My 1/96th Scale Flying Saturn V & Mobile Launcher

Discussion in 'Space & Aeronautics' started by WeeVikes, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Hey guys,

    I thought you might like to see my 1/96th Saturn V and Moblile Launcher.

    The Mobile Launcher was designed to be the launch pad for my flying S-V model, based on Ton Noteboom's design located at Jon Leslie's fantastic site. Every time I'd see pictures of an Estes Saturn V, or some other large S-V model's launch, I always thought it looked wrong on a regular model pad. My dream for a couple decades has been to duplicate the Saturn V in flight, down the the proper launch pad.

    The basic framework of the LUT is 1/4th inch square cross section spruce "beams". I basically built it up like an RC airplane frame and painted it. The plumbing and the cross braces are 1/8th inch diameter dowels. I built a jig to make the 60 some-odd inverted "V" shaped cross members (talk about tedious...). The crane frame is made up of 1/8th inch square cross section "beams". The individual decks, stairs, access arms, and some other parts are made of cardstock, by traditional card modeling techniques.

    The access arms are hinged, and when in the retracted position are held in place by small magnets (I didn't want them possibly swinging around in a breeze, potentially striking the rocket as it lifts off.)

    The launcher platform's basic structure is made of foamcore, which I clad in posterboard, then used more 1/8th square spruce for the "reinforcement" beams on the sides. The hold-down arms are basically a scale-up of the ones I designed for my 1/480th LUT model. The Tail Service Masts might just be my favorite part of the model. They are hinged and counterweighted, and retract to the vertical position at liftoff just like the real things did!

    As I said, this model was designed to be the launch pad for my flying Saturn V. As such, I designed it so the tower could be removed from the pad and the crane could be detached from the tower for ease of transport to the field. The launch rod is not in the pictures, but goes thru the hold-down arm furthest from the tower.

    For all you rivet-counters out there -- yeah, I know, I missed on some of the details. Some things came to my attention after I was too far along to fix them, some things I intentionally simplified, and some things I had to guess at. And there are a few things I simply haven't put on yet, like the accessway to Arm 1. Oh well, for my purposes, it's close enough.

    The Moblie Launcher model is the culmination of roughly 2 1/2 years of on-and-off again research, design, and construction. I plan to never do it again! Had the kit available on E-Bay that George has been documenting been available to me when I began, it would have made my life a lot easier...

    The rocket in the pictures with the pad is my "regular" Ton Noteboom Saturn V. The last attachment shows the remnants of the actual flight vehicle that flew for the first time this past Saturday, September 22, 2007 (my 42nd birthday!) The rocket flew like a dream, straight and true with Estes D12-3 power. The model was designed to separate just aft of the S-II/S-IVB adapter, with both sections parachuting down separately. Unfortunately, due to a design error on my part, the lower section's parachutes didn't deploy on the vehicle's second flight, and did a perfect "lawn dart" imitation, straight into the ground, as you can see by the crumpled body tube. The good thing is, though, it was a relatively straightforward build, and I anticpate being able to rebuild the rocket in relatively short order. Oh yeah, I did shoot video of the launches -- once I figure out how to get them on YouTube, I'll let you all know, if you're interested.

    In all, I'm extraordinarily pleased with how things came out. Like I said, this was something I'd been dreaming of for a very, very long time. I'd always wanted to commemorate July 16th with a proper Saturn V launch -- now I can. As much as I like the little LUT model I designed, I like this one a little better!


    Attached Files:

  2. George B

    George B Senior Member


    Excellent work there Mike!!:thumb:

    It must have looked great lifting off that pad.

  3. mikew

    mikew Member

    Fantastic work.
  4. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Thanks, George.

    Yeah, the rocket looked really great coming off that pad.

    Did you notice the camera platforms?

  5. gpw

    gpw Member

    Fantastic model, great built. :thumb::thumb::thumb:

  6. jasco

    jasco Member

    I usually try to stay away from areas of this forum that are not ships (that's what I'm building now) because I invariably get screen sucked into other gorgeous builds like this one and I want to go start my own right away! Fantastic!
  7. George B

    George B Senior Member

    Camera Platforms

    I sure did! :) It's the details like that which make all the difference in the world. Are they paper?

  8. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Yes, they're paper, but I did use wood for the bracing underneath them, just like the real thing had. You probably can't see them from the picture, but believe me, they're there.

  9. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    Thanks, but I tell you what -- I'd love to see that USS Pennsylvania. I'm a sucker for battleships.
  10. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member


    That is a beautiful model and platform. Even has the Hold-Downs.

    Really wonderful.
  11. Mark_1984

    Mark_1984 Guest

    Really nice piece of work - I'd love to see the video
  12. jasco

    jasco Member

    I'm working on updating my build thread of the PA this weekend.
  13. Very nice build. I was tempted to take this on myself but never worked up the nerve. I am going to build the one George is building. I only hope it turns out as good as his.
  14. londonbluemisty

    londonbluemisty Wayne P

    Great looking LUT Mike!!:thumb::thumb:
    A lot more detail than I thought you would of added,As it is a working launch platform!!
    Looking forward to seeing the launch video.
  15. Regie

    Regie Member

    Me too! It must have been fabulous! I built a non flying one of these a while ago, and have had a flying version on my to do list for some time but life keeps getting n the way. Thanks for the inspiration!
  16. OhioMike

    OhioMike Member

    I have been launching model rockets for years and most if not all the time you need a guide rod to safely launch the rocket but i didnt see one....did you camoflage it somehow?Great build!
  17. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member


    Yes, I used one, but it's not in the pictures. It actually goes thru the hold-down arm furthest from the tower, more or less flush with the body of the vehicle.

    Glad you like the model.

  18. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    my plans for a similiar model include using an internal guide wire that is run through one of the unused F1 engines.
  19. WeeVikes

    WeeVikes Member

    So, Jon, when are you going to build it? I'm looking forward to seeing it. Will you do a completely new design or will you modify Ton's?

  20. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    Actually its half finished on my desk for about 3 years now, and the external's are nothing more than Ton's Saturn V. The big trick is that it is a 3-stage rocket, with accurate separation planes for the 3 stages. 4 separate parachute recovery systems, the 3 stages plus the top (apollo capsule)

    I still haven't found a source for quick match, its not legal here in NY...

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