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Building a 1/48 Scale Saturn V

At the 2007 Florida WinterNationals, my wife won a 1/48 scale Saturn V rocket kit from Sheri's Hot Rockets. When assembled, the rocket will be over eight inches in diameter and about 7 1/2 feet tall.

The kit is delivered in a very large box.

Inside the box is a large assortment of mostly large parts.

The kit includes a 48-page instruction book and full-size plans. Also included is a CD-R with a RockSim data file and a copy of the manual.

Sheri designed the rocket to fly on two G motors. I've decided to try to make it fly on five motors to represent the five motors of the real Saturn V's first stage.

My first impressions of the kit are ... "it's big" ... and ... "this isn't a Skill Level 1 kit."

Only a few of the parts in the kit look like parts of a Saturn V. There are five solid resin nozzles (used to build a display stand), a resin Command Module, and a resin escape tower. Everything else is sheets, sticks, or tubes. This is a real "builder's kit." For example, you cut tubes to create the shrouds around the fins and create the transitions from the included (pre-cut) sheets.

The instructions are well written. Some of the photographs didn't reproduce well, but Sheri's included the instructions on a CD so you can view the photographs on your computer. Although there are many steps, she's done well to describe them in detail and some of the ways the parts fit together are rather ingenious.

I'm replacing the centering rings and motor mounts included with the kit. In their place, I'm creating a "motor pod" which will slide in the rear of the rocket and be secured with bolts and nuts. The motor pod will contain all five motor mounts and an altimeter for firing the ejection charge at apogee.

[Posted: 2007-02-22 | Updated: 2007-02-26]

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