Welcome to the Saturn V Clinic This site is designed to aid space modelers in the creation of a complete lunar mission Saturn V-Apollo spacecraft stack. The starting point for this model is the Revell 1/96 scale Saturn V plastic kit, first issued in the 1960s and reissued occasionally by Revell Germany. This kit is not without major flaws, and experienced modelers may find themselves discarding some 90% of the stock kit parts in favor of new tubing, new corrugated "stringer" wraps, new resin spacecraft, and new decals. As of late 2001, even the insulation-batted F-1 engines are offered as resin replacements by RealSpace Models. Not many parts are left to use from the stock kit.
The Clinic Construction Pages Are OPEN. The Clinic now offers a set of photos showing the beginnings of the 1/96 stack construction, starting with the bare ABS tubes. The styrene wraps will be added later. Also, please re-read the Current Recommendations below to see how a larger tube will result in a better model, and a happier modeler.
Decal Sets Page As of 1 Jul 04, the following decal sets are available:
Saturn V and Apollo CSM bundle: 1/96, 1/144
Saturn V booster only: 1/96
Apollo CSM only: 1/32, 1/48, and 1/96
Apollo Lunar Module: 1/48
All decals now professionally printed by Microscale.
Head to the Decal Sets Page for details and ordering information. These pages are being updated; for the latest information, feel free to email me.
Saturn and Apollo Scale Conversion Table -- Multiplier factors for all popular scales of our favorite LV and SC
Replacing the S-IC and S-II with 4.25" Tubing? It has been suggested that perhaps one way to avoid problems with the Revell kit stock S-IVB aft interstage base diameter is to replace the kit thin-wall tanks with EMA/Plastruct 4.25" o.d. tubing, instead of the more accurate 4.12" o.d. mod to a length of 4.50" o.d. tube (see Current Recommendations, below; things have changed since this page was first set up). This is certainly a good possibility for modelers who want to strike a happy medium between the kit parts and a fully corrected stack. I'd still recommend using the Evergreen wraps for the stringers.
For the first few months of this site's existence, the model information consisted mainly of reprints of the recommendations I have made on the space-modelers and Apollo-modelers email lists. Join up with them for the latest information. The material I will occasionally add here will concern specifics on modeling the Saturn V launch vehicle, the Apollo spacecraft, and paint schemes and markings. As such, some material may be duplications of that found on the lists and other space-related websites, but I'll make a point of citing original sources where possible.
Last Updated: 1 Jul 04
First Step: Study the Saturn V and Apollo Spacecraft
Regardless of the scale of Saturn V you intend to build, the first important step is to familiarize yourself with the subject, and note the resources available to you, the modeler tackling this enormous booster. The two best places to begin are the Apollo Archive managed by Kipp Teague and The Apollo Saturn Reference Page assembled by John Duncan. Within the last couple of years, an enormous amount of historical space photography has been scanned and uploaded to the web, and we're discovering things about the launch vehicle and spacecraft we hadn't seen before. Interest in the Saturn V has taken on the feel of an archeolgical dig, to which John Duncan can attest. Boxes of drawings and photographs are being reexamined after 30+ years. In the absence of any personal knowledge from workers on the various programs, we rely on the pictures and blueprints to tell us how Apollo was put together and how it operated. See Links for additional resources.
Replacing the Revell 1/96 Saturn V Kit Parts
Say you've gone out and bought one of the Revell Germany Saturn V kits. You'll see from the box contents that there are a number of heavy corrugated cylinders and flimsy styrene wraps designed to be rolled into fuel and oxidizer tanks, plus lots of smaller detail parts like the F-1 rocket engines, the fairings, Apollo spacecraft, antennae, pipes, maneuvering motors, etc. You'll also find a few small decal sheets and some clear plastic for spacecraft windows, plus an assembly sheet with incorrect painting instructions. We'll deal with these different issues as we go. The major concept in getting the stack built involves the elimination of the flimsy wraps as well as the heavy corrugated rings, and replacing them with cleaner, more accurate parts. If you intend to construct the model in its original form, in order to separate the stages and extract the spacecraft, that's fine. You might want to skip ahead to the painting and marking section. If, however, you want to make your stack as accurate as possible, read on. Also, see Details, Details.
