Roachwerks Little Joe II

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Gus

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Thought I'd post a few build pics of my Roachwerks Little Joe II.

Scale is 1:38.5. Main body tube is BT101.

This kit is producing an incredibly impressive rocket. Just a fantastic kit. Tons of work but an equal amount of fun. You definitely get your money's worth out of this.

If Sandman ever offers these again, buy one.

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MaxQ

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It's fantastic.

Wish I had one of them kits...thought there was to be one on Ebay...never saw it.

Shall we bug the Sandman...?

Thought I'd post a few build pics of my Roachwerks Little Joe II.

Scale is 1:38.5. Main body tube is BT101.

This kit is producing an incredibly impressive rocket. Just a fantastic kit. Tons of work but an equal amount of fun. You definitely get your money's worth out of this.

If Sandman ever offers these again, buy one.
 

dwmzmm

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Wow, that looks fantastic, Gus! Now I'm getting envious.....:rolleyes::D Keep us posted on the progress (and, if you plan to, the flight)!
 

Pem Tech

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*drool*

If Sandman ever does produce these again I'll be in line to get one.
 

Gus

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Just a couple of build comments.

The major thing that kept me from building this for so long was my fear of the corrugation wraps. My previous experience with rubber cement, etc. was that it was a huge pain and they never came out right.

For this build I used super glue. I cut the wraps and taped them into place to check alignment. Once I had them properly aligned I lifted the seam edge that would go under the wiring tunnel, applied a ~1/4" schmear of super glue gel along the edge, then pressed the wrap edge back in place. I then went to the opposite edge of that wrap and repeated the process. I then did the same to the adjoining wrap (this rocket is big enough that it takes two pieces to get all the way around it). Once the vertical edges were glued down, I went around the top of the wrap with thin superglue and wicked it along the edges. Because of the corrugations it wicks in very easily. Once that was dry I turned the rocket upside down and repeated the process for the lower edge of the wraps. It worked extremely well, the wraps are perfectly aligned, and it was way less nerve-wracking than using rubber cement.

Afterwards I did notice that along one of the seams there appeared to be a slight "waviness" where the depth of the adjoining edges was infinitesimally different, but enough for my eye to notice. The great part about the styrene in these wraps, as opposed to vacuform wraps, is that it is so workable. A few swipes of 600 grit sandpaper on a sanding block and the "waviness" was gone.

I glued the thin strips that separate the upper and lower wraps similarly, with superglue gel. But because those weren't corrugated I just worked my way along, bit by bit, with superglue gel. Once that was done I applied the upper corrugated wrap just like the lower one.
 
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sandman

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Gus has been a great help with his comments for changes in the instructions when I re release this kit. There are a lot of detail changes to make to get this thing a bit easier to build and just a tad more accurate.

Yes...you heard me!:rolleyes:

But if you kids start nagging me I will turn this %$&^ car around and we will go back home!:mad:
 

Rocketcrab

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Gus has been a great help with his comments for changes in the instructions when I re release this kit. There are a lot of detail changes to make to get this thing a bit easier to build and just a tad more accurate.

Yes...you heard me!:rolleyes:

But if you kids start nagging me I will turn this %$&^ car around and we will go back home!:mad:
But Dad, HE started it!!! ;)
 

MaxQ

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Gus has been a great help with his comments for changes in the instructions when I re release this kit. There are a lot of detail changes to make to get this thing a bit easier to build and just a tad more accurate.

Yes...you heard me!:rolleyes:

But if you kids start nagging me I will turn this %$&^ car around and we will go back home!:mad:
So,....you DON'T want to hear:

"Are we there yet??????"
 

Gus

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Dry fit of the capsule and tower pieces.

Not too much more to go but I can't go any further until I can paint.

30 degrees and snowing here today. :mad:

Sandman has made this kit so you need to do ZERO masking. :D

Masking the service module and the capsule would take as long as building the rest of the rocket and as you've probably gathered, there is a LOT of building in this kit. I like building. Did I mention I hate masking?

