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Apollo Vs. Skylab launch vehicles, Question?


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I am interested in building the Dragon 1/72 Saturn V Apollo rocket. This is an elusive kit. For the longest time I did not know it existed. It appeared to be available only as a prefinished/painted model. The only kit I found was the 1/72 Skylab. After much looking I started finding hints and then evidence of an actual Saturn/Apollo kit. The problem is, the kit is out of production? There are none to be found. 

 

The question I have is: Are the launch vehicles for the Apollo missions and the Skylab missions the same beneath and including stage S-IVB? I am not concerned with small discrepancies that can be overcome. The reason for the question is, I am wondering if a person could buy the Skylab kit and then buy the other 1/72 Apollo Dragon kits (LM, CM etc.) in order to have the Saturn V/Apollo.

 

Thank you for any help that may be offered.

G

Edited by Exemplar Structor
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I don't own either kit but I recall seeing the prebuilt Skylab stack in my LMS. The parts were visible through a window in the box and I remember being surprised that the so-called Skylab had a J-2 engine which the real one didn't. (It had a flat octagonal radiator.) If this is indeed the case then that would work as a standard third stage for the Saturn V; however you would need the complete Apollo spacecraft including the LM adapter and Launch Escape System. Dragon did this as Apollo 10.

 

However I don't know if this would fit the top end of the 'Skylab' as they may have done some modifications for the Skylab shroud.

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I appreciate the info Gordon. Further thought on my idea and I realize the cost would be considerably higher to buy the Skylab kit and other kits that would be needed to arrive at the Apollo launch vehicle. Add to that the uncertainties and it appears my idea is not a very good one. I have hope that the 1/72 Saturn V Apollo kit will be available before too long. I have placed a back order with Hobbylinc and locked in a good price. They have no idea when the order will be filled so I am not overly optimistic. I wonder if it is general practice on their part to take back orders on items that may be out of stock for years? The US importer, Stevens International, lists the kit as TOS. Am I to understand that means "temporarily out of stock"? If so maybe new stock is not far off? I'm not in any hurry. I see this as a project to aspire to after more experience is gained and I can do it justice. 

Again, thank you for your response.

G

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Have you seen this review by Martin Goldsack, an occasional poster here? He produces and sells resin rocket kits and replacement parts - I've had his S-II and S-IVB thrust structures, which are a huge improvement on the Airfix version, and also his 1/96 Block II Apollo CSM kit (which is still waiting to be built!)

 

Anyway, he was very dissatisfied with the quality of the big Saturn V as seen here

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Gordon, once again, thank you. I am learning more. When it comes to real space I am overflowing with enthusiasm and lacking in knowledge. Although I have pursued amatuer astronomy, read current science, enjoyed Sci Fi in my youth, and followed the early Space Shuttle missions, I have never turned my attention to the Apollo program, the rockets used and their development or anything rocket related until recently. It is an undiscovered world for me and there is so much to learn. Exciting at my age to find myself in this situation. 

 

I read what Martin had to say. It was very interesting. And disappointing. Dragon spent the money to develop this kit and they didn't give it a full effort. Really no reason for that. Either ineptness or the people assigned to the project didn't care. 

 

Despite the shortcomings I would really like a Saturn V in this scale. If one considers the scale of what had to be learned when the goal of placing someone on the moon was spoken, the scale of the engineering and technical problems, the scale of the balls of those that went,  and the scale of the what was accomplished...then if ever a scale model deserved to be grand and large, the Saturn V is that model!  

 

To be sure this is not an immediate project for me. Being the only kit of this size I think it has to be used but with the knowledge that there will be things that need to be done to improve it. It looks like Martin has offerings to do just that. 

 

To be honest, when it comes to accuracy or detail, I likely put less weight on it.  If I am investing my energy and money into a project it has to be accurate and with sufficient detail but I am not one to go overboard with this. That is especially true with the things that can't be seen as it is displayed. I can see myself fixing glaring deficiency and ignoring the smaller things.  I do appreciate the link. Best to know what is involve going in. Also, clicking that link opened up a multitude of further info and learning. I now know about Martin's operation. 

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I've always thought that space modellers get a raw deal, through no fault of the kit manufacturers, unless they concentrate on either the rockets or the spacecraft, but not both. A 1/72 Apollo CSM and LM combination is the ideal size for displaying - but at the same scale a Mercury capsule is about an inch long so there's no chance of fine detailing. You have to go up to 1/48, by which time the Apollo is getting a bit on the large side. But once you get there you can forget any thoughts of a Saturn V so a display of rockets and spacecraft in a constant scale - one big enough to see properly! - is impossible.