The Current Recommendations
REPLACEMENT TUBING for the THIN STYRENE WRAPS
NEW: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AS THE TUBE SIZES HAVE CHANGED: The tubing is from EMA/Plastruct, and you'll want the 4.50" o.d. tube for the S-IC/S-II, and the 2.75" o.d. tube for the S-IVB. Note that you'll have to slit the tubes and remove a strip to get the precise Saturn tank diameters, and may even have to scratchbuild the S-IVB aft interstage. Get Glenn Johnson's 1/96 resin CSM for the top, and definitely get David Weeks' drawings (you'll need 'em).
Engineering Model Associates
1020 S. Wallace Place
City of Industry, CA 91748
(818) 912-7011 Fax: (818) 965-2036
From James Layfield comes the following note to a question about EMA outside the U.S.:
"EMA/Plastruct certainly is available in the UK:
EMA Model supplies
Shepperton Business Park
Shepperton TW 17 8BA
tel 01932 228228
(guess its handy for the studio modelers at Shepperton to pick up supplies
in a hurry !)"
Plastruct is the same company. Evergreen makes the corrugated sheet stock, and read down for recommended sizes.
Rewritten; please read: The tubing is the best ABS tubing I've ever found. It's mostly for industrial models of oil refineries, and the tubing and tank heads are precision molded. No, they don't carry tiny increments in o.d., which is why I'm talking about DROPPING the 4.50" tube to the S-IC/S-II scale diameter of 4.12". I'm slitting the 4.50" tube because it doesn't come in a 4.125 o.d. size, which to me would have been close enough. They've got the VT-450 (4.50"), and it'll run you about $27.50 for a 36" length. Above 1", the o.d. increments are only 0.25". They also have the VT-825 (8.25"), a perfect 33' diameter for 1/48 scale. Math: pi*d gives the circumference; a 4.50" tube gets you 14.13", the desired value is 12.95, a difference (the width of the removed strip) of 1.17". The stock kit tanks are 34 feet in diameter, a foot over scale, making the model 1/93 scale. In any case, you'll want to cut the tube to a length of 25.03", perhaps a hair less to accomodate the S-IC thrust structure heat shield.
The original idea of adding a spreader strip to the 4.00" tube, while sound in theory, proved more troublesome than it was worth, because the extruded tube wanted more than anything to spiral closed, so I decided to take the larger VT-450, remove a strip, and let the tube settle down to a smaller diameter. Take a look at the construction pages for the hands-on work.
EVERGREEN CORRUGATED WRAPS
Evergreen Scale Models
18620-F 141st Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA 98072
(877) 376-9099 - toll free
These wraps assume a slit and closed-down EMA 4.50" o.d. tube, to make the tank diameter 4.12", a scale 33'. Beginning with the bottom of the S-IC first stage:
Thrust structure: The 4529 or M4529 (M indicates the larger 12"x24" sheets) corrugated metal siding would be a good choice. Saturn V extremists could bypass Evergreen altogether and substitute 128 .030x.030 strips laid up onto .005 sheet (or cemented directly to the tube for the more brave of heart). The "Board and Batten" 4543 might be used, though the stringers are too thin. With the standard 6" wide sheets, you have to piece the band together with careful cutting. Individual strips are a smart move for 1/48, but for 1/96 it's not impossible, just time consuming. There are holes to be cut in the thrust structure, to be sure, including the umbilicals and the indents for the hold-down clamps. This will involve cutting into the EMA tubing as well as the corrugated wrap.
Intertank: "Corrugated Metal Siding" 4530 or M4530. Math: 108 corrugations across 12.94" yields ~8 corrugations per inch; 4530 is *very* close, and the right trapazoid cross section shape.
Forward Skirt: "Corrugated Metal Siding" 4527 or M4527. Can also be used for the S-IC/S-II interstage and the S-II aft skirt, so you can make one large corrugated wrap to represent everything from the bottom of the S-IC forward skirt up to the top of the S-II aft skirt, then make slices for the field joints and stage sep planes.
The S-II upper skirt is a complicated chunk. It can be done with the same 4527 CMS as the lower sections, with no additions of the smaller "intercostal" strips (see David Weeks' drawings or S-II photos). The 4527 is an approximation of the density of all the stringers. The 4542 board and batten, which simulates the major stringers but not the intercostals, might work. With either of the above, you still have to cut umbilicals, antenna covers, etc. Another way is a combination of the 4527 and 4542 sheets to make the dense and sparse areas of the upper skirt. You also need the raised insulation strip just below the stringers, cut from .020 plain sheet, with beveled upper and lower edges.
