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Julien

Apollo Saturn V Rocket (A11170) - 1:144 Airfix

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Apollo Saturn V Rocket (A11170)

1:144 Airfix

 

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If there are a few things that nearly everyone recognises its fairly sure the Saturn V Rocket is one of them. This is the Rocket which took men to the moon, and then later on launched the Skylab station. The Saturn V holds the record for the Biggest, tallest, heaviest and most powerful operational rocket. It had a height of 363 feet, a weight of 6,540,000 pounds on take off and thrust measuring 7.5 million pounds. The rocket was a three stage one fuelled by liquid oxygen & kerosene. In total 15 Saturn V rockets were built. 13 of which were flown and 3 test vehicles.  One of the test rocket is on display at the Kennedy Space centre and this can be seen by clicking on the walkaround button and the end of this review.

 

 

The Kit

This is a re-box of the original Airfix kit from 1970 and this is evident from the moulds, though I have read it is still the most accurate kit of the rocket in this scale? The kit was designed to be educational as well as fun with the ability to display all the different stages, it has seen a fair number of releases over the years, and this one is to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing by Apollo 11.  

 

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Construction starts at the bottom business end of the rocket, the base has the fins added and the 5 Rocketdyne engines are made up and added to this.  The stage 1 part of the rocket body then goes on top of this with the pressure bulkhead forming the top.  The cover which joins stage 1 to stage 2 is then added. Following this stage 2 with its 5 Rocketdyne J-2 engines is made up. The conical collar at the top covering the engine for stage 3 is integral to the stage 2 parts. Shockingly enough stage 3 follows next in the build sequence. with its single Rocketdyne J-2 engine.  On top of this fits the spacecraft to Lunar module adaptor which covers the Lunar module for the launch phase. A model lunar module is supplied to go in here if wanted. The service module then sits on top of this with the command module on top. A row of three astronauts is supplied for inside the command module.  To cap everything off the Launch Escape System tower is added to the top. A base unit is supplied to display the rocket in the vertical position.

 

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Markings

A smallish sheet provides markings to Apollo 11 including a name plate for the base. The decals are from Cartograf so their quality is assured.

 

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Conclusion

While this might be an old kit it will with care still build up to an impressive model of this most famous rocket. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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A welcome return of a venerable and iconic kit.

 

Mike

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As a child at the height of the US manned space program in the 60s, I've always had a fondness for "Real Space" models of that era.  Its great to see this one back in production.

 

Your review mentions that a real Saturn V can be viewed at the Kennedy Space Center in FL, but there is another one on display in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.  Its mounted horizontally inside a museum building allowing a great view of the huge rocket.

Edited by mdauben

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2 hours ago, mdauben said:

As a child at the height of the US manned space program in the 60s, I've always had a fondness for "Real Space" models of that era.  Its great to see this one back in production.

 

Your review mentions that a real Saturn V can be viewed at the Kennedy Space Center in FL, but there is another one on display in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL.  Its mounted horizontally inside a museum building allowing a great view of the huge rocket.

Yes the one at Kennedy is like that. Thank @bootneck as he took all the pictures.

 

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Nice review to read och god loking pictures of the kit, Julien.

Wonder how well the Moebius Interstellar Ranger's fits to the Airfix Saturn V?

 

Cheers / André

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A couple of points need to be made on this kit, I think.

 

The current issue of the Airfix Saturn V is NOT identical to the original release of 1970. This version is actually a re-release of the 2009 issue (issued for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11) . Back then, the moulds were substantially altered to make the kit much more accurate. The main changes were with the Lunar Module adapter section, the Service Module and the Command Module (or, to be more precise, the Boost Protect Cover or BPC -  that sits on top of the Command Module during launch).

 

The  main problem with the original kit was that the Service Module diameter was not wide enough. This mean that the Lunar Module adapter tapered too sharply. Also, the BPC was too small as it had too narrow a base (to match the incorrect Service Module). Another issue with the original Service Module was that the radiator pattern as depicted was not the same as those actually seen on the real thing. This was a common problem with many Command/Service module kits of the late 1960s/early 1970s as the kit tool makers followed the design of the original Block I Apollo Command/Service modules - based on drawings and pictures issued by NASA and the contractors all through the 1960s.. All actual Apollo flights were conducted with Block II designs, which had substantially different radiator locations.

 

When the kit was re-issued in 2009, it came with a new, dimensionally correct Service Module, which ensured that the Lunar Module Adapter and Boost Protect Cover are now all in the right proportions and with the correct surface details.

All the main stages of the rocket (the S1, the SII and the SIVB) are all as contained in the original kit. These are still not 100% correct but, unless you are a total Saturn V geek, you probably wouldn't notice. You also need to bear in mind that every Apollo mission was different so the Saturn Vs all had variations from each other.  

 

Finally, do NOT follow the Airfix painting instructions slavishly (as if you would :)). The black and white pattern as shown in the actual instructions shows the black segments extending too far up the body of the rocket.  The error is repeated on the box art in regards to the line drawing to the left of the main picture. The main picture shows the pattern more accurately. You can see the difference is pretty obvious if you look at the image in the first post of this thread.