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I've seen the normal 1/72 Dragon Saturn V displayed at a number of shows and whilst it is impressive because of its sheer size, the inaccuracies are pretty obvious.

 

1/144 is big enough for me when it comes to the Saturn family. I've built the updated Airfix V and IB and with a bit of work I've been very happy with how they turned out. I have a few more Vs to do , one of which will be the Skylab stack. I also have a vague plan to modify the SIVB section of one of them into an actual Skylab space station. That might be a tad ambition.

 

The alternative in 1/144 would be the Real Space resin version. It's curently listed at $150.00 so pretty ex[pensive.

 

Does anybody have any views on that?

 

Over the past five or six years I have been re-immersing myself in all things Apollo and Shuttle. I was a young kid during the Apollo era and was completely engaged with the programme - building Airfix lunar modules etc in period.

 

With the sheer volume of stuff accessible through the internet, there are now far more resources available and that has really re-ignited my enthusiasm for all things space related.

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The Dragon SV is impressive in size, but not accuracy.  As the author of the nitpicking list linked to on Martin's site, I decided to go the scratchbuild route (albeit still only part finished).  However, the Apollo bits (SLA, CSM, LES) which are also in the Apollo 10 are not bad and can build up to a nice representation.  The LM is a mixed bag - OK ish Ascesnt Stage, too smalldescent stage; I replaced the latter with an old Airfix one off ebay.

 

Bottom line, the Dragon model is a good centre-piece of an Apollo collection if you don't mind the errors.  If you want accuracy and are content to invest a lot of time, you can probably scratch build for under £150.  Other wise, go for the Revell 1/96 version which needs much less work to bring it up to scratch.

 

Regards

Tim

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3 hours ago, TimB said:

 I decided to go the scratchbuild route (albeit still only part finished).  

 

Tim have you posted anything about your scratch building? If you have it would be interesting follow. 

 

3 hours ago, TimB said:

 Other wise, go for the Revell 1/96 version which needs much less work to bring it up to scratch.

 

Regards

Tim

 

This is good to know. I hadn't really considered which would be more accurate, the 1/72 Dragon or the 1/96 Revell. I suppose that I assumed that the Dragon kit, being newer and them having a fairly good reputation, that it would be better than the older Revell kit. 

 

Thanks for the info.

G

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8 hours ago, Eric Mc said:

With the sheer volume of stuff accessible through the internet, there are now far more resources available and that has really re-ignited my enthusiasm for all things space related.

 

Somewhat related...this has my enthusiasm ignited.

Maybe it is just me and the fact that I have my attention on real space (and google news feeding me stuff it thinks I want to read) but it seems like a new era in rockets. There seems to be be more launches, more groups around the world doing it, more success and innovation. There is even serious talk of returning to the moon. Do you guys think we are in some sort of renaissance?

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Hi Elemplar

My scratchbuild is currently on hold, but has a completion target of Telford 2019.  I decided to complete a Saturn 1B in 1/72 first, and took it to SMW in 2016 for the NASA SIG.  The Apollo stack and SIVB are essentially the same (except for the differences between the -100 and -200 SIVBs), so I just need to do the same again.  I'm also doing another SIVB with the Apollo  in transposition and docking.  I may have that finished by this November, but my plan to retire in 2015 failed and I'm spending rather a lot of the time in the US on business rather than modelling!  Here is a picture of the Saturn 1B - and the S-IC.  Can't do more as I'm off to Seattle tomorrow morning.

 

 IMG_6885_zpsbnuqgrt6.jpg

 

My approach has been to use ABS tubing from plastruct, and add suitably sized stringers from evergreen or similar.  Priority 1 is external accuracy, priority 2 is enough internal detail to separate the stages as well.  The S-1C is mostly there, and I've made the masters to vac-form the S-IC engine fairings, but need some more practice to form the final versions. For the S-IC, I have the batted F-1 engines from LVM, and I bought the J-1s for the S-II and the SIV from shapeways https://www.shapeways.com/product/M333Z44KF/j-2-engine-1-72-set-of-3?optionId=43127680&li=marketplace

which are very nice.  I'm using David Week's drawings http://www.realspacemodels.com/drawing-sets/ as the main source data, but there are lots of detail pics on-line for the more complex bits.   Doing the Saturn 1B first was very useful, as I learned a lot about how (not) to fit the stages together. 

 

It's a good time to do real space models.  Once NASA or SpaceX fly another manned craft I'll build that as well.  For the future, my money is on China to be next on the Moon, and SpaceX on Mars!

 

Regards

 

Tim (trying to finish off a Real Space New Horizons, Pegasus Von Braun Moonlander, and the Airfix 24th Typhoon)

 

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You are clearly a man of taste - looking at your bookshelves I see not only a Dilbert collection but the excellent 'The General Danced at Dawn'. Have you read the other two McAuslan books?

