1/72 Dragon Apollo 11 Lunar Approach Update 8

The Alclad chrome paint was not curing properly. It couldn’t be touched without leaving prints or damaging the paint surface. So I’m going to have to clean the Command Module up and re-spray it. Part of it may have been me. I painted it at 20psi and it is recommended to use 15psi. I also was painting it during a cold snap and the garage was much colder than it is when I usually paint. Hopefully, this next time it will cure properly. I will also be applying a clear gloss coat over it before trying to handle the model.

Anyway, while I get ready to redo all that, I decided to start on the Lunar Module. I began by cutting out the windows and slightly enlarging them. I’m not sure what Dragon was looking at when they designed the model, but the windows are a fair bit too small. I also used my Dremel tool to remove the molded in front hatch. It will be replaced by the New-Ware PE front hatch.

I also noticed that the inflight S-band antenna is just a straight rod sticking out instead of a cone shape. I used my X-acto knife and re-shaped it.

I’ll also remove the curve shape next to the S-band antenna. It is a scimitar antenna that was only present on LM-1 through LM-3. Beside that it is much too small to truly represent the actual part.

I then glued on the mounting posts for the Rendezvous Radar and started adding the PE parts from the New-Ware set.

Here is a better view of the small stand-offs for the PE handrail to be added after painting.

After finishing that, I decided to do some test fitting of the Ascent Stage. I noticed that the back of that Ascent stage did not look like my reference photos. After some close examination, I saw that Dragon had molded the bottom curve of the front of the Ascent Stage all the way to the back. It should have stopped where the “face” meets the mid section.

I then took the back section and trimmed it to the proper size. In this photo the section I removed is shown in red.

After removing the section I did another test fit. It looks good, now all I have to is remove the portions of the bottom that have the wrong shape as well.

Note that I will have to move part of the left hand angled bottom to match the new angle. While I was at it I decided to add a couple of pegs to more securely attach the Ascent and Descent Stages since it will be displayed horizontally docked to the CSM.

I also drilled holes in the Ascent Stage bottom for the pegs. This picture shows that as well as showing what will have to be modified to remove the incorrect rounded bottom. The part in red will be removed and the part is yellow will have a diagonal line cut from the upper left to the lower right to allow that section to be bent upwards to match the modified back section.

The section on the right will also have a small vertical strip of styrene added to meet the new roof. Here is a photo of the modified part. From this angle it is difficult to see the added vertical strip. I also cut off the top of the nozzle section and glued that to a hole in the new roof.

Here is a different angle that shows where I cut part of the mating rib off to allow the diagonal section to be bent upward.

Here is the outside of the modified part. You can better see the vertical strip. You can also see a wedge shaped piece that was added to the other side to compensate for the moved diagonal section. Finally you can see the diagonal score that was put in to allow the new bend. The part also has a first pass of filler putty applied.

The back of the part that connects to the “face” needed a strip of 0.020 x 0.020 added to fill the mating notch that will no longer have anything to mate to.

Finally, I did a new test fit and it now looks much better. I really don’t get why some of these obvious gaffs made it into a modern model when even models from Revel and Airfix that are decades old did it better. It just makes me a bit sad. Anyway, with some extra effort it will still be a nice model. (At least I hope so.)

Thanks for looking.

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