New (model) Vostok Pictures!

Vostok (Boctok) space capsule model

There are no photographs of Yuri’s Vostok in space during the First Flight, for a simple reason: There was nobody else up there to take them! We can only imagine what the Vostok capsule might have looked like from a viewpoint in space. Professional modelmaking student Kirsty Obbard has come up with the next best solution: Create an accurate scale model of the Vostok, and photograph it in space-like conditions.

The Vostok Model at 'Gagarin50'

Kirsty’s model was originally built for the ‘Gagarin 50’ exhibition, held at the Waterside Arts Centre in Manchester, UK during 2011. With the recent closure of the exhibition, the model returned to the studio for repairs, and Kirsty took the opportunity to take some photos, using lighting and a black backdrop to create the illusion of space. Creating the model was quite a challenge, as Kirsty explains:
“Considering the secrecy of the mission and the condition of the capsule after the flight, there were very few authenticated plans or photographs available. Many of those I did find were controversial. There is much dispute about the correct interpretation of colours and materials, so the biggest part of the job was sourcing reliable information about the mission and the spacecraft. Making the Vostok as accurate as possible was an enormous puzzle which started with building a digital model to use as a pattern for the physical model. Around 40 different drawings and photographs and countless videos and books helped me piece together the parts. Making it was the easy bit!! Jig building, lathe turning, milling, moulding and casting with metal powders, and spray painting were all part of the process. But patience was the key!”

A full-size image (438mb – 3888x2592px) of Kirsty’s model, can be linked to from here.

This summer, the 1:20 scale Vostok will take its place with many other exciting models at the ‘New Blades’ exhibition – the London showcase for graduating professional modelmakers. New Blades is open for one day only, Thursday June 14th, at Holborn Studios, 49/50 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED.

For more information on New Blades, see:

Kirsty’s Vostok was part of her second year project work on the BA Modelmaking Degree at the Arts University College, Bournemouth. For details of the course, visit:

. . . and for details of other professional programs in the creative arts at the AUCB, go to: or

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