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1/72 Saturn V

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Many thanks for the praise.


I decided to try finishing off the main details of the S-IVB thrust structure and improve the fit of the engine. After having spent what felt like too much time I had come up with this as a compromise for the basics. Still missing are the eight spherical helium tanks.








The helium tanks are included among the resin parts, but rather than cleaning up and repairing these I think I will try to find suitable balls of good quality around 9 mm diameter. I need six more anyway for the J2-engines. I may also draw and 3D-print their mounting structures. We'll see.




I should attend to the S-IC fairings and fins, but I started looking at something else...


I have been considering my options for the Instrument Unit (IU, the short bottom cylindrical section) and Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter (SLA, the long conical section divided in two). The SLA carried the Lunar Module (LM) inside and the Command and Service Module (CSM) on top.


The Dragon parts lack almost all detail that should be there and what detail is present is overdone or incorrect. I have some 3D-printed details to use, but there is lot of work anyway.


The resin parts have most details fixed, but they are quite rough and nothing fits very well. As with the Dragon parts there is no internal detail. This is also a lot of work.


There is a third option with 3D-printed parts, but printing them in the only material good enough for them to be useful would be very expensive at some 500 €, still with no internal IU-detail, and I would still want the surface detail differently and more restraint.




A major problem is that the resin parts appear to have shrunken in diameter, there is no way I can fit them on top of the S-IVB, even if I tried to save them.




The Dragon parts do fit well, possibly a little loose that may need attention. I think I will have to deal with correcting and detailing these parts.


My thoughts of possibly leaving a quarter section of the upper SLA part clear to show the Lunar Module inside will probably fail though, as I need to mess with the surface. OK, the real thing was all white anyway so it might be just as well.



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That resin part of the SLA looks pretty average. Does the Dragon SLA measure up correctly? If so I think that's your best option. As for the fuel spheres, look for plastic jewellery beads in craft shops.

Outstanding attention to detail as always with your build.

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@John_W @Ken Stenzenko Indeed I've had something like ball bearing balls or craft shop beads in mind. I'll search around in my workshop and also see what I may find next time I'm going to town. But I think I may need larger balls than 9 mm the more I look at it. I loosely tacked the 9 mm resin balls in place and I think they look small. I would probably need 10 mm, at least. I haven't been able to find out the diameter of the originals, not yet at least, only made comparative measuring on photos.




@Ken Stenzenko Mmm, the resin parts have often not been quite the solution I hoped for when I got them. The Dragon parts in this are are pretty right in length as they are; the IU is about correct, the fixed lower SLA section a mm short and the upper SLA section possibly 2 mm long. Probably not much to argue about. But I will anyway...


So first thing I did was to cut down the support collar on my S-IVB forward skirt to minimal length so as not to interfere too much with my planned IU-internal detail.




Next I cut off the IU-section of the Dragon part to correct length.




Then I cut a small slice from it and glued back to improve the fit to the forward skirt. This is mostly because of the way I have created my corrected length forwards skirt before. As I understand it there should be small amount of zig-zag pattern in the joint to the SLA, but not nearly as Dragon did it. I will have to see if this will do, need look more on photos.




On top of the S-IVB it doesn't look too bad.




I could have lengthened my cut off SLA-section, but as I had another part available I cut a section off of it to the desired length.




With some careful filing and sanding I soon had a smooth SLA fixed part cone that fit the IU-ring. These can later be glued, probably after internal painting. The rest of the surface detail will also go away before fixing the details.



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Of course the zig-zag pattern is not the IU-ring, so that had to go. It is however on the bottom edge of the SLA, but so very faint that I most likely won't bother.




I marked up the inner sections of the IU to help when locating the external detail, and also as an aid when it comes to the internals. The IU is the complex brain of the whole vehicle and it varied quite a lot in detail between missions. I've had to spend quite some interesting time researching it. This is for Apollo 10, 11 and 12.






I started detailing the surface of the fixed SLA-section. The ribs are sanded quite thin and I hope to make them quite faint after painting. Inside it the fixings for the LM needs to be built to get it to sit on the correct height above the IU, but for that I have to build up the basics of the LM itself.




Then I removed all surface detail on the upper section, apart from the ribs with parting lines. I also scribed the four parting lines on the inside. I removed about 2 mm from the top, so I later need to adapt it to fit the CSM again.




Then put new ribs on. These should end up just as soft as I want them on the bottom section.



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Thanks for the kind words guys.


Repetitive scratch building, not my favorite pastime...




But it has to be done...




Hinge fairings, and the hinges were of course no longer hinges by the time of Apollo 11 as the panels broke away completely to free the Lunar Module.



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The SLA looks great. What's great about your build is not only the excellent updates you are doing but you are sharing your work with anyone that want's to update and improve their own Saturn V model. I can't wait to see what it's looks like with paint on it. You're going to have one very impressive Saturn V when completed.

