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

Time for a progress report on the SA-5 build.  I started on the aft structure of the first stage.  I needed to drill a hole for a brass rod that would attach the model to the display base.  I marked an X on the top of the part and put the heat shield on the bottom of the base.  I then went to my drill press and drilled a hole through the top down through the heat shield on the bottom.  I then inserted a length of brass tube through the top and down into the hole in the heat shield.  I only pushed it through until it was flush with the outside of the heat shield.  Then I applied epoxy to the portion of the tube sticking out of the top.  When that had cured I removed the heat shield and then applied epoxy to the tube from the bottom side.  Then I put the heat shield back on.  Once that had cured I had a rod that was positively attached to the aft structure and would not move while I added weight.  With the head shield removed, I put some BB’s in and then poured in epoxy to secure them.  With that I was ready to start adding details to the aft section.

I then glued the halves of the tank section together and then removed the molded in antennas.  Next I added some details to the heat shield.  I scribed lines into the heat shield to match the pattern of SA-5.  I filled four holes for the inboard engines that will not be used.  The inboards did not have the turbo pump exhausts around the engine bells like the outboards did. I also added four small bits of styrene rod to represent the water quench disconnects.  I then added the flame shields for the outboards by bending some insulated copper wire bent to the correct shape.

I then went back to the aft structure.  I filled the ribbing that was molded in.  It is in the wrong place and does not cover enough of the base.  I sanded that smooth and applied a light coat of primer to make sure I had them filled properly.  I created a pattern to allow me to get the stringers spaced properly.  There are fourteen stringers between each fin, with a blank area surrounding each fin.  With the pattern secured to the part, I started gluing the .020 x .020 styrene strips in line with my pattern.  I had to cut out a bit around where the inboard turbo pump exhaust goes.  After adding all the stringers, I sanded a slight taper into the leading edge of them.  With that complete I created 8 access doors from .005 styrene sheet and sanded rounded corners into each one.  I then made two umbilical doors out of the same .005 sheet styrene.  I then marked all round the aft structure for the placement the doors.  I glued them on with my Tenax cement.

That’s it for now.  Much more work on the first stage to go.

Thanks for looking.

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build

Well I don’t usually overlap builds, but I knew I was going to have to wait a bit before I could get back to the Millennium Falcon.  I started my next project which is another kit from Martin’s Models from the UK.  This one is a conversion set that modifies an Airfix 1/144 Saturn IB into a Saturn I Block II SA-5.  It was the first Saturn I flight to have a live S-IV second stage.  I love that rocket.  It has those great classic lines.

Again the resin parts are quite rough and some are out of round, but it will be a great starting point and should build into a nice model.

I started by removing the pour plugs from the parts and doing any necessary trimming to the resin parts.  Next I started removing the fins from the thrust structure of the kit part.  This time I would not be removing the fairings from the base part since SA-5 had these.  When I used the Airfix kit to make the SA-205 Apollo 7 Saturn IB a few years ago, I had to remove them.  For SA-5 I did have to remove part of the top of the parts that made up the first stage fuel tanks since SA-5 had only a very small flat section.  In the picture you can see how much had to be removed.  The part on the right has the extra plastic cut off while the part on the left has not been modified yet.  You can also see how much the plastic had yellowed over the years.  I bought this kit when Airfix re-released it in the 1990’s.

You’ll notice that I had to fill a couple of divots that I made when I was removing the fins.  I got a bit zealous with the Dremel and created an oopsi moment.

Next, I moved on to some of the resin parts.  The tapered interstage needed to be sanded a bit on both ends to get a flat and square surface.  Unfortunately the interstage is not quite round.  I’ll have to do more work here to get a more rounded part.  The nosecone was not pointed enough for the version that was on SA-5.  I started tapering it a bit more.  I’m almost there.  I’m not sure how much more I can sand it though.  I keep hitting air bubbles that prevent a sharper point.  I’ll continue to try and refine it.

Sorry for the out of focus on the interstage pic above.

Thanks for looking.  More to come.

Voskhod Build Complete

The Voskhod build that I started back in January is finally finished.  I got the main engine bells painted.  Then I drilled small holes at the base of the core and boosters to accept the tab that is on the engine bells.  They were then glued into place with thick CA.  The vernier motors were painted and installed on the core and boosters.  For the core, the full length of the Airfix vernier motors fit within the cavities that were on the sides of the core body.  For the boosters, I had to trim all the part away except for the nozzles.  These then fit into the small recesses at the edge of each booster.  They were also glued on with thick CA.

