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johnlove_mk_II

Johnny’s Grand 1/72 launch vehicle build extravaganza

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Anyone familiar with me, especially here on ARC, knows that I’ve been tinkering around with building a 1/72 Saturn model for the better part of five years. (Yes, five.) There have been many starts and just as many stops, all with long stretches of time in between. During that time I’ve learned a lot of new techniques and have been able to produce some 3D models of the Saturn that I’m quite satisfied with.  The problem is I didn’t have anything physical to show for all the work, and producing it would be extraordinarily expensive, especially at the resolution that would produce the detail I’m looking for.  I do think that it will be an option in the future, especially since SLA Printers are becoming a little more affordable. I guess it would be prudent to start squirreling away some cash for that eventuality … but right now,  Johnny wants a rocket.

 

For the past few months, I’ve been building a couple of 1/72 Saturn Vs from Dragon kits.  I haven’t been quibbling too much on the horrid inaccuracies, I’ve just been building.  Mainly to try to recapture the enjoyment I get from constructing these things, but also to actually have a couple of really cool display pieces for the study.  Mind you, I have been adding a few details here and there, but I’ve been mostly just building it OOB and I do have to admit that it’s been a very enjoyable experience.  One will be the Skylab 1 launch vehicle and the other, I’m thinking, will represent the Apollo 16 launch vehicle. 

 

IMG_1848.jpg

 

It's like Michoud on my desk.

 

So far building the two Saturn Vs simultaneously has been a pretty easy affair. You make two sets of parts, then apply two sets of parts.  I’m closing in on having both S-ICs ready for final assembly.  I’m hoping the S-II will go together in a similar, relaxed fashion … I don’t think it will, but let’s hope.

 

So here’s the crazy bit.  I’ve got three Dragon Saturn kits that I’m using for these builds.  Since I’m almost completely redoing the way the S-IIs are constructed, I’ll be using a couple of the third kit’s skirt sections to rebuild the forward skirt areas.  This is going to leave me with a lot of 5.5” dia. tank sections and other parts.  So rather than let those go to waste, I was thinking that I’d build something that was somewhat ludicrous, but really, really cool – a Nova C-8 as proposed for the Apollo Direct Ascent plan. Most tube diameters coincide with schedule 40 PVC/ABS pipe sizes available at the Home Depot, so 

 

nova_c_8.thumb.png.b7e3c70a3c7318a982fc1dc931fff31f.png

 

This may never actually happen, but it would be epic.

 

So yeah, three rockets – I’m going to give it a go.  I’ll post soon to catchup to where the build is currently, but in the interim … imagine the eventual end-product looking something like this.

 

werners_got_rockets.jpg.c785c4496a36e70eb5a9c1f4ecea32eb.jpg

 

Ceiling tiles.

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Getting started

 

I started with the S-ICs building from the ground up.  Replaced the kit F-1s with parts from Apogee.  The Apogee F-1s are pretty simplistic, but they’re accurately proportioned and reasonably priced.  To mount them I had a custom cut acrylic “plate” made at Ponoko. It will be mounted directly to the kit’s thrust structure plate which was sanded flat.

 

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Apogee F-1s

 

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Ponoko produced plate.

 

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Apogee mounting tab.

 

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Thing.

 

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All the things.

 

Moving up, I decided to not even attempt to correct the horribly rendered fairings. It has sidelined many attempts at this project and these two models will just have to deal with it. I had some of the surface details laser-cut too. Some rudimentary representations of the hold-downs and the aft umbilicals. They’re not absolutely to scale, but I had to make do with what I had.  I do think they look reasonable.

 

IMG_1818.JPG

 

More Ponoko cut parts.

 

Next was the intertank.  The number of “corrugations” was correct, even though they’re the wrong shape.  Added a laser-cut umbilical parts but I still need to add LOX vents.

 

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Little mix of Ponoko and Silhouette cut parts.

 

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Mounted.

 

I’m currently working on the forward skirts.  Again, we’re adding laser-cut umbilical and access door details and vents.  I’m also adding extra stringers between the kit’s, to bring the number up to the correct 216.  This is tedious but I think it will be worth the effort.

 

IMG_1921.jpg

 

This is where the build has slowed down a bit.  Those stringers are nuts.

 

 

 

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Awesome John! Glad you're back at it. As a matter of fact I started tinkering with mine again as well. So I will definitely be following your progress. As soon as I figure out a more practical way to post photos again I'll start my build thread so we can compare notes. Keep up the great work!

 

Bill.

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I couldn’t really do any construction work this week, but I did figure out how I’m tackling the S-II stage. 

Screen+Shot+2018-03-29+at+11.07.48+AM.pn

 

Planning before you start cutting – that’s important. (Still working on the aft skirt details, so this drawing is incomplete.)
 

I will be using the aft skirt and tank parts and will use a section of one of the donor kit’s skirts for the forward skirts.  For the aft skirts I’ll strip the top 16mm of the stringers off, the attach it to the tank and sand as smoothly as I can.  I’ll then cover the area with styrene sheet to represent the raised insulation as well as to cover the seams.  I’ll then remove the top 8mm of the tank and mate it with a 35mm section of the donated skirt.  That should give me a pretty fair representation of the S-II.  You can take a look at the unfinished plan here.