Booster gets painted silver, then upper booster wrap gets applied.

Capsule base, capsule nosecone, tower, RCS thrusters, and LES nosecone get painted white.

LES nozzles and flare get painted black.

Then the capsule and tower pieces get glued together, detail pieces get added to the capsule, RCS thrusters get glued on, then wraps get clear coated.

So I'm almost there. :D

By the way, Chan Stevens did a great writeup of his NARAM award winning version of this kit here. I took Chan's advice to do the RCS thruster housings out of balsa instead of styrene which worked out really well. Thanks Chan.

R.S. Barker's photos of his build, including the truly amazing scale launch tower he built, are here.

LJIICapsuleDryFit.jpg
 
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zog139

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Very nice looking model. When you get a break in the weather be sure to post some pics of your painted model. I am guessing you have some decals to also apply ? BTW have you given any thought to what type/color paint your going to use for the silver ?

At risk of the Sandman turning the car around and going back home, I do hope he does another run of these and I can get one :D
 

sandman

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Very nice looking model. When you get a break in the weather be sure to post some pics of your painted model. I am guessing you have some decals to also apply ? BTW have you given any thought to what type/color paint your going to use for the silver ?

At risk of the Sandman turning the car around and going back home, I do hope he does another run of these and I can get one :D
I suggest in the instructions to use Duplicolor silver grey metalic paint (car paint).

Yes, I will re release this model but I have to get all of the ducks in a row first and there are a LOT of ducks for this one!
 

Gus

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I am guessing you have some decals to also apply ? BTW have you given any thought to what type/color paint your going to use for the silver ?
Jim,

Yeah, I forgot to mention the decals, but there are just a few. Main effort will be to get the "United States" decal to lay down nicely on the corrugations. Lots of decal set I'm supposing.

As for colors, if Chan or George are following this thread, I wonder what they used. Honestly, I think the choice is kind of wide because the photos show everything from almost white to aluminum to steel in color, depending on the angle of the sunshine in the photo and how well preserved the colors are. Having seen Gordon's, I really like the color so I think I may just use the Duplicolor. On the other hand, maybe I should just paint it green so I can tell it apart from his. ;)

If you do get a chance to buy one of these in the future, don't pass it up. This kit requires a lot of time and effort but the effort goes into a wide variety of tasks so it never gets tedious. Really a lot of fun.
 

Gus

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My latest effort has been to craft the tower support structures. I've put way more time into this little detail than is reasonable, but it's been a ton of fun.

These structures did not exist on Pad Abort One, so I'd never researched them. George and Tom's incredibly detailed drawings show them, but there are no measurements or detailed pictures to give guidance in their construction. I've looked online and found nothing, either drawings or closeup photos.

The only drawing I could find was a Frangible Nut Installation diagram in the Dorffler collection (pic below). I have no idea when the drawing was done so I don't know if it is representative of the Little Joe hardware or not. The general outline appears slimmer that what usually gets depicted so I really don't know what to make of it.

I was unable to find any closeup photos of actual hardware, either Little Joe or later. Interestingly, the display models of Apollo hardware which still exist all seem to lack the support structure housings.

So without really specific details, I created an amalgam of the drawings I've seen and converted it to a little origami project. I think they look as appropriate as I can make them lacking real measurements. I've sent Gordy a PDF of the file so that detail will be easier on future kits.

If any of you have access to better diagrams or photos of this incredibly minor detail, let me know. :)

TowerSupportSubsystem.jpg

TowerSupports2.jpg
 

dwmzmm

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Jim,

Yeah, I forgot to mention the decals, but there are just a few. Main effort will be to get the "United States" decal to lay down nicely on the corrugations. Lots of decal set I'm supposing.

