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Space Shuttle with Booster Rockets 40th Anniversary (05674) 1:144 Revell The Space Shuttle is probably one of the most recognised air and space vehicles on this planet, so I won't go into raptures over its proud history, or the two tragic losses of ships and crew during its long and illustrious career. Officially called the Space Transportation System the main re-useable Space plane, or shuttle was to be launched into orbit with the help of two large solid fuelled booster rockets which would be mounted to an external liquid fuel tank which would supply the shuttles main engines. The solid fuel rockets would descend via parachute to be re-used but the large external tank would be consumed on re-entry. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the first flight of the first shuttle, the eventually ill-fated Colombia, on 12th April 1981, so it's not surprising to see that Revell have rereleased their kit again. The Kit The kit is one of Revell's own toolings from around the time that the first shuttles were bravely scything through the atmosphere into low earth orbit on a semi-regular basis. It’s a product of the 80s, so don’t expect the latest moulding technology, but do expect large expanses of white styrene. The Shuttle & stack are pretty big, and covers a reasonably large area. The box is a large one, and is a top opener, with a fetching painting of the shuttle blasting into orbit on the front. This is a gift set variant, so comes with a pack of paints and a brush, although whether there’s enough of any colour in there to make it through the painting process? Who knows? The Shuttle The shuttle on this set is full kit in its own right with landing gear, a complete payload bay (with arm), landing gear and a stand if needed. However if you are going to be mounting it on the stack then none of these are needed. Unlike its large 1/72 brother the 1/144 kit does not get a cockpit at all. The two fuselage halves are joined with a rear stiffening bulkhead, the rear air brake and the cockpit glass is fitted in. The payload bay doors are hinged so if you wanted to build the interior to show it off then the modeller can do this, otherwise its just a case of gluing them shut. Once this is done at the rear the mounting plate for the main rocket motors goes on, as do the mounts for the RCS jets. The main engines can then go on. The wings can then be assembled and added. Last up the closed gear doors are added, the shuttle is then ready to mount on the stack. The Stack The reason for getting this kit is that it comes with the booster rockets and the tank, and a basic representation for the crawler which transports the stack to the launch tower. The four sides of the crawler base is built up and the 8 sets of crawlers are added, two at each corner. The large single part base then goes on along with two supports. The nozzles for the Boosters are made up and added to the boosters, these are in two halves, a single part nose cone goes on the top. Separation jets are added at the bottom along with the lower mounting points to the external tank. The tank itself is just two large pats which go together, the large vent duct is added along with mounting parts for the shuttle. The Boosters are added at each side, followed by the shuttle then the whole lot can be mounted to the base. Markings The shuttle flew in the usual white on top and black on the bottom, right? Sort of. The different types of insulation that were used on the upper surface varied very slightly between white tiles of a similar type fitted underneath, and large insulation sheets, or batting. The batting was used where heat dissipation and strength wasn’t critical, and you can see roughly where those were by inspecting the raised panel lines on the model. The black high-temperature tiles around the upper hot-spots changed now and again, so if you’re intent on getting it 100% you need to check your references thoroughly. The leading edges of the wings had very strong but brittle grey panels, one of which was breached during launch to later cause the Columbia disaster on re-entry, and then the rest of the underside and wrap-around areas are fitted with black high-temperature tiles that discolour to a streaky grey shade over time, and differences are seen due to replacements glued in place amongst the remaining tiles during maintenance sessions. Some companies have produced tile decals for these models. From the box you can build either Enterprise, Endeavour, Discovery or Columbus from before 1998, or Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour or Columbia after 1998. Markings for the external tank are shown for the original white one, or the later orange one. There are also a number of surface details represented by decals, the NASA Meatballs, an ESA logo or two, and a number of US flags to help you along. The decals are from Zanetti and should pose no problems. Conclusion It’s an old kit, but as we’re unlikely to get a new one any time soon, it’s about the best we’re going to get for the foreseeable future. There is a good quantity of detail included, a really nice decal sheet. It will still require care during the build process however, as it is a big kit made of large and sometimes flexible parts. Take it slow and steady however, and you will end up with an excellent replica of this awe-inspiring part of space exploration history. If you’re going to go crazy and super-detail it, there are a great deal of options open to you. Get your wallet ready! Highly recommended. Currently, Revell are unable to ship to the UK from their online shop due to recent changes in import regulations. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
Just got back from 2 week holiday to Florida, the highlight for me was the Kennedy Space Center. A new part of the center was opened in July which was the Shuttle Atlantis. All I can say is that it was amazing. Wish I took more photo's to be honest but here are the best ones from the day, anyone building the Revell or Airfix kit these might help. The lighting was not the best so I hope you all enjoy these. More to follow of the Saturn rocket. Dan