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Estes Saturn 1B Build
#1
I have posted this in another forum, but wanted to post some new things here as well.  I've had this Saturn 1B and two more of the kits for many years, and they just never got dragged out of storage for building.  It's a shame to let them sit boxed up, so I decided I'd start one.  I also have the Semroc and the Apogee versions in 1/70 scale.  But it only seemed fitting to start with the Estes model.  

The first picture is a shot of all the parts layed out on my workbench.

[Image: th_2015-12-29%2016.05.23_zps3bakd1l4.jpg]

Next, the eight fins, comprised of 16 halves, are removed from the sheet, and sanded on a flat piece of sandpaper to smooth the joining surfaces.  The instructions call for reducing the thickness to 1/3 the original thickness.  They looked pretty thin to me, so I just gave them a good sanding, and to my eye, they looked uniform.  These fin halves are small and hard ot hold, so I used a small piece of masking tape, roughly formed to make a small handle, which allowed me to hold the fin flat while sanding.

[Image: th_2016-01-03%2015.34.55_zpsadt1ozcm.jpg]

Next, small pieces of styrene were cut to form braces, which were glued with plastic cement (tube type) into the root edge and trailing edge of the right fin half.  After the glue had set up, a bead of cement was applied to the left fin half perimeter, and the fin halves were joined, manipulated into a good fit, and set aide to dry. Shown are two fin halves, and a glued together fin. Fins will be trimmed to shape after they have set awhile and fully cured.

[Image: th_2016-01-03%2015.27.49_zps3of9ef4g.jpg]

Next step -- work on the tail shroud and aft body / fin unit.

I glued the styrene wrap to the aft body tube using Elmer's Spray Adhesive.  First I wrapped it around to make sure it fit well, requiring no trimming.  There was a very slight gap but should not be too noticeable.  Like other spray adhesives, the Elmer's suggests applying it to one surface and mate with the other surface within 15 seconds for a permanent bond.  The small cutout is for a piece of cardstack, to which the lower launch lug is glued (better gluing surface than styrene for the launch lug). Once the wrap was bonded, I glued the plastic tube shroud into the top of the aft body tube with plastic cement.

[Image: th_2016-01-04%2010.38.39_zpsu7bbs3kx.jpg]

With the aft assembly was drying, I started removing the extra plastic trim off each fin. I used a combination of trimming with an X-acto knife, and sanding.  This is a tedious process, and the thin styrene fins are pretty fragile.  I did 4 of the 8, and decided to quit for the night. It should be noted that a very small amount of the plastic cement should be used when gluing the fin halves together.  Some fins had excess glue used, and there are slight irregularities in spots where the plastic sagged, since it is so thin.  In retrospect, I think I should have used a small brush or Q-tip to spread it out.

Here s a picture of an untrimmed fin, next to a trimmed fin, ready for attachment to the aft body assembly.

[Image: th_2016-01-05%2018.40.45_zpszi38fgmg.jpg]

Next step, attaching the fins.
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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#2
Completion of the aft body / fin unit (aft assembly) is pretty time consuming. I really like the look of 8 fins, but gluing together 16 fin halves, each with two internal braces that require trimming, gluing them together, and then neatly cleaning off the excess styrene along the edges, is more than a day's work. Or it's more than I want to do in one day!  I cleaned up four of them, and decided to attach them to the aft assembly. The last four I'll do tomorrow.

The fins on this kit are slightly upsized for stability, since the actual Saturn 1B fins were really quite small, in relation to the size of the rocket.  This kit requires that the fins are installed with a slight cant to them, to introduce some spin during flight, to improve stability. Estes supplies a template to mark a canted line onto the aft assembly. This template pops out of the middle of a centering ring, which is glued onto a fin alignment guide, allowing the aft assembly to be accurately placed onto the guide.  The fins are tacked into place with plastic cement, and then the aft assembly is placed onto the guide.  The outer tip of each fin must be aligned with the fin markings on the alignment guide, so that each fin is pointing straight out from the aft assembly. The fins are then given fillets of plastic cement, to firmly anchor them in place.  Here is a picture of the aft assembly with the first fin attached.

[Image: th_2016-01-06%2021.17.35_zpsfolbu3ld.jpg]

I'll post an update once all fins are in place.
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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#3
Here is the aft body / fin unit with all 8 fins glued on.  If you look closely at a couple fins, you can see distortions on a couple flat surfaces, as well as a couple of the little tips that go up and over onto the top of the fuel tank shroud.  I may shoot a light coat of primer and see if I am strongly compelled to do a little filling with spot putty. That, or it gets painted, and because it is not pristine, I should have no reservations about flying it! 

