Modelling the 1/48 Lunar Module

If you want to model the 1/48 Lunar module you have several options as a few kits are available on the market. The only problem with these kits is that either they were designed at an early stage of the LM development or they lack accuracy. The oldest one is the 1/48 Revell model, the main dimensions are ok but the model was designed before the LM flew and shows quite a few inaccuracies like the lack of plume deflectors, various antennas or the shape of the ascent stage. The Monogram model was designed at a later stage but still shows a lot of problem, however you can build a decent accurate model if you purchase the augmentation kit from NewWare. The last 1/48 model is from Dragon but you better forget about it, the dimensions of the descent stage are totally wrong and the model looks like a cartoon figure, a small body with a big head.

The model I propose is the most accurate 1/48 model so far, you can built it straight out of the box without any augmentation kit. Furthermore for those having a 3D printer, all parts are available on thingiverse.

Parts needed to build the model

The plastic parts needed to build this model are available on Shapeways, however if you have a 3D printer, in particular a resin printer such as the Anycubic Photon, you can download the STL files on Thingiverse and print the model at home.

If you want a very accurate model, only very few parts will be painted since most of the LM is covered with kapton and anodized aluminium panels.

For the kapton (mainly the descent stage) you need 5 different colors : 

  1. yellow - mirror bright
  2. amber - mirror bright
  3. dark amber - mirror bright
  4. aluminium - mirror bright
  5. mat black 
For 1 and 2 you can use survival blanket or similar wrapping paper but you need to be sure there is a difference between yellow amber (very goldish) and amber which is a bit orange. The dark amber is the most difficult color to find, I recently found coffee bags at Aliexpress which match the color almost perfectly. To know exactly which kapton goes where, a pattern is provided herebelow

For the mat black kapton I simply painted aluminium paper.

For the anodized aluminium paper a pattern is provided below as well as drawings to show the shingling of the various panels.

Parts in white versatile plastic
for the ascent and descent stages
Parts in smooth detail plastic
for the descent stage
Parts in smooth detail plastic
for the ascent stage
The numbers and colors on the pdf document match the numbers on the part assembly herebelow.

Documentation

As the ascent stage and descent stage will be covered with kapton and panels the following drawing will help you to locate the various panels, blankets and shingling patterns. For the ascent stage panels I simply printed the provided sheet and applied the cutted panels on the ascent stage.

Descent Stage Documents
Drawings to be used to locate the thermal blanket for LM-5 (Apollo 11). Position of the blankets might be different for other LM, please refer to Paul Fjeld coating page for further information. The middle document in this list also contains the UNITED STATES marking and US flag to be applied on the descent stage. Pattern to be used for cutting parts around the descent engine heat shield. Pattern to be used for cutting parts around the outriggers.

Ascent Stage Documents
Drawing showing the location of each panel on the ascent stage for LM-5 (Apollo 11) as well as the shingling pattern. Drawing showing the location of each panel on the ascent stage for LM after Apollo 11 as well as the shingling pattern. Patterns and decals to be used for covering the ascent stage.This article describes the calculation behind the elevation and azimuth of the S band high gain antenna and gives for all apollo missions and each EVA the values of the elevation and azimuth angles for a correct orientation of the antenna.

The Descent Stage

By clicking of the following pictures you will get a complete description on how to build this model, pictures of the real model are taken from the 1/32 LM build.

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The Ascent Stage

By clicking of the following pictures you will get a complete description on how to build this model, pictures of the real model are taken from the 1/32 LM build.

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