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Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle (03701) 1:48 Revell 2019 is the 50th anniversary of Man's first landing on the Moon, which began with the huge Saturn V rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral and ended with the tiniest percentage of its total mass orbiting the moon. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong moved from the Command Module (CM) into the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) for the descent to the lunar surface. Despite the dangers of this frail contraption failing at some point they landed safely with a few teaspoons of fuel left in the descent thrusters, after which the immortal phrase "The Eagle has landed" was uttered, of course referring to the name of their little ship. After a momentous descent down the ladder and speech by Neil Armstrong they spent a couple of hours mooching about on the surface collecting samples and setting up a few instruments, then blasted off for rendezvous with the combined CM and Service Module (SM) for the journey back home. Splashdown was also safely executed, and another six successful landings were made in the next few years until the programme was terminated prematurely due to them finding Transformers on the Moon. Or was it monsters, or Nazis? I forget now. Could it have been budgetary reasons and a loss of interest from the American public? Surely not. The Kit Revell have been busily reissuing their back catalogue of Apollo Programme related kits lately to celebrate the anniversary, most of which originate from the toolings made around the time that the landings were still ongoing. This is a more recent kit that is a reboxing of the Dragon kit first released in 2011, so has a lot of detail moulded in and some use of slide-moulding to improve detail out of the box. It also includes a rendition of the gold-coloured Kapton foil that was used to insulate the descent stage and is missing from many of the older kits. The only difference this kit has from the original is that the gold-coloured parts aren't pre-painted. The kit arrives in an end opening box and inside are eight sprues of a matt-finished grey styrene, a single part for the octagonal base of the descent stage, a small sheet of decals, and an instruction booklet. First impressions are good, and the moulding of the crinkled surface of the descent stage parts looks great, although some visible seams will need scraping away for realism. As this is a special edition there are a couple of thumb pots of acrylic paint and a number 2 Revell paint brush included in the box, although that's probably most likely aimed at the casual modeller who may not have their own collections of paint and tools. Great news is this is your first dip of the toe into the hobby. The ascent module builds up quite cleverly, with long tubular friction mountings keeping the module rigid, and simplifying assembly. There is no pretence at an interior here, and the windows that are present on the real thing are supplied as decals to keep it simple. The various antennae and the important direction control thrusters are simple to install, and each have hollow reaction bells, enhancing realism. The lower descent module is mostly covered in the heat resistant Kapton material, but the facets below the thrusters are painted black, so there's less gold to spray. The legs attach to well-defined mounting lugs, which should make for a strong joint. The dished feet don’t have the odd sensor spikes that are sometimes seen under them, so check your references and build up your own if you’re planning on modelling it in-flight. The big reaction bell in the central underside is very well moulded, but has no aperture for the reaction gases to exit the bell, so check your references and decide whether you want to replicate this area. Markings The painting guide is in the back of the instructions, and as well as the gold areas, silver and black are the main colours used for the exterior. The black areas different widely between the various modules, so remember to check your references carefully before committing to paint if you are going off piste with your module choice. Even panels that do appear to be “black” seem to be more of a very dark grey in some pictures, and there are details to the areas that require some close inspection. The decals are printed for Revell in Italy by Zanetti, and consist of a pair of US flags, the “United States” panels emblazoned on the descent stage sides, and the four windows, two triangular and a further two lozenge shaped in the “roof” to monitor the docking procedure with the CM. These decals are black with silver borders, and white markings that were used to guide the landing and docking process. Conclusion This is a very nicely presented kit, and having it in 1:48 is really nice for those of us that also have an aircraft habit in this scale. The parts are well engineered, with a modicum of slide-moulding evident to produce more accurate parts without complicating the build, which is good news. The replication of the wrinkled insulation material is first rate, and the lack of a cockpit interior doesn’t bother me in the slightest, although I would have liked some more realistic windows. Overall though, it’s a great looking model, and I’m really looking forward to building it, as I have a fondness for the Apollo programme and real space in general. Very highly recommended, Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
Apollo 11 Saturn V Rocket (03704) 1:96 Revell You may have heard that it is the 50th anniversary of Man walking on the moon, which was kicked off by JFK's speech and their collection of German rocket scientists that were brought back to America under Operation Paperclip at the end of WWII, most notable of whom was Werner Von Braun, who had dreamt of going to the moon since his childhood. The monstrous Saturn V rocket was the result, and at the very tip of that particular spear was the Lunar Module (LEM) under a protective cowl, and the Service Module (SM) with the Command Module (CM) at the very top under the Launch Escape System (LES) rocket pack that was destined never to be used (thankfully) if the early launch process went awry. There were earlier manned launches of the smaller Saturn 1 and 1B rockets, after which the Saturn V was the sole launch platform for the Apollo missions, totalling 13 launches by the end of Apollo 17's trip there and back again. An adapted Saturn V was also used to launch the Skylab space station into orbit, although it eventually made an uncontrolled re-entry once the mission was over and the station-keeping thrusters had exhausted their fuel. The Kit This is a re-release of Revell's 1970s vintage kit in 1:96, and it's a monster. The original boxing stated that it's almost 4 feet tall, while this new 50th edition gives us a length of 114cm. The box is substantial, and has a captive lid that folds over the side and is secured by two large tabs. Inside the box is divided into two portions, one containing the silver plastic parts and the paints that accompany the model, and the larger section with all the white styrene in there. There are also two flat sections of card, which have shapes pre-cut, and can be used to store the completed model minus the third stage once you've finished. The box contains 183 parts, and surprisingly to the