As for colors, if Chan or George are following this thread, I wonder what they used. Honestly, I think the choice is kind of wide because the photos show everything from almost white to aluminum to steel in color, depending on the angle of the sunshine in the photo and how well preserved the colors are. Having seen Gordon's, I really like the color so I think I may just use the Duplicolor. On the other hand, maybe I should just paint it green so I can tell it apart from his. ;)

If you do get a chance to buy one of these in the future, don't pass it up. This kit requires a lot of time and effort but the effort goes into a wide variety of tasks so it never gets tedious. Really a lot of fun.
For my SEMROC Apollo Little Joe - II model, I used Rust-oleum Metallic Finish
Chrome spray paint, and it came out better than I'd expected. It gives the
surface sprayed a rich, shiny finish and is fast drying.

Challenger 498 Club Launch @ Needville 032.jpg
 

Gus

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For my SEMROC Apollo Little Joe - II model, I used Rust-oleum Metallic Finish
Wow, that looks great. Did you use any clear coat over the metallic?
 

Gus

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OK, now I'm confused.

I remembered there was a closeup tower shot of the Apollo 7 liftoff on The Mighty Saturns so I stepped through frame by frame and look at what I found. I've never seen anything that looks like those tower support covers in any documentation.

And what are those little doo-dads poking out from the tower legs? :confused:

Apollo7Closeup.jpg
 

dwmzmm

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Wow, that looks great. Did you use any clear coat over the metallic?
No clear coat; not sure if there's one for the Rust-oleum brand. I don't want to risk using the wrong kind and getting alligator or orange peel surface. What
I usually do to protect the decals is apply Future Floor Wax.
 

georgegassaway

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The attached photo of QTV gives a pretty good indication of the difference between "silver" and aluminum. The dummy CM and SM parts are silver. The Little Joe Body and fins are natural aluminum. You can see how the silver is dull, while the Aluminum is shiny.

In some of the later Little Joe-II's, the body and fins look somewhat less shiny. I attribute that to some degree of oxidation after they were fabricated.

What I used at first was some aluminum paint by SNJ, who specialized in metallic model paint. It was a non-buffable paint (some are meant to be buffed with a very fine metallic powder, but it did not seem to me it was very practical to buff into every nook and cranny to get everything to look the same). Later, I used Testor's Model Master Aluminum paint (non-buffable). Those come in bottles, and have to be applied using an airbrush. I never did come across a really good spray can type of paint that looked shiny enough. After application then I applied the UNITED STATES lettering (hand-cut from solid black decal sheet) and when the body was done I applied a clear sealer (Testor's Model Master clear sealer). Also, for various reasons, I built the Service Module separately, in part so that it could be painted separately and attached as one of the final steps after everything else was done.

I am working up a new website that I hope to open publicly soon. It will cover a lot of things, not just Little Joe-II. Here is a 4-page preview of the site, with an overview, Tom Beach's American Spacemodeling article, drawings, and kits. The other pages will include photos and more.

https://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/Preview/Demo1.htm

If someone happens across "live links" into the real site, please do not post them publicly.

- George Gassaway

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sandman

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OK, now I'm confused.

I remembered there was a closeup tower shot of the Apollo 7 liftoff on The Mighty Saturns so I stepped through frame by frame and look at what I found. I've never seen anything that looks like those tower support covers in any documentation.

And what are those little doo-dads poking out from the tower legs? :confused:
The more we investigate details of the Apollo the muddier the total information seems to get.:rolleyes:
 

Gus

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And what are those little doo-dads poking out from the tower legs? :confused:
OK, I've got it at least partially figured out. The triangular shaped pieces at the level of the lower crossmember helped position the white room where it butted up against the CM. These were only on the two tower legs closest to the hatch.

Something called "APD hooks" attached to the white room actually grabbed the tower to keep the white room and CM together. These must have released as the pad arm retracted prior to flight.

The two white room drawings show how this worked, and the little "APD hook pad" can be seen on the tower leg in the first diagram.

