Old Trafford

The latest LEGO Ideas set is the NASA Apollo Saturn V. By now, you've probably seen plenty of reviews from those lucky enough to get the set before it sold out. I'm happy to bring you Rebrickable's review of this amazing model.

Box Contents

The box isn't as large as I was expecting given the size of the model. It has a good depiction of the rocket deployment stages during flight on the back.

  • 12 numbered bags of parts (one of each number)
  • plastic wrapped booklet
  • No stickers :)

The booklet is very nicely produced, with some background material on the Saturn V rocket and the LEGO designers.


There are no minifigs in this set, but there are three (well four if you count the spare) tiny trophy-sized astronauts. All trophy-figs have the same astronaut print on the front.

The Saturn V rocket was 110m tall, while this LEGO model is 1m tall (so a ratio of 1:110). The trophy-figs are about 15mm tall (including the base), which scaled up would make them 1.65m. So, they are a pretty accurate size comparison to the rocket as a whole. If you haven't seen one of them up close in real life, try to picture yourself as one of these little figs :)



No new parts, but there are plenty of new prints. First up, there's plenty of USA material (25 parts in total).

Build - Stage 1

The stage 1 booster contains an inner cylindrical structure with bracing to support the outer panelling. It starts off a little fragile and bizare looking.

The strange looking contraption in the middle of the booster is there to help connect the corrugated part of the panelling later on.

Next we can see the first of the outer panelling and how it connects the two halves of the 1st stage booster.


The lower part of the stage starts to get some depth to it. The long piping/cabling running up the side of the booster is nicely done.

More panels.

With the side panels complete, the booster is starting to look amazing.

The engines are very well done when you compre them with the real F-1 engines.

The completed first stage:

The first stage is almost half the height of the total rocket.

Build - Stage 2

The second stage follows much the same internal design as the first stage. A central cylindrical support structure uses plenty of SNOT techniques to attach the outer panelling. The second stage has a conical nose so there's a bit more to it, but otherwise it's very similar.

Next the outer panelling is added which adds extra rigidity to the rocket.

Lots of 4-way repetition :)

The completed second stage:

The 1st and 2nd stages connect via the four double-header connections which makes it very secure. When pulling them apart, you worry about breaking something but everything is strong enough to handle it very well.

Build - Stage 3

Since the third stage has a smaller diameter, there is no inner cylindrical walls. 

The completed stage 3:


The 3rd stage connects to the 2nd stage via 2 connectors.

Build - Service Module

The Service Module is a fairly straight-forward build, with the Launch Escape System at the top and the Lunar Module fairings below.

The escape tower design looks interesting, but has a major flaw. In the real rocket, it detaches shortly after launch once it's past the point that it can no longer save the Command Module in an emergency. However, in this LEGO model, the tower is attached via a long axle that is also keeping the 4x4x2 Cone (i.e. Command Module) attached. So it cannot be removed without breaking things.

Build - Lunar Module

The Lunar Module build consists of the lander and a small scene with two of the trophy-figs planting a flag. The third trophy-fig doesn't show up in any of the instructions but it's nice they included him.

It's designed to easily be separated into descent and ascent stages (be sure you don't leave your astronauts on the moon!)

It fits snugly into the fairing too.

The Service/Command/Lunar Module docking process needs to destroy the escape tower and then use a separate axle (4L works fine) to connect them all together.


Build - Splashdown

A 2nd version of the Command Module is built, shown floating in the water after a successful parachute landing. I like the fact that it's now Dark Bluish Gray instead of the original White to simulate the atmospheric re-entry scorch marks. I'm not sure why they decided to put printing on this part but not the white part.

There are three stands for laying the rocket down horizontally. You can lay it down without them, but the tail fins on the first stage tend to span off.

Due to the size of this rocket, I wasn't able to get a full shot of it.

All the components.


Despite some initial delicate parts placements, the overall rocket is extremely rigid and well put together. There is a lot of 4-way symetrical building and repeated steps, but they are fairly small items for the most part and it never bothered me. It probably helps to build all 4 items in parallel.

I love the attention to detail - for example the external piping on the side of the rocket, all the little extra bits poking out of the rocket like ullage motors, attenaes etc. Also the colour scheme is pretty much spot on, although the real rocket had a few variations over it's lifetime.

The size is pretty deceptive from photos. Knowing it's 1m tall doesn't really prepare you for the thickness and solidity of the whole rocket. The detachable stages and command/service modules are fantastic.

The ability to extract the Lunar Module and dock it with the Service Module is neat, as is it's ability to separate it's ascent stage. The launch escape tower is the only slight annoyance making this kind of play a little cumbersome.

I'm a huge space fan, so this set was an automatic must-have from the moment it was announced. Now I just have to figure out how to display such a huge model :)

Having exactly 1969 parts is quite a clever achievement, I wonder how many iterations it took to add or remove just a few more parts to get to that magic number!

The LEGO Ideas sets don't usually stay in production for very long, and this one sold out very quickly on the first day. The LEGO shop says they are "temporarily out of stock" so hopefully more will be coming soon! Alternatively, you might find some in stores or search on Amazon and eBay via the links below.

If the set had been released a little later, in 2019 on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, it would get a lot more attention. But I'm sure it will still be on shelves at that time, perhaps even getting a new boost in production.

