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Michael Smith
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Progress on the 1/200 Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT)

November 25, 2018 · in Space · · 5 · 3.3K

After several weeks off I finally got a day in the model workshop yesterday, which extended late into the night and several more hours this afternoon. While I made some progress on the 1/700 Hood and Arizona, the giant leap, to borrow a phrase, was on the LUT (launch umbilical tower) where I got several things done:

  • finished the exterior pipe framework (had 3-4 levels of this to go)

  • finished the internal ladders (well, 4 1/2 out of 5)

  • designed, built, painted & installed the bracket for the service arms.

  • added detail and detail painted the crane (including the "Colby Crane logo)

One of the things that really helped was using Super Glue for the fragile subassemblies like ladders instead of normal plastic cement. I could assemble, paint and install multiple sections without waiting for them to fuse together and then dry. That's not something I've done before, but it's really helpful on fragile subassemblies.

I was particularly pleased with the service arm bracket. That's the girder attached to the front of the LUT which runs from almost the base to almost the top and has all the service arms attached to it. It consists of two parts, which gave me a chance to try out the design on a smaller piece before tackling the 14" long version.

I sized the parts from photos and pieced it together from angle, rod and strip plastic, then test-fitted the bracket after assembly but before all the detail pieces were added, and it was painted. Once in place it's not really noticeable, but it's a crucial step from the LUT as a standalone structure to its support role for the Saturn V stack.

The LUT looks terrific in the display case now (under the aforementioned Arizona), and with the annoying things like structure and ladders out of the way, and the service arm bracket in place, I can move to the final two parts of the tower - the massive external piping, and the service arms. That should only take another year or two.

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

5 responses

  1. just beautiful

  2. WoW! That's gorgeous, Michael. And it looks so cool in your display case with perfect lighting. I look forward to more.

  3. This is great! the 50th anniversary is coming up of the Apollo11 landing. We have a guy doing the gantry in 1/96 scale at The Cradle of Aviation museum here in Long island NY.

  4. Hi Michael,
    Great looking LUT.
    Is there a download program for those of us that have a 3D printer for this LUT or how did you build it?

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