I also found a good photo of the hooks in place but, sadly, they are from Apollo One after the fire. The service structure was still in place so the photo was taken of the back side of the CM looking at the side of the white room that connected to the capsule hatch. You can see the pad on the leftmost leg with the APD structure resting on it.

Now if I can just find out the official name of those items. For lack of an official term I'm going to call them APD Hook Pads.

And as to what those other little nubbins on the legs are, I still have no idea.

APD1.jpg

APD2.jpg

APDApolloOne.jpg
 

Gus

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Two more photos. First is from Apollo 11, you can see how the white room is being held against the CM and escape tower. The APD hooks look more substantial than what is seen in the Apollo One photo and I suspect there must have been a modification made.

The second photo is of an actual Apollo White Room on exhibit at the Kansas Cosmosphere and it shows a hook arrangement different from the drawings and Apollo One photo, but similar to the Apollo 11 photo.

Final Photo is of technicians installing the Boost Protective Cover on Apollo 15, which shows a really nice closeup view of the modified APD hooks in place as well as the APD Hook Pad on the tower leg closest to the White Room. Photo also gives a good look at the little nubbins located further down on the legs.

APDApollo11.jpg

APDCosmosphere.jpg

APDApollo15.jpg
 
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georgegassaway

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Part of the “fun” of researching scale data is that every launch vehicle represents a moving target. If you were doing say any one the manned Mercury missions, EVERY Mercury capsule was externally different in some way or another.

For the Little Joe-II, even ignoring the Little Joe-II vehicle itself, the Apollo parts were different every time. QTV had dummy Apollo parts, EXCEPT it used a tower that was an early tower structure that was later dropped, so it only flew on QTV. But those two strange “vanes” on the dummy CM of QTV..... the CM used for A-001 was apparently built to use them, because there are two raised strips on it that seem to be intended mounting points for such vanes, but they changed the design to delete them (Tom Beach & I theorized those vanes were meant to help flip the capsule to orient heat-shield first after an abort, but then the clever “canard” clamshell device was created on near the nose of the LES rocket, much better solution than those clumsy vanes).

The items described as APD Hook Pads, I do not know if any of the Little Joe-II Apollos had those. Perhaps. Since those were not intended to be attached to a gantry white room for the Joe flights, the would have been no need for them (there was a whole different rolling work gantry structure that enclosed a whole half side of the Apollo portion, with work platforms, and of course no need to insert a crew onboard after rolling back the work gantry structure). But that does not mean they were not there, IF it was a standard design item at the time. But it may not have been a design item when those was manufactured. Keep in mind that the only Little Joe to fly a real CM was A-004 which flew CM SC-002. And that was January, 1966. Apollo-1 was a year after that, with CM-12, which was a Block-I CM (SC-002 also was Block I). From Apollo-7 onwards, it was Block-II CM’s and SM’s (perhaps 1-2 Block II CM/SM’s were flown unmanned on a Saturn or two before Apollo-7).

Anyway, the more forward in history you go to find better photo of a detail, unfortunately, the less likely that the detail may tend to be accurate for the vehicle that flew years earlier. Those “bumps” seem to be something added later.

The other flip side to photos is something I noticed the one time I got to check out the NASA history office when a day of flying was rained out at NARAM in 1993. They had a number of VERY NICE photos of SA-201, the first Saturn-IB to fly. But for Apollo-7, a popular one to model, and the most famous, not as much. It seems for a brand new vehicle,, they took lots of photos to document a lot of things which were officially logged and kept. For later missions, maybe the same kinds of photos were taken (raising a stage into place), but if so, not as many of them were logged to be “official” for the archives since, well, they’d seen them before. That was something I had first theorized with the Little Joe-II, where some of the BEST photos were for the ugly QTV, and the farther along in the program, the fewer and fewer good photos existed of the later flights. A-004 deserved the best photos, but there are not that many of them around, certainly not good quality ones. Really, only one good one. And the “best” liftoff photo of A-004 is a not-so-great grainy B&W shot, the worst liftoff photo of the five that flew, contrasted with the excellent color launch photos of QTV and A-001.

