Diameter: 3.94 inches
Length: 43.25 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Skill Level: 5
Style: Scale

[Rocket Pic]First Impressions:

10/31/98 - Tonight I had a large package waiting for me when I got home - a beta-version of the soon to be released Saturn V!The kit is packed in a NCR style box with a cool graphic of the Saturn V. The specs on the label are:

  • 43.25" Long
  • 3.938" Diameter
  • 10.2 oz weight
  • Motor D12-3
  • Est. Max Alt - 100'

[Rocket Pic]Upon opening the box, it quickly becomes apparent that this is no beginner's kit! There are 15 pages of instructions. The fins are of two-piece vacu-form construction. The quality of the vacu-form parts on this kit were OUTSTANDING! There is also a bag of plastic parts - capsule, nozzles, details, etc. The main BT is white , one piece and very light.

(11/17) Comments & Suggestions for the #2157 Saturn V:

[Parts Pic]The most difficult part of the build, IMO, is building the fins. This consists of cutting the fin halves out of the vacu-form and joining them together. Sounds pretty simple but I strongly suggest taking your time! You are instructed to trim the plastic to approx. 1/16" around the fin, then trim the root edge flush to aid in alignment. The instructions tell you to sand away 1/2 the thickness of the "flange" and then bond together. When dry, you can then sand away the excess plastic. It sounds simple but can be very time consuming. The result, however is worth the time!

[Parts Pic]The fins and wraps are from the Century kit. The capsule is from the Estes version. The "extra parts" people have asked me about seem to be the Estes plastic detail that is already molded into the Centuri wraps.

People are already talking about 29mm mounts and high power motors for this kit. I , personally would not fly this model on anything over an "E". The airframe is very light for a 4" rocket. The very thin, hollow fins are glued to a thin plastic sheet that is attached to the airframe with spray adhesive. This is not suited to high thrusting motors!

I'm currently ready to fill the seams and finish the capsule assembly. The final hurdle will be masking & painting. The kit has gone together surprisingly well and should be a fantastic representation on the Saturn V!

Estes has put together a kit that that is sure to have people wanting more projects of similar complexity and quality. 

[Saturn on Pad](12/04) Launch Lug:
I thought I better mention that the new Estes Saturn V kit requires a 1/4" launch rod! The graphic on the box is incorrect when it says 3/16". You cannot use your Estes Porta Pad with this rocket.

(12/08) Launch Lug:
I think the main reason for the change to 1/4" rod is the larger diameter rod is also normally longer. My 1 piece Stainless 3/16 X 4' rod is stiffer than the 2 part 1/4" aluminum rod that comes with the Mantis pad. The "standard" Estes maxi Rod is a bit short (approx. 3' ???) to give positive stability on a D12 launch.

The rocket flew on the suggested D12-3. Great Lift-off! Slow & smoky. Maxxed out at about 100'. Capsule chute 100% deployment but main chutes didn't have time to fully open. Recovered without damage. Keep the rocket as light as possible! Was going to try an E18-4 RMS but need to "adjust" the motor hook first!

[Rocket Pic](12/17) Tips:
Number one - KEEP IT LIGHT! If you replace the chutes, use thin mil to keep weight and bulk down. 

Don't go crazy with the detailing & painting if you want to fly it. Try a couple of light coats of paint. Every bit of extra weight saved is a plus. Save the 12 coat paint job for your Revell display model.

If you think you might ever want to fly an RMS E18 in this kit, be sure to file the front of the motor hook to clear the casing. E15-4 SU should work great!

Forget CHAD D12 staging! This rocket is slow off the rod and will weathercock in even fairly light wind. I think CHAD staging would be asking for a power prang. If you want better performance, Aerotech E15-4 or E18's are the direction to go.

If you are going to fly on higher impulse motors, make a wood core for the fins! The hollow VacuForm fins are not acceptable for F + motors as the stand.

This rocket on a D12-3 is really 100', OK maybe 110' but it sure looks great taking off!


Other Reviews
  • Estes - Saturn V {Kit} (2157) [1998-1998, 2010-2011, 2016] By Mike Caplinger (June 13, 2018)

    This is a short review of the Estes Apollo 11 Saturn V kit, number 2157.  I purchased the kit in 2017. There are several reviews of this kit in its various forms over the years on RR and tons of information on the web.  Probably the definitive source of information is Chris Michielssen's build thread from 2011, which starts at http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.co ...


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