≡ Menu

LEGO Apollo Saturn V Launch Tower

As we have discussed the other day (see: LEGO Ideas Latest News & Updates), the LEGO Ideas team recently made a decision to not approve any of the fan-created projects in the latest batch under review. One of the projects that was effected is the NASA Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower that was meant to be a companion set for the highly impressive and very popular #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V.

There has been a lot of anticipation by LEGO fans, hoping that the project will be approved by the LEGO Ideas team. However, due to the sheer size of the tower (almost 3,000 pieces, which is over a 1,000 pieces more than the Saturn V itself), and the fact that it would only appeal to those who bought the #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V already, it just wasn’t the right fit for the LEGO Ideas product line.

Now that the project has been shelved, the creators Valerie Roche and Emmanuel Urquieta decided to release the instructions for anyone who would like to build it. So, if you already have the beautiful #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V, and you would like to make it even more impressive, you can download the parts list and building instructions to make your own NASA Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower. (UPDATE: building instructions and parts-list are no longer available.)

The LEGO version of NASA Saturn V umbilical tower set features the launch tower itself as well as the launch pad. The tower includes the crew elevator and ways for the crew to work on the rocket and inject fuel. Notice that all the pipes and fuel lines have been replicated as technically possible on the LEGO model.

The yellow control is for the rotation of the crane on its central axis either to the right or to the left. The red control is for raising or lowering the hook. The blue control is for the gateways rotation during takeoff (at this time, the upper gateway with the white box, pivots to the right while the other 8 gateways are pivoting to the left). The green control is to go up or down with the elevator, from level 0 (top of the platform) to the sixteenth floor of the crane (in the platform, there is a mechanism to stretch with two elastics the cable which makes a return trip).

In addition, you can manually lift up the damper (located at the top of the tower) during take-off, and lock or unlock the rocket so that it has maximum stability in a vertical position. Also, the three umbilical (located on the base of the platform) can pivot upward to release the rocket during take-off, just like the real one. The overall height of the model is 143 studs = 1.14 meters = 3,75 feet = 45,03 inches, the platform length is 56 studs = 0.448 meters = 1.46 feet = 17.63 inches, and the platform width is 46 studs = 0.368 meters = 1.20 feet = 14.49 inches. Total number of pieces used is 2,998.

Please note that this is a massive model, and although a parts list and building instructions are provided freely, you will need to shop for the necessary parts yourself. You best option to get the parts you don’t already have is BrickLink, the largest online LEGO marketplace. LEGO fans who already built the model share that it includes some rare and discontinued parts, which will make the model very expensive (if you don’t already own the pieces). You may want to play around with the LEGO Digital Designer file of the model to see if you can swap out some of the hard-to-find parts with cheaper alternatives.

In addition to the NASA Saturn V launch Umbilical Tower posted on LEGO Ideas, the project has a couple of other variations as well. You might want to check these out before settling on a final version for yourself. There is also a dedicated Facebook page for the model with relevant discussion (no longer available). Plus, the creator of the project also provided a couple of very simple alternative stands for the LEGO Ideas Saturn V, which you might consider building if your budget it smaller. Below are the links to download the parts list and building instructions, as well as additional resources I mentioned and you might find useful:

While there are many ways to display the #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V (we discussed some of them here: LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V Display Ideas) the LEGO version of the NASA Saturn V umbilical tower is definitely a beautiful match. The red looks striking next to the white and black of the rocket. Building the umbilical tower is a challenging and expensive project, but if you are up to it, this is your chance to build it as the designer intended.

What do you think? Do you have the #21309 LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V already? How are you displaying it? Are you considering building an umbilical tower or another more substantial stand for it than the one that comes with the set? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Viscouse February 13, 2018, 10:20 AM

    For my money, I’d rather wait for a SpaceX Falcon Heavy set. But that will probably never be approved either.

    • waverider February 13, 2018, 11:44 AM

      Do you have a link?If it is good, I would support that!

      • admin February 13, 2018, 4:10 PM

        I hope Viscouse will link to the one they were talking about, but there are a number of SpaceX projects on LEGO Ideas. Several of them very good! 🙂

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:06 PM

      I don’t see why not. LEGO loves space sets, and they do perform well. 🙂

      • Håkan February 14, 2018, 7:36 AM

        Hmmm, very round, “pillarly” shape, but it could probably work on various different scales.

    • Jerry August 7, 2019, 1:12 PM

      Grown men playing with Lego’s and you wonder why we have not gone back to the moon in 50 years . SMH

  • DavidH February 13, 2018, 11:01 AM

    I would love to build this, just because it looks splendid. But my god, that’s a lot of parts! I wonder if it would be possible to make it more simple.

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:08 PM

      The Saturn itself is very big and tall, so if you want to make an accurate tower, you will have to make it at least that tall. Of course, you can always make compromises and make the tower shorter or smaller. I was even thinking it could be combined with a picture of the real thing, and make only part of it out of LEGO. There are always some creative ideas to make things happen. 😉

  • LEGOJeff February 13, 2018, 11:09 AM

    I can understand why this was rejected as an Ideas project. It’s too expensive, too boring of a build, and it is an addon to another expensive set. But it does look great. Kudos to the creators for releasing the building instructions.

