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Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:01 pm
by OverTheTop
Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Just ordered a couple of these from the USA :)

Estes are doing both a 1:200 and 1:100 kit of the Saturn V to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Regular retail on the 1:100 is $89USD, but AC Supply have them at $54USD as their regular price. Shipping for the pair was $90 via USPS.
Customer service here was fast and friendly!

I was hoping Hobby Lobby had them in stock when I was in The States a couple of weeks back. It was not to be.

Would have loved to get them from my local hobby store but the wholesaler doesn't even have that one on their list of available kits :(

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:39 pm
by OverTheTop
Two of them turned up in the mail today :) :) :)


Funnily enough I pushed the button on the LOC Precision 1:52 kit as well. Ordered with 5 x 54mm mounts.

Now I need to decide: Build either one or the other, or both!

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:01 pm
by matthew
OverTheTop wrote:Now I need to decide: Build either one or the other, or both!

I'm surprised you even have to ask given there is only one correct answer. :lol:

The Build Begins!

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 8:28 pm
by OverTheTop
The Build Begins!

Here is my build of the 1:100 Saturn V Estes kit, hopefully complete for flight on 20th July for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Yes, I know they launched on the 16th, but the 20th is a Saturday and more convenient :) . It also happens to be the day they (Armstrong and Aldrin) set foot on the moon.

For this project I am using a gaggle of glues:
• Yellow wood glue (aliphatic resin glue)
• Model cement (Plastic Magic, Tamiya Plastic Cement, or similar)
• Zap-a-Gap medium CA (cyanoacrylate, aka superglue)
• BSI 30min epoxy
Gluesresize.jpg (235.98 KiB) Viewed 4444 times

And I will also be using Tamiya Putty for creating seams, fillets and filling the styrene plastic wraps.

Also needed:
• Sharp Scalpels
• Steel Rule
• Sharp Pencil
• Sandpaper
• Popsicle Sticks and Skewers
• Nail File Sticks (like popsicle sticks but abrasive)
• Rubber Bands
• Paints
• Patience and Steady Hands!!!

Motor Mount and Stuffer Tube
Not much to say about this part. Just follow the instructions. One thing I did do was to take a hole punch (standard paper type) and punch one hole in each of the centering rings. That will allow me to use an internal launch rail, and to not have ugly launch lugs on the outside of the airframe.

Once the holes are aligned the entire assembly was set aside to cure.

FYI, the purpose of the stuffer tube is to carry the ejection gases from the motor to the parachute compartment. That way there is enough oomph to eject the chutes, without having to pressurise an enormous airframe along the way.

Main Airframe
The main airframe was marked as per the instructions. The motor tube assembly was test fitted and found to be a little sloppy. I cut a couple of thin strips (2mm wide) from normal photocopy paper and glued them (CA) onto the outer edges of the centering rings. This increased the OD and made for a better fit. Once cured, the assembly was fitted into the airframe and glued in place with yellow glue (not too much or the airframe shrinks and deforms as this glue cures).

Next up was to insert the reinforcing ring internally to the rear of the airframe. Note that this is a seriously tight fit. It will go without sanding, but it won’t go easily. Don’t make the mistake I did of putting glue on the internal airframe with the expectation to slide the ring to its final resting place. Does not work. If I did this again, I would slide it to the correct position and just put a bead of glue on either end of it. Other people have been known to cut the ring, removing a thin sliver of material and then gluing it in place.

Display Engines
At this point I felt like assembling the five F1 display engines to their bulkhead. These are injection moulded parts so they were carefully cut with a scalpel (don’t break them out if you want a good finish) out of their frames. Any excess flash from the manufacturing process was removed and mating parts checked for fit. Sandpaper was used carefully in a couple of locations to get a really close fit. Make sure you don’t sand or cut off the little pips that help line up the two halves of the engines

So, working one engine at a time, the halves are held together and the registration very carefully eyeballed to minimise the visibility of the seam. A tiny drop of plastic cement is applied to tack it in place. Move to the other end of the seam and tack it there. Move to the other side of the bell and repeat, and finally at the turbopump arm. Once all the tacking has held you can apply a judicious amount of cement along all the seams. Remember that you only need to touch the seam and if you have fitted it properly capillary action does the rest.

Repeat x 5.

