.
Ed Bisconti sells his "comprehensive CD guide to
vintage plastic space model kits" entitled Plastic
Rockets, Missiles and Spacecraft Vol-l.
The 2 CD's include scanned images and texts from "vintage
kits (1950's - 60's era) including box art, side panels,
decals and instructions. It now includes a 40 second
video, more info on kits, pictures and actual photos
of rockets and missiles where possible. All instructions
are now complete in the two disks. CD One has 219 pages
and CD two has 113 pages plus the 40 second video."
Flight - " specializes in the design and
fabrication of robust high quality composite radio
control high power rocketry kits and sub scale UAV
for hobby and commercial use. Retro Flight kits are
based on sleek, swept wing x-planes, concepts, and
sci-fi spaceships of the past and the future. "
Project - all composite radio controlled project
X-15 rocket glider