For the Lunar Module I have an old Revell "Lunar Module Eagle"  (kit number 04807) to work with. It will require a lot of modifications to make it resemble the Apollo 11 lunar module "Eagle". New Ware has a great detailing set including a couple of pieces to correct the overall shape of the ascent stage. They only fit certain Revell/Monogram kits - not the one I have... But the New Ware set is full of other goodies so it is well worth the cost.
First, it is important to get some kind of overview of the differences between the plastic model and the real LM. The strucure is quite complex with panels meeting at all kinds of angles. I will take this on step by step correcting the most obvious discrepancies and just see how far I can get without worrying about being a few scale inches off the real LM...
Vincent Meens is scratchbuilding a 1/24 scale LM and has done a great research job regarding every single detail about the LM including producing very precise drawings - and is goes without saying, for those familiar with his work, that his model is turning out absolutely magnificent! Together with Mike Mackowski's SIM#7 there is enough documentation to make the appropriate modifications. The colouring of the LM is especially interesting since my first thought - when I got the kit years ago - was to simply cover the whole thing with aluminum, black and gold foil. Please refer to either Vincent's pages or SIM#7 for a more in depth discussion about materials and colours of the real LM.
The first job is to correct the panels on top of the ascent stage. Revell got this all wrong so there is going to be quite a lot of cutting and modifying to make this right and make room for antennaes and docking target. The next photos show the Revell parts before and after cutting away misplaced panels. Some of the panels will have to be removed and rebuilt completely, while others will simply be covered with extra materials - styrene and/or paper to get the rigth look.
Before continuing to rebuild the panels, I need to fill the large gap from the amputated support beam and install windows from the inside. I glued a piece of styrene inside the kit piece to support the putty. I also had to install window frames. You can also see the first piece from the New Ware set in action: the commander's overhead window. I glued painted clear styrene to the back and scribed a pattern to resemble the docking alignment marks.





To reshape the LM some compromises must be made. Not all errors can be corrected without having to alter the kit completely. The next pictures show how some of the panels are rebuilt and also examples of how it is sometimes necessary to remoce larger sections to make the the new panels meet at the right angles. I found the wonderful drawings made by Vincent Meens to be extremely useful. The last picture shows the New Ware resin piece that corrects the shape of the round front section of the LM.
After I started to cover the panels with paper I discovered another inacuracy... so I cut open the back section again - shown in the next few photos. I think I'm done with the modifications for now.
The next ones show how the covering progresses. You can see from the over head photo that the overhead hatch is not in the center of the LM. That should probably have been corrected as well, but as I said: enough with the modifications!
August 2008: I decided to strip the panels and redo the whole thing. I had not been too happy with the way it turned out, especially my attempts to simulate the panel joint with thin strips of metal foil. Also, I don't think the colour was right. After a discussion with my wife, we agreed that I am colour blind...
The next photos show the new approach to covering the panels. Again, each panel is cut and the edges are masked and painted to make them stand out. I think it is turning out nicer, more "clean" and "neat" than my previous attempt.

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