Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Friday, July 19, 2013

Von Braun Designs for Disney's 'Man in Space' Series: part one

1/72 Scale Disney/von Braun Winged Orbiter

In 1955 Walt Disney produced a three-part series speculating on manned spaceflight. Part one covered what was known at that time about manned space travel culminating in an lavishly animated vignette on a maiden flight of a space shuttle. Disney wisely sought counsel from the leading rocketry expert of that time; Warner von Braun who served as technical expert and host of the series.

Through the use of models and animation the Disney series featured several von Braun spacecraft and rocket concepts including a winged orbiter not to far off from the U.S. space shuttle.

1955 von Braun winged space orbiter

  In the late in 1950's the Strombecker model company issued several kits of these designs. One of these (which will be discussed in a future installment) is the RM-1 Rocket Ship featured in the 'Man in Space: Part 2 episode.

Strombecker RM-1 Rocket Ship
The Disney spacecraft kits were never re-issued by Srombecker and what remaining examples became quite rare. Fortunately Nick Argento's Glencoe Models in the mid-1990's acquired the old Strombecker molds and reissued many of the old kits.

Sadly, the von Braun winged orbiter was never released as a kit. Having said that the RM-1 and the Glencoe "Retreiver Rocket" reissue could be converted into the basis for the winged orbiter.

Disney and von Braun's Winged Orbiter Flies Again!

The Von Braun/Disney winged orbiter conversion from the Glencoe/Strombecker RM-1 Rocket kit.
I essentially scratch-built a tail, delta wings and retro rocket to the existing RM model. I filled-in the kit portholes re-cut new port holes in the proper locations.

The winged orbiter in  1/72 scale with old Stombecker facsimile stand
The retro rocket engine comes from an Airfix 1/144 scale  Saturn 5 J-2.
Top view

A perspective on the size of the 1/72 scale winged orbiter.
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Dragon's 1/72 Apollo 17 kit: Part One

Progress has been slow on my 1/72 scale Apollo 17 build. Below are the latest photos of the J-Mission CSM. 
A view of the Apollo 17 "America" command/service module with the SIM and antennae.
A view of the Hi-Gain Antenna
Top view
Aft view
A close-up of the SIM bay.

A more detailed discussion will be forthcoming in a future installment of the pros and cons of building this kit.

Kit News

Amodel has released its much-anticipated 1//72 kit of the Soviet Buran/Energia launch vehicle. Reports state that this kit is a mix of fiberglass and injection molded parts and commands a hefty price (@$600.00 US).


  1. What did you use to make the wings for the VonBraun space plane?

  2. I used 20 scale Evergreen polystyrene sheets (available at most hobby retailers). I drew out the delta wing pattern, used the pattern as a template, and cut the wing out of the sheet. I cut two delta wings for each side: starboard and port. I cut out a tapered wedge at the connection point to the fuselage and the aft section of the wings to create a tapered contour.