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18 hours ago, Exemplar Structor said:

 

Somewhat related...this has my enthusiasm ignited.

Maybe it is just me and the fact that I have my attention on real space (and google news feeding me stuff it thinks I want to read) but it seems like a new era in rockets. There seems to be be more launches, more groups around the world doing it, more success and innovation. There is even serious talk of returning to the moon. Do you guys think we are in some sort of renaissance?

I think we are entering a new era in manned spaceflight. I feel like it is just around the corner - although it's been "just around the corner" for a few years now. However, I really do think that we will be seeing manned Dragons, Starliners and (hopefully Orions) within two years.

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22 hours ago, TimB said:

I decided to complete a Saturn 1B in 1/72 first, and took it to SMW in 2016 for the NASA SIG. 

 

Those are some fine looking rockets and the 1B especially.

 

22 hours ago, TimB said:

 Priority 1 is external accuracy, priority 2 is enough internal detail to separate the stages as well. 

 

I like your approach.  One day, when the skill and knowledge come together I can see myself following priority 1 but maybe not 2.  It would be nice to have the large Saturn V as a centerpiece and have LM, CM, and other Apollo items modeled separately. I don't see myself pulling the stages apart once it is complete and can justify to myself only the detail needed externally.

I have to admit there is a lot that you talked about that I don't' fully understand yet. I really need to spend some time reading about the development of the Saturn launch vehicles, the various stages, their differences, and the Apollo missions.  

 

 

I do plan on reading "How Apollo Flew to the Moon" but in the meantime can anyone suggest a good website or two to give me a good overview?  Having that would provide a good framework to start learning more.

G

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Wow - where would you start.

 

Youtube has some great Apollo based documentaries (ignoring all the "Moon Hoax" stuff - of course).

 

I would highly recommend the Discovery TV series, Moon Machines - all of which are now on you tube. It was shown on TV and goes through all the major components of the Apollo system. It is especially good because many of the key engineers in the programme were interviewed. It was made in 2009 (for obvious reasons) and sadly, some of those interviewed are no longer with us.

 

You still can't beat books for basic reading. I'd recommend the Haynes Manual Apollo based books -

 

Apollo 11

Apollo 13

The Lunar Rover

Gemini

 

Geek heaven.

 

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I'd add the Haynes Saturn V book, which is also by David Woods.  David's How Apollo Flew to the Moon is probably the best technical description of the spacecraft, but if you want less technical overviews then Murray and Cox's Apollo and Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon are the best books.  For websites, it is hard to know what to recommend, as there are many. 

Regards

Tim

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Thanks Eric and Tim.

 

I just watched the first Moon Machines episode. What a kick.  It must seem like I am someone that has been living in a cave but even though this is a part of our history and culture I have never really given it my attention. I was born in the late '60 so I didn't get to experience that time period. I feel fortunate in that this is an uncharted area of interest for me. It has me feeling like a kid!  Nothing like having a new passion and knowing there is so much ahead to be learned.

Greg

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The Saturn V book is by David Baker (not David Woods). Baker has been writing on spaceflight and rockets for decades and is currently editor of the British Interplanetary Society's "Spaceflight" magazine.

 

I've got some of his early books such as -

 

b49e-f94a-4061-81ce-08319c923497.jpg?pre

 

51hAcGcer+L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

9780517536490-us-300.jpg

 

And I'm currently reading this -

 

9781439148815.jpg

 

There are tons of books covering Apollo - many written by the astronauts and other participants.

 

There are fewer books on Mercury, Gemini and the Soviet/Russian spacecraft series (Vostok, Voshkod and Soyuz) but there are some. Again, Haynes isn't a bad start for basic information on these craft with the following books being available) -

 

Soyuz

Gemini

 

and, coming very soon, Mercury.

 

NASA-Mercury-cover.png

 

 

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Hi again

 

I thought I'd add these James Burke related links. Burke was the BBC anchor man and often "!man on the spot" for the Apollo missions. Youtube has quite a few of the contemporary reports he did at the time which are great for a historic perspective.

 

Also listed you will see two 1979 documentaries - which were shown on the night of the 10th anniversary of the first moon landing on BBC1 and 2. I watched them that night and they were the first TV programmes I saw that really went behind the scenes with the politics and management aspects of the programme. Everything up to then had mainly concentrated on the science and technology. Included amongst those interviewed are key figures in the decision making and technical design teams of Apollo - James Webb, Thomas O Paine, George Mueller, George Low, Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz etc - as well as many of the astronauts.

