This weekend was the second stage of detailing of the LUT base. The first stage was addition of the correctly spaced vertical beams on the outside of the base, as well as the top of bottom flanges.
Yesterday I added the rest of the detail shown on LUT #1 in various photos (the best of which is to the right.
I detailed the engine chamber a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday discovered that the supports for the launch release clamps were way to large, so I removed them (they're in the foreground) and built new ones the correct (smaller) size. They're now too small to sit the model Saturn V on – I won't be able to place it until the extensions projecting above the launcher deck (the launch release clamps) are done. But they're the right size now.
Base side detailing
The first round of detail – the vertical supports – were added based on the original construction blueprints of the LUT. But in use the units picked up a lot more detail – doors and additional bracing. Of course there is an enormous amount of piping as well, but that's a contrasting color, so it will be added later. The immediate goal is to get everything that will be airbrushed gray done now so I can move to the tower levels.
There were three LUTs, all helpfully labelled 1, 2 or 3, and I have chosen LUT 1 for my model – it's the one that launched among others Apollos 8 and 11. One of the main reasons is because the photographic coverage of Apollo 11 was the most extensive, so I have the best chance of accurately reproducing it.
The white sections above are the sheet and strip plastic additions to represent this external detail.
Fixed support interfaces
The most difficult piece of detailing is the six "fixed support interfaces" around the perimeter of the LUT. As shown on this photo of LUT 3 as reworked to accommodate the space shuttle (as well as the drawing to the right, where they are labelled "mount mechanism", and the drawing above of a similarly "docked" LUT, they are locations which support the LUT when it is left at the launch pad by the crawler/transporter. They had a complex (to model) structure on the exterior of the LUT base.
As I doubt I'll ever get a crawler built, I'll probably make smaller replicas of the mounts and use those as the permanent stand for the model. Only reason I haven done it already is that I don't have the right combination of rod plastic shapes to model them.
Launch release clamps
Finally, the engine chamber has four launch release clamps , which hold the rocket down until it has generated enough thrust to safely begin its ascent. They are the parts in green on the photo of the first Saturn V, the unmanned Apollo 4, but by the time of the manned missions the bright yellow and green were the same gray as to the launcher base, with hoods painted with white ablative paint. They are shown in action on the attached still of Apollo 11 lifting off after the clamps and support masts have detached and swung away.
As the clamps provide the actual base that the Saturn V sits on, they're an important part of the model for structural reasons as well.
They're an unusual shape, and had to be modeled by a unusually shaped plastic box with a base, center piece (with two braces) and four sides of thinner plastic cut in various shapes. The first photo shows the clamps before the fronts and backs were glued on and the sanding and puttying stage began, and loosely positioned in their final locations.
They will actually have two more parts added – the upper sections shown in the photo that make up the actual "clamp" and the protective hood, but I decided to add those after I have completed the bases and confirmed that they hold the Saturn V model straight and level.
Once that's done – and I have added the shielded stairwell (which the above photo of LUT 3 shows is still there) as well as a triangular blast shield that protects the elevators – I'll be ready to start laying out the different levels of the tower.