Estes 1/100 Scale Saturn 1B
Construction Tip Sheet

I just finished building the Estes Saturn 1B and have compiled a tip sheet for that model. I hope that you may find this useful.

Kurt Schachner

  1. When painting the rocket, use ONLY Testor's model paint or other paint intended for plastic models. DO NOT use hardware store enamel. ESPECIALLY DO NOT USE Krylon paint or lacquer! You will melt the thin plastic wraps (or fin assembly) and dissolve the wrap adhesive.

  2. After gluing on the wraps, use cyanoacrylate adhesive (CA) to re-glue just the edges and ends of the wraps. This will prevent the wraps from peeling off.

  3. Use polypropylene paint masking tape (available at autobody supply stores and McMaster-Carr) to mask off the fin assembly and the second stage wrap for the black paint. Otherwise, the black painted areas will not have sharp edges.

  4. For step 1B in the instructions, do not follow the directions. Instead of trying to cut the thin styrene wrap into a 1/8" strip, go to the hobby store and buy some 0.010" (or 0.015") thick by 1/8" wide styrene strip (Evergreen). This will be much easier to attach and will be more uniform in width, making it easier to assemble the fins. Use the same commercial strip in step 5D.

  5. When assembling the fins, align the halves as accurately as possible. Otherwise, when you sand off the flash in step 3B, you will expose voids in the fins. If this happens, use Testor's contour putty and extra glue to fill the voids. Be careful in using a knife to remove the flash. It is easy to cut too deep. Use plenty of glue when gluing the fin halves together.

  6. In step 7, assembling the reduction wrap, fill the outside of the wrap seam with wood filler and sand smooth.

  7. In step 10D, don't sand the legs before a test fit. It is easy to sand too much off the legs. Don't forget to glue in the small ring (step 10E) before you glue on the fourth leg.

  8. In step 15A, lightly sand the INSIDE of the aft body assembly (fin assembly) before pushing it down over the fuel tubes. Make sure it fits easily over the tubes (but not too loose). Otherwise, you will scrape paint off the fuel tubes.

  9. Use epoxy (or CA) to attach the antenna boards in step 16A and the R.C.S. nozzles in step 16D. With most epoxies, you will not have to scrape the paint off the fuel tubes to attach the antenna boards.

  10. Use Hobsco Solvaset or a Microscale product on the decals to help them snuggle down over the ridges in the plastic wraps.

  11. Lastly, when packing the parachutes into the body for flight, pack the upper (12") parachute in first with the lower (18") parachute in above it. This way, upon ejection, you will be sure the lower parachute deploys properly.

  12. [ed. note: If you use CA, don't spray CA accelerator on the plastic parts! It will craze the plastic and force you to sand it all smooth and you don't want to do that... trust me. If you want to use an accelerator, use a fine mist of water.]