Lego 21309 Saturn V Review

In April 2017 Lego unveiled the new Lego Ideas Saturn V rocket, a project I had supported on Lego Ideas. As soon as I saw the final model and its price tag, I knew I had to get it.

The wait was rather long since it got sold out at the Lego online store on the very first day, but I was finally able to get it in July, around the time of the 48th anniversary of the first Moon landing (actually I built it around these days).

The set retails at 120€ and has 1969(!) pieces, and measures one meter high. It has an incredible attention to detail as you’ll see on the following photos.

Inside the box there are 12 numbered bags and an instruction manual with a short description of the real rocket and how the model was designed by Lego. Experienced Lego builders may notice there are no stickers: all parts are printed!

The stages of the rocket consist of an inner structure to give stability and to allow the outer panels to be attached. There’s a bunch of clever connections like seen above. The gap seen coincides with the riveted pieces that will be attached later.

Some steps are repeated four times like with the above panel pieces, but even so the model is a very interesting build.

Strange use of pieces

I did scratch my head a few times due to the strange use of pieces. The above 6×1 panel piece is attached with jumpers instead of 2×1 flat pieces. The only reason I can think of is to cut costs, I suppose jumpers are slightly cheaper that 2×1 pieces, allowing Lego to keep the price of the model low.

Instead of using a single trussed piece on the Launch Escape System Lego has used 16 nozzle pieces – genius! Since there’s a Technic axle through the center the structure is very solid and won’t come apart.

There’s an incredible level of detail to the F-1 engines on the first stage. the nozzles are made up of barrels in gun metal grey plastic.

1st and 2nd stages

The 1st and 2nd stage finished together with a drawing I once made through a telescope of some Lunar craters. The stages are very robust and don’t easily fall apart. While I wouldn’t want to drop them, I have no fear of handling them and they have a very satisfying ‘click’ when they are put together.

Lego astronaut to scale

Lego has included 4 micro figures to scale. I’m not sure who the 4th astronaut is supposed to be, but here’s Mike Collins to indicate the gigantic proportions of the rocket. Truly a magnificent machine!

CSM splashed down and LEM on the Moon

Apart from the rocket, two smaller ‘vignettes’ are included: The Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) touched down on the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and the CM splashed down on Earth. The LEM can be put inside the rocket in its proper place just behind the CSM, while there’s an extra CM with its white protective cover for use on the rocket.

CSM and LEM

Another way to display the CSM and LEM as they would be on their way to and around the Moon. This does however use the Service Module from the rocket, as there are no spares.

A closer look at the 2nd stage. The black dots is a printed piece, as well as the lettering of course. Both the 1st and 2nd stages are almost completely round, and made up of 2×3 curved pieces. I believe the technical term is SNOT, Studs Not On Top.

Lego Saturn V on stands

And lastly, the Lego Saturn V in all its glory! At 1 meter long, the model is a sight to behold, and in my opinion very well worth its 120€ price tag.

As a child I had dozens of Lego kits and several Lego Technic kits when I got older. In my opinion, the Saturn V is the best set Lego has ever made. It is a decorative, well-detailed model that is fun to build and stays very true to the original rocket. It is also very educational, since it allows one to simulate the Moon mission in all its steps. It’s no wonder it’s completely sold out everywhere as of the time of writing, but more will be on the way.

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