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And a nice reference when I start my smaller Airfix kit on a much lower level.


Regarding the 1:24 Lunar Module on Shapeways: Vincent Meens has some deatil sets free to download from Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/meens/designs

Sadly not the same offerings as on Shapeways but great stuff for the Monogram Command and Lunar Module. Of course you will need a printer for the files.


His web page is also highly interesting including detailed step-by-step guides: http://spacemodels.nuxit.net/




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Thanks a lot guys, I'm very glad that you like the build, and if it will help others then so much the better. Actually I often find that running a WIP-thread improves my modelling and that the projects benefits. I was better at doing my WIP's some years back, today I often find I don't take the time, I should really try and better that...


I continued with the SLA details yesterday, here are the fairings over what I believe are some of the explosion charges that opened the SLA to free the LM up for docking.




Connections and access hatches added.




Then I assembled the basic parts of the CSM to make it fit the top of the SLA. It takes some care to get everything oriented correctly as Dragons engineering for example doesn't locate the thrust shield at the bottom.




And here I realized I should have started with the CSM much earlier. It doesn't fit the SLA very well at all; there is a step of at least a millimetre. One could think that this is due to me shortening the SLA top some 2 mm, but that's insignificant here. I checked with an untouched Dragon part and it's the same problem.




Something had to be done to rescue this. I removed some detail I had added to the top and made sixteen cuts.




Then I tied it all together, after gluing some temporary stops, forcing the top down in diameter to fit the CSM. The cuts were filled with resin dust and CA glue and the thing was left over night to cure. It's a compromise, once again, of course. Ideally one should probably make the cuts almost all the way down.




When everything was filed and sanded smooth inside and out and details finished it looked quite OK. When it's all painted matt white I think it will do.






As I was working on the CSM I remembered New Wares detail set for the CSM and LM, NW200, and I e-mailed an order yesterday. I saw no reason not to use those parts as well in my build. This is NW201, which is the same set except it also contains some additional equipment used on the lunar surface. I have a couple of Dragons Apollo kits in my stash and bought that set some time ago. The quality of both etch and resin looks lovely.




Then attention fell on the basics of the LM. The parts looks well engineered in the box, but the fit isn't perfect, some attention will be needed here and there.




The fit of the legs and all struts on the Descent Stage was not impressive. Some parts like the leg with the ladder needed a good deal of adjusting.




With the important parts of Descent stage done I could make the four supports for it in the fixed SLA section. These are completely omitted by Dragon so the LM would fall down to deep and rest on the S-IVB top tank dome otherwise.




The LM now sits quite correct in the SLA. You may have to excuse its orientation here though; I just hanged it in for the photo...




Looking down on to the LM with the upper SLA section in place.




And looking up on to the service module engine bell.




And the Apollo space craft stacked up on top of the S-IVB stage. It would look good with one SLA panel clear, but I will save that for a separate build of the stacked space craft only, some day...




As I seem to work back and forth after daily inspiration its time to make a list for myself of things I must go back and finish up before too long...


- Finishing S-IC engine fairings and fins

- Possible details of S-IC system tunnels

- Helium spheres for S-IVB

- Internal IU-detail

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I have a stash that will last me far more lifetimes than I have, and precious little space to display anything, yet your build makes me yearn for one of these. That's not going to happen though if I intend to stay married, so keep the pictures coming and I'll continue to enjoy your modelling (far greater quality than anything I could achieve) instead.



PS/ Have @roma847 (Manfred's) shuttle diorama and @RichO's (1:72!!) crawler inspired you to contemplate a launch pad, tower and crawler to give your Saturn some context? :wink:

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I wanted to go through the last major parts I need to make decisions about, and that's the Launch Escape System (LES) and Boos Protective Cover (BPC). I have some parts to choose from.


First the LES-rocket itself. The Dragon parts seem to be about a millimeter short in total length, the nose cone is 2 mm short and the whole thing lack almost all detail one would like in this scale. The resin parts are modified Dragon parts with added length and detail and a bit rough castings. The 3D-print is very nice but I found some detail over done and I need flaps over the two nozzle holes high up as I'm building it before launch.




The LES-tower from Dragon isn't too bad, but it's missing one of the diagonal bars at the bottom, and the others are incorrectly angled. The 3D-printed needs some cleaning, but I like its proportions better when I look at launch pad photos, I think.




Dragons BPC is missing a number of details, but it fits nicely over the Command Module. The resin part is a recast of the Dragon part with only a simulated hatch window added, centered on the hatch. There is also a 3D-print available that I think fixes most details, though I haven't seen how the details appear IRL. I will rebuild the Dragon part.