I painted them at this point in a metallic charcoal color (spray). The white card bulkhead was painted gloss black, also in preparation for adding the motors. The assembly was completed as per the instructions.

I wish I had done what was done on this website for a more complete scale treatment: ... e.html?m=1
Lots of other good tips for building in that blog also.
I might end up changing my display nozzles to include this style bulkhead, maybe…




Escape Tower
Next up I tackled the escape tower. The parts were carefully cut from the frame using the scalpel, and any flash from the moulding process is cut off now too. I basically followed the instructions for this part, assembling the framework as instructed, but without the circular piece yet. The pieces are held in place with one hand while a small amount of plastic cement is daubed on each joint. Capillary action sucks the glue into the joint where it softens and joins the plastic parts. Go easy with the glue, a little goes a long way, especially if the joint is very closely fitted.

Once the truss structure is glued, you can take the circular piece and place it on the end of a pencil, then push it into place in the tower. A gentle push will have it seat into the grooves in the other part and hold nicely. A little plastic cement on the four contact points completes the job.


Now you can also add the four nozzles to the LES motor cone, taking care to remove any flash before gluing any parts. This can then be glued to the tower, and that assembly glued to the command module (CM). Do this by the usual capillary method.

Once set you can add the LES motor tube and nosecone to that assembly. I glue both ends of the LES motor tube using the yellow glue. Remember the basic technique of applying the glue to the internal tube to make sure the excess glue goes into the tube and is not visible on the outside :wink: .

To finally complete the CM you need to add the clay nose weights which are important to the flight stability of the rocket. Four pats of clay are provided. The instructions say to use two. If you are going to build a little heavier than ultra light you might want to consider adding the other two pats. I decided to go with four, as I don’t want a model that I have put this much time into to go skywriting, and I have heard of some people having this happen. Kneed the clay and pack it into the CM. Once complete, add the plastic cover over the rear of the CM and glue using the usual capillary method. Done!

While I was doing the CM/LES I decided it was a good time to glue the fins also. They are injection moulded and the parts are separated from the frame by scalpel, edges cleaned up (scalpel, sandpaper) until the fit of each half is very close, and glued with the cement while holding the parts together by hand. Use your eyes to make sure the seams are in exactly the right location for good workmanship. Once set, a light sand of the edges means you can’t even see the seams.

Third Stage
The central core for the third stage was next. The instructions were followed, with some minor alterations. I changed the recovery loop to Kevlar that I had laying around, and I also made sure the centering rings had the requisite holes for the internal launch rail.


Forming the Transition
The cardboard transition was cut out of the larger piece of cardboard. The instructions suggest you cut it larger and longer than the lines indicate. That way you can whittle it down till you get an exact fit, and not have any gaps. Make sure you make it longer than it was on the lines too, which helps in getting the ends together. I then very carefully fitted the transition so the upper and lower diameters were right. The lower diameter is just a little larger than the tube it is transitioning to. That is so it sits on the main airframe with a little overlap. It isn’t much, just a smidge. You might be surprised how long this takes. Once it is the right size it is completed, and then slid into position and glued, similar to what the instructions say. Don’t overdo the glue, as distortion can result.

Next up was the wrap that goes over this transition. Again, don’t cut it too short too quick, so you can allow for variations in the part it is gluing onto. Slowly cut it smaller until the upper diameter is right and the lower diameter meets the end of the cardboard transition. I glued the ends of this together with a small lap joint. Again, just hold everything in place with your fingers and apply the cement. I also put on some sticky tape to hold it in place while the joint set.

At this point you have a wrap the right shape but not fixed in place. I measured up 4g (2g +2g) of the BSI epoxy, mixed and then applied it using a gloved hand to the cardboard transition. The wrap was then slid into place and patted down. This is where patience earlier in the fitting makes this part a breeze :) .

Straight Wrap
Next up was the wrap directly above the one we just applied. Again, careful trimming and fitting to get the seam just right and bottom end neatly trimmed. I generally use less margin on these wraps than the 1/16” the instructions suggest. I guess I run about 1mm most of the time. Don’t worry about the top of this wrap as it is trimmed after the epoxy is set. Again, about 4g of BSI was mixed and applied to the tube. The wrap was applied, taking note of location and orientation. The ends were slightly stretched into place, overlapped and the cement applied. Try to aim for the pitch of the corrugations being the same as the rest of the wrap over the joint. The wrap is held in place with rubber bands while the epoxy cures, and a skewer under the bands keeps more pressure on the lap joint to make sure it isn’t proud of the rest of the wrap.

