Apollo Lunar Module


Airfix  #3013 1/72

Height approximately 4"


The second kit I built in my first wave, after the Mir, and thoroughly enjoyable. It was definitely a fiddly one, with a number of strong contenders for the Irritating Assembly Of The Week title, but some very satisfying moments too, when the spidery struts of the leg components all just slid into place on the descent stage, bracing each other almost instantly into a rigid structure.

The LEM had a narrow escape while I was hanging it, actually - I use fine nylon monofilament to hang the kits as safely but unobtrusively as possible, and trying to knot it above my head whilst holding a torch in my mouth to catch the shine of the infinitesimal transparent strand evidently wasn't something I could get away with forever... The loops came apart in my hands and the LEM fell, crashing into the top of my monitor, then skittering onto the keyboard and off onto the floor. To my great relief, the damage was minimal and easily repaired - one landing pad broke off at the "ankle joint", as did one of the blast shields below the attitude jets, and that was it! In spite of it's seeming fragility, it's a tough design... Apollo 13 bears witness to that...

These are images of the LM9 lander preserved at the Kennedy Space Centre, scheduled to fly on the cancelled Apollo 15 mission and never recycled: http://www.apollosaturn.com/frame-asc.htm. I used these pictures as my main painting guide, as the images from the Apollo missions at The Project Apollo Archive show a bewildering variety of colour schemes - all the LEMs seem to have different colours of reflective foil and different schemes of black, white and silver paint on the panelling. I didn't really mind which one I painted, but I'd intended to stick to a particular scheme throughout. It didn't work that way, though, as I ended up painting it so that it pleased my eye in some indefinable way. After some consideration of using sweet wrappers, I managed to get the slightly crinkled effect for the gold foil covering the descent stage by deliberately painting it badly... and fortunately my accidental bad painting on the silver sections is reminiscent, my space-head friend Mike assures me, of the way that most of the paper-thin aluminium panels were convincingly dented out of shape by the time they reached the moon. Mike's a nice guy... :-)



Other resources:

The Apollo Lunar Lander Simulator at the Project Apollo Archive



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