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Airfix 1/144 Saturn Ib April 7, 2012

Posted by rluhman in Scale modeling, Science.
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This is another one of my long-term projects.  I started it several years ago.  It got put aside because of other more important things and other distractions so I never found the time to get back into it until now.

SA-205 Apollo 7 CSMBefore I put it down, I had nearly finished the upper part of the model from the interstage to the Launch Escape System.  I used the Apollo Conversion kit from RealSpace Models to replace the obviously undersized parts that were included in the kit.  RealSpace has improved the conversion kit since I purchased mine.  It now comes with a pewter LES rocket and photo etched tower (I had to use the one that came in the Airfix kit).  The details on the CSM are also improved since I bought mine.  If I do another one, I’ll definitely purchase one of his new ones.

I also modified some of the details on the S-IVb.  I removed the hump on the attitude control pods that was only on the S-IVb 500 version.  Also the Airfix kit only has two ullage motors on the S-IVb.  The S-IVb 200’s that were used on the Saturn Ib had three ullage motors.  I tried carving an extra one from some scrap styrene, but my fat fingers made that a near impossibility.  Recently Airfix came out with a 1/144 scale Saturn V/Skylab kit.  It didn’t need ullage motors on the Skylab, so I stole one of the ullage motors from that kit and used it on the Saturn Ib.

To do the black roll patterns on the interstage, I made some black decals and applied them to the model.  It looks pretty good and I didn’t have to mask over the raised detail on the interstage.  That is never a fun job.  I made all the decals myself and printed them on my Alps 1300 printer.  I used the detailed drawings by David Weeks (also available from RealSpace Models) to create my decals.   David’s drawings are invaluable if you want to get anywhere close to accurate.  I didn’t add nearly as much detail as I could have using his drawings.

I could have done more to make the model more accurate but to me that just gets tedious.  I’ll add enough detail to satisfy myself and that’s good enough.

When I picked the model back up, the first stage was completed, but had only been primed.  It still needed final paint and decals.  I had started scribing dividing lines for the antenna frames.  Airfix just had them as rectangular blocks between the oxidizer and fuel tanks, but they were really two pieces.  Also they had all the antennas the same size.  When actually the only ones that were the same were the ones at quad I and III.  The antennas at quad IV  were different and at quad II they were only on one of the antenna frames.  So when I started to work on the first stage I decided that I would fix the antennas. (more…)

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