 

The two programmes are -

 

The Men Who Walked on the Moon

The Other Side of the Moon

 

"The Other Side of the Moon" contains some revelations about the response to the Apollo 1 fire which I have never heard repeated in any other documentaries (at least, not with the same emphasis) and, since the person making the comments is astronaut Jim McDivitt (who was in charge in the Post-Fire Command Module Modification Team), I think what he says is very relevant and important.

 

Since they turned up on youtube, I've watched those two programmes a number of time.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=apollo+james+burke

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, TimB said:

I'd add the Haynes Saturn V book, which is also by David Woods

1 hour ago, Eric Mc said:

The Saturn V book is by David Baker (not David Woods).

Well Haynes think otherwise, they list David Woods as author

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Sorry, my mistake. I was thinking of the Haynes book "Rocket".

 

9780857333711.jpg

 

I actually didn't realise until now that they had a separate book on the Saturn V.

 

It's now been added to my "wants list".

 

 

Off to the Amazon site straight away:)

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Eric, a big thank you is in order. It looks like I have some reading to do! I am going to add these titles to my list and work out which will be first. 

 

Tim when you first talked about the various stages and engines and such I was a bit lost. I am getting a handle on this somewhat and at least understand what you were talking about. From what you have said about scratch building and also what you and others have said about the accuracy of the 1/72 Dragon kit, I feel a crazy idea gestating in my mind. I am being pulled towards buying a copy of the Realspace Saturn V drawings and entertaining the idea of partially scratch building. I could use the Dragon kits and any AF that is needed above the instrument ring and scratch build the instrument ring down to the engines, and purchase AF engines and associated parts. This is only in the early idea stage and could be only that for a while but one thing I like to do is ponder ideas and see where they take me. My primary hobby is woodworking and I tend consider alternate ways of accomplishing things with wood. My early thoughts are instead of using ABS tubing, possibly using 1/32" aircraft grade plywood (or 2 layers of 1/64") over formers to create a hollow light tube. The formers and necessary jig would need to be very precise. Then fiberglassing and epoxying this thin plywood skinned tube to provide stability, strength and a good base for paint. I have a lot of fiberglass and epoxy left over from a teardrop trailer I built so there would be no cost there. I really don't know if this approach would offer an advantage or not. Maybe for me, only in that I have the materials and my skills are possibly better suited for this approach. In the meantime I have a few Wingnut Wing kits and will satisfy my model building urges with those. I also bought the Man in Space kit and will try to work that in. I am not expecting much from that kit but I do like that it will provide a scale reference between the various rockets. And lastly, lots to learn and a list of books and youtube to get me there.

 

I have read that David Week's drawings are "excellent". Would anyone like to expound on that? I have found nothing on the web as far as info or a review. I have located them at Realspace but they give very little in the way of a description. 

 

I appreciate all the help and info you guys have provided.

Greg

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16 hours ago, Eric Mc said:

 

I thought I'd add these James Burke related links.

 

 

 

I wondered about that name. I went to youtube to check out the videos you recommended and found that James Burke is the same James Burke I use to watch. He had a series on PBS called The Day the Universe Changed. I loved that show. I like the way he linked small ideas or advancements together and showed the path to a major discovery or development and in the end the story returned to where it started, full circle.  He was trying to do a similar thing with a Website, linking all of our knowledge and inventions but I don't think it ever happened. Wish it had. It is interesting to see how ideas and inventions evolve and influence latter technology. 

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Hi, exemplar.  I think your idea of a plywood approach could work.  I use plywood jigs for some models, but prefer to work in polystyrene for accuracy and easy of gluing; ABS is a bit harder.  I went off perspex after building the Gemini Titan. 

The David Weeks drawings are superb, and are the gold standard for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.  There are a very few minor errors, mostly because of poorly documented differences between the launch vehicles for each mission, but the basics are correct.  If Dragon had used them, then we would not be worrying about scratch building. 

Regards

Tim

 

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James Burke started as a science reporter for the BBC on a weekly TV series called "Tomorrow's World". When the Apollo programme began, he became their main studio anchor for those missions. Sadly, BBC wiped most of the video tapes of their Apollo coverage. Only snippets of the original recordings survive.

On occasion the BBC sent him off to the US to do special reports on spaceflight. Their previous space correspondent was a chap called Reginald Turnhill - who had been their aviation correspondent since the 1950s.

 

After the moon landings, Burke concentrated on documentary series. The most famous he did was called "Connections". The first series of "Connections" was shown by the BBC in 1978 and was very entertaining and informative. Later, Burke moved to the US where he did some further "Connections" type series for PBS and The Learning Channel.

 

He's still with us and performs public speaking engagements - mainly in America. Many of these talks end up on you tube and are well worth listening too.

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