Then there is the curse of display vehicles. Both of the Little Joe-II’s on display are messed-up, so that parts of the Joes themselves are useful for research but not the whole Joe vehicles (wrong fins and fairings). And certainly not a lot of the Apollo hardware on top (the one at JSC actually has the BP-22 capsule that was flown on A-003. But A-003 flew with a BPC, so the BP-22 capsule was never visible as it is at JSC).

Now, for sure, there are some details that were not in the data Tom Beach & I did. It was created with the best info we had at the time, 1990 to early 1991, pre-internet. And also despite what was surely the word’s best collection of raw data on the Little Joe-II, that some past Scale Champion obtained from NASA just after the program ended, and was “ripe” to be picked. Tom actually located this guy in the early 1990’s and not only was he not willing to sell it, he did not want to copy it for a price either. “Mine-mine-mine” and “he who dies with the most data wins” syndrome (and this is a guy who left the hobby nearly 40 years ago!). However, most likely the people at NASA and General Dynamics who gave him that data had intended for it to be shared, not hoarded.

I have since seen some photos that show some extra details here and there, and also some mission reports about some things I did not know were there. At least two missions had cameras mounted inside of the LES towers, A-001 and A-002. Indeed, that was the first “missed detail” I realized when the data was printed, because a great photo of A-001 printed full-page showed some “yellow thing” inside the tower, and that was the yellow padded housing for the camera.

So, by no means am I suggesting the data Tom Beach & I did is 100% complete, and 100% accurate. But I am warning against seeing something on a Saturn-launched mission and assuming that was the same on the Little Joe-II’s. Because it might not be.

Also, even when you see Little Joe-II photos, you have to figure out if something was that way when it FLEW, or if that was a temporary thing. The best/worst example is this photo, also thumbnailed below: https://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/Scale/DATA/JoePhotos/A-004/65-HC-991.jpg

I have seen some models with a red plate over one of the access door locations because it was seen in that photo. Even a judge took points off of one of my models, because it lacked that “red cover”. He made the mistake of pointing that out to somebody within earshot of my hearing him tell them, so I explained to him what a pre-flight photo was (which I thought was self-evident?). Or did he ALSO assume it flew with parts missing (the Fin Root Fairing front sections were not installed in that photo), and that other missing parts on the fins, or elevon locks attached to the fin elevons, were left like that for flight? He finally got it. But the screwy thing is he’s been a scale judge at NARAM for many years, and scale builder for decades. I could only have been more shocked if it had been Peter Alway who had made that mistake (definitely was NOT Peter, I won’t say who).

- George Gassaway

65-HC-991.jpg
 
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Gus

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George,

Thank you for that remarkably well thought out and beautifully written description of the pitfalls of researching scale. Really outstanding points. Please post it on your new site with a title like "Some Notes on Researching Scale." I know how much time I've spent on your site over the years, and how much I've learned there, and I'm sure others would benefit from it as well. Really wonderful observations.

With specific regard to the APD pads, you're right in that I've never seen them on any photos of the LJIIs, so I wouldn't include them on a LJII. As I mentioned, I only stumbled across them looking for a good picture of the tower foot covers. But it was truly a fun adventure trying to figure out what they were.

With regard to availability of old photos and such, it just seems hard to believe that there weren't ANY great close up photos of A-004. And that's what keeps me believing there is a super-secret warehouse somewhere in Houston with thousands of shoe-boxes filled with development photos from the early space program. Someday we'll find it (unless of course that's where they're keeping the Roswell photos ;))
 

chanstevens

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Gus:

Very nice looking model! Hope you go for broke with the full cluster...

