My most recent kit was another blast from the past. I remember putting together this same kit as a kid and displaying it up in one of the basement windowsills. As with many of the kits I assembled as a kid, I don’t think I paid much attention to the paint or details. I just wanted to put it together quickly because it was Star Wars, and I ate up anything Star Wars.
Now that I have returned to the hobby, I wanted to revisit this kit for a decent price on eBay. I remember the shuttle being fairly large, but I didn’t remember how few parts it included, so I assumed the build would go quickly and smoothly. In some ways that sentiment was true, but in more ways this kit kicked me in the butt!
I debated about how to paint this kit because the movie models look very white or really light grey. I tried out some of my light grey paints, but they did not fit the look of the movie model. Fortunately, I have a copy of a book that has many pictures of models and props from the Lucasfilm archives. A close examination of those pictures convinced me to go with a white base color.
I tried something new with the cockpit windshield on this kit because I painted the cockpit and pilot figures but did not want to leave the windshield clear. All the pictures of the movie props have a black-tinted windshield. I found some transparent black paint at Michaels and tried it out on this kit. The results still ended up fairly dark, with limited visibility into the cockpit only in certain lights. I am still interested in experimenting more with this paint and would welcome suggestions from others who have used it. I think I may have sprayed it on too thick.
A couple of positive points about this kit include the size and the relative ease of assembly. I think the scale is around 1/72, if I compare it to my other kits in that scale, but it is always hard to tell with the early Star Wars kits. Also, the small number of parts and the fact that they are molded in large chunks made the assembly straightforward (with one notable exception, see below). Oh yeah, the kit also comes with a miniature Darth Vader figure, which I threw in a box for potential future use.
The negative points on this kit were numerous. The two main body pieces had the worst fit I have ever encountered on a model kit. They were both horribly warped and required excessive filling and sanding. I never got to a place where I was really happy with the seams at the wings, but I got so frustrated that I did the best I could and left it. There were other parts that had a pretty poor fit, but none were quite as bad as the body. I guess I have been spoiled by the quality of the FineMolds kits.
A related negative point for this kit was the overall warping of many parts. Outside of the body pieces, the top fin has a noticeable curve if you look at it head on, and the side wings are a bit uneven. I don’t know if this is because of the age of the kit, the quality, or a bit of both. Whatever the reason, I was often frustrated while building this kit.
The final frustrating point on this kit was the worthless hole for the display stand. I had to use my new Dremel tool (a fantastic Christmas gift!) to carve out a new hole just to fit the included stand.
All in all, this kit was not bad, and I feel like the end result looks pretty decent. If you can find it for a really good price, go for it and do your best to modify as you wish.