Lunar Module (1969)
About the Design
Designed for the sole purpose of landing a man on the Moon, the Lunar Module -- also known as the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) -- first flew on March 3, 1969, during an Earth orbital test flight (Apollo 9). The second LM made it to the Moon as part of the Apollo 10 mission (5/18-26/69), but remained in lunar orbit. Finally, the LM designated "Eagle" touched down on the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969 -- the first of six moon landings made between July 1969 and December 1972. The Lunar Module itself was a two-stage vehicle consisting of a descent stage and the upper ascent stage, within which two astronauts were housed.
It was the LM aboard Apollo 13 that served as the three-man crew's "lifeboat" when the craft's service module was critically damaged by an oxygen tank explosion during the outbound phase of that ill-fated mission.
About the Kit
This particular 1/48-scale Lunar Module was part of a larger "First Lunar Landing" set produced by Monogram during the early 1970s and subsequently re-released during the 1980s and 1990s. The model is distinguished by the mylar-like gold foil that came with the kit and gave it that extra patina of authenticity. Another interesting featuring of the kit was the large "Tranquility Base" display base that came with two astronauts, various experiment packages and an American flag. The base not only simulated the lunar surface, but had the harsh shadows produced by the lunar sun molded and painted directly into the plastic. Subsequent releases retained the shadow moldings, but they were unpainted. This led a whole generation of young model-builders to wonder what those odd, elongated shapes were on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility.
This kit was built from the original 1970 issue.