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 Since 1990
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Welcome to Space In Miniature

Gemini Presentation from 2023 IPMS National Convention

I was able to attend the IPMS National Convention in San Marcos, Texas this summer. I gave a talk on more of my recent builds of proposed Gemini applications. You can download a copy of that presentation at this link.

My Latest Release: SIM TR-6 U.S. Space Missiles

Earlier in 2022, Atlantis Models re-issued the old Monogram "U.S. Space Missiles" kit. The initial version of this kit came out in 1958 as the “United States Missile Arsenal” and Monogram updated it with a different mix of 36 missile subjects in 1969. This release, the 1983 version, and the recent Atlantis edition all use the same molds, with slightly different instructions. With the Atlantis Models release in 2022 making it readily available again, it seemed like a SIM Tech Report treatment would be popular. The SIM Tech Report is based on a two-part kit review originally published in Plastic Novelty Items in 1984, a publication of the Chicago Sprue Stretchers IPMS chapter. The review covered the 1983 “Heritage Edition,” with text by Joe Suszynski and drawings by Jim Griffiths. After Joe passed away some years ago, I contacted Jim and made arrangements to use their work at some future time. That time has come.

Atlantis kit

The SIM version adds up-to-date drawings by model rocketry guru Peter Alway (sample below). Brian Nicklas, my buddy at the National Air and Space Museum and author of his own book on US missiles, also made contributions to this book. It is available in digital (pdf) format only for $10. There are 57 pages and 122 illustrations, many in color, resulting in a 178MB file.
See the book page or main order form to get your copy.


Another Gemini Concept

Over the last few years I have been researching and building models of spacecraft concepts that involved Gemini spacecraft. Back in the 1960s, it seems any “future” space station had Geminis as logistics vehicles. Of course, none ever got built. I documented most of these in SIM 9 - Building Gemini.

But I keep finding more. The latest is a 1962 USAF early space station concept called "Military Orbital Development System” (MODS). I recently finished that project, and as is my habit, I kept notes and took photos. There is a video series on this as well on my YouTube channel.  I don’t expect to publish this in any SIM volumes, so I am offering the build article as a free download. It's on the SIM 9 page on this website.


My interpretation of the USAF 1962 "Military Orbital Development System” (MODS) space station

A Restored 1/10 Scale Mercury Model

Many years ago, I received a surplussed 1/10 scale Mercury model that was built by the model shop at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis. It was pretty beat up and sat in a box in my garage for decades. I finally decided to fix it up. You can see the results at this link.

SIM TR-5 Shuttle Payloads

I finally got around to wrapping up the leftover files from the SIM 3.1 Space Shuttle book, the SIM 1.1 Primer update, a few articles from my old column in the IPMS/USA Journal, and some new material from my modeling buddies (Jay Chladek, Gordon Fesinger, Pete Malaguti, and Mike Eastman). The result is now available as a pdf-only volume in the SIM Tech Report series. The book is a mix of detailed build articles (STS-41C), background material on what potentially could be an interesting build (e.g., OAST-SAFE), and a few concepts that were made into kits but never actually flew (e.g., BESS). I hope you find the results entertaining and interesting. It has 48 pages including the cover and contents, with 130 color photos and detailed illustrations. The download costs $10. See the book page or main order form to get your copy.

This build of the Revell 1/144 Space Shuttle orbiter finished as Challenger with the STS-41C Solar Max repair mission payload (scratchbuilt) is covered in the new SIM TR-5 book.

SIM 6 Apollo Command & Service Module

I had been running photocopies for several years and realized getting a hundred copies printed would be cheaper than the photocopies. So now you can get nicely printed hard copies of this book again, with a price of $12 plus shipping. There is no change to the contents, and the digital version is still available as before.

SIM 3.1 Space Shuttle

After building out my stash of several Buran kits early in 2020, the next logical project was to clear out my Space Shuttle kits. I decided to build some and sell the excess. As I had never done a detailed Orbiter model with an open payload bay, that would create a great opportunity to document that process and include it in an update of SIM #3 - Space Shuttle. The original edition of this booklet just had a single article (from Dave Hanners) on building a 1/144th scale space shuttle so for this update there are several more. I had long ago built a 1/72 Monogram Orbiter as Columbia, a 1/144 full stack, an Enterprise on the 747 carrier, and even a Shuttle-C. For this book, we’ve got an updated version of Hanner’s article, my STS-79 Atlantis at Mir, a detailed look at Dragon’s 1/144 Orbiter, and a 1/72 build essay from Jay Chladek. The result is a monster book at 64 pages, even after deleting some material that became obsolete or dated.

The updated book can be ordered at the order form in a printed or pdf format. A hard copy sells for $12 plus shipping, while a pdf download costs $10. A combination package of both the hard copy and digital version is available for only $15 plus shipping. Note that I am only printing 200 copies to sell so don't be left behind.

Space Shuttle (and more) YouTube Videos

I am now regularly posting short videos of my space modeling projects on YouTube. These are mostly work in progress videos so you can see how I build my models. Most are only about five minutes long so they won't eat up your entire day. These started with the Buran series in early 2020, and there are also my old Facebook videos on the Gemini series, as well as building the Dragon 1/72 scale Apollo "Lunar Approach" kit. The most recent additions cover building a series of Space Shuttle kits, including those featured in the new update of SIM 3.1.

