50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Complete

Clear coating is done.  The stand is complete.  The project is done. Here is the final update.

I sanded the wooden base block and sprayed it with gray primer.  Then after that had cured, I drew three chord lines on it.  Then I drew a perpendicular bisector for each of those chords.  Where the bisectors intersect is the center of the circle. You can see that my bisectors were just a bit off, but since I drew three, I could average the difference and come out with a hole that was pretty close to the center.

I then painted on two coats of flat black paint, then when that had cured I put on a coat of Pledge Clear Floor Finish. Then I put the custom Apollo 15 decal that I had printed on my Alps printer.  When the decal had dried I then put on a final coat of Pledge Clear Floor Finish.  Above is a close up of the custom decal I made.  The colors look better in person than the picture shows.  The blue chevron is actually navy blue even though the picture makes it look black.

Now SA-510 Apollo 15, is all assembled and on her stand.  She’s ready to take her place in my 1/144 US Manned Launchers rocket garden.  Below are a few photos of the details on the finished model.

She now takes her place in my now complete 1/144 rocket garden of all US manned launchers.  Below are a couple of pics.  That is 1/144 scale IMR ISS model in the background.  The members of the garden are Apollo 7 Saturn IB, STS-31 Discovery, Apollo 15 Saturn V, Gemini 5 Titian II, Freedom 7 Mercury Redstone, and Friendship 7 Mercury Atlas.  Those models were built over the course of about 6 years.  It took me a lot longer to build a project when I was working.  Now that I’m retired I have a bit more time to build.

This has really been a fun project.  Next up is to finish my 1/144 Voskhod, that is about 90% done.  After that I think I’ll do a 1/144 2001 Discovery or 1/72 Millennium Falcon for a change of pace before I do my next real space subject.  I have decided that the next Saturn V I do will have the stages separated and I think it will be displayed horizontally to show all the cool engine details.

I’ll be offline for a while since I’m having surgery for a detached retina.  But after that, I’ll be back at the bench working on the next project.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 12

I got the silver painted on the bottom of the S-IC.  It turned out pretty well. I’ve now started applying the decals to the S-IC.  Once again, some very tiny detailed decals.  The first photo below is a close up of applying one of the forward skirt vent decals over the vent warning decal.  You can get a feel for how small some of these decals are here.  I’m zoomed in pretty tight, even the toothpick looks rough at this level of zoom.  I’ve completed the S-IC decals. Here is a look at some of the details.

I’ll be putting on a clear coat to protect the decals, then dull coat to take the shine off.  Once that is finished I’ll attach the F-1’s and final assembly will be complete.  All that will remain is to put it on the stand I’ve made.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 11

Time for another update. It is getting closer to the end for this project. I have to keep my excitement level in check so I don’t make any stupid mistakes in a rush to finish.

First here is a look at the S-IC and S-II with the black paint applied. Turned out well, just a few minor touch ups to be made. The very busy area near the systems tunnel was where I was apprehensive about the masking, but I like the way it turned out.

The engine fairings were hard to get into a proper curve. I was surprised that I didn’t have any seepage on the holddowns that are at the boundary between the black and white.  The busy area of the interstage was tough to mask but it looks like it did its job.

Here is the bottom of the S-IC where I have started masking for the sliver that will cover the bottoms of the engine fairings. The flexible Tamiya tape is at the bottom of the masking area. It makes masking curved areas a little easier. It is harder to get it to conform to the details but if I’m careful it should work fine. The base has been masked. The inside of the fairings needs to be silver as well.

Now all I have to do is wait for the weather to cooperate. The rain this week has been crazy. Waking up at 5:30 am to the sound of the tornado sirens going off is not the way I like to start the day. At least we are not about to be flooded like some of the folks to the north of us.

I applied the decals to the S-II stage. Not many to apply but they sure add to the the visual of the stage.

After studying a bunch of S-IVB photos I picked a color for some of the antennas on the IU. I went with Testors Model Master Jet Exhaust.  Now it is done and ready for a clear coat to protect the decals from the dullcoat.