[Image: th_2016-01-07%2014.30.34_zpsfelt2h6n.jpg]

Next step:  Start on the second stage body.  Should be smooth sailing now that I'm past the construction of the fins.
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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#4
Looks good so far! Can't wait to see more
L1 - Super Batray - H115
L2 - LOC Magnum - K535
Indiana Rocketry
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#5
Today it snowed pretty hard ... a great day to work on rockets!  However, I am out of spray adhesive and I have more wraps to apply.  I ran the snow blower for nearly an hour to clear the walks and driveway, so I could head out to Hobby Lobby.  I've used 3M in the past, although I had a small amount of Elmer's brand that I used on the aft body wrap.  The 3M was $15.99, the Elmer's was $7.99.  I didn't notice any difference in application or effectiveness, so I got the Elmer's (and used their 40% off website coupon on my iPhone).

Note that there is a significant gap in the two wraps for the upper stage.  The instructions suggest you use a strip of styrene cut from a tear-off strip from one of the wraps (used to make the small braces for the fin assemblies).   My strip was irregular, so I bought some Evergreen 1/8" wide strip styrene, and cut two pieces, sized to fit the gaps in the two wraps. I applied plastic cement to the gaps, and applied the styrene strips.  I'll let this dry completely before adding some detail pieces (tunnel covers) to the upper stage.

[Image: th_2016-01-08%2018.35.38_zps0nrhgz8s.jpg]

[Image: th_2016-01-08%2018.44.06_zps0i41rnk0.jpg]
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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#6
The last two pieces to add to the upper stage body tube are two umbilical covers.  These are cut, then profiled, from a small piece of  wood included in the kit.  Both ends of the long cover, and one end of the small cover, overlap the styrene wraps, so the back sides need to be notched to fit over the wraps. I decided to fill the wood pieces with sanding sealer prior to gluing them onto the tube, so that they would be ready for painting once attached.  The instructions call for using wood glue to attach them.  I used a small amount of plastic cement where the covers overlap the styrene, and wood glue where they contacted the body tube.

The first picture shows the completed upper stage body.  I wanted to see how everything fit, so I slid the fuel tank tubes into the aft body and then slid on the upper stage body. The fit is really excellent, maybe almost too good, since the fuel tubes need to be painted (4 black, 4 white), and then glued to the core tube, prior to sliding the aft body assembly into place.

Next up on this build is assembly of the upper portion of the rocket, which includes the LEM/SM body with transition shroud.

[Image: th_2016-01-10%2011.29.58_zpsib4cjlzb.jpg]

[Image: th_2016-01-10%2011.33.21_zpsmhi6eubt.jpg]

Update:  Good thing I just slid these together for a quick look.  Upper stage is on upside-down ...
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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#7
I've now completed all but one major subassembly of the Saturn 1B.  (The fuel tubes get painted and then glued onto the core tube.) The picture shows everything dry-fitted, I just had to see what the entire rocket would look like. All subassemblies will be painted "sometime" -- it has been bitter cold here, so I may not get to any painting for weeks, maybe a month or more.  This model would be extremely difficult to complete if painting were done after assembly, with all the black and white detail on most of the subassemblies. 

I did not take any pictures of assembly of the LEM/SM body assembly.  I was consumed with fiddling with the cardstock shroud.  It must be cut out, rolled, butted-ends glued (a nd reinforced with a small cardstock strip inside the shroud), and then when dry, fitted to the body tube with centering rings and coupler.  Frankly, I was worn out after this, fretting during the entire assembly, to make sure everything fit correctly.  The shroud would be an excellent candidate for  a molded styrene part if the Saturn 1B is ever updated!   Smile   I guess I should be glad I did not have to use a cardstock part to form the aft shroud surrounding the fuel tanks.

I built the nozzle assembly next.  There is not a lot of detail on the nozzles, but for a static display piece, it is fine.  The nozzlesd are cut from a sheet of styrene, and hand sanded to get a smooth edge. Nozzles are then glued to a cardstack ring with holes punched for each of the 8 nozzles. A solid ring backs up the punched ring for easy assembly.  Finally, the rings are glued to a short section of tube, which supports the assembly withing the aft end of the rocket.  This assembly is removed for flight.

The Apollo capsule and LES assembly was pretty challenging.  My fingers don't quite have the dexterity they did in my youth (heck, even 15-20 years ago) so I took it slowly, and let glued-on parts dry at several steps along the way, before adding another part.  The tiny nozzles, tower legs, and circular ring within the leg assembly were tough to add.  I used Model Masters liquid plastic cement with a needle-like tube, so I could dispense very small amounts of glue, in a very controllable fashion. A pair of surgical-grade tweenzers with long, slender tips helped to get theses small parts aligned during the gluing process.

[Image: th_2016-01-12%2015.04.59_zpsame7lmpg.jpg]

Next step -- awaiting nice weather to do some painting.   Big Grin
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build:   Estes Saturn 1B
Next: complete Semroc Mars Lander, upscaled Orbital Transport
In Finishing:  Interceptor-E 
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