Kit preview of Revell DE's ISS.

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By Jay Curtiss - images & text © 2001

Scale: 1/144
Parts: 288 plastic 4 color (black, white, silver, blue) plus 11 aluminum rods
Instructions: 23 pages - kind of vague
Decals: 36 on 1 small sheet - they look okay
Molding Quality: 8 - a little flash to clean up
Detail: 6 - some places good others just so-so.
Accuracy: When I can find some good plans I will figure it out
MSRP: $89.95 USD (~$85.91 CAN/ 61.81 EUR) available in 2011 from Starship Modeler (I got mine from Ebay for $50.00 USD plus shipping in 2001.
Overall Rating: 8 - should be an impressive model when finished, even if not totally accurate when the station is complete.

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I first heard about this kit in December of 2000. My local hobby shops did not have it in their catalogs and didn't know when they would get it. Every time I tried to mail order it the shops I tried were out of stock. When they started showing up on Ebay I could wait no longer. It still took 4 weeks to get here.

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Image: Sprue containing various small craft.

Image: Most of the parts trees are too big to fit on a scanner.

Image: Soyuz, Progress, and the CRV on the sprue.

Image: Various modules, assembled.

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Image: Like the solar panels (above), the radiators are overscale.

[Crude!]

^ Three laughable crew figures are included.

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Image: Instructions are typical Revell, and though vague in places, should be adequate.

Image: Line drawings are provided as reference. Given the changes already made to the station, they are becoming less and less accurate.

What You Get

First impressions. This kit is big - about 30"x26"x20" built up! It dwarfs Mir, Skylab and Salyut in the same scale. I wanted to complete the modules and then assemble it as the real station progressed. But, the kit has an internal aluminum skeleton that would prevent this without major surgery. As in all the plastic kits like this that I have seen, the solar panels are too thick, along with the trusses. I am not going to worry about these because to make it look right it would be to flimsy to move.

With 2 Soyuz, 1 Progress, a Hermes type CRV, the ESA stand alone experiment module, and what looks like an orbit boost vehicle (this is the first I've seen) it has plenty of eye candy. Small details, such as grab rails and thrusters, will be easy to add.

The kit does represent an earlier configuration. As of now it looks like the kit will need another Russian experiment node and a pressurized mating collar. Scratch build the new Transhab, (it looks like a Mars spacecraft), X-38CRV and a Mars spacecraft. With 2 years of construction remaining, there will probably be a few other modifications. By that time the kit should be easy to get and I am pretty sure I will have a mold or two for parts I will need more of.

Now, I just have to break out my last shuttle kit. Then the kit will be complete.

Instructions are typical for Revell, as are the decals.

Assembly & Finish

As for painting, I am looking for ideas. I had to throw out all of my preconcieved notions of the color scheme. For some reason, (IMR and most artwork) I thought it would be mostly white. Using current artwork, photos of parts in orbit, and those under construction it looks like shuttle launched modules will be aluminum or stainless steel. Those parts launched by Proton will be white with protective blankets that will turn brown with age.

Metalizer paints will be used for the metallic parts. Solar panels have always been a pain for me. This time I think I will try a gold undercoat with light mistings of clear black and clear blue.

These are the parts and their colors that I have decided on so far - subject to change right up to the time of painting and maybe after:

  • Main boom: aluminum
  • Russian modules: flat white
  • Protective blankets Gunze Sangyo H85 Sail color
  • Shuttle launched mods: Aluminum or stainless steel metalizer paints
  • mating collars: Metallic black
  • Scientific tower: Champagne gold, with silver undercoat
  • Solar arrays: Clear black & blue with gold undercoat

The current problem is one of scale. Modules that were deliverd by the shuttle will not fit in the Revell shuttle kit payload bay! One, or both, are off. Not by as much as I thought, but still it is annoying.


Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 15 March 2001.