1/48 Gemini Titan

The Gemini Titan is a great rocket: sleak looking and with a varied paint scheme - black and white roll pattern, all kinds of metal shades etc.

For dimensions and overall reference I use David Weeks' drawings from RealsSpace Models.
Sven Knudson has some very nice detail photos here: Sven's Titan II page.
And here are som extremely detailed drawings of the engines: Titan Engines.
You should also have a look at Vincent Meens' 1/48 GT.

I decided to make the rocket body in several sections to be able to position the 1st stage oxidizer tank dome and 2nd stage engine. Also: I can't roll a tube long enough to make it in one piece.

...but I can make sections app. 15 centimeters long. First a sheet of 0.3mm styrene is rolled and butt-joined. Then this tube is lined with another sheet of styrene to add stength and stabilize the shape. Finally, discs of balsa are sanded and stuck into the ends. This way I can make tubes perfectly circular, with near perfect seems and identical diameters. By planning ahead, the sections are made so that seems and joints will be covered by various surface details. The first pictures show 3 of the 4 sections and a surface detail supposed to be a fuel connect.

The rocket has many surface details. Panel lines and different patterns of raised metal panels. I cut these from 0.13mm sheet styrene and carefully glued it onto the tubes. Unpainted, it looks a little too prominent. But a healthy coat of gloss white from a rattle can smooths it out a little. Eventually, when decals have been applied, it will receive a coat of clear flat which also dampens the effect.

The next picture show some work on section 3. The blast openings for the second stage engine and the 1st stage oxidizer tank dome. Very little of the details inside the second stage will be visible though the blast openings, so there is no need to super-detail this part. Especially the 2nd stage engine can be left quite simple.

The next one shows the detailing of the oxidizer tank dome.

For the paint job, I start out with a coat of gloss white. This makes a nice surface for applying all the other colours. Even the metal colours can be brush painted smoothly. On the larger, "monochrome" areas I have masked of sections and painted them in a slightly different shade. It barely shows in the photos but in reality it makes the surface look "alive".

The 2nd stage engine can be made really simple. Hardly anything but the rim of the engine bell will be visible.


To make the external conduits I cut a piece from a large styrene tube and glued it to a flat piece. This gives the conduits the right shape. Also, thin strips are glued to the bottom edges to make the parts fit to the rocket. The stiffening ribs were made by simply gluing thin strips of 0.13mm styrene across the conduits. After trimming, the ribs were sanded down on the edges.

For the markings I have tried something new this time: printing my own decals. dafont.com has a free file for download with US Air Force stencils. I used font size 32 for the "UNITED STATES" markings and size 15 for the booster numbers.

I used clear decal paper from BareMetal Foil for my inkjet printer. This worked ok - definately not as good as professionally made decals, but good enough. I just had to be very, very patient to first allow the ink and then the Microscale decal protection to dry. The decals themselves are quite thin and elastic (!?), so I had to be careful when applying them. I'll let you figure out yourself which Gemini mission I'm modelling ... there might be an angry alligator lurking in the future!

The next photos show the bottom of the first stage and the order in which the details are installed.

Next up is some work on the engine support framework and the turbopump support cage. I find it easier to cut out the tiny openings before the outer shape. For the support cage, the small pieces of styrene are held in place with tape before gluing. It wasn't removed until the "pyramid" on on side was built.

The engines are made much like on the Saturn V. I glued together a stack of balsa discs, placed a long screw through it and stuck it in to my dremel. The tool now works as a lathe, and I can quickly sand the engine into shape. The inside of the engine is then removed with a grinding tool and the dremel.

The next pictures show some of the work on the turbopumps:

The Titan has two air scoops. These are in the shape of complex curves and I made them by gluing thin strips on to round pieces of styrene, filling with superglue and sanding. The whole thing is built up on a jigg at first
- a scrap piece of styrene - to keep its shape and snaps off easily when it has to be sanded.

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