LemFliggity

[ MOD ] Apollo 11 Lunar Lander 10266

Recommended Posts

Hey everybody, I'm new here. My wife and I rediscovered our mutual love of Lego over New Years while building Christmas presents with our nephews. And thus a long age of darkness came to an end.

I'm very excited, I just placed an order with Bricks & Pieces for the parts needed to mod Lego's Apollo 11 "Eagle" LEM into a more accurate model.  I worked out the the mod in Studio and tested most of the changes out with parts temporarily cannibalized from other sets (we've... um... bought a lot of Lego in the last 8 months...). Now I'm ready to build it for real. Well, I say 'now,' but I know it can take weeks for B&P orders to arrive from Denmark, so I still have time yet. Still, I'm excited, so I thought I'd share a couple of "before and after" comparisons from Studio-- just a couple though, I want to keep some surprises for later. My hope is to not be too flaky and share build photos and a parts list with you all so you can make these mods too if you like.

I'm also looking forward to feedback, knowing that many of you experts will no doubt have recommendations to improve the mod even more than I could!

Thanks for indulging me.

VC177hZ.png

 

yfKerB5.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to EB, LemFliggity!  That looks like a nice MOD, and I look forward to seeing it incorporated into the set IRL.

If you've not run across it yet, BrickLink may be able to get you your pieces much more quickly... but it's dangerous for the pocketbook, too.  :wink:

Happy building!  :classic:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, deraven said:

Welcome to EB, LemFliggity!  That looks like a nice MOD, and I look forward to seeing it incorporated into the set IRL.

If you've not run across it yet, BrickLink may be able to get you your pieces much more quickly... but it's dangerous for the pocketbook, too.  :wink:

Happy building!  :classic:

Thanks deraven!

Don't get me wrong, Bricklink is my 2019 MVP, but for this project it would have meant ordering from 5 separate sellers, and the cost for 168 unique parts (451 total pieces) from North American stores would've come to around $60.00. If each store charged me an average of $5.00 shipping, that's more than $80.00. Instead I was able to source all but 7 unique parts (17 total pieces) from Lego for $51.00 + free shipping, and I used my VIP points to get the total down to $11.00. The remaining 17 pieces I found from a single Bricklink seller for $13.00 shipped. I'm ok with waiting longer to save $60.00, and I've earned brownie points with my wife (worth more in the long run than Lego reward points) by employing her expert-level bargain-hunting skills. :laugh:

 

Edited by LemFliggity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems like we're both heading in a similar direction. I'm certainly very interested to see what direction you take and what surprises you still have in store for us. :classic:

I've got an unbuilt 10266 set waiting my attention, but I was also feeling a little unsatisfied with the standard design and felt it could be greatly improved upon. The first thing that I've done is to ditch the awful minifigs and replace them with the Armstrong/Aldrin pairing available from Minifigs.me which have better helmets and environmental packs. Since then I have been tinkering with the lunar module itself in an attempt to make it look better.

Most of what I've done so far is on the ascent module, as I think that section could benefit from the greatest improvements. So far it's been just minor things like correcting the position of the various antennae and manoeuvring thrusters, tweaking the overall shape and adding a few more colour contrast patches. I knew that eventually I would have to address the front of the ascent module, but I'd got stuck initially trying to preserve the windscreen and door from the standard kit. Most of what I'd tried either looked wrong or the construction would not have been strong enough.

This is when I found this thread and the renders of your design so far. I have to say that I am very impressed with your version and I think you've done a far better job at capturing the look and shape of the ascent module front. Your design really should have been the one adopted for the official set. I hope you don't mind, but I thought I'd have a go at reverse engineering it in LDD.

I appreciate that you have tested some of the construction methods, but I have been unable to replicate some of the parts usage and techniques you've used, especially around the windows. It's entirely possible that I have missed some clever trick, but I was finding a lot of parts clashing which suggested to me that some of the design might not be possible to build in real life. As a consequence, although it's clearly still based heavily on your design, I've had to take a slightly different route and come up with a variation on the theme. Let me know what you think.

48644933942_63f8cb4ece_z.jpg

48644800226_5bb77cecbc_z.jpg

48644439658_c46888c7d7_z.jpg

I've got a little more work to do on the descent module, but I feel that this part of the set looks reasonably good out of the box. I will be making the thrust deflectors a little larger and upgrading the ladders and will explore whether or not it's possible to improve the landing gear, but apart from that I shall probably leave it largely stock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Hod Carrier, I think it's so cool that you reverse engineered my mod! I believe in sharing, so I don't intend for this mod to be a secret I keep to myself. I'll share the .io files and everything, but I want to wait until I get the parts, share the build process here, hopefully get some feedback that improves the design, and then put together a final version.