    • Joachimpiper September 2, 2019, 3:53 PM

      Hi, I wonder if you still have the instructions for the umbilical and could send them to me
      Thanks

      • admin September 4, 2019, 5:38 PM

        You would need to reach out to the creators of the project and see if they would still like to share it. 🙂

  • Rob February 13, 2018, 11:16 AM

    This post inspired me to pull out my Apollo 13 DVD and watch the launch sequence. 🙂

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:08 PM

      Awww…! So amazing, isn’t it? 😀

      • Rob February 13, 2018, 4:20 PM

        Truly!

        • admin February 13, 2018, 4:45 PM

          And now we have a Tesla floating around in space! What a time to be alive! 😀

  • jabber-baby-wocky February 13, 2018, 11:23 AM

    Gosh, this is beautiful! But sourcing the parts would be a nightmare. For anyone planning to build this, I strongly suggest transferring the LDD file to Stud.io and see what it would cost. Then, try to redesign is by taking out the most expensive/rarest parts. 3000 pieces should be a minimum of $300, but since some of the parts are rare, and you also have to consider shipping from many different sellers, I would expect it to be at least twice as much.

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:09 PM

      I was reading somewhere that it cost about three times that (so around $900) if you want to use all the rare parts. But you can definitely make compromises and should be able to build it for much less.

  • brickmaster February 13, 2018, 1:16 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s a massive undertaking to build this, but so worth it. Wasn’t there someone here the other day who said they built one?

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:11 PM

      I think that was James, and he commented here as well. 🙂

  • James February 13, 2018, 2:00 PM

    I built my own version of the tower, and it is remarkably similar to the Ideas project. Although my version is admittedly not as detailed nor does it have as many moving parts. And I have not built the crawler yet (the grey boxy thing at the bottom). However, I built mine with real Legos while the version above is obviously a digital version. I can tell you that the white tubing along the side of the tower (which I did NOT include) is cost prohibitive alone. Those pieces are extremely rare (in white). The rest of the structure in red can be done with reasonable costs using standard red plates, tiles, connectors, etc.

    • admin February 13, 2018, 4:13 PM

      James, thanks for sharing. That’s valuable insights for those who want to tackle this project. There are definitely some rare parts in the original version, but most of them can be substituted. For the tubing, I wouldn’t even mind using some non-LEGO parts. Alternate tubing, strings and rubber-bands are usually acceptable even by hardcore LEGO fans. 😀

  • Ray Milyard January 7, 2019, 2:33 PM

    I would love to find parts and instructions for a cheaper version to display my Saturn V.

  • Phil July 26, 2019, 4:13 PM

    Does anyone have a mirror link to the instructions/parts list link or the PDF they can email me? The link in the article is broken

    • admin July 26, 2019, 5:22 PM

      Phil, my suggestion is to reach out to the creators through LEGO Ideas. If they are still sharing the plans, but changed the location of the files, they should be able to help you out. Here is their page: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/a88109ec-9970-4fe1-98b4-9bd535856ab4

    • Its no good September 12, 2019, 9:19 PM

      Everything is permanent once online. Link to Saturn V umbilical tower: (no longer available)

      • admin September 12, 2019, 10:09 PM

        Nice find! Thanks for sharing. I’m sure it will be helpful to people who have been asking for the instructions. 🙂

      • Eric Burgin August 11, 2020, 1:51 PM

        Could you send the instructions to me via email. Not sure why this is such a big secret. I can’t find them anywhere.

  • Tiffany L Boldig August 27, 2019, 8:52 AM

    The link to the download for instructions and parts is unavailable. I would love this for my son. He is looking to make this to go with his Apollo V shuttle.

  • Pete November 18, 2019, 5:51 AM

    Hi. Just a passionate lego builder. Would love to build the tower for the Saturn V. Is it possible to buy all the lego parts from you to build it ? If so to do it completely following the instructions how much would it cost ? Am very keen to buy all of the parts if possible please. Sincerely Pete Geraerts.

    • admin November 18, 2019, 3:27 PM

      Pete, this is an online LEGO fan community. We publish articles, reviews, news, etc. We don’t sell LEGO. However, you can purchase all the parts you need at BrickLink.com, the online LEGO marketplace. Price will depend on which sellers you shop from, how many stores you buy from, shipping, etc. Hope this helps some. Have fun with the project! 🙂

  • Steve Epstein June 18, 2020, 10:44 AM

    I bought this. Included is a link to the build pdf. The unit itself is at best okay. It comes down to fit and finish. The parts arrived in a big box of ziplocs. they were almost completely unsorted and the first 20 parts were in 20 different bags. It went downhill from there. Some parts fit way too tight, some way too loose. Some parts were missing (not many). Despite my best efforts, the tower leaned forward when complete. Many of the assembly steps could be re-ordered to simplify the build. Additionally, some changes would make the unit sturdier. Overall the worst parts are the crane on top — balance is way off, and the astronaut gantry. There is way too much weight out on the end for the structure that holds it, so it sags about an inch (only 7 inches long).

    http://mocguides.vonado.com/moc/NASA%20Saturn-V%20Launch%20Umbilical%20Tower
    -Instructions%20-%20C265.pdf

    • Eric Burgin August 11, 2020, 1:54 PM

      Steve,

      The link that you posted does not work. Any chance that you would be able to send the PDF via email?

Leave a Comment