Sunday, January 5, 2014

HO scaling Revell's Jupiter “C” launch gantry

I wanted to work on a completely different and relatively straightforward project over the last week so I decided to make a start on the re-issue of Revell’s Jupiter “C” rocket and rail-based gantry kit I bought a few years ago. I discussed it a little in the Launch Pad layout post. According to Mat Irvine’s book Creating Space, it’s a 1: 110 scale kit of the rocket and gantry that put the USA’s first artificial satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit.
For me, as a model railroader of conventional scales, 1:110 is an odd one. For an HO layout, at 1:87, this kit would be a bit too small; for N scale, at 1:160, it’s way too big; but, it’s pretty close to TT, 1:120 scale. Looking at the parts, and comparing them to some figures, I thought I’d replace the kit’s trucks - it looks like the gantry is self-propelled - with some HO ones that would require the gantry to be moved by a diesel engine, and turn the kit into some sort of generic small rocket - maybe some sort of sounding rocket - launching system. Everything else will be box stock. With judiciously chosen figures it might not look too bad in HO.
Anyway, the gantry carriage is built and up on some HO trucks I had in my scrap box. Now, all this thing will do is travel in a straight line back and forth from the vehicle assembly building to the launch pad. Not very exciting, but its job is very simple.

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