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Space Modeling
Space in the small ...

Obtain free kits over the web...Buy plastic kits of your favorite rockets & spacecraft...Create 3-D Computer Models...

Space modeling involves scaled reproductions of rockets, spacecraft, astronauts, etc. Here we also include 3-D 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 original boxes.

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.

The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey

Building models has been also an important aspect of rocket and spacecraft development. See, for example, this photo gallery of Weirdly Beautiful Spacecraft Models Photo Gallery at LIFE.

Some links will mix the two types. For example, the newsgroup rec.models.rockets involve discussions of both powered rocketry and non-powered scale models.

Note that there are some Free kits, i.e. paper cutout designs, downloadable from the web.

It is often easier to assemble models
on a designated workbench or table.

The Hobbyspace

News Sites, Newsgroups & Forums

Space Modeling and Kit Building

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.

Sven "NinFinger" Knudson's Space Models
Huge collection of space modeling links by Sven "Ninfinger" Knudson. Including a list of links to FREE online paper model kits.

MasterCrfaft Modesl: Space & Experimental Models

"Mastercraft Models and Century Collection International is a Pennsylvania-based company that offers over 1,000 aircraft model designs, from military aircraft models to civilian plane replicas, historical collectibles and framed prints. We are proud to be one of the few model companies licensed by major aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Cessna, Sikorsky, American Airlines and Pan Am, and many others. Each of our desktop models is prudently hand-carved by our seasoned model builders to bring a faithful scale reproduction of your favorite aircraft. More than mere displays, these models are a reflection of the times, and occasionally, of the personality of their owners. More importantly, they serve as family treasures that could be passed on to the younger generations. You will surely appreciate the craftsmanship and history behind our models. Our founder Ed Humphreys has worked as a consultant for the Danbury Mint, the Franklin Mint, and Toys and Models to bring you 25 years experience, and has created a model company to fulfill all your model needs."

International List of Scale Model Related Web Sites
ScaleModel.net provides a huge database of links to scale model web sites. Check this spacecraft category, the scifi modelling, and also the search tool.

Dr. Zooch's Rockets
The creator of the Klyde Morris cartoon named his space models company named after one of his cartoon characters.

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).

This British company offers a big selection of space models in plastic and resin as well as laser cut paper.

NewWare - 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 Lowthers Models
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.

He has also created a number of models for the company Fantastic Plastic.

See also Aerospace Projects Review: A New Magazine Devoted to The Untold Tales of Aerospacecraft Design (and in turn a related site at Deep Cold.)

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.

Rogers Rocketships
Jon C. Rogers, co-author of the Spaceship Handbook, runs this site, which is dedicated to rocket modelling and spaceflight.

  • Docking Bays - information and design drawings for "the most historically important, beautiful, classic spaceships of the 20th Century
  • TradeZones - store section

Vincent Meens's Space Models
Vincent's site provides various resources on space modelling including Tips &Tricks and diagrams for several spacecraft.

Sci-Fi & 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.

Smallspace: Mat Irvine
Home site for Mat Irvine, author of Creating Space: : The Story of the Space Age Through Models - 2002 (Amazon: US UK).


Space Model Systems - Rick Sternbach
Rick Sternbach has been doing space and science fiction artwork since the early 1970s and has worked on films and programs such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Last Starfighter, Future Flight, and Cosmos.

His on line store offers spacecraft models, the store offers some beautiful Mars globe, Planetary Terrain Models, space decals, and Rick's artworks.

Mark Gray provides lots of resources for the space modeler. Gallery includes various detailed photos of spacecraft for reference use.
Starship Modeler - Science Fiction, Fantasy and Real Space Scale Modeling
This site developed by John Lester and Rob Caswell emphasizes modelling of space craft in science fiction but also includes information on Real Space Modeling.
Spacecraft Model Kits from Space Craft International
This very impressive site offers an extensive catalog of kits of spacecraft such as Voyager and Hubble Telescope. The models are constructed from kits made from lightweight materials such as laser cut paper and styrofoam. More about paper kits below.
Launch Complex Models
Highly detailed models of various launch complexes & systems such as Launch Complex 39 for Apollo, LC 19 for Gemini, the Crawler Transporter, and several others.

World Space Museum
Snap together replicas along with collector cards.

George Gassaway's Rocketry
George Gassaway's site includes lots of scale information for various launch vehicles. In particular, check out his Shuttle Model Homepage. His shuttle models not only are meticulous models of the real ones, but they also fly and even include dropoff boosters. See the image of a launch.

NewSpace Models
Space transport vehicles in development by entrepreneurial companies.

