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Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle'

DML 1/48 Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Scale 1/48
Kit Number 11008 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautifully detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $45.49

First Look

The Lunar Module was developed for the Apollo program by Grumman for the specific purpose of carrying two astronauts from lunar orbit down to the surface of the Moon. The descent module had to provide sufficient cargo capability for a variety of experiment packages (and in later versions a rover vehicle) in addition to the fuel needed to facilitate a soft landing of the descent and ascent modules onto the lunar surface. The ascent module (and crew cabin) likewise needed capacity for life support for the two astronauts plus sufficient air for depressurizing and re-pressurizing the cabin for moon walks (since there was no room for an airlock), and sufficient fuel for the return to orbit and rendezvous with the orbiting CSM (with a little left over for soil and rock samples). The engineering feat performed by Grumman engineers was nothing less than amazing as there were no failures of the Lunar Module during the seven descents/ascents from the moon and the vehicle also served as a lifeboat to bring the crew of the crippled Apollo 13 CSM home.

Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Kit
Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Kit
Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Kit
Apollo 11 Lunar Module 'Eagle' Kit

I don't know about you, but I've built nearly every Revell and Monogram spacecraft ever made. The Apollo Lunar Landing 1/48 scale kit ranks among my favorites (along with the 1/24 Gemini and the 1/32 Apollo spacecraft). It boggles my mind that these 'timeless' kits are actually quite old, but there hasn't been any other viable spacecraft options to consider - until now.

Dragon Models is doing spacecraft! If you've seen their armor kits, you know how detailed these kits can be so how do they fare with a spacecraft model? Let's take a look:

This kit is definitely a LM, but it bears little resemblance to the Revell-Monogram kit. Where the Revell-Monogram kit appears to be based upon an engineering model of the vehicle without the foil insulation (which was corrected with the inclusion of foil in later releases), this kit has the texture of the foil molded into the plastic surface.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on eight parts trees plus a separate LM descent stage. The parts for the LM descent stage are pre-painted in gold. All you'll need to do is paint the black 'solar heat panels' and anti-glare panels as well as the silver of the ascent module.

The engine bells are also impressive - the large main engine bell on the descent engine on the LM and smaller bell of the ascent engine are molded as single parts, not halves. The interior of each bell has its reinforcing rings molded in place using some molding magic that is still new to me. Even the smaller attitude engine bells are molded hollow!

Construction of the kit is very simple as there are no interiors in these spacecraft (they're in flight configuration so the hatches are closed and you aren't going to see anything through those tiny windows), so the model assembles very quickly. Even the assembly instructions are covered completely in a single page.

This is the best Lunar Module display model in 1/48 and I'm tempted to do some other work to make use of the display base provided in the Revell-Monogram kit. I'm hoping we'll see a later variant of the Lunar Module with the additional bulge for the Lunar Rover that was yet another engineering marvel.

I'm looking forward to tackling this project and add this model to my shelf. Look for a build review coming soon!