The Menards Rocket Launching Tower is out and I have to say, it’s a lot of fun.
Commencing countdown, engines on.” The words from the David Bowie song Space Oddity got stuck in my head when I saw this accessory. It harkens back to late 1960s Lionel when the race was on to put satellites into orbit and land astronauts on the moon.
Menards Rocket Launching Tower
The Menards rocket is 13 1/2 inches tall; its launch tower is 16 1/2. The model represents a Saturn V and the attendant infrastructure needed to service it. It’s not quite to scale; the prototype is about 360 feet tall, which scales out to 7 1/2 feet in O. Trust me, the model is more manageable and will fit on a layout much more easily. In fact, it wouldn’t look out of place on an S gauge display.
The tower has latticework walkways and gantries. Take care when removing it from the packaging; some of the crossmembers are easily dislodged.
Lights and steam
The model has a couple of sockets to plug in a 4.5-volt transformer- (Menards Nos. 279-4061/4361; 4062/4362; or 4050). One is on the side of the base, the other is a pigtail underneath so it can be wired through the layout surface. When you supply electricity, you get lots of lights (40 or so). The ones on the tower column are steady; on top and the launch pad they flash.
The other cool feature is the steam effect from the launch pad. Add water to the pair of heaters under the rocket – there’s a reservoir underneath – and plug it in. In a few minutes the rocket looks like it’s just seconds from blast off with vapor rising from underneath. A note of caution: do not use oil-based smoke fluid, it will ruin the electronics.
The accessory is pretty economical on real estate, having only an 8 3/4-inch square footprint. The item (No. 2759032) is $99.99.