I applied Bare Metal Foil to the SM.  It is not a perfect application but I think I’ll keep it.  I also started applying more of the tiny decals.  I didn’t apply all that were provided.  If I had gone microscopic and added more detail to the SM then I would have applied all the decals.  The CM-SM umbilical cover is not foiled.  That was brush painted with Testors Model Master Chrome Enamel, which turned out to be a good match for the Bare Metal Foil.  I don’t know exactly what shade the foil is.  It is from a sheet I bought about 15 years ago and it was not labeled as to a specific shade.  It does appear to be a close match to what they now call Matte Aluminum.  The Q-Ball area at the top of the rocket is painted with Testors Model Master Steel enamel.

Now the spacecraft section, S-IVB and S-II are ready for clearcoat to protect the decals.

More to come…

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 10

I got encouraged by the way the paint on the S-IVB turned out, so I started applying decals.

I started by applying some decals to the S-IVB.  They are from the Space Model Systems 1/144 Ultimate Saturn V decal set, available from CultTVman.  They include A LOT of decals.  Here I’ve applied the ones that go on the S-IVB.  They are really tiny and hard for my fat fingers to work with, but with patience they go on nicely and look great.  You can barely see the “-Y” decal on the IU.  If you look closely you can also see the labels for the umbilical door and the access door.  The black and white sway targets on the interstage are made very long on the decal sheet for anyone who wants to actually apply scale stringers.  For this application I just needed to trim them to square shapes since the pre-molded stringers are pretty flat.

I painted the RCS quads with Tamiya silver metallic and then when that had cured I painted the bells with some Tamiya Smoke.  It is a transparent color so it just darkens the silver underneath.  I think the effect works here.  Remember in a previous update I said that I was definitely going to be using decals for the black on the S-II?  Well, I lied.  The S-IVB came out so well that I decided to try masking the S-IC and the S-II.

It was a bit difficult, but I think it will work. Wish me luck. We’ll see how it comes out in the next update.  By the way I still hate masking.

That’s all for now.

50th Anniversary Saturn V Build Update 9

Well it’s time for another update.  I’m down to the painting now.  This is the slow part for me.

I started by masking the S-IVB and S-IVB interstage.  I’m not going to mask all the small antennas on the IU.  I’ll paint them individually after the black goes on.  The S-IVB interstage has a couple of sections of black/white that are divided by a horizontal line.  I’m using Tamiya flexible tape for that.  It can follow a gentle curve without making creases in the tape.

The F-1 engines have been painted with Tamiya Metallic Silver.  The inside of the bells has not yet been worked on.  You can also see that the S-II and S-IC have received their coats of white.  Some of the black details on the S-II will definitely be done with decals.  Trying to smoothly mask around some of those details would make me crazy.

Here you can see the S-IVB and interstage with their black paint.  The Tamiya yellow tape covered the stringer sections very well.  I didn’t have any seepage under the tape.  The SM still needs to be foiled.  I guess I’ll be doing that next.  You can also see that I’ve added the silver S-IVB APS pods.  To the left of the S-IVB you can see one of the fins for the S-IC.  They have been painted and will be installed after the S-IC gets its black and silver details.  You can also see the SM RCS quads.  These are from the New Ware set.  I tried to use the ones that came with the RealSpace Spacecraft update kit, but I broke off a couple of nozzles.  Glenn had the pour plug attached to the quads at the nozzles which makes removing them from the pour plug challenging.  Tom at New Ware attaches them to the pour plug at the quad housing instead of the nozzles.  Hopefully I’ll get them off the pour plug in one piece.  At least I’ll have 8 chances.  New Ware included 8 and I’ll only need four.  I’ve included a close up of the RCS quads.  You can see that New Ware even hollowed out the nozzles a bit.

That’s it for now.  More masking and painting to go.  This is my least favorite part of model building.  There are so many ways to mess up a model at this stage.  In the end it usually ends up looking good, but it is a pain getting there.

More to come…