Jump to content

1/144 Saturn I Block II SA-5 Build

Recommended Posts

Thanks Aussie-Pete.


I've got the decals printed and I'm just starting on the S-1 retro rockets.  I was still pondering how to create the retro's so I did the decals first.  When I get the retro's done I'll post another update.  It is finally coming together.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

The retrorockets are done.  I used .125 inch styrene rod.  I cut a section about an inch longer than I needed and put that in the chuck of my Dremel tool.  Then spun it up and used a #11 X-acto knife like a lathe and shaped the end.  It starts out as a cone and then has a button like shape on the end.



Then I cut off the excess and primed them, painted them white and the end I painted black.  With that they are ready to be attached.  I applied the decals before the retrorockets to make putting the decals on a bit easier.



I then printed the decals.  I ended up printing three sets.  I needed extras in case I screwed something up and to give me some extra white decals in case I needed to double them up to cover the black.  Here is one of the sets.



After I printed that one I realized that I did not print enough of the blowout covers for the interstage.  There are eight blowout covers not four.  So the next set I printed I had extras.  I also found out that my decal paper is getting old and sometimes the thermal ink doesn’t stick as well as it should.  Time for an order of new paper from Tango Papa.  I was able to get enough good decals with the paper I had so work could continue.


The trickiest part of applying the decals was the S-IV and the interstage.  All those details made getting the decals on an interesting task.  I found the best way for some of them was to cut the decal into sections that would go between any protrusions.  The checkerboard decal also required a few careful snips to fit around the hydrogen vent pipe standoffs.  The black/white stripe decals that are at the base of the S-IV also required cutting into sections.  It took a few hours to get them on in decent shape.  I did have to do a bit of touch up with black paint in a few places.


The curved decals that go around the cone shaped S-IV upper interstage confirmed my calculations were correct.  They went on smoothly and the curve fits the cone just fine.  Once all the decals were put on I installed the S-I retrorockets and gave it a coat of clear.  When that had dried I then sprayed on a clear flat.  Here are some photos of the completed decals.


Here is the Pos I side.  Note that I also painted the tip of the nosecone chrome silver for the area with the Q-ball.



Here is Pos II.



The view from Pos III.



And finally, Pos IIII.



Here is a closeup of the top of the S-IV stage with the Instrument Unit.  This is the side of the IU with the black hemisphere.  I still don't know what that is on the actual vehicle.



This closeup focuses on some of the S-IV details.



This one highlights some of the interstage details.



After the decals went on I installed the engine nozzles.  The inside of the bells were painted with Tamiya smoke.



Here is a view of my Saturn I family.  The only one I need to add is SA-10 the last S-I Block II.  Then I'll have each major variation of the Saturn I.



Well that is it.  It was a challenging project but also a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed the research it took to get the markings as close to the real vehicle at I could do practically.  I think the final product looks good and I'm happy to display it with my other Saturn rockets.


Thanks for following along.



Link to post
Share on other sites

One little note on the decal application I forgot.  I did double up the United States markings on the first stage.  Even though I had double printed the white when I made the decals, the white just wasn't quite white enough when applied to the model.  So I applied a second set over the first.  That gave me the level of white I was looking for.  The other small white markings that went over black sections were small enough that the slight difference wasn't really noticeable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely makes for a visually interesting model with the different 3D detailing and the complex markings.

For all that I enjoy human spaceflight history, the Saturn one series is one I know very little about other than that it existed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, as205 said:

the white just wasn't quite white enough when applied to the model.

We model railroaders often have that trouble on black or other dark hue locomotives and rolling stock. 

Also common with yellow decals.

Link to post
Share on other sites

i'd be proud of this model too!

Nice job Randy!


What I really appreciate is the extra effort involved in this build ... the research, applying that research into the build and adding all kinds of detail.


There are aircraft builders on ARC that just build the kit outta the box, maybe add a brake line or two and crank out a model ... their focus seems to be on decal placement and paint and not necessarily building an accurate model of their preferred subject. And then whinge about the "poor fit".


A build like this is a most satisfying one to complete for the builder ...  and for us to watch come together. All those little details you added really enhance our own discovery of "gee, he even added this little kadiddle" . Again, nicely done Randy!


One question I have is, the black semi-circular/triangular decals at the bottom of the SIV, are they just supposed to be paint or structural holes?

And I keep forgetting how small this model is ... maybe 2" in diameter?


Thanx for posting all this! Now off to the Millennium Falcon!  :popcorn:


Link to post
Share on other sites



Thanks.  I didn't put all the details that I probably could have, (and there are still a few rough spots here and there) but I think that the details that are there is pretty good for this scale.  It is small, like you said.  The S-I is just under 2" in diameter and the S-IV is about 1.5" in diameter.


The black triangular arches on the interstage are blow out panels. They were installed after stacking and blew out when the S-IV engines started.  The S-I and S-IV had already separated at that point but were still somewhat close together.  On SA-5 they were painted black.  On later flights that section of the interstage was painted black so they were not noticed, but they were present for all Block II flights.  Here is a photo of the S-IV for SA-5.



On SA-9 you can see that the interstage area with the blowout panels was painted black so they were not noticeable.



The interstage is actually part of the S-IV stage even though it stays attached to the S-I after staging.




The Saturn I series, while initially developed for the defense department, was an important first step in the Apollo program.  It flew several boilerplate CM's for testing in it's later flights.  Then it became the Saturn IB with up-rated first stage engines and a new S-IVB second stage that would also be used on the Saturn V (with a few modifications).


Lots of interesting modeling possibilities in the Apollo program.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like a wind tunnel model of a Saturn I in prep for SA-6.  It looks like maybe they were testing wind interactions between the vehicle and the launch tower.



Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, southwestforests said:

This indoor test of a large Saturn I model looked like it might be of interest.

I don't know what is being tested and the post doesn't say.

But ya know, the scene could make a neat diorama.


I never really thought before about it but the RCS thrusters must have been inside the bow wave to not get damaged?


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...