I think your ascent stage looks very good. Just making those changes to the front and swapping some grays for blacks helps a lot! I can tell you've looked at diagrams and available photographs like I have. I respect that Lego can't fit everything into a model like this, but there are so many cool little features to add that, once incorporated, really bring the LEM to life. Even adding the EVA antenna and swapping in a more accurate-looking steerable S-band antenna makes a big difference.

I'm out of town till next week, otherwise in my excitement to find a like-minded Apollo nerd, I'd violate my own embargo and share some more renders! 

I can't wait for you to see what I've done with the mid and the aft sections. With all due respect to an excellent build, I can tell based in your passion for the Apollo 11 LEM that you're going to want to incorporate at least some of what I've come up with into your own mod.

I can tell you that I've built the complete forward section in real life exactly as you see it in my mockup, just not in the correct colors. You're not wrong that it took a silly amount of trial and error, but the design works and it's pretty dang stable too, if I do say so myself!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the positive feedback, which is good to receive from someone with a passion for the subject. Thank you too for allowing me to reverse-engineer your design. Even if I wasn't able to fathom the precise techniques you've used I'm glad to be at least somewhere in the ball-park.

I'm not sure that I would have classed myself as an Apollo nerd before, but I got very enthused because of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. I watched an excellent series screened on BBC entitled "Chasing the Moon" which brought the Apollo programme to life for me in a whole new way. After that I just had to have the LEGO version of the LEM (although my Saturn V is still on back-order). It's a good base model with plenty of scope for improvement without much effort, as I believe all LEGO sets should be. 

I suspect that our versions will turn out to be broadly similar in their final appearance, but I think it's good not to have identical interpretations. For that reason I respect your decision not to show too much of your model until it's finished and will honour that by also not revealing any more of my design just yet. I'm sure that we will both find aspects of each other's designs that we like and wish to incorporate and together come up with two outstanding models. :classic:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't resist posting a couple more pictures while I wait for Lego to ship my B&P order. This time it's a view of the full ascent stage...

YeKnU37.png

As well as a view of the sub-assembly that holds the controls, sitting right behind the white tracking light on the front of the LEM...

MrvqVCz.png

 

Edit: I thought it would be fun to show an animated gif comparison of the stock ascent stage and the mod...

hsMHv2x.gif

Edited by LemFliggity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lego's designers did an amazing job on this set, but as soon as I finished building it, I felt like there was room for improvement.

For example, I understand why they went with a wide forward hatch so that minifigs could fit, but that, maybe more than any other design decision, weakens the look of the ascent stage. As a kid, I thought the narrow "snout" and two angled windows of the forward section gave the front of the LEM a sad puppy dog look, a little like a basset hound. That look is lost in the Lego model with the wider mouth. I don't plan on taking the minifigs in and out through the hatch, so that seemed like an easy fix. And from there, the list of changes snowballed, until I had a full-blown mod on my hands!

Here's a diagram from NASA's Operations Handbook for Apollo 15 (I couldn't find an accurate technical drawing of LM-5 with labeled parts to use, but the LM-10 diagram is basically identical). I've highlighted in yellow the features I wanted to improve, and in blue are the missing features I wanted to add.

CNhxi9B.jpg

(Click on the thumbnail for a better view.)

There are other external features on my mod that aren't listed here, like the shape of the windows, the alignment optical telescope, and the IMU "coffin," but I'll cover those in another post.

Edited by LemFliggity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an exciting looking bag of goodies. I can see a few parts in there that were on my shopping list too. :classic:

I've still got one or two orders to come in from BL before I can achieve liftoff, but I'm getting close. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where our builds are similar and where they diverge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My knolling leaves a lot to be desired, but it helped for confirming that I have every part I need!

48747155487_baa6341c77_b.jpg

I created a Flickr album to chronicle the build. So far, I've got photos covering modifications up to step 71, with many more still to be added.

Right at the start is a modified primary life support system. I really dislike the helmet/backpack part Lego opted to use for the astronauts. After looking at a few other people's mods, I ultimately came up with my own, which I think much more accurately approximates the size and position of the backpacks worn by Armstrong, Aldrin, and later Apollo astronauts. Dark gray hands and the helmet and chrome gold visor really improve the look, I think. I haven't yet decided if i want to swap out the Lego yellow heads for light nougat "flesh" colored heads or not...

48746640928_e48e6d2990_b.jpg

What do you guys think so far?

Edited by LemFliggity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.