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International Space Station (in Paper)

I am the ghost of Christmas past...

It’s been three or four years since I posted anything here, mainly because I don’t build models anymore.

That said, for reasons still unclear to me, I decided to build a 1:100 model of the ISS in paper, actually 90 and 110 gsm card (UK weights), as a Lockdown project between December 2020 and June 2021.

The model is by https://www.axmpaperspacescalemodels.com/ and has to be downloaded and the sheets printed as required. There are more than 100 of these and 700 pages of online pictorial instructions. Some parts are a free download but the main structure file cost $25USD, or about £19GBP (Paypal).

The model is about a metre by 60 cms and about 50 cms deep. It’s displayed here on a homemade base and supports but can be lifted off these. It weighs about the same as a bottle of beer.

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.


40 responses

  1. Very Impressive.

  2. Welcome back, Rob. You have been missed. That’s incredible.

  3. I guessed you'd been up to something, Rob, but this is amazing, definitely liked.

  4. Very cool. Thanks for sharing, I' going to checkout the website.

  5. Never seen such a model, Rob, and it looks amazing!
    Looks a very difficult build, too!
    Congratulations and welcome back!

  6. Out of this world!

  7. Good to see ya Rob, definitely missed. Your back with quite an impressive model no matter the material. Your input is always welcomed even if your not really building though when you get the urge you don't do simple. Well done.

    • Thanks Chuck. I met a Polish modeller when I was still in a club. Paper models are popular in Eastern Europe initially but are everywhere now. The guy did a Japanese battleship over three years - huge, and one of the nicest models I’ve ever seen.

      Thought I’d try one to see. A couple of false starts but ok in the end.

  8. Welcome Back, Rob! And with a BANG. That is fantastic.

  9. Hey Rob! at the risk of repeating everyone else ...Welcome back , really impressive build mate well done , glad you made it pal , my output has slowed to a snails pace recently but I'm usually sticking something together in the mancave.
    Neil

  10. Rob! Thanks for checking in my friend, a blast from the past! Good to see you building again, the other day I thought about your "Farewell Tour" post, like it was yesterday! Good to hear from you again and kudos for the model!

  11. Nice to see your work again, Rob. Out of this world unusual project. 🙂

  12. That is a very impressive build. I think modelling is a bit like chicken pox. You get over it but years later it comes back as shingles or perhaps in this case paper modelling.

  13. Nice to see you back Rob, even in a limited capacity! This looks like it was pretty intense. It it ALL paper structure or are there wood/metal supports to keep it from sagging? I see the mounts for the 16 main solar arrays. Are they a work in progress or will it just be too big if you install them?
    I was toying with the idea of the paper 1/72 service tower for Mongram's Orbiter stack that's out there but may want to keep my sanity.

    • There are a number of Space-related items available now in paper. There’s an American company (not AXM) that does a whole range of these things.

      Here, the larger modules often have just a shallow rim joint, which might be ok if it was only for a couple of items as the weight is slight. As the work progresses however there is greater strain across the spine of the Station, particularly as the work moves out, up and down with further additions. I used cotton bud sticks (“Q tips”) as these are simply tightly rolled paper and are very strong. In some cases for extra strength, I also used sections of paper straws either singly of in combination with the sticks, that is to say, a sliding rod system.

      The mounts are simply showing the arrays in retracted position. AXM refer to this option and I thought they look ok. I had in fact already cut out the array sections and the central ‘masts’ for each pair but then opted for the retracted display. Everything is built up the same but you simply don’t add the arrays. As you mentioned they are indeed very big. One of my daughters expressed an interest in having the model for her boys, but I knew with arrays out it wouldn’t be practical. Not sure it is now...

      The ISS changes a lot. Radiators are extended or retracted, astronauts move equipment around the trusses during their EVAs, equipment is sent back to Earth or arrives from there. My model shows a snapshot in time; a number of parts could be displayed differently. For example the P6 (outer Port) truss used to sit centrally atop the Z1 truss which is the one central to the main spine of the Station, etc., but that was in an earlier ISS configuration, and so it goes.

  14. This looks great and very impressive build too! I’ve tried two paper models of the Hawker Hurricane and have yet to get it done. Your build is amazing. Welcome back.

    • Cheers Bob. There are some nice Hurricane models (and other types) usually in 1:33. Never built one myself but have seen some nice results. I found it takes a while to get the knack of the medium, but I’m in my 70s with stiff joints so if I can manage it I guess anybody can!

  15. Oh man! Rob, that is so cool, and so unusual too! Great job and good to see you back around here! 🙂

  16. That is some incredible work. There is a guy locally that would show up at the shows and contests with paper models. I am amazed at how good they look and are all made just from printed card stock. Your build is amazing and the size alone is intimidating, not even taking into account it is a house of cards.

    • Hi Walt. Not as robust as plastic or resin of course but still pretty strong. All depends if you prefer stamped mold products as most people do or want to create 3D model yourself. Might be an interesting change if you're in a slump, and pretty cheap too. Lots of subjects out there.

  17. Nice to hear from you again! This is very cool. We have a paper-modeler in our club - builds aircraft - and his stuff is always fascinating - though not nearly as complex as your project! I don't think I have the personality type for all that origami!

  18. Fantastic build! Nice to see your work here once again!

  19. Rob, First off, Welcome back. I always enjoyed your past work and am looking forward to what the future holds for us to view form you going forward.
    Very nice work on this, looks very "space'y". It actually looks like a fun project.
    We have a guy in our neighborhood that keeps us posted when the ISS fly's over. Its always a treat to see it buzz by !

    • Thanks Terry. Yes it had the qualities of a fun build. If something went wrong I could just reprint a page and do it again! Not available for all models as some are in book form but still interesting. I’ve seen a real time track of the ISS on some website. Odd to think they’re just flying around overhead night and day.

  20. Having built a number of paper airplane kits, I can appreciate the different skill set required to build paper models. This is impressive, very much liked!

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