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The Danbury Mint "Milestones in Space Exploration: Saturn V"|
Review by David Senechal
The Danbury Mint released in August 2004 the third installment of their "Milestones in Space Exploration" series. The 1:250 scale Saturn V (depicting AS-506 Apollo 11) follows the 1:50 scale Apollo 13 Lunar (LM) and Command/Service (CSM) modules, and the 1:150 scale STS-1 Columbia Space Shuttle. Since the first models in this series were competent representations of the actual vehicles, a similar treatment of the Saturn V could be anticipated.
It would be an understatement, though, to say that Danbury Mint's Saturn V model is merely competent. In fact, in spite of its slightly odd choice of scale, it creates the impression of a finely-crafted and quite accurate replica of AS-506. There is absolutely nothing about this model that says "toy".
This impression begins when opening the box, which reveals highly detailed individual stages and spacecraft, neatly packed in custom-molded, foam lined styrofoam.
In spite of its diminutive size, this Saturn V displays details usually found missing from even much larger-scale models. Some of these include markings on the S-IC stage, nice depictions of tank domes (including feed lines) on each of the three stages, various fairings and antennas on the S-IVB stage, a nice depiction of the bottom/thrust structures of each stage, and even a little Lunar Module housed within the SLA, or spacecraft lunar module adapter (alas you can't get to it or remove it).
Perhaps the most impressive detail though is the jewel-like Boost Protective Cover (BPC) and Launch Escape System (LES). The BPC is fairly accurate and detailed, and the framework on the LES is constructed of very tiny individual pieces, just 0.018" in diameter.
Sizes and proportions of the individual components appear accurate, and the assembled model looks "just right". ĘThe complete assembly, minus the nicely finished wood base (included), stands 18" tall.
The most noticeable of the model's faults is the oversized seams on the S-II stage. It appears that the intention was to represent the external insulation that was unique to the second stage. However, the raised panel lines, if enlarged to full scale, would protrude almost 6 inches.
Also, the outer diameter of the BPC is a little too big (but this can be easily corrected with judicious use of 320 grit sandpaper).
Although not technically a fault, there is also the issue of the non-standard 1:250 scale. There are few, if any other models that have been produced in this scale. It may be that, like Revell during the late 1950's, the Danbury Mint is making their models to a consistent size, rather than a consistent scale.
It is possible that serious modelers (such as those with copies of David Weeks' drawings) can find more faults and inaccuracies; but it will take some looking, and they are likely to be minor.
All nitpicking aside, for a model of this size, the attention to accuracy and details are quite remarkable.
As with earlier "Milestones in Space Exploration" models, this Saturn V is not inexpensive; but it's reasonable for what you're getting at $118.50 plus shipping (payable in three installments).
According to the Danbury Mint, "Friendship 7" is the next and final installment in this series. If their Saturn V is any indication, it should be very impressive.
Shipping now, the Saturn V and the entire Milestones in Space Exploration series of models can be ordered from The Danbury Mint by calling 1-800-243-4664.
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