Once the glue is set you can trim the end of the wrap level with the end of the tube, and perhaps even sand for a nice even finish :) .

To be continued...

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 11:23 am
by SpaceManMat
Nice kit. Good move on the internal launch rod.

If I was building it I’d be tempted to convert it to a cluster and I’d probably convert the display base to be flight ready (or 3D print flight replacements).

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 6:52 pm
by OverTheTop
Thanks Matt. Having the rear recessed like it is makes it fairly easy to add some sort of cluster mount I think. I will consider that sometime in the future.

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 7:07 pm
by OverTheTop

Main Airframe Wraps
Next up is the daunting task of gluing the main wraps to the model. By now you should have some experience an that will make this part relatively easy. Just step and repeat x 5 right? :) How hard can it be?

Note that the lower 1st stage wrap needs to be cut to a length of 3”, not just trimmed around the features like the other wraps. This is important. Don’t stuff it up like I did :oops: .

I deviated from the instructions as to the order of the wraps. I started with the interstage wrap, but cut it in two first. “What! Why did you do that?” you ask. The wraps made by Estes are quite detailed and to scale, but the alignment of some of the features is wrong. Basically the umbilical panels on this interstage wrap don’t line up. It is a relatively simple matter of splitting the wrap and essentially applying the two sections, but not at the same starting point. That way the umbilical features are in the right place. If you are not worried about some minor scale detail, you can just apply the wrap whole.

Details on changing the wrap can be found on this thread here: ... 79/page-13


You basically cut the wrap where marked, and then shift the lower section to the left, so the two red dots, indicating the umbilical features, line up. I thought this was a worthwhile inclusion. YMMV.


Once those wraps were on, the position of the tunnels to go to the next wraps were marked with an angle and pencil. It is important to get these straight and lined up or it would look like a dog’s breakfast!

Continue until all the wraps are in position.

Next the tunnels were added, one at a time, with yellow glue. But wait! Before cutting the dowels to length and shaping them it is time to fill the grain on them. My material of choice was an automotive spray putty. Spray, let dry, sand. The ends were carefully sanded to match the features on the wraps and to step over the little edge of the wraps. Once the glue is set, a small application of filler was added to where they interface to the wraps, and sanded when dry.


Things are really starting to take shape now!

Taking Shaperesize.jpg

Fins and Cowlings
Next up are the fins and cowlings. I suggest you work slowly here to avoid making a mistake and to keep the finished article with as few defects as possible.

I deviated from the instructions here. They say to add the fins and cowlings in pairs, at the same time. I am going to add the fins first, and then the cowlings, as I think I can get better fin alignment in the final product.

Lines were drawn on the lower wrap where the center line of the fins are. A line was drawn for each fin at the requisite distance from the rear which indicates the position of the rear of the fin. One at a time, fins were glued in place, aligned with the markings. A square was used to help eyeball the alignment of the fins on the airframe axis. While being held by hand, cement was used to tack the fin in place. Once tacked a decent application of cement followed. Repeat x 3.


Next, we need to start carving the cowlings. The key word here is GENTLE. Be careful handling the parts as they are a little fragile. Cut each cowling out roughly around the feature, being careful to not cut away too much. Mark the fin cut-out and the basic outline with a pencil. That will help guide you as you carefully whittle away the vacuum-formed part with your scalpel. Low-contrast makes things difficult to see if you don’t add the lines :) . It also helps if you work in a well-lit workspace.


Once you have it roughly trimmed you can try fitting it over the fin and see where it mates with the other wrap. Take little pieces off until it mates like you want it to.


Be careful that the parts don’t tear as you are working with them. Gentle is the key word here.

Once you are happy, hold the cowling in place and start tacking, one side at a time, with the plastic cement. Hold in place with your fingers till the joint sets. Once it is tacked in place you can add some more cement and/or filler to complete the mating of the parts. Sand as necessary.


Step and repeat x 3.

If you mount them down flush like I have they are actually better than the original Saturn V, which basically had them held on the outside of the corrugations, with brackets to the intervening spaces. No classy fillets there!