You can find the videos at:  https://www.youtube.com/user/spacecitymike

Stuff for Sale

As of late 2020 I have decided to sell some of my excess models and collectibles, including some models I have built. See this page for what I have available, and send me an email to get a list of the books I have for sale.  I am also using a Facebook storefront to promote these sales. If you got here by that route, send me an email (see bottom of this page) with the item(s) you are interested in. You may also want to check the linked page on this website, as it may have items not on Facebook.

Paper Models:  KH-9 Hexagon

I've always been fascinated with spy satellites, and the relationship to the Gemini-B / MOL program. So I have developed a 1/48th scale paper model of the NRO's Hexagon spacecraft. It is available as a free download on my paper model page. There are separate files for the model and the instructions.


The two versions of the Mars InSight lander are the only others available right now. One version is a simple version suitable for K-12 students. Another has more detail (with smaller parts, trickier to cut and assemble) for serious hobbyists.

These models are posted as free downloads, but donations to show appreciation are always welcome. Follow this link for my paper models.

Updated SIM 7.1 - Lunar Module

In late 2019 I updated SIM 7, which was originally issued in 2007 and never updated. I was just about out of hard copies of the original print run, and there is interest in another edition. So I took the opportunity to regenerate the entire book in Apple's Pages software, as it was originally made in the obsolete Appleworks program. This allowed me to create a color pdf version and add four pages of updated kit reviews, including a close look at the Apollo kits from Dragon. I also found some errors in the Apollo 11 (LM-5) thermal blanket patterns, and those will be corrected. Both the digital pdf and hard copy (with color cover!) versions are now available (as of the end of January 2020).

SIM 9 - Building

It had been nine years since I put a new book out, and I've been busy building a series of Gemini models.
These include some standard NASA versions as well as some proposed Gemini variants that never made it off the drawing board. I finally finished the models early in 2019 and have now completed writing up a description of how each one was built. While there already is a Gemini book in the Space in Miniature series, SIM #3, that volume did not have any detailed how-to articles. The results are SIM 9 - Building Gemini, the longest SIM book ever, at 72 pages (including covers). It came out in November 2019 as both a hard copy and color pdf. The book is loaded with over 200 photos of work in progress of these Gemini variants:
  • Gemini IV   
  • Gemini VII
  • Gemini XI with Agena
  • Rogallo Wing Capsule
  • Manned Orbiting Lab (MOL)
  • Big G
  • Winged Gemini
  • Lunar Rescue Gemini
  • Gemini to Mars
A couple examples are shown in the photos below. On the left is Gemini XI with an Agena and at right is the Lunar Rescue Gemini, based on an old McDonnell study. They actually built a small cutaway model and while there are also some drawings available, there are differences. I built a version from their scale model finished as it might appear on the Moon. 

gemini_agena     lunar-gemini

This book is printed in black and white on coated paper, and is available both as a hard copy book as well as a full-color pdf file. The initial run of 200 copies sold out after about 18 months so I printed another 100 copies in mid-2021. With increased printing costs and the smaller run, I had to raise the price by a dollar. A hard copy of SIM #9 - Building Gemini now sells for $13 plus shipping, while a pdf download still costs $10. A combination package of both the hard copy and digital version is available for only $15 plus shipping. Because of the page count and the 222 color photos embedded the pdf version is a very large file. Therefore I am making available two versions to accommodate user needs. One version has the highest resolution photos and is a 787MB file. The other version has slightly reduced resolution (but still nice) photos and is a 113MB download. Both are priced the same and customers can pick the version they want.

$13.00 plus shipping for a hard copy (B&W)

$10.00 for a pdf digital download of a full color version

$15.00 plus shipping for both versions

See the order form to purchase.

Model Gallery
Photos of some of my builds can be found in the Model Gallery section of this site. Also check my Facebook page for photos of my latest model projects. 

About SIM
I am a (recently - fall 2018) retired engineer in the aerospace industry, and my hobby interests are centered around building scale models of real spacecraft. This quickly gets into the history of space, as there are few space kits out there and much research is required to come up with the plans and data needed to scratchbuild accurate spacecraft models. This activity led me to publish the results of some of my research in the form of 40-page monographs (magazines or booklets, I guess) on how to build accurate models of real spacecraft. I also have this internet site to augment those paper publications. The book series is called Space in Miniature (SIM). Click here for more info or use the links at left. This web site was established in the summer of 1999 to solicit inputs on the Mercury volume.  I used this web site to post preliminary findings and to get feedback from other researchers. This has worked out great, and I appreciate hearing from so many of you.

You can also keep up with me on Facebook.

Thanks for your interest,

Mike Mackowski

Credit Cards Accepted via PayPal

You can purchase books using your credit card via my PayPal account. While I prefer checks (PayPal gets 92 cents for every copy of SIM #6 I sell using their service) this should make ordering simpler for you, particularly international customers.

All content on this site is Copyright © 2023 by Michael J. Mackowski

Twitter:  @mjmackowski       YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/spacecitymike    Email to Mike Mackowski

This page revised 8/10/23
This site started in 1999