On mine, I definitely was not going too obsessively over the top with scale accuracy, being relatively new to the scale scene at the time. I did try to model as close to George/Tom's data as I could, backed up with a couple good color photos including the one George thumbnailed 2 posts back. I also made the mistake of including the red cover :eek:, even bragging to a few folks about how tricky that was to hand paint, wishing it had been added to Sandman's wrap.

The more I do scale (or more accurately, sport scale), the more respect I develop for the true scale modelers, and the less likely I find myself willing to go that extra mile for an amazingly accurate rendition. As you're finding with this LJ-II, the difference between building fairly "stock" from the kit and going for all the true colors and details might invovle several hundred additional hours. In the end, you'd end up with a remarkable model and certainly something to be proud of, though you certainly can't do it for the ego boost as most of that extra work is lost on the typical rocketry enthusiast. I have trouble enough finding the time/energy to do it every couple of years for NARAM and am truly impressed you're doing this just for the pure fun of it.

--Chan Stevens
 

Gus

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...as most of that extra work is lost on the typical rocketry enthusiast.
Chan,

Thanks for the compliments. One of the things Gordy and I talk about all the time is how virtually no one except the modeler really knows all those details. I thought George gave a wonderful description of that too.

.... am truly impressed you're doing this just for the pure fun of it.
Yeah, that's it, just for the fun of it. The fact that Gordy stops by occasionally to berate me for my number of unfinished Roachwerks kits had nothing to do with it. ;)

To be honest, though, I've been laid up with a broken ankle and can't go outside to paint so I was looking for something with lots of building, versus finishing. This really fit the bill and produces and absolutely fantastic end result.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, I have to go back to work this week so it looks like my building will be slowing down a bit from here on out.
 

georgegassaway

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With regard to availability of old photos and such, it just seems hard to believe that there weren't ANY great close up photos of A-004. And that's what keeps me believing there is a super-secret warehouse somewhere in Houston with thousands of shoe-boxes filled with development photos from the early space program. Someday we'll find it (unless of course that's where they're keeping the Roswell photos ;))
Well, for all I know, there indeed might be a shoebox full of the original negatives of great A-004 photos....but that shoebox may be in the attic of a former scale champ who left the hobby nearly 40 years ago (“mine-mine-mine” syndrome).

But I suspect it is one of two sort of related things. Even though NASA tends to have some pretty long photo numbers, I suspect there may have been more taken for preflght than were officially logged in. Or else, maybe they were all logged in, but only certain more interesting “good ones” made the cut to go into the photo archives, or at least make it into a photo index. Because I too find it hard to believe that there were not a lot more photos taken than the ones that have been found.

Or, the negatives may all exist in places but there are no prints, and no indexes, so if there was say a warehouse of photo negatives and you wanted to see all of the ones related to the Little Joe-II program....it would not be possible. You’d have to at the least have some photo number ranges to work with.

But my impression from the few times I got some prints (or tried to get some) in the early 1990’s, was you had to somehow come up with the photo numbers, that it was not too likely anyone at NASA would be able to help much, if at all, beyond maybe a printed list of “popular” photos or maybe a file folder with prints in it. The example of the file folder with prints is exactly what I ran across at the NASA History Office in 1993, literally some photo prints in file folders. Except there was nothing new (and little old) there on the Little Joe-II, it was a limited number of Saturn-IB photos, with some very nice assembly photos of SA-201 and very notably no similar types of assembly photos of SA-205 (Apollo-7).

Also, as far as a printed list of Joe photos, the only one I’ve ever been aware of is the one Tom Beach compiled from what he found, no NASA list. Much of which Tom derived from when he got to personally go thru photo prints at JSC during a NARAM in the early 1980’s, to write down photo #’s to then get prints made from. And some from the photo #’s listed in the Centuri Brochure.

If NASA ever were to get around to digitizing every negative they have, then it might be possible for people like us to find the photos we want. Even if the scans were low-res to just ID the image for later getting a print made but in these modern times, it would be best to scan them at high res (heck, even if they had lo-res thumbnails and charged $2 to $5 for hi-res files to pay for scanning EVERYTHING, it would still be way better and cheaper than doing photo prints, and not being able to find many great “lost” photos).

