50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 7

Time for another update.

I’ve been busy on the Apollo spacecraft section.  The Realspace part needed a few updates.  The first one I tackled were the panel lines on the Spacecraft Lunar Adapter (SLA).  Glen had engraved the lines, but my sources indicated that they were raised lines.  They were part of the separation mechanism.  The New-Ware update set had some PE parts that could work to update it, but when I checked, I couldn’t be sure that they would fit properly.  They would fit better on the Airfix part but that presented its own problems.  If I used the Airfix SLA then I’d have to cut off the Command/Service Module (CSM) from the Realspace resin part.  I could keep the Airfix Service Module (SM) but then I’d be in a pickle for the Command Module (CM).  Both the Airfix and Monogram CMs were wildly undersized, even with the kit Boost Protective Cover (BPC).  So, I decided to add my own panel line strips to the resin SLA.  I also had to add the semi-circular parts that were between the hinge details.  I found that a 1/8 inch hole punch made a circle of styrene sheet that I could modify and make look good enough.

I then got ready to add the PE parts to the spacecraft section.  My drawings show that after Apollo 14 there was an extra window in the BPC above the commander’s docking window.  I took a small drill and made an appropriate sized hole.  I’ll paint both the windows black when it comes time to paint.

I started adding the PE with the CM attitude control thruster covers.  After adding the first one under the crew hatch, I went to add the next cover and noticed that where the other two covers needed to go was a reinforcing ridge.  I could have just moved the thruster covers over to avoid the detail, but that would have put them obviously offset from the +Y and -Y positions where they were supposed to go.  I removed the offending details and used some .4mm strip to place them where they were supposed to be.

Next was to start adding the PE to the SLA.  The PE pieces were relatively large so I used a dowel to add a gentle curve to the parts so they would conform to the curve of the resin.  One thing I fortunately noticed before I started adding the PE parts was that New-Ware labeled the placement drawing with POS III in the wrong place.  I was comparing to my source material and noticed that things were not going to line up.  It took me a while to realize that the fix was as simple as just re-labeling the instructions to show POS I where they had POS III. Things went smoothly after that.  I’ll add the SM attitude control thrusters after painting is done.

Now all the major sections are ready for their first coat of primer.  Then I’ll be able to tell what areas need further attention.  I still have to finish the Escape Tower.  I’m trying to decide if I want to use the Realspace PE parts or if I want to scratch build one.  The escape rocket from Realspace is fine, I won’t need to mess with that.  I guess I’ll play with some styrene rods and see how difficult it might be to scratch one.

Things have finally started to warm up.  I’ll try to get some primer sprayed now.

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Walking for Your Health

Everyone wants to get healthier.  Not everyone does something about it.  It really isn’t as hard as you might think.  This is my story of how I got into an exercise routine and what benefits I have gotten out of it.

It starts about seven years ago.  My wife and I had both been talking about needing to get more active.  We had done the South Beach diet with good success, but we realized that we needed to get more active to keep our bodies in shape as we age.  She was hitting 60 and I was just a few years behind.  She started with a walking group associated with a local running store, Fleet Feet.  They had a program they called Walk Fit.  It was designed to get you up off the couch and get you ready to walk a 5K race.  Each session was about 8 weeks long and you slowly progressed up to the point where you could walk 3.1 miles without feeling like you were about to drop.  She seemed to enjoy it and encouraged me to start.

My problem was I had really bad knees.  It had gotten to the point where I could walk maybe 500 to 600 feet and then needed to sit down to let the pain in my knees subside.  I went to an orthopedic doctor (Dr. Mital) and he told me that my knees were rubbing bone on bone and that was the source of my pain.  He said that knee replacement was in my future but it was up to me as to when I wanted to do it.  Not liking the idea of major surgery I decided to try steroid injections.  They helped.  I could go about three or four months with much less pain.  But in about a year the steroids would wear off quicker and quicker.  It was time to pull the trigger.  We scheduled the surgeries about 8 weeks apart.  The surgeries went great.  The therapy was hard, sometimes painful, but totally worth it.  I now have two good knees and can walk without pain.  I would recommend Dr. Mital to anyone needing a knee replacement.

Anyway, by this time my wife had been walking for about a year and was even thinking about moving up to the 10K walking group.  She kept pushing me to get started.  I had finished all my therapy and was back to work.  The knees felt good, so I decided it was time to start. I found out it was actually fun.  The coaches were great and the other group members were friendly and fun.  I did two sessions of that and had worked my way up to doing a 5K with a pace around 17:00 minutes per mile.  My wife encouraged me to move up to the 10K group with her so I did.

What I didn’t realize was that session was training for the Tulsa Run (walking pace of course) which was a 15K race.  I jumped in and did pretty well.  My pace was slowing coming down and the distances were getting longer.  I have to say that it was a bit hard at first.  Sometimes you just don’t feel like going out, until you do.  When you’re done, you are glad you came out.  You are tired at the end but you feel good.  The goal race was a beast.  Even though it was late October, it was hot.  By the end I was wiped.  I know I probably went out too fast, all that adrenaline I guess.  But I made it and after a bit of recovery time I actually felt good.