Then I carefully glued the boosters to the core stage.  I again used thick CA.  I added a small drop at four points for each booster.  One at the tip where the top of the booster is attached to the core body and then at two points for the braces.  I also added a drop of CA at the middle of the crossbar where there is a pin that goes into a hole that had been drilled in each booster body.  The Apex kit did not have that pin on the crossbar that came in the kit.  The actual vehicle did not have that attach point either.  The Airfix part that I was using instead did.  I like that idea as it helps hold the boosters on a bit more securely, and at this scale you cannot see where they meet so it does not distract from model.

Next came a fiddly part of the build where I had to attach the second stage to the truss work on the core stage.  Here I put a small amount of JB Weld epoxy at each pin that I had previously added to the second stage.  I then carefully placed the second stage on the truss.  It took a bit of wiggling here and adjusting there to get it into the proper position.  Each of the four pins had to be behind the top of the inverted ‘V’ on the truss so that the JB Weld could have something else to grab onto.  After letting it cure for 24 hours, it is not securely attached.  But I still want to be careful in handling, since the pins holding it together are tiny.

It now sits on its base.  The steel rod fits nicely into the tube that I built into the core stage.  It is very stable on its base.  It now takes its place in my 1/144 scale rocket garden of manned launch vehicles.  I now only need two more to finish the garden, a Russian Soyuz and a Chinese CZ-2F.  That is until Spacex and Boeing start flying crews to the ISS.

Thanks for reading.

Voskhod Update 2

Now that I have finished the Saturn V and the Lego LM I need to get back to the Voskhod 2 model.  When I last posted about this project, I had assembled the stages and put the photo etched brass truss on the first stage.  Since then all parts have had primer applied and also painted in gray.  Then the bases of the stages were painted with chrome silver.  I then glued the 20 engine bells from the Airfix kit to a piece of scrap wood with white glue.  This will hold them in place while painting yet be easily removable after the paint is dry.

Then I noticed that I needed to move a couple of external pipes on the second stage.  From my reference material they were in the wrong position.  After I did that I then drilled some 1/32 inch holes to mount the antennas on the second stage.  I had done a similar thing with the two antennas on the core booster.  To keep the antennas in the proper position until the CA cured I used a scrap piece of .060 strip stock taped to the side of the model.  The antennas were made with .4 mm rod bent to the proper shape.

Next I started thinking about how I was going to attach the second stage to the truss at the top of the core stage.  The second stage/spacecraft section is solid resin and heavier that the entire rest of the model.  If I was doing it again I think I would try to hollow out some of the second stage and spacecraft to lighten it up a bit.  After considerable trial fitting, cussing and thinking, I came up with a solution that I think will work.  I drilled four 1/32 inch holes in the base of the second stage at four points around the stage where a peak of the ‘V’ from the brass interstage touches the stage.  I then used CA to glue in four short stubs of sytrene rod.  This should help me align the second stage on the truss and also provide a bit of extra surface area to glue the two together.  I’ll glue the second stage to the core stage after I attach the strap-on boosters.

It is getting close to final assembly.  Just needs a bit more paint and adding the engine bells to the core and strap-ons.  I also need to get the base finished.  I have it drilled for the steel rod and the rod is cut to length.  I just need to sand and paint the base.

More to come…

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.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 2

More progress has been made on the Saturn V build.  I have removed all the raised detail from the aft skirt heat shield.  That all had to go in order to install the brass part from New-Ware.  The brass part is very nice and has much better detail that what was on the original piece.  After removing the raised detail I got to thinking about how I was going to mount the model on its wooden base.  I have used steel rod in the past and that works well.  All I have to do is figure out how to accommodate the rod in the base of the model.  I am using 1/8 in brass tubing and that will slide over the steel rod that is in the base.  I used some paper tubes and epoxy to cover the hole where the center engine will be mounted.  After epoxying the tubes in place and filling them with epoxy, I drilled an 1/8 in hole from the center engine through the tube and out the top of the aft skirt part.  I then used JB Weld and put the 1/8 in brass in the drilled hole and about 3/16 in out the bottom.  The extra out the bottom will aid in mounting the center engine.

After doing that I decided that having a 1/8 tube projecting from the heat shield would be a great way to mount all the engines.  You can see the 1/8 in plastic tubes that I epoxied in place for each engine.

The pictures show the rescribed ribbing where I sanded the hump down.  You can also see that I have started adding some of the photo etched (PE) details to the aft skirt.