The S-IVB wraps will go on a smaller diameter EMA ABS plastic tube. The tube can be either EMA's VT-250 or VT-275 (or Plastruct TB-250 or TB-275); the 250 will need to be spread open by 0.2", the 275 needs to be closed down by a much smaller .040". I'm opting for the latter. Math: Real tank o.d. is 260", divided by 96 = 2.708". 2.750 - 2.708 = .0416", close enough to .040 for me. NOTE: You should seriously consider taking into account the Instrument Unit (IU) when cutting the tube length. The Revell kit has the IU as part of the SLA, with no scribe line to indicate the joint, so it looks like all one smooth fabricated part. The S-IVB plus the IU length at 1/96 will want to be 5.32".
S-IVB wraps: Fwd skirt: Evergreen 4542 board & batten or 4528 corugated metal siding. Aft Skirt: Evergreen 4527 corrugated metal siding. As with the other stages, there will be various antennae, vent pipes, access plates, etc. to locate. Some bits of the wraps will need to be sliced away. It's always a good idea to check drawings, photos, and blueprints for all the little plant-on parts.
The S-IVB Aft Interstage is the tough nut. The kit part measures 4.25" base o.d., excluding the molded-in stringers, clearly overscale (should be 4.12" to match the recommended 4.50" EMA tubing mod). The 2.36" height and 2.70" top o.d. are close to scale, but the base o.d. is too big. It might also be possible to carefully *sand down* the kit part bottom until it matches the 4.12" o.d., though the height will be off. For the masochists: The 1.20" wide x 2.14" deep stringers work out to be very close to Evergreen's .015 x .020 styrene strip. There are 144 of them, to be cemented to a custom-made cone shape, which is somewhat scary if you don't have access to vacuforming or resin-casting equipment. UPDATE: I've already produced a first version of the aft interstage from a .020 sheet styrene wraps and stiffening disks. It came out adequate, and I'll likely produce a second copy to try and improve on it. see the Construction pages.
A lot has been said recently about gluing down individual stringers at 1/96. Master space modeler David Weeks has said that it is possible to get pretty good results with even .010x.010" strip stock with Testors liquid cement, though it takes a small brush and a steady hand to coat the edge to be cemented. Engineer Bruce Pivar noted that what happens is that the tiny strip is effectively "soaked" while being brushed, but that once the cement dries, the stringer is pretty much welded. The smallest stringers not easily represented by Evergreen stock are on the fin fairings (1"x1"); at 1/96 these work out to ~.010x.010".
CORRECTION 16Dec00: While some of us had assumed that the fairing stringers are 1"x1" square sections, photos of existing S-IC fairings show them to be L-angle stock. Tomas Kladiva of NewWare originally and correctly modeled his resin fairings as L-angles (though somewhat oversized), but reissued the fairings with thinner square stringers. The orientation of the L-angles has been mapped and will be shown in a diagram soon. At the join between the bare metal and the B&W upper section, reversed short segments of L-angle have been riveted to the longer stringers, presumably for added strength.
Glenn Johnson of RealSpace Models and Tomas Kladiva of NewWare have brought out replacement and detail parts for the 1/96 Saturn V. RealSpace offers a resin 1/96 Command and Service Module (CSM) and a vacuformed Boost Protective Cover (BPC). NewWare offers a set of corrected resin details, including fin and fuel pipe fairings, ullage rockets, and antennae, as well as a set of photoetched brass umbilicals, hatch plates, and other surface details. RealSpace also sells David Weeks' Saturn V and Apollo spacecraft drawings, which will help locate most every part.
Paint Schemes and Markings
John Duncan's apollosaturn.com contains a number of great photos of some of the smallest markings and variations in the paint pattern on the Saturn V and Apollo CSM, some you won't see anywhere else, and that's why anyone building a stack should spend some quality time there. There are well-known volumes documenting the development of the Saturn family, the awarding of contracts, and the testing of hardware. Less information is readily available today about how the vehicle was painted, so we again rely on archive photography, museum displays (which have their own gross accuracy problems), and agency and contractor drawings. The oft-cited 1964 drawing from the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, 10M04576, details many of the markings with full dimensions, but not all are covered. Examination of hundreds of photos reveals many additional markings and slight inconsistancies from flight to flight in terms of locations, whether some were present at all, letter shapes, colors. I would love to hear from anyone who knows historical details about the painting and marking of the lunar missions; I can only imagine how technical orders may have come down, specifying typefaces, camera target shapes, the kind of paint sprayed on. I wonder how many miles of masking tape outlined the letters and markings. Did a veteran signpainter at the Michoud assembly plant in Louisiana hand-apply the S-IC serial number? What kind of typesetting machine or silkscreen setup made all those Service Module labels? Did pad workers at KSC partially spray paint over words like FIN HOIST and FAIRING HOIST before launch? What are those strange little white and yellow stripes on the S-IC? Perhaps with some luck we'll find out.
