Apollo 11 Command/Service Module
Dragon has provided an excellent rendition of the famous Apollo 11 Command/Service Module (CSM) in 1/48th scale. This kit can be viewed as a companion kit to Dragon’s #11008 LEM kit. Together, they make an awesome pair!
Dragon advertises that this kit is a “Delicate Apollo 11 CSM w/display stand.” While the appearance of the model gives one the impression that it is, indeed, “delicate,” in truth the model is rather robust. The manner in which the parts fit together lends considerable strength to the model and one need not be concerned for any “delicacy” issues during assembly.
Dragon takes justifiable pride in the appearance of the VHF antenna array. The antenna components are actually photo-etched and have been manufactured with a concave appearance. If there is any feature of this kit that is “delicate,” the antenna array is that component. Some care must be exercised in assembling this part of the kit. Fortunately, the entire sub-assembly is easy to attach to the main body of the SM. No glue is required. A tight fit is obtained by simply pressing the antenna support arm locating biscuit into the receiving slot on the SM.
The parts are well molded and no putty was used in the construction of this kit, nor was any seam filling required. There is a great deal of fine detail molded into the kit. It should be noted that the windows in the CM are not “see-thru”, nor is there a way of modeling the windows in a “see-thru” configuration unless the plastic forming the windows is cut away. The kit is “multi-media” in that there are four P.E. parts included among the plastic. The antenna “dishes” are P.E.
If you have any experience with some of Dragon’s spacecraft kits, you’ll agree that assembly is an easy process. Dragon employs uniquely-shaped locating pins and biscuits that allow a part to fit in only one way…the correct way. In the case of this particular model, you will appreciate that fact when you assemble the fuselage of the CMS. There are ten parts used to assemble the fuselage of the CSM and each is designed to fit into that assembly in only one way. In fact, assembly of this model is very simple and quite easy, and that is due to some very good “engineering” on the part of Dragon.
There are three noteworthy items in regard to the assembly process:
- The only seams that need to be handled are those formed by the attitude thruster halves. These housings are presented in two parts and the resulting seam needs to be sanded away.
- The docking mechanism is simple to assemble but looks very complex and very “mechanical.”
- The exhaust nozzle, Part # A11, on the Service Module is molded as a single piece. No seams to fill and no need to sand. This may not seem like a big deal but for those who build space models with rocket nozzles, it is a delight to have these items molded as a single piece.
Mike Mackowski's SIM#6 is a very useful guide for completing the CSM. SIM #6 not only clarifies the color scheme for Apollo 11, but also for the other Apollo CSMs. Look for Space In Miniature reviews in another area of the IPMS Review site for reviews of some of Mike’s publications.
In a word, the decals for this kit are “awesome.” Printed by Cartograf, these decals do not have any clear carrier film that might need to be removed and are printed with such clarity that the individual letters can be made out on even the smallest of the markings. No setting solution was used and none was needed.
Displaying the Finished Model
The display stand will look very familiar to those who have built other Dragon kits. It is very strong and stable. The only issue I experienced with this model was that I could not locate the mounting hole into which the bolt holding the model to the stand would be inserted. I solved this problem by drilling a hole in a convenient location on the CSM.
This kit is highly recommended. It is easy to build, is well engineered with a great deal of detail, has excellent decals, and looks spectacular when finished. Thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing this sample and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to do the review.