uninitiated, there aren't any large diameter big long tubes for the various stages, as those are supplied as flat styrene sheet with the markings printed directly on their surface. These sheets are wrapped round to form a tube, which is then pinned in place by the umbilicals and held to shape with the styrene end-caps. Inside the box are the following: 11 x top/bottom fairings for the three stages in white styrene 4 x sprues of white styrene parts for the Saturn V Rocket 5 x sprues of silver styrene parts for the LEM/CM/SM 4 x white styrene sheets with printed markings for the Saturn V stages 1 x sheet of decals 1 x large silver styrene base 1 x bag with four thumb-pots of Revell acrylic paint, small Contacta glue, No.2 paint brush Add to that the instruction booklet, and that's everything inside the box. The kit is a product of its era, but detail is pretty good and any flash seems to be mostly adhering to the sprues rather than the parts. There are some well-documented inaccuracies in this kit, but in the marketplace of larger scale Saturn V kits (1:144 and above) that can be said of them all, so if you want to go BIG but not HUMONGOUS, this is still the kit for you. I'm reliably informed that when complete it will fit into one of those floor-standing Ikea cabinets if you remove all the glass shelves. There are probably three main ways to approach this project. Build it as is and just enjoy it, build it and improve it as you go along, or build it with the aid of aftermarket and try to improve the accuracy and detail. Most casual observers wouldn't notice the difference between each approach, so it's entirely up to you as usual how much effort, time and money you put into the task. Construction begins with the base, as the model needs some support as it grows taller, so it makes sense. Four triangular supports are glued to the base plate and painted red, which gives the model a little anti-topple protection. The five big F-1 engines are next, made up from two halves with two additional parts making up the complex tubing above the bells. These are depicted bare, but the actual launch vehicles were covered with batted insulation that gave them a different look, so here you can decide to leave them as is, scratch some insulation from foil or similar, or go all out and purchase the aftermarket engine sets that are available. The completed engines are fitted onto a flat bottom plate, which then slips into the underside of the first styrene cap, resting on a small ledge at the bottom. The narrow black and white sheet is then rolled up to form the bottom tubular section of the stage and pinned together by umbilical parts inside and out, fitting to the top of the engine assembly using a keyed mating surface. The four conical engine cowlings are added all round, and another styrene ring is added to the top of the growing structure, with the longest styrene sheet sat on top of that, then the top of stage 1 with its domed tank clearly visible inside. The connection between the top of stage 1 and 2 is a cylindrical part that you often see being incinerated as it tumbles away in footage of the launches. This covers the stage 2 engines, which consist of five Rocketdyne J-2 units, again with small parts added above the two-part engine bells. These are glued into another tapered styrene cylinder, which fits into the top of the interconnect, and has the mostly white sheet used to create the body, with umbilical parts used to hide the joins again. Another domed fuel tank top is inside the top of that stage, and a conical cowling fits into the top of that too. The narrower third stage has a conical underside with one J-2 engine at the bottom, with another styrene tube made up and inserted into the top, and joined by another domed fuel tank on top. Attention now turns to the LEM, CM & SM, which are also available as a separate kit, reviewed here recently. The sprues are the same, the decals are all amalgamated with the kit markings, and the only thing that isn't included is the gold foil for the LEM, which you can easily replace by treating yourself to a chocolate bar or similar. I won't re-tread old ground, suffice to say that all three sections are built up, although the LEM is fitted with its legs folded up so that it slots into the tapered cowling that it rides into space inside, one section of which is transparent for easy viewing of the completed model. The CM and SM are installed on the top, and the LES sits on the very top of a short tower, to lift the CM clear using emergency rockets that can be seen under the flared base. Also included is the lunar surface base and goose-neck stand for the kit, so the instructions give you some suggestions on how to use the parts if you feel like it. I think most people will probably leave the three modules at the top of the stack though, as it's all about the going up part. Please note that the gold foil pictured above is NOT included with this model Markings There's only one option for the markings, as you might expect, and much of the main body is either self-coloured or pre-printed on the flat styrene sheets that go to make up the blank tubular sections. The decals are printed for Revell by Zanetti, and are in good register with plenty of sharpness and colour density. The key part is to match up the black sections with the printed parts, and to paint the complex chequer pattern on the tapered cowling correctly. The other decals are pointed out on diagrams on the rear page, which also shows you how to store the model in the original box once you have built it. Given its sheer size, this is a very useful capability. The diagram shows an in-built handle, which doesn't seem fitted to my box, which is a shame. Conclusion The kit might also soon be celebrating its own 50th anniversary, but considering that it is still quite an impressive kit, not just for its size. It has the undiminished appeal of the raw power it used to get men to the Moon, and can be built by a child with minimal paint, an adult with care and some precision, or a detailer with the assistance of aftermarket that's available from companies such as Realspacemodels.com and New Ware Models. Beware your wallet if you go down that route though. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
The final category of kit that I believe the GB has not as yet covered is 'Space. (Nimrod54's excellent Angel Interceptor covers the 'TV and Film' category). Having really lost my senses this time, I put out a call in the 'Wanted' section to see if I could lay my hands on one of Airfix's Space kits, the smaller the better. My prayers were answered with the 1/72 Apollo Lunar Module from 1970. Let's pause to drool over the 'Red Stripe' packaging and box art...... All the bits were there - someone has looked after this extremely well.... You even get an additional leaflet on the Apollo missions - this is excellent reading for me now, never mind when I was 10! Instructions are comprehensive. Wait a minute - it came with a small note! Yes, indeed, it was no lesser a person that 'our' Heather that got in touch with this kit which could have continued to 'appreciate' nicely ready for a bidding war but which she has generously passed on to me to build for this GB - Heather will let you know the background in due course. No pressure then to make a good job of this one and finish in time - I am really looking forward to it!