After the cowlings are mounted to the main airframe you can also glue and/or fill the joint where the fin protrudes at each location, adding to the strength of the assembly.

To be continued...

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 7:21 pm
by Aquaman33
Such a great build and a wonderfully detailed thread OTT.

I'm enjoying the journey.

....and to think this is just the warm up act for the LOC!!!!


Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 8:06 pm
by ogivemeahome
Nice. :)

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 6:30 pm
by OverTheTop
FYI, here is what the cowling/airframe interface looks like on a real Saturn V:

MSC103-05_sm.JPG (168.13 KiB) Viewed 4345 times

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 10:56 pm
by Oldboy
Query, Is there no transition from body to cowl on a Saturn V as shown in photo of actual one ?

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 7:39 am
by OverTheTop
Query, Is there no transition from body to cowl on a Saturn V as shown in photo of actual one ?

Not entirely sure what you mean. As stated, in a real SV the cowl sits on top of the corrugations with brackets holding to the valleys, as per the pic.

I found a pic of the the one I saw at KSC a while back. Similar deal, but they are slightly different. I guess they were non-flight prototypes:

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:21 am
by OverTheTop
I will be adding to the details on the kit in the area of the CM and SM. I think the kit needs some more details in that area. To that end I purchased a set of decals to help with dressing it up. These are 1:96 scale but you will never know the difference :) .


I also need to organise some styrene to make some physical details to add to the authenticity.

The Build Continues…

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:45 pm
by OverTheTop
The build continues…

A hole was cut in the top transition for where the internal launch wire will exit. This lines up with the holes I punched in the centering rings earlier.

I had not quite positioned the bottom of the transition how I would have liked it, so I chucked the upper assembly in the lathe and trimmed the bottom lip of it using the dental drill (ticking along at about 400,000 rpm!)

Reinforcing the Fin Cowls
Some half-moon shaped pieces of styrene plastic were glued in place on the rear of the cowls, to give some added strength for landing. The ends were filled with Tamiya filler and sanded smooth.


Cutouts in the Aft End
The relevant pieces were cut out of the aft of the airframe, between the cowlings. A scalpel was used, leaving plenty of “meat” still on the model. The final size was achieved by sanding with a ruler wrapped with sandpaper. If the cardboard starts to delaminate it can be given a quick treatment with some thin CA adhesive to add some rigidity. I have also treated the entire inside aft end with CA, just to make it a bit more resilient.

Note the neat round hole in the fairing. I got a little too enthusiastic with a needle file. Fixed it.

Don’t Throw Anything Away
One thing I have done, at the urging of other builders, is to not throw any offcuts of material away during this build. This helped with the reinforcing of the fin cowlings in particular, and even the very thin pieces of styrene trimmed off were used to fil thin gaps in the wraps.

Preparing for Paint
Now the wraps are on, I filled the edges where they meet the airframe with a mix of epoxy and Q-Cell microballoons, mixed to a toothpaste consistency. I also used the same mix to fill the spirals. If you add enough Q-cell to the epoxy it is not too bad to sand.

Given 20:20 hindsight I would probably skip filling the model with this mixture and just use the filler/primer that I use later on in the build.
Once all that was set the entire assembly was sanded (there are so many corrugations!) in preparation for paint. Nail files, sandpaper and Scotchbrite pads were all pressed into service to get everything sanded down.


Here is an example showing before and after sanding

SNAFU: My enthusiasm for sanding took too much of the upper conduit and it collapsed.

I trimmed the styrene away and sanded an icypole stick to the correct dimensions, then glued it in place with CA. Some Tamiya filler was applied and sanded to a nice flat profile. If I did this again, I would probably replace the entire length of conduit with the stick, rather than just repairing the short section.


Note that when I started applying the wraps I was filling the back of the major features with the Q-cell epoxy mix, but I stopped that part way along thinking it was overkill. Had I continued with that method I would not have had to repair the upper conduit.

The RCS thrusters for the SM have a little divot in the top of the central box. These were filled with sandable filler, let dry and sanded flat. Here shows the result after the first one has been sanded.

The SM airframe tube also had its spirals filled, and the gap under where the wire loop goes.

Next up: Some details for the CSM

Re: Saturn V 1:100 Scale Estes Kit #001969

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:18 pm
by Aquaman33
A real labour of love OTT.

I'm enjoying the process.