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Steve Yorks 12" Major Matt Mason Conversion Part 2.1

Welcome to Operation Moonbase (AKA "This Old Space Station"), stage 2. Our team of astronauts has been hard at work since last we saw the place, and we'll get to see some of them at work later.

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Station 2 Structure
This photo shows the "full-up" structure for the station. We've added the lower girders and framing for the lower deck (though the interior framing has yet to be added on that level). I've added strips of masking tape to the corners of the upper deck to give a better idea of how it will look with the solar panels in place. These also help me on space-planning as a work on the console detailing.

Though it doesn't show, the upper level has been almost completely rebuilt since the first set of pictures. The central console is now 2" taller to allow more headroom for the figures and their oversized helmets, and the upper platform has almost been rebuilt from scratch using far fewer parts. I discovered that I could bore out the inside of a PVC "T" with a wood boring bit, so that I can slide a solid piece of pipe straight through, rather than having to cut two pieces and stick them in from either side. As I said fewer parts, more precision, and much stronger.

I've also added the wood control panel around which the rest of the console will be built, and a rough plastic cylinder where the final airlock/display panel will be. I've already added to this since the picture was taken, including "legs" on two sides of the panel, and a wooden frame for the airlock door (in an opening hidden behind the cylinder in this picture).

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Station 2 Overview
For size comparison, a vintage Major Matt Mason space station, including an extra level, is shown INSIDE the 1/6th station. As you can see, it fits with room to spare. (And yes, the vintage station has been taken over by Commander Riker and the Apollo Astronauts, which would make a really good name for a rock band when you think about it.)

From this angle, you can see the gap in the wooden control panel, where the airlock frame and door will eventually be located.

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Major Mike Mycroft
This is the near-final configuration for the head of my 1/6th astronaut team, Major Mike Mycroft. The figure, space suit and helmet are Lanard Ultra-corps, as is the helmet. The black boots are from a GI Joe "Intruder Defense" carded space figure. The black bands on the joints are made from 1/2 braided sewing elastic glued into bands. Experience has shown that the glue tends to pull loose, so I'm going to have my wife sew these for me from now on. The black band around the neck is a pony-tail elastic. The gloves are 21st Century "half-gloves" with the open ends sewn shut by hand. The ray pistol is from a large Power Rangers figure of some sort. I like these they fit the figure's hand well. Luckily I've been able to turn up a number of them at thrift stores, since I have no idea what figure they originally came with. The backpack is from an Action Man "Desert Adventure" carded accessory pack, and the emergency oxygen bottle on the hip is a Lanard item.

As time goes on, the rest of my figures in Lanard suits will get the "MMM" makeover to one extent or another.

The most difficult part of this has been the silver packs on the suit legs, and the earlier pictures show some of my crude efforts, all of which I was very unhappy with. But the ones shown here I like. They look good, and their not so difficult to make that I won't be able to mass-produce the dozen or more that I'll eventually need. The pack and flap are made from white, self-adhesive, craft foam. The silver covering is a cloth ribbon (I had to buy about three different kinds of ribbon to come up with one that both worked well, and didn't fray into a mess when folded over the tiny pack). Straps are 1/4" craft ribbon. The buckles are made from automotive electrical crimp-on connectors. The actual stamped metal adds a nice touch of realism to the suit.

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Major Mike Mycroft Detail View
A closer angle on the figure that shows some of the details better. You can see the "ribs" in the suit joints, and the name patch and flag, which are attached directly to a piece of Velcro and attached to a patch on the suit. This existing patch, and the pocket on the other side, are why these items are on the right breast of the suit, instead of the left. The leg packs are also backed with Velcro too, and thus are removable.

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Station 2 Top View
Here's a top view of the station, giving a clearer view of how it's put together. As you can see, there's plenty of room inside for an airlock. The outer hatch will be a circular opening in the bottom. The inner door will be in the opening at right. It'll be round at the top and bottom, with straight sides. Think of the interior pressure door of a submarine.

Yes, those are "yard sale" signs. They make a cheap, readily available source of sheet plastic. (And yes, I bought them rather than snatching them off someone's lawn.

As this picture also clearly shows, the station already has a serious infestation of bar-codes.

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All images and text are © 2001 J. Steven York - Writer Generation X Novels: Crossroads, Genogoths Bolo, Old Guard (Now in stores, from Baen Books), and used with permission.

You can contact Steve by clicking here or visit his website here. Or you can contact John Eaton, by clicking here.

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