Finally! Let it be known that Erin does keep her promises. I finally finished a full color illustration of Chester’s hot air balloon. The design is still subject to some editing (and I will update it if I make any such edits), but I wanted you all to see what I’ve been working so hard on.
As I’ve mentioned before, I wanted Chester’s balloon to be able to operate on solar heat. I figure that a 15-year-old boy who is making a balloon from garbage probably doesn’t have the money to refill the propane tank very often. So, Chester’s balloon is largely modeled after Solaris, a successful solar hot air balloon. Although propane is required to get the balloon off the ground initially, once it’s in the air, the dark top portion of the balloon absorbs heat from the sun, and the lighter bottom portion reduces heat loss. By these means, the balloon is able to stay afloat almost indefinitely so long as there is daylight. I also added a rotation unit (the highly sophisticated paddles and sails) that would allow the balloon to be turned so the dark potion of the envelope would always face the sun. I still took a few artistic liberties with the design, however. Reasonably, the actual envelope of the balloon would have to be much larger to carry a basket and passengers, but I liked the smaller design, and so I kept it.
I also did an array of technical illustrations for this project. The sketches detail all of the mechanical elements of the balloon, especially the burners. In those sketches, The found objects that Chester uses to construct his aircraft are much more apparent. I didn’t include any of the sketches in this post, because they’re just not as exciting as a full color illustration. However, I may add them in a later post for the sake of interest.