While trying to decide how the Terrans would reach the stars in pulp/retro fashion, I fell back on the old stand-by method of quick research: Google image search. From that quick survey, it seems that the vast majority of humans travel by missile shaped rockets that land upright standing one the fins. I found an image I liked as inspiration (it was on Pinterest without a photo credit… if you know when it is from, please comment) and I went to work looking at scrap plastic containers for items that could be recycled into a ship. I liked that this drink bottle was symmetrical all around. After removing the label residue with Goo Gone, the bottle washed with grease cutting dish soap, dried, then primed black. When deciding on the number of fins, I was leaning toward 3 or maybe 4. Then I noticed that my bottle had 10 row of dots so 5 fins spaced out between every 2 rows made for a nice balance. I made a fin template from some cereal box cardboard, then cut out the individual fins from heavier grafix medium chipboard. It is readily available from Amazon or from the back of most legal pads. The fins were attached to the bottle with Shoe Goo but E6000 or similar would work fine too. Shoe Goo is very thick and has a high tack level so the fins stayed in place almost immediately. I then started experimenting with various nose cones.
I decided on the last one shown… the shorter simple cone. The over all rocket is much shorter (squatter) than the reference image but it is plenty big when compared to the minis and will look impressive enough on the table top. If a taller rocket is desired, adding a cardboard tube (like from paper towels or wrapping paper) to the top of bottle would give the similar profile as in the reference photo. I may make a second version like that later on.
Then it was time to decide on paint scheme (I did prime the entire thing black first). I choose silver since that was the most common color in the images I found. I let my wife pick the accent color and she when with a metallic green. I made up a quick ladder, painted it red. I added some round portal windows made from those hole punch reinforcement stickers and painted the “glass” part with a metallic aqua. Lastly posed a it with some minis for scale (see top of post) and an overall finished shot. Add some more bits and pieces to suit your taste. Pen caps, container lids, etc. are all interesting shapes to include. I’m keeping mine pretty simple. Now the Terrans can go visit all the distant planets they wish.