SpaceShipOne & SpaceShipTwo Models
Here are some scale models of the beautiful X PRIZE winner designed by Burt Rutan:

Soviet/Russian Spacecraft Models

Space Modeling in LEGO
LEGO offers many space related kits to be built with its famous blocks. Many hobbyists also design and build their own rocket and spacecraft models with Legos.

More Space & Sci-fi Model Sites

Following the example of Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg, a vast and highly detailed model railway exhibition in Hamburg, the MiniSpaceWorld! exhibition will display elaborate models of various aspects of the spaceflight universe such as miniature replicas of spacecraft and rockets, spaceports around the world, space elevator and much more. The project is led by Dr. Tibor Pacher and is supported by the group Peregrinus Interstellar, which he also founded.

MSW sponsored a contest The MSW Design Contest 2009: Far Worlds - Best of Science Fiction in which participants will "create a high-level content design including a theme description, map and graphical representations" of an exhibit for MSW, with particular emphasis on the Far Worlds - Best of Science Fiction section.

A ceremony was held in Budapest in December 2009 to present awards to the winners of the contest.

More about MiniSpaceWorld and the contest:

Space Replicas

Nick Proach's 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.

Bandai Space Replicas
The Japanese toy firm Bandai has introduced high quality metallic model sets of Space Shuttle and Saturn V/Apollo hardware.

More sites

3-D Computer Models

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 physical version.

See also Simulators, Online Interactive & Virtual Reality Programs, MultiMedia , Online & Offline Software.

Deep Cold Home by Dan Roam
Beautiful 3-D computer models of several planned spacecraft that never reached the hardware stages such as DynaSoar and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. Deep Cold, sites and sources .
See animation movies of the vehicles as well.

(See also Aerospace Projects Review: A New Magazine Devoted to The Untold Tales of Aerospacecraft Design )

Google SketchUp
With the free version of this program, you can create your own photorealistic textured 3D models. (These can be used in Google Earth.) Examples of SketchUp models are available in the Google 3D Warehouse. You can create, for example, spaceships.
Galleries and Resources
3D Graphics Software Tools  

3D Printing
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 Models

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.

Space Kate provides an extensive tutorial post about building space paper models of all sorts and includes lots of links and photos: Make some space! - Space Kate - Jan.18.11.


Fiddlers Green
Papermodels of Planes,Buildings,and toys toys! FREE SAMPLES!" This rich site is devoted to paper models of all kinds but includes Aerospace and Jets sections that include several space related models:


The Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Center : Paper Model Giftshop
A big selection of Real Spacecraft Paper Models and also Science Fiction Paper Models . See, for example, the large Saturn V Rocket. version 2.0

Micro Artwork
This company specializes in "high precision paper scale models". They are currently developing a set of Apollo program models, starting with the Crawler Transporter.
NASA Models

Space Craft International offers these online kits that give cutout instructions to make paper models of various spacecraft. The catalog includes:

Erick's Paper Models
Erick Muñoz provides lots of information, downloads, etc about his paper models

More Paper Model sites
These sites either have some space related paper models or links to sites that do.

Fabric Models

Space models can also be knitted. Emily Lakdawalla, a senior editor and blogger at The Planetary Society, has posted about using plastic canvas to model scientific space probes:

She also wrote about using the Japanese Amigurumi knitting technique:

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:

Model Kit Plans
Here are some non-paper on-line space model kit plans.
Phase 3D Model Kit
Build a model of the most sophisticated amateur satellite ever constructed. The Phase 3-D will be the first Amsat to go outside of low earth orbit.
Make a Balloon Powered Nanorover
JPL's SpacePlace shows here how young students can built nanorovers like those that might be used to roam the surface of Mars.

Models to Build
The Space & Astronomy for Kids page that lists various online model plans.

Space Modeling Resources

Karl D. 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 programs.

Space Modeling at Apollo/Saturn Reference Page - John Duncan
John Duncan's Apollo Saturn site includes this space modeling page with design information, e.g. technical drawings, on Saturn, Apollo, Skylab, and other early spacecraft for modeling purposes.

A 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.

To find a museum that holds a particular spacecraft of interest, see his List of Museums With Spacecraft.

NASA Modeling

Space In Miniature: Reference Books for Space Model Builders
Mike Mackowski has written several modelers guides and sells them on this site along with new supplementary info. The monographs describe "how to build accurate models of real spacecraft." See examples of his work in the Model Gallery.

This is the home site for the CD-ROM The Next Shuttle by Dave Ketchledge. ... the CD contains lots of articles, data, drawings on rocketplanes that have been built like the X-15 and on concept vehicles like Dynasoar and Venturestar.

Scale Data
Jim Ball's site is devoted to missile modeling and provides lots of scale info.

CD Dynamics
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."

Strange New Worlds - specialists in media and science fiction collectibles
This online magazine offers some modelling information:

More Space Modeling Resources

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