1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build Update 9 (Final)

Saturn I Block II SA-5 is finally finished.

When I posted the last update I was at the stage where I needed to scratch build the S-I retrorockets.  I used a short section of 0.125 inch styrene rod about an inch longer than I needed.  I chucked that in my Dremel tool and used it like a lathe.  I used my #11 X-acto knife to shape the forward section of the retrorockets.  They have a rather odd shape.  It starts out like a cone and then has something like a button on the end.  Once I had the shape right I removed it from the Dremel and cut off the excess.  They were then painted white with the bottom black.  The below pictures show the before and after.

Now that I had them completed I needed to get my decals printed.  I ended up printing three sets.  I felt like I needed extras in case I screwed something up and to give me some extra white decals in case I needed to double them up to cover the black.  Here is one of the sets.

One of the decal sets.

After I printed that one I realized that I did not print enough of the blowout covers for the interstage.  There are eight blowout covers not four.  So the next set I printed I had extras.  I also found out that my decal paper is getting old and sometimes the thermal ink doesn’t stick as is should.  Time for an order of new paper from Tango Papa.  I was able to get enough good decals with the paper I had so work can continue.

Before installing the retrorockets or the S-I engine nozzles, I decided to apply the decals.  It is a bit simpler to put on the decals without the retrorockets.  The trickiest part of applying the decals was the S-IV and the interstage.  All those details made getting the decals on an interesting task.  I found the best way was to cut the decals into sections that would go between any protrusions.  The checkerboard decal also required a few careful snips to fit around the hydrogen vent pipe standoffs.  The black/white stripe decals that went at the base of the S-IV also required cutting into sections.  It took a few hours to get them on in decent shape.  I did have to do a bit of touch up with black paint in a few places.  Also the curved decals that went around the S-IV upper interstage confirmed my cone calculations were correct.  They went on smoothly and look quite nice.  Once all the decals were put on I installed the S-I retrorockets and gave it a coat of clear.  When that had dried I then sprayed on a clear flat.  Here are some photos of the completed decals.

After the decals went on I installed the engine nozzles.  The inside of the bells were painted with Tamiya smoke.

Base of SA-5 showing engines.

Here is a view of my Saturn I family.  The only one I need to add is SA-10 the last S-I Block II.  That will give me a model of each significantly different version.

SA-1 on the left and SA-5 on the right.

Now I guess it is time to get back to the Millennium Falcon and start weathering it.  I’ve put if off long enough.

Thanks for looking.

 

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build Update 8

Time for another update.

The construction is finished except for adding the S-I retrorockets and the S-I engines.  The engines have been painted.

S-I engines painted.

The two halves have been glued together with epoxy.  I then applied a final primer coat after a small bit of sanding on the S-I/S-IV joint.  Once that was done I gave it an overall coat of white.  After letting the paint cure for a couple of days, then began the tedious task of masking off all the areas that are to remain white.  Once that was done I sprayed on the black.  It turned out pretty good, only a handful of leaks that had to be cleaned up.  After letting the black cure a couple of more days, I started painting some of the details.  The antennas got painted yellow.  The half sphere on the instrument unit was painted black, the LOX and fuel fill and drain ports were painted steel, and the S-IV ullage motors got painted with some red leaving a strip of white on the top.  The joint between the S-I and the S-IV interstage is supposed to be black and I’ll do that with a decal, which should be easier that painting since masking that area would be very problematic.

Next up is to scratch the S-I retrorockets.  I have an idea of how I’m going to do that.  Hopefully it works in the real world.  Then I’ll need to finish the decals.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking.

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build Update 7

It’s been a while, time for an update on the SA-5 build.

There are quite a few details that need to be added to the S-IV and interstage areas.  But before that I needed to add the payload section to the S-IV interstage.  There are a lot of details that go on the S-IV interstage and that would make it harder to get a relatively smooth transition from the S-IV interstage to the payload section (which includes the instrument unit).  I used CA to bond them and then started filling and sanding the areas to get a fairly smooth joint.

Payload section bonded to the S-IV interstage.

I then added the tunnel that runs down the side of the S-IV just to the left of Pos II.  This was made by laminating two strips of .010 x .100 strip stock.  I didn’t have any .020 x .100 stock so this worked out fine.  I also cut and shaped some .005 styrene sheet to make the antennas and an access hatch for the S-IV interstage.

Tunnel and antennas added.

I added two retrorocket fairings to the top of the S-IV interstage.  I thought about making some from styrene rod, but then it hit me to check my spare parts stash.  I had built a Saturn V last year from a mash up of the Monogram and Airfix kits, so I had a spare Airfix S-II.  It had retrorockets on the S-IVB aft interstage.  I pulled it out of the stash and checked it.  The angle was similar to the angle of the S-IV interstage and the size of the molded on retrorockets looked good.  I got my chisel blade out and shaved two of them off.  I then glued them to the S-IV interstage.

I then started adding details to the instrument unit at the base of the payload section.  It has several antennas, an access door, a rounded protrusion, and a panel that appears as though it may be somewhat thicker than an access door.  There are also a couple of antennas at the base of the payload section just above the instrument unit.  The documentation that I could find on the instrument unit is very sparse, but from photos and the few drawings I could find I think I have all the major details added.

I made the semi-spherical detail by sanding down a half pearl from a sheet I bought some time ago from Michaels.  I originally used them as rivets for a steam punk rocket I built a couple of years ago.  The thick panel was made from .010 sheet stock, the access door came from .005 sheet stock.  I made the large antennas at Pos II and Pos IIII with .020 x .040 strip. The medium sized antenna next to the semi-sphere was made from .020 x .030 strip.  The small antennas near a couple of the circular openings were made from .020 x .020 strip.  The last antennas added were the two tiny antennas at Pos I and Pos III on the payload section.  They were made from .015 x .020 strip.