 

Finally, as regards to preserved Saturn Vs, there is also one on display at the Johnson Space Center (Mission Control) Houston.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Eric Mc said:

A couple of points need to be made on this kit, I think.

 

The current issue of the Airfix Saturn V is NOT identical to the original release of 1970. This version is actually a re-release of the 2009 issue (issued for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11) . Back then, the moulds were substantially altered to make the kit much more accurate. The main changes were with the Lunar Module adapter section, the Service Module and the Command Module (or, to be more precise, the Boost Protect Cover or BPC -  that sits on top of the Command Module during launch).

 

The  main problem with the original kit was that the Service Module diameter was not wide enough. This mean that the Lunar Module adapter tapered too sharply. Also, the BPC was too small as it had too narrow a base (to match the incorrect Service Module). Another issue with the original Service Module was that the radiator pattern as depicted was not the same as those actually seen on the real thing. This was a common problem with many Command/Service module kits of the late 1960s/early 1970s as the kit tool makers followed the design of the original Block I Apollo Command/Service modules - based on drawings and pictures issued by NASA and the contractors all through the 1960s.. All actual Apollo flights were conducted with Block II designs, which had substantially different radiator locations.

 

When the kit was re-issued in 2009, it came with a new, dimensionally correct Service Module, which ensured that the Lunar Module Adapter and Boost Protect Cover are now all in the right proportions and with the correct surface details.

All the main stages of the rocket (the S1, the SII and the SIVB) are all as contained in the original kit. These are still not 100% correct but, unless you are a total Saturn V geek, you probably wouldn't notice. You also need to bear in mind that every Apollo mission was different so the Saturn Vs all had variations from each other.  

 

Finally, do NOT follow the Airfix painting instructions slavishly (as if you would :)). The black and white pattern as shown in the actual instructions shows the black segments extending too far up the body of the rocket.  The error is repeated on the box art in regards to the line drawing to the left of the main picture. The main picture shows the pattern more accurately. You can see the difference is pretty obvious if you look at the image in the first post of this thread.

 

Finally, as regards to preserved Saturn Vs, there is also one on display at the Johnson Space Center (Mission Control) Houston.

 

 

Many thanks for this. I didn't realise Airfix had gone to such trouble to correct the accuracy issues, which it seems were not really its fault to begin with, for having followed the published information*

 

*Can you imagine how Airfix would do this nowadays? "Hey NASA, we'd like to LIDAR your Saturn V, and the various modules. NASA response: "SD***$%^&****ge%$&$*^&****^".

 

So, the inevitable question ... if someone has a kit of the original tooling in their stash, how much work might be required to make it into something respectable?

 

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Well, the easier solution is http://www.realspacemodels.com/shop-galapagos/1144-apollo-conversion?category=1%2F144+Converson.  That fixes the issues north of the S-IVB.  As with any Saturn V, the opportunity to "accurize" to the nth degree is considerable.  In my youth I redid most of the stringers on one of them, but now I would probably just add batted F-1 engines (or wrap the Airfix ones in foil).

 

Regards

 

Tim

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1 hour ago, TimB said:

Well, the easier solution is http://www.realspacemodels.com/shop-galapagos/1144-apollo-conversion?category=1%2F144+Converson.  That fixes the issues north of the S-IVB.  As with any Saturn V, the opportunity to "accurize" to the nth degree is considerable.  In my youth I redid most of the stringers on one of them, but now I would probably just add batted F-1 engines (or wrap the Airfix ones in foil).

 

Regards

 

Tim

Expensive though ... perfection comes at a price. It would be cheaper for me to sell the old kit, to offset the cost of a new kit. Or I could try my hand at scratch-building.

 

I also have the old Revell (Monogram) 1/96 kit, which presumably has the same faults. I also have a Revell 1/100 kit of the Command + Service module that I bought a few years ago. Surprisingly (to me), Scalemates says this was originally a Heller "Cadet" kit from 1971. Whatever, the proportions just don't look "right" to me. The Command module looks too short and/or "fat".

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I built the Heller/ Revell one a few times over the year. Most recently, I did some work to make it look more like a Block I Command/Service Module - which it is closer too, although it's not really accurate for a Block I either. The Block Is were quite different in many ways.

 

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Block I Command Modules were painted grey. They had no docking probe or tunnel. The radiator panels on the Service Module were different and the locations of some of the aerials were different too. There were a lot of smaller internal differences too. 

 

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19 hours ago, Eric Mc said:

A couple of points need to be made on this kit, I think.

 

The current issue of the Airfix Saturn V is NOT identical to the original release of 1970. This version is actually a re-release of the 2009 issue (issued for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11) . Back then, the moulds were substantially altered to make the kit much more accurate. The main changes were with the Lunar Module adapter section, the Service Module and the Command Module (or, to be more precise, the Boost Protect Cover or BPC -  that sits on top of the Command Module during launch).

 

 

Matt Irvine was instrumental in getting Airfix to include the new sprue to correct some of the errors.

 

Tommo.

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It's not perfect but it is good. Here's my build of it from not too long ago - 

 

 

 

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