Quick Looks

Manufacturer: Launch Complex Models
Name: Apollo-Saturn V Launch Complex 39 Mobile Launcher
Scale: 1:144
Kit contents: 84 resin pieces
67 acrylic pieces
39 sheets of photoetched parts
styrene rod, half-rod, and strip stock
ABS I-Beam and Tee-Beam stock
steel wire
silicone tubing
walnut base
commemorative plaque
Comments: This is the kit a lot of people have been waiting for... and it's a doozy! The acrylic sheet parts are used to form the launch platform. They are each covered with protective film that needs to be peeled off before assembly. The parts will then be covered with photoetched plates to provide the platform details. You will also have to cut a lot of the strip/rod/I-Beam/Tee-Beam stock as well. I recommend getting something like "The Chopper" to do this, as there will be a lot of cutting to do: there are 64 T-Beam pieces to be cut for the platform alone. A sheet of laser-cut acrylic parts provides various cable trays. The photoetched parts make up the bulk of the kit, so there's a lot of folding to be done. The instructions recommend using a bench vise for most parts. You'll probably also want one of those photoetched folding tools from The Small Shop and other vendors. Each sheet of brass includes a separate map identifying all the parts by number and position on the sheet. These numbers are called out in the instructions, so there should be no ambiguities. The resin parts are crisply molded with a smooth surface finish and very few (if any) visible air holes. (I'm not sure if some of the visible holes on what I'm assuming is a part for the crane are supposed to be there or not. It's apparent from some of the parts that locating holes are included, but the instructions aren't complete yet, so I don't know how everything is supposed to fit together.) Some of the parts have been molded around an integral brass pin, indicating that the parts will either be bearing some load or will serve as hinges. Some of the parts are still on their pour wafers and will need to be removed. Some seam cleanup will also be required on some of the parts. One of the parts will be used as an alignment jig, according to the kit's checklist. As previously mentioned, the instructions aren't completed yet. A three ring binder in the kit includes a table of contents, a history of the Saturn Apollo launch complex, a list of required tools (surprisingly small, but you'll probably also want to get a bench vise and the above-mentioned tools as well), and sections devoted to each portion of the model, starting with the launch platform. Each major section also has a painting guide. My kit only contained instructions for the launch platform and one level, along with general elevator shaft instructions. No painting guide is in my set. However, as each section of the instructions is completed, Launch Complex Models posts it on its web site for downloading, printing, and inclusion into the binder. Since it takes me forever to finish a model, this isn't a problem for me, but for those of you who want to build the kit Right Now, this may be a bit of a roadblock: as of this writing, only one or two more minor sections (including a list of known errors) have been posted. A massive walnut base is also included with the kit, along with a commemorative plaque that resembles the plaques left on the moon.
Reference Price: $750.00 plus shipping

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Sven Knudson