Thursday, 2 March 2017

Pride of the Rising Sun

HTV is short for 'H2 Transfer Vehicle' and is a cargo ship developed by the Japanese Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA). This 'Transfer Vehicle' is made as part of the Japanese contribution to the mission of the International Space Station (SS). This is the first ship of it's kind that docks by being picked up by the space stations robotic arm. This allowed for a less complicated docking mechanism leaving room for a lager 'front door' of the vehicle and enabling the transfer of lager items.

In order to get the HTV to the ISS JAXA had to develop a new rocket since the H-II A was to small to carry the transfer vehicle. Building on the experience of working with the H-II A the JAXA started developing the more capable H-II B. This rocket has a wider body and cargo hold and two main engines in the fuselage. To aid in the launch 4 solid rocket boosters are also fitted.

Launch of the H-II B

The Aoshima model

Aoshima makes a model of the H-II B and HTV launch vehicle in 1/350. One is the Spacecraft Series 4 model of the named vehicles with a plethora of special display parts the other release is Space Series 8 the H-II B and it's launchpad. The Spacecraft series 4 contains clear parts to show the interior of the second stage, falcion and payload, a stand to put the rocket on in a upright position, a 'blast smoke' stand to show the rocket lifting off and a third stand to show the rocket in an in flight position. There are actually more optional parts then parts for the rocket itself.

The parts are molded in clear or white plastic and fit together well. I did had to use filler for the solid rocket boosters which required me to repaint those parts. The typical orange color was a mixture of revells Clear Orange (36130) and brown (36185). The More yellowish like tint was made from sandy yellow (36116) which turned out to be a very close match. The photo's (I have to model now standing on it's own 6 engines rather than on this specific base which doesn't hold it straight in my case):

This is quite a nice model to build and at 20 cm tall and 4 cm wide it won't take a lot of space but the interior parts and lively colors do make it a very nice addition to any collection.

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