Two Pieces of Pod
Building a Couple of Space Balls.
I had two clients ask me to build these kits of the EVA pod from “2001: A Space Odyssey” for them a few years ago. Released by Moebius in 2018, the kit is a remarkable piece of engineering and is not easy to build despite its seemingly simple design. The model when finished is about the size of a soccer ball, has fully positionable manipulator arms, and a fully detailed cockpit with an opening rear door. The kit is not something suitable for a beginner and was to be made even more challenging by the addition of full interior and exterior lighting. Only one is shown in most of the photos of the completed models here, but I built both of them at the same time, and I also scratch-built a landing platform for each based on what was seen in the film.
Note: You can click on the images to make them larger for a better view.
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The first part was to assemble and paint the interior sub-assemblies and plot how much room was available for lighting and wiring. That took a lot of planning. LED lights would be located in holes drilled in stand-offs to project light onto translucent plastic control panels. Some plastic was also removed from the back of these panels to help keep shadows to a minimum. Below, both interiors of the models are shown. You can see the added stand-offs where the LEDs would be inserted. The buttons were carefully masked off and black paint was sprayed onto the surrounding areas. Decals would later be applied to the buttons to give them their colour.
The following three photos show the outside surfaces of the interior sections and the wiring involved. A circuit board with resistors was screwed to the front of the footwell. Because there was such limited room between the interior and exterior walls, some LEDs were deliberately positioned to bounce light off the exterior wall to reflect onto the interior areas to be lit. Worked perfectly as it also helped to diffuse the light and avoid hot spots.
Testing HAL’s “eye”.
Here are the two landing platforms I made from sheet styrene, model kit parts from spares, bent plastic sprue, and a gridded office ceiling light diffuser cut into a circle making the rotating pad. Zander the cat looks on, admiring the progress from his usual perch, any handy cardboard box.
One of the finished platforms with the power connector poking through from the centre. This would plug into the bottom of the model supplying current to the LEDs.
The finished model, sitting on the rotating platform display. The power wire from the AC supply can be seen at rear. The headlights used the “inverted cone” type LEDs that are ideal because they bounce light off to the side to be caught by the chrome reflector making for an exceptionally realistic effect.
Here you can see the interior visible through the open door which slides sideways.
Looking through the door into the interior shows the fully lit ceiling and the top of the instrument panel.
A better look at the fully lit instrument panel.
These models were a lot of work to plan and build and took a long time to complete, but I highly recommend them for the dedicated “2001” fan and experienced model builder.