Now it was time to add the fairings for the gaseous hydrogen vent pipes.  For this I started with the conical section of the LH2 fairings from the donor S-II.  I used white glue to temporarily attach them to a popsicle stick after cutting off the excess length.  I then used sanding sticks and a #11 blade to form them to the correct shape.  You can see them attached to the popsicle stick in one of the above pictures.  I used CA to attach them to the proper positions on the S-IV stage.  Then I cut some styrene tube (the same size I used on the S-I stage) to fit between the fairing and the base of the S-I interstage.  The base of the S-I interstage has an angle so I needed to try and match that angle on my tubes.  I then used Tenax to attach the front of the pipes to the fairings and CA to attach the base of the pipe to the S-I interstage.

Gaseous Hydrogen vent pipes added.

Next came adding a small umbilical panel to the left of Pos II at the base of the S-IV.  I used small sections of 3/64 rod to represent two of the pipes.  I then used a 1/64 drill bit to make the 10 small holes between the pipes.  I did not drill to the full diameter of the bit since the holes needed to be quite small.  I then used a 1/16 drill bit make the larger umbilical hole above the 10 small holes.  I again did not drill to the full diameter of the bit since the hole is smaller than 1/16 and also is not very deep.  Once that was done I added the four ullage motors.  I had to go the spare parts stash one more time to find a spare ullage motor since one of the ones that came with the conversion kit was not cast well enough to be used.  The other two came from the S-IB kit that is the base of this model.

Ullage motors and umbilical panel added to the S-IV.

Finally, I could put a coat of primer over the S-IV/payload part and see how it turned out.

The only detail left to add are the four S-I retrorockets.  They extend at an angle past the end of the S-IV section so I cannot add them until after I glue the S-I and S-IV sections together.  After that it will be time to start painting the white base coat.  I will not be using the conversion kit decals and instead will make some of my own.  It appears that the checkerboard pattern that goes around the S-I interstage has 10 squares from one Pos to the next.  The kit decals are off on that point.  There are also some other markings that are not on the decal sheets.  It is getting closer, but there is still quite a bit of work to do.

Thanks for looking.

 

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build Update 5

A little more work on the S-I stage.  First I took out my Dremel and thinned the walls of the eight H-1 engines.  The kit engines have nozzle walls that are far too thick.  The picture doesn’t show it well but the walls are much thinner that before.

Engine on the left has been thinned, the right one is original.

Next I glued on the stub fins with CA.  When those were cured I added the large fins at Positions I, II, III and IV.  After those set I added the hydrogen vent extensions to three of the stub fins.

Finally, I glued on the inboard H-1 tubopump exhaust fairings.

Now the S-I stage is now complete and ready for it’s first coat of primer.  That will allow me to see where the final rough spots are and get them corrected before painting.

Here is a summary of what I added/deleted from the kit/upgrade parts.

  • All ribbing was removed from the base of the boat tail replaced with 14 ribs between each of the eight fin locations.
  • Access doors were added between each fin location and umbilical panels were added at two locations.
  • The engine fairings were removed from the base and glued back on after removing excess plastic.
  • Flame curtains were added for the four outboard H-1 engine locations.
  • H-1 nozzle walls were thinned.
  • About 1/8 inch of top of S-I was removed.
  • Kit fuel/LOX tank locators were trimmed before gluing the tanks in place.
  • Kit antennas were removed and antenna panels were added over kit locations and corrected antennas were replaced.
  • Electrical conduits were added to each of the four RP-1 tanks.
  • Gaseous hydrogen vent lines were added at three locations (replacing the update parts).
  • LOX and RP-1 fill and drain lines were added.
  • Vents were drilled at the top of three of the LOX tanks.
  • Vents were drilled at the top of two of the RP-1 tanks.
  • An umbilical door was added at the top of one of the LOX tanks.
  • Hydrogen vents were added to three of the stub fins.

Now it’s time to start on the interstage/S-IV stage.

Thanks for looking.

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build Update 4

Here is a quick update of the SA-5 progress.  I glued on the antennas, the umbilical door, and the hydrogen vent pipes.  The umbilical door is cut from .005 sheet stock while the antennas are cut from some strip stock I had that looked close.  The hydrogen vent pipes look a bit different that the last update.  I added the short straight section after the bend at the top of the pipes.  I at first thought I could leave it off, but the more I looked at it the more I knew that the short sections needed to be added.

Some of the details on the upper part of the first stage.

The bottom of the vent pipes needed to have a slit cut into them so they could fit over the stub fins.  Also note that I have glued the fairings back on the base of the vehicle.

Slit for stub fins added.

Here are a couple of pics of the stub fins dry fitted to the hydrogen vent pipes.  Note in the pic on the left that I have also drilled the vent holes in the tops of the fuel and LOX tanks.  The pics also show the LOX and fuel fill and drain ports.

I also fashioned some hydrogen vents for the stub fins that will be glued on later.

Hydrogen vents for stub fins. Just a dry fit here.

I have also filled the areas on the inboard nozzles where Airfix had molded in for the turbopump exhausts.  The inboards on the Block II vehicles exhausted their turbopumps out the sides of the boat tail in aerodynamic ports which are not yet installed.  The outboards will require some modifications to look more like the real thing.  The inboards need some extra details as well, they were not simple curved bells.

That is it for now.  Thanks for looking.