 

I’ll be adding the extra stringers to the aft skirt and will also add the smaller “intercostal” stringers to the forward skirt.  The forward skirt stringer count will be off, but it should look reasonable, and will mate up with the S-II/S-IVB interstage which also has the wrong amount.  

 

Surface details like the umbilicals will be laser cut.  Antennas will be cut on the Silhouette.  I still haven’t decided how to build the LH2 fairings and other aft skirt protuberances … maybe a 3D printed “masters” and then resin cast.

I drew these a few years ago.  They’ll likely be used for the master.

 

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I drew these a few years ago … they’ll likely be used for the master.

 

As far as the thrust structures, J-2s and forward tank –  that’s the next egg to crack.

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Great! Really nice cad work! I should be planning more but I always get into the habit of all plan and no work. So at some point I just go for it right or wrong. I can see your build is going to be much more accurate than mine. Keep up the great work!

 

Bill

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Thanks Bill.  Yeah, I know all too well about the "all planning and no execution" methodology.  I've been guilty of that for most every project I've ever attempted.  Honestly that's kinda the motivating factor behind building this very project.  I was getting tired of not having anything to show for all the time spent working on all this stuff.   I need some instant gratification.

 

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself. With all the research and drawing I've done, when I do get the opportunity to 3D print one, I'll be ready.

 

Screen+Shot+2018-03-30+at+10.48.49+AM.pn

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Finally got around to trimming down the Dragon tank and skirt parts for the S-II stages this weekend.  To trim them I used a Dremel drill press, with a diamond wheel cutter, with the press assembly turned 180°.  I adjusted to the height I wanted to make the cut and then slowly rotated the part while the blade cut.  Aside from a few gouges with the first cut, It worked surprisingly well.

 

I just need to clean up the melted plastic and do a little finish sanding and we should be able to proceed to the next steps.

 

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A lot of plastic "slag" to clean, but the cut is perfectly square.
 

IMG_2006.JPG

The start of a couple of properly proportioned S-II stages.

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Looking great John. glad to see you making headway on these. I'm still working on the LM garage and small details....trying to decide if I want to add more stringer details like you did or just go with what's there on the forward skirts. Leaning towards detailing them but gotta get the mojo to do it first.

 

Bill 

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I can relate to your plights; I'm guilty of it as well.   Building a little everyday is key.  i recite this over and over like a mantra.  With this in mind, when I go to bed I set the alarm to 4:30am -- which should give me 2 hours till 6:30 when I have to start preparing for work.   I end up waking up at 4:30, 4:45, 5:00, 5:30 c/o the snooze button.   5:30 to 6:00 is mindless browsing time and 6:00 to 6:30 for modeling, actually 15 minutes are usually lost to looking for tools.  I'm proud to say, though, that on rare occasions I manage to spring out of bed even before the 4:30 alarm has rung.  :rolleyes:

 

Fantastic 3D modeling by the way, and very nice progress shots!  I need a similar setup for my dremel.   Looking forward to your updates!

Edited by crackerjazz

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That 50th anniversary is fast approaching – it’s time to get crack-a-lacking and push to complete these before July 31st.  Doable? Quite. Will it actually happen? One can only hope.

 

Went to the LHS and got a fresh supply of Evergreen 131 strips so I can continue the process of gluing the extra stringers on the forward S-IC skirts. Once these are all in place, I’ll start on the interstages … and then on to the S-II aft skirts.  Oh what fun.

 

IMG_0600.JPG

 

Those stringers are tedious little things but the more I add the faster I'm getting adding them.  You can also see the new LOX vent parts I had cut at Ponoko.  They’re not perfect, but they’re much closer than the first ones I had cobbled together.  Onward.

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I love all the work you're doing here!

 

On 3/21/2018 at 2:07 PM, johnlove_mk_II said:

Mind you, I have been adding a few details here and there, but I’ve been mostly just building it OOB and I do have to admit that it’s been a very enjoyable experience.

I'm struggling to see the OOB part in this thread.. :coolio:

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Hey Johnny ... did you realize that a 50th Anniversary Group Build will, hopefully officially, be starting up at the beginning of February?

 

Go to the General Discussion page on ARC and sign the poll ... there are currently 14 of us  and we need 15 to be officially sanctioned ...

 

See you in the GB ... !

Pete

 

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Hi K2Pete.  I've already signed the poll.  I think I may have been number 9 or 10.  Hope we get to the 15 needed.

 

Aussie-Pete - Those look really nice.  I still may actually try to create my own F-1s with the thermal batting applied.  I have a pattern from the previous Saturn V project that I may yet try to finish and cast.  Seems a shame to not use it.

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1 hour ago, johnlove_mk_II said:

Hi K2Pete.  I've already signed the poll.  I think I may have been number 9 or 10.  Hope we get to the 15 needed.

 

Aussie-Pete - Those look really nice.  I still may actually try to create my own F-1s with the thermal batting applied.  I have a pattern from the previous Saturn V project that I may yet try to finish and cast.  Seems a shame to not use it.

I purchased the resin batted engines. Just didn't like them at all. I rather not hide the beauty of the F1s

What's this group build. Will investigate

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What you are doing with that S-IC fwd skirt is a huge improvement over the kit part and the LOX vents will look fine in this scale. Good to see you at this again!

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Here's some not so compelling progress.  The stringers are complete on the first S-IC forward skirt ... moving on to the second one.

 

IMG_0631.JPG

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