I continued with the 10K group for a couple more years.  My doctor actually cut back on my blood pressure and cholesterol medications.  I felt better and I found that even when I wasn’t speed walking my general pace was faster.  All good reasons to keep walking.

We finally volunteered to be coaches and coached the 10K group for a while.  Now we are coaches of the 5K group.  My wife’s knees are beginning to bother her a bit so the 5K is a great distance.  We both have a good time helping new people get started getting fit.  It also helps us.  It doesn’t actually take that much time.  Just about an hour and a half a couple of evenings a week and a Saturday morning.

People have various reasons for being in the group.  Some like prepping for the races.  Others don’t care about the race, but really like the social aspect of walking in a group.  Some do it for their health.  Some do it just to keep moving.  Whatever your reason just get up and start.

There really are few reasons not to get started.  If you can walk a mile in 20 to 22 minutes then you are ready to start.  By the end of your first session you will be surprised how much faster you are.  Get up and get moving.  Your body and your brain will appreciate it.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 6

I started the S-IVB portion of the build by adding the PE personnel access door to the interstage.  The ullage motors had already been sanded to the shape desired.

Moving on to the S-IVB stage itself, I removed all the required molded in details.  This consisted of the APS units and a small area next to the POS I APS.  That was to be used for a piping cover that came in the kit.  The kit part is too long and too small.  It will be replaced by a resin part that is the proper size.  The kit was made with four molded in antennas in the upper skirt section.  Two of them had to be removed since they were not used for the manned flights.

I test fitted the RealSpace SLA/CSM resin part to the Mongram S-IVB.  I immediately noticed that there was a fit mismatch.  The SLA was too small compared to the Instrument Unit on the S-IVB.  I masked off the molded in stringers of the forward skirt and then used a sanding stick to sand the IU down to a smaller diameter that would match the SLA.

I’ve now got all the PE details attached and most of the resin bits.  The APS units are not attached yet since I’m not sure if I’m going to attach them now or wait until it is painted.  All the kit parts that I’m going to use have also been added.

It’s almost time to move on to the RealSpace SLA/CSM replacement parts.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 5

Well the S-II is finished for now.  The remaining detail bits (mostly the LH2 feed lines) will be added after painting.  I did this to make masking the model easier.  Masking is my least favorite part of a build.  I’ve been known to leave a model sit for months while I stew over its masking.

The photo shows the S-II with the detail that I have added.  Namely the LH2 fill and drain port and the engine cutoff sensors.  All the PE has been attached.

Next I’ll be starting on the S-IVB stage with its interstage.

Cord Cutting 14 Months Later

Fourteen months ago we cancelled AT&T U-Verse.  We kept AT&T for internet access only.  We now use Vonage for our land line.  Yes, I know we could have dumped the landline too, but what can I say, we’re old and set in our ways.  We just can’t quite give up the landline yet.

We were originally paying $60 a month for SlingTV but since the Olympics ended, we dropped the Sports Extra package and we’re back to paying $50 a month.  Since we have an antenna in the attic, SlingTV works fine for us.  We get nearly all the channels we used to watch on cable.  SlingTV recently added some of the Discovery networks so now I get to see Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush.  Those were the main two series that I had to originally give up to cut the cord, now I have them back.  Yea!!

We started out using a Tablo 4-Tuner for our local TV.  The only channel that gave us trouble at first was KOTV.  It would sometimes drop out and become difficult to watch.  I’m convinced that it has to do with a combination of the frequency they transmit on and the fact that we are in a river valley and there are hills and trees between us and the tower.  About 10 months after cutting the cord KJRH started giving us problems.  It was not all the time, but seemed to happen mostly during primetime.  Since it came in clear for 10 months, I really think that someone near us is creating some RF interference with the frequency that KJRH transmits.  That made two of our most watch networks nearly unviewable, NBC and CBS.

I had to find a solution.  We tried a free trial of PSVue since they carry local channels and it worked fairly well, but to get some our favorite shows would require subscribing at a level that would cost a fair amount more that what we pay for SlingTV.  Other live TV streamers had similar problems for us.  We needed a solution for the antenna.

I had a spare PC that I had built a couple of years ago to use as a media center PC.  When Microsoft dropped support for Windows Media Center that was the end of that experiment.  Now that PC was going to get a new purpose.  I had heard about Plex so I downloaded the Plex Media Server and installed in on the PC.  I bought a Plex Pass so I could experiment with Live TV and DVR.  I then purchased a Haupauge WinTV HD Dual USB tuner to use with Plex.  Once the channel scan was finished, I tried to tune into KJRH.  Wow, it worked with a nice picture and no sign of interference.  Then I checked KOTV, again a picture that was watchable.  We are down to two tuners, but if it becomes a problem, I can drop in another WinTV USB tuner and we will be back to 4 tuners.

Now we can watch OTA TV via Plex on our Roku boxes.  Occasionally we get some pixelated bands across the screen when the signal gets bad, but most of the time it comes through just fine.  I am disappointed that we don’t use the Tablo anymore.  I really like their user interface.  But Plex works well and we are getting used to the interface.  Using Plex for live TV is easier now since the latest preview version has a traditional grid guide.

