Dragon 1/72 Lunar Module and CSM
We choose to go to the Moon!
“We choose to go to the Moon...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
President Kennedy’s speech on 12th September 1962 at Rice University, Texas.
Seven years later it happened! Mercury was followed by Gemini and Apollo, there was success and mishaps, genius and engineering. There was the personal effort of thousands of people and the courage, will and belief of a few who started to discover the outer sphere of our planet.
There was Tragic, too: Apollo 1 with Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. They lost their lives in an accident, not in Space but on Earth.
There were epic moments: Apollo 8 with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders - the first flight to the Moon and the Christmas reading of the book of Genesis.
These were all milestones leading to the 20th July 1969, when Neil Armstrong set his foot on the surface of the Moon. We should remember all this while celebrating the final leap of the mission President Kennedy claimed on that September day in Texas!
I did not know all this when Neil Armstrong left the first footstep on the Moon surface. I was just two years and eight months old at that time. My first contact with the history of Moon Landing was years later when I read a book about the Apollo program my parents bought for me. Instead I got in contact with model making early in my life; I never had the drive to build a scale model of one of the machines that brought mankind to the outer spheres of our planet.
Nearly 49 years later the idea to set up a special display for the 50. Anniversary of Moon Landing was born by my friend Frank Ilse. I was excited by his idea and started researching information, photos, history and the available kits to build something for the display. I decided to build the CSM and LM and found both scale 1/72 Dragon kits representing the Eagle and Columbia in flight or on the Moon surface.
Dragons kit no. 11001 and no. 11002 contains more or less the same parts for the CSM and LM. Kit no. 11002 contains two astronauts and a display for the Moon surface as additional parts.
The moulding of the parts is sharp and clean with a slightly rough surface and very little flash. The kits are designed to be easily built. They contain only few parts for both the CSM and LM. Because of this some areas lack a bit of detail. The fit is OK, but filling and sanding is required to get the sharp edges of the Lunar Modules ascent stage. The descent stage surface is moulded representing the curly foil surface typical for the module. All in all it looks quite nice and easy to build.
I started with the CSM. Because I wanted to display the CSM and LM and did not trust the kit option, which is a metal holder and a fixation with a screw, I thought about a better solution. I wanted to clip it together and be able to easily remove it from the display. So I added a cross brace, a square brass tube with a hole in the centre, too the upper halve of the CSM. I fixed it with styrene stripes, super glue and putty. Next I added a round brass tube in longitudinal direction through the cross brace and fixed it with super glue and putty. Now I was able to mount the model on a display adding a square tube through the cross brace. The round brass tube has to hold the LM which got a brass rod to slide inside of the tube and fix both parts. That needed some extra work, but it all worked out very well on the first attempt.
The rest was just gluing the parts together according to the instruction. Test fitting the parts is required because the instructions leave some open questions, but it all went together well. To get a good fit, some filling and sanding is required. Mainly the landing legs need a lot of attention.
A few details are missing, like a cable duct on the ascent stage and the landing probes on the descent stage. Some parts are oversized, like the brackets for the deflection shield and the handrail for the Egress platform. All this is easily to apply using styrene and brass rod.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Painting was a real challenge and required a lot of masking and demasking. I used Vallejo acrylic metal colours. The new range of metal colours is easy to work with. A gloss black basic coat is required. Painting was done using an airbrush. To highlight the surface of the foil covered areas I hand painted a second and third layer. All the fittings and screws that hold the outer cover of the ascent stage were hand painted.
The decals are quite nice, but the film is a little bit too thick. They were easy to apply using MicroSet and MicroSol.
The displays were crafted from wood by a carpenter according to my sketches.
In any aspects, this was an inspiring and interesting project to me. I not only built both model kits, but also stepped inside the history of one, if not the biggest event in history. It was a story of genius, courage and the will to reach a goal far away from everything what had happened before.
Looking back to the Apollo program we should also think about that mankind first saw our small and fragile blue planet and remember William Anders (Apollo 8) words when he came back from the first mission to the Moon!
“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth”
19 July 2019
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