.Michael Dentzer's Moon Mobile

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UFO Moon Mobile

By Michael Dentzer - images & text © 2000

Transport over the Lunar surface by SHADO Moonbase personnel was done in the Moon Mobile. Kind of the Gerry Anderson version of 2001's Moon Bus, with the same flight characteristics of VTOL and horizontal flight. The Models for the series were built in 1969 during the Apollo program, so a good deal of real space influence is seen in some of the designs, especially the Moon Mobile. The inset triangular windows and landing gear are all reminiscent of the Apollo L.E.M., as well as the flying bedstead used by the astronauts on earth to train on.

[Click to enlarge]

Click on any image to see an enlarged view.


[Side view]

Image: The other side.


[Back hatch]


Image: From the other side.

Image: Another perspective view.

Image: Top view.

Image: Bottom view.

As Brian Johnson would later say about his designs for Space: 1999, “....if you make spacecraft, and so on, rather insect-like, then you are halfway there”. Designed by Derrick Meddings, this one really expresses that philosophy.

After reducing the photos of the studio model (found in the Starship Modeler’s UFO Reference Section) to the size I wanted it to be (1:100 scale, to be displayed with the ERTL Eagle and other lunar craft) I began looking around for parts I could use. The Habitat spheres measured out to 1 ¼ in. which is the exact size of plastic (styrene!) fishing bobs, about $.75 for a pack of two at Wallmart. I got three packs because half the bobs are red plastic, and wanted to use just the white half. After disassembling the spring and hook mechanisms it was a simple matter to separate the two halves with an exacto knife.

There remained, however, a flattened hole at the front from the fishing line clasp that I needed to cover, which is why I got three pair of bobs. I cut a circular section from the spare and filed it down to the correct size to cover the hole, then glued it on. I then drew the outline of the windows with pencil. Using my Dremmel motor-tool, I cut out the triangular holes, filed the edges, and used thin sheet styrene to form the window “shelves” and windshield frame. I then glued a piece of clear styrene, with the back side painted black, behind the frames. (Leave it clear if you’re going to build a cockpit, and/or light it).

In dry fitting the two halves I found that they didn’t form a complete sphere, as the red portion of the bobs are a bit larger than the white halves, so I sandwiched a piece of .40 sheet styrene between them. The rear sphere was made in the same way, only I didn’t need to fill in the hole as the hatchway would be placed there.

With the two spheres assembled I used a service module from a 1:144 scale Apollo Saturn V kit for the connecting tube. I just needed to lengthen it a bit. The rest of the body was made with sheet styrene, the landing gear out of styrene rod and tube, and the assorted detailing with stuff from the parts box. The landing pads are from an Airfix 1:72 scale Apollo Lunar Module. The tiny (2mm) dishes for the top and front antennae assemblies are the centers cut out of the “O”’s from the lettering found on a soft drink lid.

I painted the model the model withb Testors' Model Master white overall, and various grays for the panels and underside detail area. I then gave it dark wash using a mix of alcohol and flat black paint. The panel lines were hand drawn with pencil. Decals came from various decal sheets. The thin red ones on the connecting tube and rear hatchway are from an ERTL Enterprise D sheet. The number “1” on the rear sphere was hand drawn with black permanent marker, as were the front nose markings. The landing gear connections and various rocket nozzles were brush painted with Testor’s steel, and silver was used for the landing pads.

The completed model measures a scant 3.75"/9.5 cm long.

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This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 24 November 2000.