Review: Dragon Space Collection's Saturn V 1/72 Scale

Standing in at over five feet tall, Dragon’s 1/72 scale Saturn V replica has the size to impress – but does it measure up in other areas as well? Image Credit: Dragon

Dragon Model Limited’s Space Collection boasts a wide array of launch vehicles and spacecraft in assorted scales. Their usual rocket offerings are of the 1/400 variety and are perfect for those that want to build a rocket garden in miniature. Other collectors prefer something that is more of a “statement” and Dragon has offered up the mother of all replicas to appease, the Saturn V rocket in 1/72 scale. But for its $300 price tag – is this replica worth it? 

Even if the child in this image stood up – he still would have been dwarfed by this monstrous replica. Image Credit: Dragon

The Apollo 11 Saturn V comes to you in a large (very) box with art detailing what the overall replica looks like and is more-or-less accurate.

For those that have purchased other offerings it is reminiscent of the 1/72 NASA Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 replicas – only this time Dragon didn’t stop at the lunar module adapter.

Dragon’s previous offerings have been beautiful and precise (albeit in most cases tiny). In terms of the 1/72 scale Saturn V – Dragon appears to have gone off the quality-control road as there are some notable issues that appear as soon as one opens the box. Here are some of the larger issues that were readily apparent:

  • Unlike the aforementioned Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 replicas, the launch abort system (LAS) does not come off. Also, the command module itself is made out of plastic rather than metal (as with the Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 replicas). After spending this much money you would think Dragon would make this kit as good as its Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 cousins.
  • The small reaction control system thrusters that attach to the sides of the command module fall out very easily and require one      glues them in or risk losing them altogether.
  • The Saturn V is painted in black and white with the typical national markings of United States and the U.S. flag. The black and white bands were not properly masked leading to some over-spraying into white areas that make the overall effect look somewhat sloppy.
  • Paint is also an issue in terms of the interiors between the Saturn’s stages. Paint applications are at a minimum with the fuel tanks painted a flat orange and little, if any paint applied elsewhere.
  • The five F-1 engines that attach to the base of the first stage have small unattached pipes that connect into the base of the Saturn V itself. Almost all of these were loose and rattling around in the box when it was received. Moreover for the model/replica novice these are a nightmare to get into place and could easily be damaged.

So, is it worth the price tag of $300? For collectors that are looking for a museum-quality piece the simple answer is – no. However, this kit has been produced for its “wow” factor – when assembled and placed on its display base it does deliver (the entire assembly is over five feet five inches tall).

For the nitpickers out there your best bet is to purchase one of these on the secondary market along with one of the Apollo 9 or 10 kits that Dragon already offers. By doing this you can remove the lower-quality components that are on the 1/72 Saturn V and replace it with one of the higher-quality Apollo 9 or 10 kits.

Moreover, if you have painting skills you couldn’t go wrong with reviewing what the Saturn V actually looked like and painting this one to match.

Having spent most of this review highlighting the flaws in this kit it should be noted that in terms of awe – the Dragon Space Collection Saturn 1/72 scale Saturn V delivers. Is it perfect? No, but what is? In terms of scale, the most common reaction to seeing one is “WOW” and in the end – that’s really what folks are paying for.

Missions » Apollo »

9 comments to Review: Dragon Space Collection’s Saturn V 1/72 Scale

  • Jim Baker

    I bought one of these when they were first introduced and your review is pretty much right on. While I do like the scale of this model, it does lack some quality standards for a model of this size and cost. I have thought about doing just as you suggest by buying the Apollo 9 or 10 models and incorporating them into this model, but alas I have spent my wad on this beast and will have to wait for a bit to be able to fund the smaller model components.

  • Space modellers have been eagerly discussing this Saturn V since it was first announced in October 2011. With almost 400 comments, the discussion thread linked below can take some time to read, but contained within are some great tips for how to modify the model, as well as display advice (including the details for a particular Ikea glass case that nicely fits the Saturn V). There are also lighting and painting tips for those so inclined.

    collectSPACE: Dragon Models’ 1:72 Saturn V 5-foot model

  • cui bono

    As a boy, in 1968, I assembled a Revell 1/144 Saturn 5. I still have it, though a little dilapidated. There was a transparent window above the 3rd stage showing the Lunar Module encased within. I built a launch pad tower out of lego. It looked mightily impressive to a 10-year old.

    If memory serves, it cost about £7 ($10?), and was my most expensive Christmas present to date. Happy days!

    • You are spot on. When the movie “Apollo 13”, Revell re-released the model, but then it cost quite a bit more. I bought 2, built one, and plan to build the second one later on. A friend, who is a real pro model-builder, bought one and it looks scary real. You’ve got a treasure.

  • cui bono

    Or was it 1/96? Memory fails.

  • There was a 1/96 scale built – but I cannot recall who produced it.

  • Dave E

    The original Revell model was the 1/96 scale kit. Monogram made a 1/144 scale Saturn V in the USA during the Apollo era. It has now been reissued under Revell branding.

  • Brenton

    Revell release both a 1/96 and 1/144 scale. I’ve been trying to purchase the 1/72 scale when I fell upon these posts. It is a shame that the only parts that do come apart are the booster stages however a model this size isn’t really for play? 🙂

    Once they become available again in Australia I’ll be definitively trying to get my hands on one.