Apollo to the Moon

Kit box Kit box The Revell Apollo Lunar Spacecraft (H-1838) was first released in 1967 and retailed initially for $6.00. The kit was re-released in 1983 as part of Revell's History Makers Limited Production Series II (#8644), however, the cost had escalated to $38.00. Revell of Germany's most recent offering took it to new heights, around $50.00.

The kit consisted of 163 parts molded in white plastic plus clear acetate to cut out for windows. The scale of the kit was listed as 1/48th and the box contained the Apollo Spacecraft Stack, which included the Launch Escape Subsystem (LES), Command Module (CM), Service Module (SM), Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter (SLA), and the Lunar Module (LM). Also included with the SLA was the Instrument Unit (IU) of the launch vehicle. One major subassembly of the LES that was not included in the kit is the Boost Protective Cover (BPC). This element was incorporated in both the Block I and Block II versions of the Apollo spacecraft and would have to be scratch-built if one wanted a more accurate representation of the flight vehicle. Each of the modules separate to allow for a full demonstration of the entire flight profile of the lunar mission. However this element of the kit required a compromise of many of the details in those areas of the kit that include moving parts. The interior of the CM and a portion of the interior of the SM was included, but no interior was supplied for the LM. One note on the SM interior, the Electrical Power Subsystem components, including the fuel cells and the oxygen and hydrogen tanks, were included in the SM detail. However, if the model is built according to the instructions, then this equipment would be located in sector one, correct for a Block I vehicle, while for Block II it should be located in sector four. The LM is representative of a late 1965, or post SWIP (Super Weight Improvement Program) configuration, while the CSM is of the block I configuration and as such should not be included with a LM as the Block I vehicle was never intended to fly with the LM.

The kit is a bit out of scale in many respects and a partial list follows:

DescriptionActual VehicleRevell Model
IU diameter21' 8"23' 0"
IU length3' 0"3' 6"
SLA overall length28' 0"27' 10"
SLA length - lower section7' 9"7' 0"
SLA length - panels21' 3"20' 10"
SLA lower diameter21' 8"23' 0"
SLA upper diameter12' 10"13' 5"
SM overall length24' 7"24' 7"
SM length - cylinder only15' 2"14' 10"
SM upper fairing length1' 11"1' 8.5"
SM SPS nozzle length - exposed9' 9"8' 4"
SM SPS nozzle diameter7' 10.5"8' 7"
LES overall length33' 4.76"33' 0"
LES length - tower legs9' 10.3"9' 5"
LES length - skirt1' 7.7"1' 3"
LES motor cylinders and nose cap21' 10.76"22' 4"
LES cylinder diameter2' 2"2' 2"

Command module dimensions

Most of the dimensions of the kit would be very hard to change and frankly, I don't recommend altering the dimensions. However, the CSM can be altered to more accurately reflect a Block II vehicle.

On the Command Module the forward pitch engines need to be relocated to a horizontal orientation from their vertical orientation. The scimitar antennas will have to be relocated to the sides of the Service Module. The optics penetration on the +Z axis of the vehicle needs to be included (even if you are building a Block I version of the vehicle), and the unified hatch could be represented by adding 0.010" thick sheet plastic to both the hatch itself and directly around the hatch. The CSM external umbilical needs to be removed and a new one scratch-built at the +Z axis of the vehicle. EVA handles should be added to the outside of the CM, including the ring handle that goes around the forward hatch. If you are really crazy, a docking probe could be scratch-built at the +X axis of the vehicle.

All of the external detail of the Service Module should be sanded off and new panel lines scribed into the surface. The radiator panels for both of the Electrical Power Subsystem (EPS) and the Environmental Control Subsystem (ECS) will have to be scratch-built in their Block II locations. The rendezvous radar and antenna, rendezvous beacon, docking spotlight hatch, and EVA spotlight could be added to the fairing panels between the SM and CM. The eight running lights that surround the SM cylinder also could be added. At the -X end of the vehicle the Service Propulsion Subsystem (SPS) heatshield is of a different configuration on the Block II vehicle and needs to be altered, as well as the SPS fuel and oxidizer fill and drain fittings detailed. The High-gain antenna is crudely portrayed and needs some detailing. I don't know if this system was to be flown on the manned Block I vehicles.

David Weeks