We have yet to come close to using up our 1 terabyte per month limit with our streaming.  We have two TV’s that we stream, although we mainly use just one.  We might get closer to the limit if we were not using our antenna as much as we do.  If we did get too close, I guess we could switch from AT&T to Toast for our internet access, they have the same speeds as AT&T for a bit less money and they have no limits.

Bottom line is we are still saving nearly $100 a month vs cable and can watch virtually everything we used to watch when we had cable.  If we ever give up the land line we will be saving $120 a month.  That may be an option to consider.  At this point, I’d never go back to cable.  We are not in any long term contracts.  We can change anything with our TV packages whenever we want, no contracts at all, just month to month.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 4

There is some new progress to report.  I’ve continued working on the S-II stage.  I also made a modification to the Monogram third stage interstage.  The ullage motors as molded are squared off on the forward facing part.  On the actual vehicle they were rounded off.  I masked off the areas that I didn’t want sanded, to protect the molded in stringers.  Then I used my sanding sticks and rounded off the motors to resemble the ones on the David Weeks drawings that I’m using as reference on this build.  You can see the process below.

I also noted that the molded in stringers on the S-II were too long on both the forward and aft skirts.  The Apollo 15 S-II stage had some raised insulation bands on the forward and aft skirts.  It seems that the molded stringers are too long by the width of the raised insulation bands.  So I masked off the section of stringers that needed to be modified into raised insulation and used some Tamya putty to fill in the stringers.  When it was dry, I sanded the area smooth.  I think it turned out pretty well.

I also added some additional raised areas that were under the LH2 feed lines.  I used .005 inch styrene sheet stock cut to the proper dimensions.  I glued these on in the proper places and they matched up with my putty raised areas that I had already done. You can see them on the picture below.

I’ll add a bit of filler putty to blend them in with the raised band.  The next thing I did was to remove the remaining S-II resin parts from their pour plug.  These were the Engine Cutoff Sensors.  They are TINY!  It was quite a challenge to cut them off the pour plug without sending them across the table.  It wasn’t any easier smoothing the backside so it would lay down properly on the S-II.  All five turned out fine.

The last thing to report is the completion of adding the PE parts to the S-II.  These required removing some of the raised stringers.  They are now attached.

The next thing to do with the S-II is add a few of the resin parts.  I’ll wait to add the LH2 feed lines until it is painted.  If I did it now masking for paint would be a royal pain.  I’ll put on the LH2 fill and drain port and the engine cutoff sensors, but the rest will have to wait.

I’d like to get some primer on the parts that are ready, but winter just won’t give up.  The garage where I do my painting is just too cold.  Hopefully spring will show up soon.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 3

Since the last update I’ve added all the PE to the aft skirt. Now I need to add in the missing stringers on the fairings and fill the slot for the systems tunnel. I will be using the systems tunnel from the Monogram kit since it is longer and comes closest the proper length, therefore I need to fill the slot.

Below is a shot of one side with the PE and air scoops. You can also see the brass rod extending through the top of the skirt. I used some JB Weld to help hold it in place. The resin fins are from the New-Ware set and are just friction fitted to see how they look. I’ll wait to actually install them until it is painted.

One of the pictures is rotated 90 degrees to show one of the sides where the stringer had to be rescribed after removing the large hump.

There is also a view of the bottom with the brass heat shield in place. You can see the small amount of brass tube protruding that will be used to locate the center engine.

I’ve added the missing stringers to the the engine fairings. Below is a shot of the work in progress. They are .3mm styrene rod glued on with Plasti-zap CA. It doesn’t set quite as fast as thin CA, so I’ve got a few seconds to get them lined up properly. I used long strips to give me plenty of area to get my fat fingers in there to place them properly. After the CA sets then I can just snip them off with my X-acto. In the picture you can barely (on the right quadrant) see the that the depression for the systems tunnel is filled. I used some styrene sheet and then filler putty.

I’m using the Airfix interstage. The Monogram interstage has a taper that is too big for me to ignore. The Airfix part is more straight. I’ve also removed the four ulage motors and the extensions of the second stage detail that appear on the interstage. I’ve got some filling and rescribing to do on this part.  Plus a PE part needs to be added.

Below are also a couple of shots of the S-IC. It is mostly done. Just need to do some filling where the systems tunnel from the main body meets the aft skirt. I’ve added all the PE to the S-IC. Both the aft skirt and the main body are from the Airfix kit.

I’ve also started on the S-II stage. I’ll be using the Monogram part for this. Since I have to remove all the molded on details anyway, I thought I’d use the Monogram part since it does not have that huge hump at the seam line in the stringer sections. At this point I’ve removed all the molded on details. I will have to remove some of the molded on stringers on the forward and aft stringer sections. They are too long. Time to make some measurements.

I’ve also removed the resin parts from their pour plugs. I’m amazed that I didn’t break any of them while removing the plugs.

Pretty good progress so far.  Maybe I’ll make the July 20th deadline.