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Apollo 17 Orange Soil December 12, 1972

March 21, 2015 in Figures

This is the New Ware resin figure set depicting the discovery of the orange soil during the second Lunar traverse. Eugene Cernan is in the suit with the red stripes. Harrison Schmitt is in the plain suit and is holding the sampling tool. Apollo 17 was the last time that astronauts left low earth orbit.

The figures are by New Ware and are 1/24 scale. There were only a few areas that needed filling with Milliput. The decals are very nicely printed, extensive and are specific to the two astronauts. The spacesuits are the later moon EVA suits used in the last several landings. One of the challenges was to depict correctly how dirty the two men got while on the moon. Some of the pictures show the spacesuits covered with the gray material like a dust. Although the suits were white they quickly were covered by the material. I used a series of washes, light airbrushing and pastels to try to depict this material. The orange soil was volcanic glass. In the model various pastels were used to represent this material.

5 additional images. Click to enlarge

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20 responses to Apollo 17 Orange Soil December 12, 1972

  1. Nicely done, Wayne…I like it.

  2. Really superb. Had Americans known the real story of the moon program, no one would ever have been “bored” as they were with the brginning of Apollo-13 and all the rest of the missions. These guys landed on the moon using a computer that couldn’t read this page! A 37 KILOBYTE drive, no CPU, programmed with PUNCH CARDS!! Go get the HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon.” It was NEVER a case of ‘perfect astronauts using their perfect equipment perfectly. Go read “A Man On the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts.” I remember Gordo Cooper telling me about Gemeni 5, the 10 day mission to see if they could survive long enough to go to the moon. First mission with a fuel cell, which immediately started operating “outside the parameter” and ground control wanted to bring them home. The astronauts argued that everything was fine, let them continue, they agreed that each orbit might be the last. By the sixth day they had run out of propellant for directional control and were using the ejection of urine and waste to stabilize the spacecraft in orbit. The PR morons at NASA totally destroyed space flight.

    • Thanks Craig. It was fun to build.

    • Tom, thanks for the note. I have the HBO series and have read Chaikin’s book. I thought the HBO series did a nice job with the special effects. The prop used to represent the Gemini IV spacecraft is now at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville Oregon and looks the part. I find Chaikin’s book one of the best descriptions of the moonflights and missions that led up to them. The significance of Apollo 8, 9, and 10 is still little appreciated by the public. I am looking forward to Orion finally getting Americans out of LEO.

    • Another great read is “Failure is not an Option” by Gene Kranz. Not only did they have extremely limited computer capability, they had to write programs and procedures that they had to come up with themselves.
      This diorama is pretty cool and sad at the same time as it at this point depicts humanities last truly great adventure. Where would we be now if the progress that led up to the moon landings had continued to this day?

      • That is also a good book and from the point of view of a non-astromaut. I have also enjoyed three other first person accounts. The Last Man on the Moon by Cernan and Davis gives a very nice account of Cernan’s experiences in Gemini and Apollo. Forever Young by Young and Hansen provides the experiences of John Young in Gemini, Apollo and the Shuttle. An interesting account of flying in the shuttle is Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane. Milt Thompson, pilot of the X-15 and several lifting bodies has an excellent account of the X-15 program in At the Edge of Space published by the Smithsonian Institution. He talks about his own flights but also discusses the missions of other pilots flying this aircraft.

        As to where we would be if we had continued space exploration beyond Earth orbit? Well as of the end of this summer American unmanned spacecraft will have visited (and first by the way) all of the original nine planets, the two largest asteroids and will have put probes on Venus (Russians first there), Moon (Russians again), Mars, Jupiter and Titan. Japan has returned a small sample from an asteroid and ESA has landed on a comet. If we had continued manned spaceflight I suspect perhaps Mars would have been visited by now although the time of flight in weightlessness is a huge challenge.

        • Yeah. Manned spaceflight is where I was going with that. I am looking hopefully to people on Mars in my lifetime. I am however excited about the New Horizon mission culminating in the July flyby of Pluto. Can’t wait to see the photos!
          I’m in the middle of Dennis Jenkins’ Space Shuttle, the First 50 Missions (I hope he does a companion volume to round out the program), but I’ll have to check out Forever Young and Riding Rockets when finished! I am also going to check out what New Ware has to offer!

  3. Great looking dio, Wayne. I’ve not seen anything before from New Wave. The detailing is superb.

    • PS I actually watched the launch of this flight. I was living in West Palm Beach in South Florida at the time and flew down to a small airfield in a Cessna with a couple of friends. We sat under the wing of the plane in the shade (very hot day) and watched the contrail in the distance, while listening to the commentary on the radio.

      • Oh and I of course meant New Ware; if you want to model Space these these seem to be your go-to guys.

        • That must of been something to see. New Ware has made a lot of very nice stuff for spaceflight. One of the great things about modeling these missions is the wealth of information on the web. The pictures from the Apollo missions are available from the Project Apollo Archive ( Since they used film there are not 1,000 of photos like we expect now from any flight.

          • I think I must be getting senile. Seeing this post made me go back through some of my old things. The launch I saw was in fact the final Apollo, for the Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975 not the 1972 mission. Still, a good day.

  4. Wayne,
    Beautifully done. I am in awe of an artist that can do figure painting.

  5. Nicely done Wayne, lovely little diorama sir.
    Well done mate.

  6. Something different on these pages are always worth a good look. Nice diorama, very dramatic. Do you build anything else from New Ware?

    • On another note, I am using their X-15 update set to build a 1/48 scale model of X-15-3 that few the high altitude missions. The version of the X-15 in most kits is the one with the extended fuselage and the external fuel tanks. The other item I have is the update set for the Monogram/Revell 1/48 scale lunar lander for the Apollo 11-14 missions. Looks like a great kit.

  7. Thanks, the diorama is all from the New Ware set. It just takes time to assemble and paint.

  8. Well done diorama looking good

  9. superb finish

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