In the meantime, I'll be posting a few detail photos of things to notice on the booster and spacecraft. For instance, it is abundantly clear that the black paint on the S-IC is a slightly lighter shade than the black of the interstage and S-II. Also, if you look carefully at different Service Modules, you'll see that one of the repeated CAUTION labels is not printed on white as are the others, but on gray or silver. It appears that there are words on the BPC yaw jet covers, but I can't read them in any photo; what do they say?
Decals -- The Ultimate 1/96 Saturn V Decal Set
The Ultimate Saturn V decal set in 1/96 scale, for use with the Revell Saturn V kit, is also available in 1/144. While intended for the advanced modeler who may end up replacing most of the kit with new tubing, corrugated wraps, and aftermarket detail parts, newcomers to the Saturn V will also be able to give their stock Revell kits a more accurate look. Extensive research over the last few years, with the generous assistance of David Weeks and John Duncan, has led to the creation of a comprehensive set of markings covering most if not all lunar Saturn V missions (while markings for the SA-500F test vehicle are not included, they may be offered at a later date). Some markings, such as the S-IVB aft interstage sway targets, have been specially designed with a horizontal stretch to flow over the structural stringers and retain their final intended square visual shape. Some judicious slicing with a hobby knife may still be required to make the ends square.
Simplified locator art for all decaled areas of the lunar stack includes S-IC and S-II tanks, engine fairings, S-IVB Aft Interstage, Instrument Unit, Command and Service Modules, Boost Protective Cover, and Launch Escape System.
The decals had been produced on an Alps MD-5000 but are now professionally silkscreen printed by Microscale. Head to the Decal Sets Page for details and ordering information.
There is a wealth of information and photographs of the Saturn V and the overall Apollo program available on the Internet. The sites listed below lead to many other links that will be helpful in studying the history of manned and unmanned spacecraft, and aid in the construction of space models.
Apollo Archive -- Kipp Teagues Apollo Archive contains many photos, videos, and other documents. Photos of each mission, plus photos of the Saturn V specifically, highlight this invaluable library. New pictures from the period are being rediscovered and scanned all the time.
Apollo Saturn Reference Page -- John Duncans site devoted to the Saturn V, Apollo, and other historical space subjects. Take the time to study the photos and drawings before attempting any Saturn V model.
Modeler Reference Vault -- Phil Broads Modeler Reference Vault contains some of the best factory photos of the Douglas Aircraft S-IVB Saturn V third stage and aft interstage.
Apollo Lunar Surface Journal -- A companion site to the Apollo Archive, the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal documents all of the lunar mission surface activity and catalogues most if not all of the available mission photography. Lunar Module and Command & Service Module images abound.
http://www.realspacemodels.com/ -- Glenn Johnsons RealSpace Models sells historical space resin kits, including accurized Apollo spacecraft in 1/96 and 1/144 scales. A variety of other Apollo hardware, including a CM 1/32 interior, hatch, and SIM bay are also available.
http://www.ninfinger.org -- Sven Knudson runs a large website devoted to scale models, model rocketry, and space history. Look for kit reviews, model references, and great lists of old space kits, among other topics.
My Little Space Museum -- Karl Dodenhoff runs an on-line "space museum" with specialized information on Apollo hardware. Look for detailed photos of the real equipment.
NewWare -- Tomas Kladivas NewWare model company sells resin detail sets and decals for historical spacecraft. He offers resin and photoetched brass detailing sets for the 1/96 Saturn V and Apollo CSM.
space-modelers -- Join the ongoing space model discussions here on egroups and learn a thing or three about historical space subjects, contemporary space missions, what-if spaceships, how to build and detail kits, and what the best paints are! Sven Knudson moderates this group and archives the files section on his ninfinger site.
Apollo-modelers -- Join this discussion group as well for specific coverage of the Apollo program and the Saturn family of boosters.
Entire Contents © 2004 Rick Sternbach