Disclaimer: This LEGO set was provided for review by The LEGO Group. Anything said in this post is the opinion of the author and not The LEGO Group.


  • 1 year, 6 months ago ss34 Level 5
    This has been on my wish list for a long time, I think this will be my first step into non-technic lego
  • 1 year, 8 months ago waltair Level 6
    I've build this set last year - a few days after it's publication. The idea to create it with axactly 1969 parts is absolutely amazing. A huge reference to the first landing on moon! The build itself is - let's say - easy. Even when you put all parts together - my way to build a LEGO model. Imagine the heap of pieces when i build the Millenium Falcon :-)

    So, i can recommend this model to all LEGO fans and especially those who are interested in space flight!
  • 2 years, 7 months ago whatsuptoday Level 2

    We are sending you this message to inform the Lego fans of the existence of the ideal complement to the Lego set 21309: NASA Apollo Saturn-V rocket.
    This is the design of the launch tower: NASA Saturn-V Launch Umbilical Tower, scaled at 1 / 110th, identical to the scale of the Saturn-V rocket.
    We, Emmanuel Urquieta (crew member and Doctor of space medicine at NASA) and Valerie Roche (co-designer of the Lego Saturn-v rocket), present this collaborative project at Lego Ideas: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/a88109ec-9970-4fe1-98b4-9bd535856ab4 . And, of course, we need your support at Lego Ideas so that this project becomes an official Lego set and will be available in stores ;-)
    You can view  images of this design here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157683577402860/ , concerning all the information about this project, they are in the Main text of the project, at lego Ideas.

    Concerning the Lego NASA Apollo Saturn-V, we have created a solid and economical stand, with 80 to 87 bricks (depending on the chosen colors, available at Bricklink as e. g.), to give maximum stability to the rocket in a vertical position.
    The building guide and bricks list are available for free download here: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/a88109ec-9970-4fe1-98b4-9bd535856ab4/updates and pictures of the stand here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]8/sets/72157683780279600

    Best Regards
    Emmanuel Uquieta and whatsuptoday
    • 2 years, 2 months ago infantryman_91 Level 2
      YES!!! The very first thought I had after building the masterful Saturn V was that I wished it had included the launch tower. Does anybody REALLY want to display this gem laying horizontally? I get it that that is the way it is displayed in real life, but I'm sure that is merely because of the logistics of permanently displaying it vertically in all its glory! THANK YOU for your priceless time and skill in creating this complimentary structure!
  • 2 years, 7 months ago atarihq Level 9
    Very nice review, well written and good pictures! just great!
  • 2 years, 8 months ago osage Level 19 PRO
    Thanks, Nathan for such a thorough review. I also appreciate your wry sense of humor (at least I am presuming you intended to get good old Australia in the picture). I'm referring to the photo with the three USA and one AUS configurations. Very sneaky, but I LOVE IT!!!!!!!   :-)
  • 2 years, 8 months ago antares Level 21
    Thanks for the good review and plenty of photos. There is a lot of joy and work behind it, respect!
  • 2 years, 8 months ago Dantor Level 4
    A nice/simple fix for the escape tower problem (not my idea) is to use a Round 2 x 2 Plate with Axle Hole on top of the command module/bottom of the tower that fixes this problem and holds it all together nicely for play or display.
    I "suspect" LEGO limited parts quantity/number, even important ones to have the number of parts totaling 1969. I think this simple fix makes it better but overall a great fun kit and I salute LEGO and the designer(s) for this wonderful set.

    P.S. and thank you for not having stickers in this set!!!
  • 2 years, 8 months ago nigel1975 Level 24 PRO
    Thanks for the great review Nathan, I think this set is fabulous. I was really worried this set would sell out on the first day, which it did. I was fortunate and super excited to be able to get mine early when Walmart released the set before the Lego store. One shortcoming I found is that the three supports are not enough to display the rocket in separated stages (can easily be knocked over with kids around), however I may order additional parts when available for an extra two stands. I also enjoyed the set so much I took the time to submit the new parts and set to Rebrickable - getting some experience with the website and earning a few badges :-)
  • 2 years, 8 months ago ludovisser Level 6 MOC Designer
    I don't think there is a flaw in the launch escape tower. Aurigas81 is correct: the white cone is not representing the command module, but it is representing the boost protective cover that protects the CM from blast of the escape tower boosters. It comes off together with the rest of the escape system when it is ejected.
    I was also wondering why the white cone wasn't printed and so hard to disconnect, so I researched it. It shows the attention to detail put into the set.
    • 2 years, 8 months ago Nathan Level 28 Site Admin ADMIN
      You're probably right. Still, swapping the cones around isn't exactly straight-forward, and the tower is fragile enough to break up in the attempt too.
      • 2 years, 8 months ago ludovisser Level 6 MOC Designer
        I mean: there's no swapping: the entire tower + cone comes off as one piece, and then the CM is "under" it.

        But it's a detail that doesn't really matter, I think we agree that it's a great set with a lot of playability :-)
  • 2 years, 8 months ago Aurigas81 Level 2
    I think you're supposed to use the gray printed cone from the water landing part when connecting the service module to the lunar lander. It even has the axle you need if you take the floats off the top.
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