I modified the bottom section of Dragon's tower and cleaned up the 3D-version. I'm not sure any of them is perfectly correct, but the 3D-part still looks better in proportions, it's certainly closer to the real thing, but the rebuilt Dragon part would do the job nicely too.




As for the rocket I decided to build it from the Dragon parts drawing inspiration from the resin and 3D and comparing to reference photos. I reshaped the nose to make the cone 2 mm longer and added 1 mm length at the base, forming a collar at the joint of the skirt. Four reinforcements added and the two cable ducts, and the two nozzle flaps. I think it will do like this.






Working on the BPC adding detail. Fiddling with the thrust port covers, again repetitive scratching...




But boring work pays off again. I'm much happier with this, it'll do for me.






I think I will use the 3D-printed tower. Here's the complete LES and BPC, except the four nozzles under the skirt.




And stacked on top of the S-IVB stage.




I find myself working on an increasingly smaller corner of my A2 cutting matte, and the whole bench has become a cluttered mess over the last few weeks. Need to do something about this soon...




But it's more fun stacking all the parts up again. I can no longer do this on the bench, as now I can for the first time stack the whole thing together. Great fun. It measures almost 155 cm tall. That's a few millimeters more than I calculated, but when I measure all the segments they match what I want. I guess it happens; I won't lose any sleep over it.








Coming back to earth after that experience I have started working on internal IU-detail. More to come.



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Thanks a lot! So I have worked away on the IU internal detail. I'm not sure it was a good idea to start this, but it happened. I got a bit carried away as it is quite an interesting subject. Here's the finished equipment around the wall. I have tried to get all the major components in, but in very simplified form, just bits to represent them.










I also want a representation of the top ring of ducting and electrical cabling. I formed the base by layering Evergreen strip around a can with what seemed a good diameter and left it to dry thoroughly before removing and sanding the final shape.




I think I missed the diameter a little but I went ahead anyway. I rigged it up where I wanted it, centered it as best I could and started to very carefully gluing small pins to represent the support struts. The thing was very fragile at this stage.




But as more supports went in it became stronger and could even be handled.




Turning it upside down the lower struts could be glued one by one. I also made to connection to the umbilical plate.




Here is what I got in the end. Hopefully it will add enough to the look down there once everything is painted.






When the Lunar Module is dropped in place much of it is of course hidden...




@Ken Stenzenko Yes, those S-IC fairings... I worked a little on them today, sanding the inside before primer, or what could be sanded, with 180 grit. This material is hopeless to sand, it breaks the worst of the surface quite quickly, then not much more is happening. I will give them a good coat of 2-part automotive surfacer and see how they sand after that. Most likely all surface details will have to go off and be rebuilt from scratch, but we'll see...




It's annoying that the prices for printing in the best material skyrockets when the part sizes goes up a little. I quickly drew the basis for my own fairings in the correct dimensions, just to play around at Shapeways and see what pricing I could reach if printing my own parts for myself, but no matter how I stacked them around, it ends up in the same ballpark as those already available.




So it's back trying to save the white ones with 2K surfacer and a lot of work. Making something from the resin parts I have will be just as much work anyway.

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Another technique using the Shapeways white resin is by coating the entire surface with a thin coat of superglue and then sanding smooth. I have used this method twice on pieces without raised detail but with the fairings you would need to remove the stringers first and apply the superglue. Just a thought. Your IU is excellent and the best example I've seen.

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Thanks Ken. Indeed the superglue method would also work, I'm doing essentially the same thing with the 2K surfacer, it's just that I find it nicer to sand and it may increase the possibility to save some detail. If it's worth it? I spent a while working on the fairings this morning, and essentially I just feel that I'm wasting my time. I have now given them all a few good coats of surfacer that is now curing. It's like trying to paint a sponge until the material fills up. The picture show how unfit for fine modelling Shapeways "white versatile plastic" is, it's much more visible with some paint on...




These will now rest in the warmest room in the house over day and then we'll see what happens to them. I have also asked Michael to rescale his separate 1/48 fairing air scoops to 1/72 scale and issue a complete set in his Shapeways shop.

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While waiting for surfacer to cure I looked closer at the fins. Dragon has them quite right in dimension, but they are too thin and has smooth airfoil section which isn't right. It's a known issue and I haven't had much problem with that before, but as I've worked on the fairings today it started to feel irritating.


As dimensions are available I changed my mind and drew them up in 3D, coming up with this design. I will have these printed in high quality material and work from that.






I have also started a bit of detail work on the CSM. Still there's much to do here with adding the New Ware parts.



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Have you thought about using these fairings? They are vacuform and 1/70 scale which means they should be pretty close overall. Just a suggestion. I have emailed Apogee and asked if they could tell me the length. Once they reply I'll pass the info onto you.




Edited by Ken Stenzenko
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