But back to photos stashed in shoeboxes. Well, here is a link to a website where someone’s old photo collection is being sold off, one by one. This link alone is just for the Little Joe-II, for QTV and A-001. Unfortunately, there are no high-res scans, only moderate sized samples, and lots (most?) of the prints are already sold. For many of these pics, NASA Photo #’s do exist. Of these pics, I think the only close-up one I have EVER seen is #S-63-13544/2, seen about half-way down the page (LJ II QTV Fin Attaching). That one was in the old Centuri Historical Brochure. Some of the other photos on that page, the Pad assembly, QTV parts arrival, and photos of the Recruit and Algol motors, are amazing to see now. Five samples attached below, plus the link here:

https://www.apollomissionphotos.com/index_apollo_littlejoe.html

So, armed with those photo numbers, we just contact the NASA-approved photo contractors about getting prints made up for us, right? Well....not so fast. Remember that warehouse of negatives? Well, WHICH warehouse, where? The “S” umbered photos means photos at JSC in Houston. “H” numbers mean NASA HQ in Washington. Well, it seems like all the photo #’s on that website are S numbers, so the negatives are at JSC. Well, not so fast, again. In the mid-1990’s, when Tom Beach contacted JSC about getting some more prints done up, they told him they no longer had the negatives. Since the program was flown at White Sands, they shipped the negatives to White Sands. OK, so Tom contacts White Sands. And White Sands says “What photos?”. So, “Lost Ark of the Covenant” Warehouse Syndrome. The negatives might well be in a warehouse in White Sands, or a warehouse at JSC, or maybe that past scale champ hijacked the shipment and his attic is even more full of Joe data. Neither Tom or I have tried contacting them since then to see if anyone ever did find where the Joe-II negatives were. Frankly, I had already bought the photos I was interested in buying, so I did not have a big reason to check into it more. Certainly that does not mean that because I have photos, that I do not care that others could also buy prints. But anyone who does want to get prints can contact JSC Public Affairs to find out about the status of the photos, if they ever found the negatives, or if White Sands finally found them.

Or, and I hate to even think of how likely this may be, that nobody at JSC or White Sands has tried to find them for nearly 15 years later, so they are not only still lost but nobody may even remember they were lost. Or, hey, it’s not Apollo-11, it’s not shuttle, and it’s not about Orion-Ares....so does anyone there care?

Oh, two years ago I did want to get a print of something totally different. A Black Brant-V. I had a known NASA Photo number, an “S” number (it is in Peter Alway's Rockets of the World). Provided it to someone at JSC public affairs to look it up, but they could not find it. Of course, that was not a White Sands photo, offhand I do not recall but it likely was a Wallops photo....but again being an “S” number, the negatives were supposed to be at JSC. And even if they moved them elsewhere....JSC should have some record of that, but they did not.

- George Gassaway

s6313544_1.jpg

s633160.jpg

s633217.jpg

s633252.jpg

s632952.jpg
 
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Gus

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If NASA ever were to get around to digitizing every negative they have, then it might be possible for people like us to find the photos we want.
This sounds like a perfect task for some of that economic stimulus money! :D

Doesn't it just absolutely stagger you that as magnificently organized as the moon program was, this stuff is now all missing and unobtainable? Why bother to number every photo if you're not going to be able to retrieve them?

If I remember correctly Spacecraft Films got access to the Apollo film by volunteering to digitize it for NASA in exchange for the right to use the digitized film.
 

Gus

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OK Gassaway, now you've really gone and done it! ;)

It never occurred to me to contact the NASA History Office (truth be told, I didn't know such an office existed). So I found an email address and sent off a request for help with some diagram numbers of the escape tower I had seen referenced in another document.

I received very nice response telling me where to direct my request, and also suggesting I take a look at a site called MANNED SPACEFLIGHT PDF DOCUMENTS.

