1/87 Saturn V, 1983 Internats, Poland
Oh, the stories I have to tell about my experiences at the 1983 FAI Internats held in Poland...but some other day.
There was difficulty in filling all the U.S. Team's Scale spots for the Internats. I was selected not due to as much as I had done in competition but on the recommendation of a couple of modelers who knew my work, particularly Rob Justis, who entered a 1/100 scale Saturn V in the 1980 Internats. Since I had assisted him in developing some of the technologies on his model, primarily the corrugation and stringer casting, I was somewhat of a 'known quantity'...at least to him.
I wanted to build a Saturn V, particularly since I had one almost in my back yard at Johnson Space Center (JSC was on the south side of Elington Air Force Base and I lived on the north side) and had ample access for data. I wanted to build as large and precise as I could. After making some rough calculations, I knew that I could probably safely build in 1/87 scale...which was also the popular HO model railroading scale. About the only pre-made parts on the model were the tubes housing the model rocket motors. Everything else was custom fabricated. All of the model tanks were rolled from .01" sheet styrene with .01" thick internal stiffening rings. All of the currugated and stringer sections were case flat rolled into tubes. The capsule (though no on ever saw it under the BPC) actually had an opening hatch and small astronauts inside.
The model was built to be powered by four 13mm A3-4T motors and a single central 24mm D13-1 motor in the core. Estes Industries custom-made a few dozen of the full 20 Newton-second motors just for me. They were so full of propellant that there was just enough room for a one second delay. By the time the masking tape ejection charge cap was in place, there was actually a slight bulge on the front of the motor!
Click on images below to enlarge.
The five scale F-1 engines housed the model rocket motors...13mm motors in the outboard locations and a 24mm motor in the center. The motors were constructed using a variety of cast parts, Bondo (!?), styrene, wire, paper, and Plastruct tubing and plumbing shapes.
All stinger details were done by scribing into a sheet of "jeweler's wax" and then a glass-cloth-and-epoxy cast wrap made in the wax mold. All of the markings are painted on using hand-cut Frisket stencils. Compare this photo with the 1997 1/72 Saturn V.
The most time-consuming part of the model was the fabrication of the S-IC Intertank casting, consuming several weeks of time. The pattern for the Intertank was based on and Evergreen styrene corrugated sheet. The "Y" fittings at each end were done with tiny strips of styrene...4 pieces per "valley" and 4 pieces per "peak". A rubber mold was made of this master and then a glass-backed resin casting made.
Also, the tunnel running down each side of the S-IC are actually segmented and ribbed and applied individually.
The umbilical panel is a thin casting.
All of the stringer sections, tunnels and fairings you see are epoxy castings. The tubes forming the tanks are rolled from .01" thick styrene.
Like the S-IC and S-II stages, the S-IVB stage utilizes a tank rolled from .01" thick styrene sheet with cast stinger sections. The tunnels and antenna panels are from styrene while the bulk of the remaining details are carved from various materials.
The SLA (the conic adapter between the IU and the Service Module) is likewise rolled from styrene sheet with styrene details.
An overall view of the model a day or two before departure to Czechoslovakia.
The rather large clear fins are evident in this photo, being a last-minute addition at the request of the judges. They almost proved to be the undoing of the model with respect to weight allowances making it a few grams over the 500 gm limit when the model was checked in. Removing the igniters at check-in just squeaked the model by under 500gms.
I get the attention of the LCO just a few seconds before launch. The flight was a disaster as two adjoining outboard motors failed to ignite and the model summersaulted to a crash.
Though the model placed third in static judging the flight was another story. I had designed it to fly without additional fin area but the judges would have none of that, forcing me to fabricate a set of slip-on clear fins, assembled with cellophane tape. After prepping the model, installing the flashbulb igniters and the clear fins, the model came in overweight by a few grams at check in. The igniters were rather elaborate devices completely contained and sealed within their on plug-on tubes. After removing the igniters, the model passed check in. I had a designated launch window which was ending soon so I hurriedly reinstalled the igniters. My rush proved to contribute to a failing effort.
Crossed fingers did no good. At the end of the countdown, all igniters fired, but the unexpected outgassing of the flashing bulbs forced two of the igniters off the model without acheiving ignition. The model crawled into the air and proceeded to do a slow summersault, crashing within the launch area. Oh, well, I would certainly have better luck with my next Saturn V model (yeah, right...see my 1997 effort)
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Scale Projects-1/87 Saturn V