Dragon 1/48 Apollo 11 Lunar Lander 'Eagle'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back. Six such craft successfully landed on the Moon between 1969–1972.
The LM, consisting of an Ascent stage and Descent stage, was ferried to lunar orbit by its companion Command/Service Module (CSM), a separate spacecraft of approximately twice its mass, which took the astronauts home to Earth. After completing its mission, the LM was discarded. In one sense it was the world's first true spacecraft in that it was capable of operation only in outer space, structurally and aerodynamically incapable of flight through the Earth's atmosphere.
The LM got a later start on its design than the CSM, due to the to the initial unpopularity of the lunar orbit rendezvous strategy. Its development was also plagued with several hurdles which delayed its first unmanned flight by about ten months, and its first manned flight by about three months. Despite this, the LM eventually became the most reliable component of the Apollo/Saturn system, the only one never to suffer any failure that significantly impacted a mission, and in at least one instance (LM-7Aquarius) greatly exceeded its design requirements by maintaining life support for astronauts after an explosion damaged the Apollo Service Module.
This kit represents the module design used for the first three moon landings. The LM was later upgraded for the final three missions.
This is not the first 1/48 LM as Monogram included one in its now venerable moon landing kit. Though I am by no means an expert on the subject, I would like to think that this one is more accurate. It certainly looks a lot nicer. Dragon has even gone the extra step of painting those parts that would normally be covered with gold foil. And I do mean painted as the gold is not plated.
The one thing that surprised me about the LM is that much of it is black. As you can see by the photo of the 'Eagle' after deploying from the CM, there is a lot of black in the design. I have also included a photo of one of the painted pieces so you can see how it looks. According to the PR info listed below, this is only on the initial boxing.
Here is all the information from Dragon:
- All-new toolings to match the new scale.
- The wrinkled surface is pre-painted in the appropriate gold color (only available on first production run).
- Heat-reflecting material under the module.
- Pre-painted descent stage w/aluminum foil and realistic engine
- Well-defined and pre-painted landing pads represented
- Delicate plume detector on Landing Module has astonishing detail
- Realistic ascent and descent stages accurately represent the originals
- Minutely detailed reaction control thruster assembled w/crisp details
- Realistic landing radar antenna molded w/details
- Intricate descent stage w/realistic engine
- Authentic ladder included
- S-band steerable antenna and rendezvous radar antenna can be folded up/down
- Egress platform w/delicate detail
- Diminutive reaction control thruster assembled w/crisp details
- Intricate docking target and VHF antenna on ascent stage
Instructions are but a single sheet with full painting information in color on the back of the box. The small decal sheet is well done and appropriate for the Eagle.
This really is a nicely done kit. Space fiends will appreciate it as we have needed an up to date kit of the LEM for quite some time.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop.
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