LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309 Review and Lighting Journal

LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309 Review and Lighting Journal

When LEGO Ideas released the NASA Apollo Saturn V (21309), the internet and wallets were abuzz with anticipation and glee! The release of this space rocket almost instantly sold out. Concerns about availability were raised and the Ideas team even had to step in to calm the ravenous collectors crowd that more supply would be released.

LEGO Apollo Saturn V (21309) Box

Despite being released back in June 2017, this set has proven popular with supplies often jockeying between available and on back order.

Coming in at 1,969 pieces, the Saturn V stands at an impressive 1 metre - or 39 inches - high, making it the 2nd tallest set LEGO has ever made (first place goes to the Effiel Tower #10181).

2nd Tallest LEGO Set EVer

 

Inside the box are 12 numbered bags of parts, as well as a really cool looking manual with the history of the Apollo Saturn V. One welcome omission from this set, is the lack a sticker sheet(s)!

LEGO NASA Saturn V Contents

Yup, you read that correctly, LEGO decided not to skimp out on this iconic set, meaning we get printed bricks! No more messy water bowls and frustrating misaligned stickers.

Groovy baby, yeah!

However, the Saturn V doesn't come with any minifigures, rather opting for a microfigures to keep things in scale as much as possible. From our perspective, this isn't a huge deal and helps maintain a sense of realism.

Now on to the build phase.

For veterans of LEGO, you're in for a treat! The NASA Apollo Saturn V has some of the most intricate and clever techniques implemented into a LEGO set. There is no doubt you'll be challenged and enthralled by how this set is put together, which makes for a very enjoyable build process.

NASA Apollo Saturn V build

However, given the nature of the structure, there is quite a bit of repetition involved, but nothing to the point where it feels laborious and frustrating. One thing to keep in mind with this build it to follow the instructions closely. There were a few occasions where we skipped ahead thinking we knew what we were doing, only to regret it later with a complicated deconstruction. This is definitely one of those builds where you need to pay attention.

Overall, the Saturn V can be completed in a single evening if you don't have too many distractions.

The final result is a very impressive looking piece. Standing at 100 cms, the LEGO rocket is extremely sturdy and lifelike. For LEGO collectors of those fascinated with space exploration, the NASA Apollo Saturn V is definitely worth adding to one's collection.

LIGHTING THE NASA APOLLO SATURN V

When the Saturn V was released by the LEGO Ideas group, we instantly knew it had to be lit up. And even if we didn't realise it ourselves, our legions of lighting fans certainly told us. The NASA Apollo Saturn V, to date, has been the 2nd more requested light kit - only trailing our UCS Millennium Falcon light kit released earlier this year.

When approaching this particular model, we knew we were presented with a challenge. With the rocket being able to split up into sections, we knew people were going to display this model in a lot of different ways.

Therefore, we knew we had to light up each section so as not to impede a collector's ability to display the set.

We knew upon an initial look that lighting the bottom jets would be an easy task, but we weren't quite sure how much space we'd have to work with, with the middle and top sections.

However, starting from the bottom we applied our flicker effects board to give a realistic look of the jets blasting during takeoff.

NASA Apollo Saturn V jets

 

Now for the real challenge. The mid & top section needed independent lighting, we knew that much. A lot of people we've seen have displayed their Saturn V in separated format and we didn't want our lighting system to take away from that ability.

Rather than opting to tether the power source between the rocket compartments, we decided to give each one its own power source. Fortunately, there was enough space within each section to house our tiny battery packs!

But this was still a challenge. In order to house the battery packs, we had some of the internal wall structures removed to make space. Fortunately, the overall build of the Saturn V is quite sturdy and the removal of these pieces did not compromise its structure.

Battery Pack Inside Saturn V

The only other complication we encountered was threading our wiring through the sections of the jet as they were connected using a bar. You have to be careful when reconnecting these sections to ensure the cable is not broken as there is little to no gap between the edge of the bar and the hole of the cone.

But overall, the end result is an impressive 3-piece rocket that can independently light up!

NASA Apollo Saturn V lit up