The site didn't have those particular documents but it did have another document of interest, one that gave the specifications for BP#6, the one used for Pad Abort One. Well, in reading through that document I came across some diagrams which showed part of the tower structure with something HERETOFORE COMPLETELY UNKNOWN!

Atop the lowermost horizontal crossbeams, which on PA-1 were square barstock, there sat u-channel shaped crossbars which had independent connections to the capsule forward compartment cover (see diagram below). Gordy says they look like something they picked up from Home Depot.

Since I had never seen anything like this I was sure it was one of those things which appeared in the original specs but got deleted later. So I went to the photos to verify it wasn't there and, I'll be darned, those pieces are really there. :eek: They are really subtle in the photos because of the angles the photos were taken at. But you can definitely see them in the photo below. I also have another non-digital photo taken from above and you can see that they are there.

Well I'll be darned. Gordy and I spent countless hours poring over everything we could get our hands on. And now, 3 years after we started and long after the models have been finished, due to an offhand comment by George, we find out there was a significant part of the structure we knew NOTHING about! Amazing, simply amazing.

Thanks, George.

BP6-Description Manual Diagram pg 26.jpg

TowerCloseupPhoto.jpg
 

georgegassaway

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Gus,

That’s some good useful stuff. It “sort of” looks like the lower crossbar area of the tower on PA-1/BP-6 was from the earlier version of the LES tower as flown on QTV. That QTV type tower could be called “VZZ” if you go by the diagonal struts from top to bottom, as opposed to the final version with the “XZ” diagonal struts (plus ring inside the “X”). Except unlike QTV’s tower, or the attached photo, there are no filler plates inside the diagonal braces below the horizontal beam.

What document (link) did you find that had the drawing you showed?

On the NASA Technical Reports site, I had found this 206 page report on PA-1:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19790076960_1979076960.pdf

I just did a new search using the keywords: pad abort Apollo

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?N=0&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode matchall&Ntt=pad+abort+apollo

A hit there for PA-2 reveals a disappointment, that the report is not a PDF scan (yet), so a photocopy would have to be ordered.

But there are a couple of hits for BP-6 weight and balance reports, available as PDF’s, which may be of some use. Not much in the way of detailed drawings but they may be useful, and they are free for the downloading.

Of the photo below, it is something I found on the web, unidentified. Since the capsule seems to be too “clean”, with painted-on details, it most likely is a mock-up capsule, or a very “simple” boilerplate not meant for flying. But the notable thing in the photo is that unique “VZZ” style tower structure as QTV flew with (BTW, the Saturn-IB on display on its side at KSC also has this tower. Indeed, it would not surprise me at all if that QTV style “VZZ” tower on the IB at KSC was the very same one in this photo).

OK, I did some Google image searching to try to find some pics of that IB at KSC. Here is a page showing the Apollo CM/LES, including a really good close-up of that funky tower:

https://web.mac.com/jimgerard/AFGAS/pages/apollo/fvv.html

And for other pics of the IB itself:
https://web.mac.com/jimgerard/AFGAS/pages/booster/s1b-kscvc.html

Take note that the Adapter Shroud is a unique one-piece, not the 4-piece clamshell type. And that the "red engines" in the back are not engines at all. They are what were encased around the real engines for shipping purposes, there are no engines there, just empty plastic or fiberglass shells. But the silver "liferaft" heat shields are legit, the real thing did have those. And one of the pics has a good close-up of the IB type APS pod (silver). However, the photo is mislabeled as "separation motor". And I think those round plates, with 4 holes in them, were pre-flight protective cover plates across the nozzles.

- George Gassaway

LES_noID(QTV%20Type%20Tower).jpg

DCP_0695.jpg

kscsiba.JPG

kscsibe.JPG
 
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sandman

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Great! now I suppose we have to model those two pigeons in the second photo!:mad:
 
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