Modelling the 1/48 Lunar Module & CSM

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 Cult3D 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.


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 kapton blankets, cutting parts around the outriggers and fixing the plume deflectors.

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.

001.jpg 002.jpg 002a.jpg 016.jpg 002a.jpg 002a.jpg 002a.jpg
002a.jpg 002a.jpg 002a.jpg 002a.jpg 019.jpg







005.jpg 005.jpg



010.jpg 010a.jpg







015.jpg 016.jpg
016a.jpg 016b.jpg 016c.jpg 017.jpg 017a.jpg 018.jpg


The Ascent Stage

By clicking of the following pictures you will get a complete description on how to build this model.

019a.jpg 019b.jpg 019c.jpg 019d.jpg 019e.jpg 020.jpg 030.jpg
031.jpg 031.jpg 032.jpg 032a.jpg 032b.jpg 032c.jpg 032d.jpg
032e.jpg 032f.jpg 032g.jpg 032h.jpg 032i.jpg 032j.jpg 032k.jpg
032k.jpg032k.jpg032k.jpg032k.jpg 032k.jpg 032k.jpg 032k.jpg
032s.jpg 020.jpg 021.jpg 022.jpg 023.jpg 024.jpg
024.jpg 025.jpg 026.jpg 027.jpg 027.jpg 028.jpg 029.jpg
029a.jpg 029b.jpg 029c.jpg 029d.jpg 029e.jpg 029f.jpg 029g.jpg
029h.jpg 029i.jpg 029j.jpg 029k.jpg 029l.jpg 033.jpg 033a.jpg
034.jpg 035.jpg 036.jpg 037.jpg 038.jpg 039.jpg 040.jpg
040a.jpg 041.jpg 041.jpg 042.jpg 043.jpg 043a.jpg044.jpg
052.jpg 052a.jpg 045.jpg 046.jpg 047.jpg 048.jpg
049.jpg 050.jpg 051.jpg 053a.jpg 055.jpg
056.jpg 057.jpg 057a.jpg
058.jpg 059.jpg 060.jpg 061.jpg

061a.jpg 061b.jpg062.jpg 063.jpg063.jpg

Assembling the two stages

Now that the two stages are complete the ascent stage is assembled on to the descent stage followed by the landing probes


The stand

Before building the Command and Service module, I decided to build the stand. The design is based on the code 3 desk display model except that I wanted something reminding the 50th anniversary of the Apollo era so I added the official Apollo 50 logo on top of the stand.


The Command & Service Modules

It is now time to build the Command and Service Module. For several years I had the 1/48 Realspace CSM that I wanted to use. Unfortunately I rapidly saw that the Service Module was unusable,something happened to the resin at some point and the cylinder looked like a spoiled food can . I probably could had sanded it to make it perfectly cylindrical but it meant removing all the details. I then decided to use the work I had already done with the 1/32 CSM and downscale it to 1/48. So in this model the Service module is a complete design of mine. You can download the STL files on Cult3D and print the model at home.



The finished model

The Lunar Module and the Command & Service Modules are now linked and exhibited with the Apollo 50 stand. You can compare this model with the one I did about 4 decades ago.