I started the S-IVB portion of the build by adding the PE personnel access door to the interstage. The ullage motors had already been sanded to the shape desired.
Moving on to the S-IVB stage itself, I removed all the required molded in details. This consisted of the APS units and a small area next to the POS I APS. That was to be used for a piping cover that came in the kit. The kit part is too long and too small. It will be replaced by a resin part that is the proper size. The kit was made with four molded in antennas in the upper skirt section. Two of them had to be removed since they were not used for the manned flights.
I test fitted the RealSpace SLA/CSM resin part to the Mongram S-IVB. I immediately noticed that there was a fit mismatch. The SLA was too small compared to the Instrument Unit on the S-IVB. I masked off the molded in stringers of the forward skirt and then used a sanding stick to sand the IU down to a smaller diameter that would match the SLA.
I’ve now got all the PE details attached and most of the resin bits. The APS units are not attached yet since I’m not sure if I’m going to attach them now or wait until it is painted. All the kit parts that I’m going to use have also been added.
It’s almost time to move on to the RealSpace SLA/CSM replacement parts.
Well the S-II is finished for now. The remaining detail bits (mostly the LH2 feed lines) will be added after painting. I did this to make masking the model easier. Masking is my least favorite part of a build. I’ve been known to leave a model sit for months while I stew over its masking.
The photo shows the S-II with the detail that I have added. Namely the LH2 fill and drain port and the engine cutoff sensors. All the PE has been attached.
Next I’ll be starting on the S-IVB stage with its interstage.
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.
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.
My next build is a 1/144 scale Saturn V. My goal is to complete it before the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. But, it won’t be depicting Apollo 11, instead it will be built as the Saturn V for Apollo 15. It was the first Saturn V that flew without any ullage motors on the S-II interstage. A move that was taken because experience had shown that they were not really needed and it also allowed for more payload on the Apollo spacecraft.
Anyway, I’m going to be using parts from the old Monogram kit as well as an old Airfix kit that were in my stash. I didn’t like the aft skirt section on the Monogram kit so I’ll be using the one in the Airfix kit. I also didn’t like the details on the S-II on the Airfix kit so the main body of the Saturn V will be using the Monogram parts. I won’t be building out the S-II thrust structure or the S-IVB thrust structure because both kits are terrible in this area. If I were to have the stages separable, then I’d have to get some 3D printed parts to fix the problems, but I don’t want to take that expense this time.
I will also be using the RealSpace Models Apollo Spacecraft update kit. It will replace the SLA, CSM and LES with much more accurate parts. I’ve used that set before on my Saturn IB build.
Here are a few pictures to get started. Note the old boxes of the kits. Yes, they’ve been in my stash for a long time.