Space Shuttle and 747


Model by Ron E.


Box Stock

Academy kit FA007-350 (1640)

Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/288
Shuttle Length = 14cm, 747 Length: 24.5cm
Shuttle Width = 8.3cm, 747 Width: 21cm
Shuttle Height = 5cm, 747 Height: 7cm

During a trip to Florida, I cycled the 35km up to Kennedy Space Center and spent the day there at the Visitor's Complex. This visit wasn't too long after the Columbia disaster, so all of the shuttles were grounded; so unfortunately, I didn't see any. I was able to buy a couple of models form the gift shop; this being one of them.

This was the first model I've completed with an overall metallic finish (on the 747), which I achieved with Testors Steel paint (#1180) for the walkway on the wings, and Alclad II Aluminum Metallizer paint for the overall finish.
As a straight “out of the box” kit, the configuration of this model was to represent the shuttle and the transporter as they are used today. However, I made a few changes in order to display the both models to match the Approach and Landing Tests that were done with the shuttle Enterprise from August to October 1977.

-The shuttle Enterprise used in the 1977 Approach and Landing Tests had a “rod” protruding from the nose. As the kit didn’t have this, it was added by using an old dot-matrix printer needle
- Some of the tile details around the nose thrusters has changed since the 1977 tests, so the model was painted to represent the original 1977 black and white tile configuration
- The decals for this kit were also inaccurate for the shuttle; I used an 'USAF' decal for the "USA" on the starboard wing, and had to create the tiny stylized 'NASA' log on the rear of the cargo bay doors.
- A few of the windows on the upper deck were removed (filled in) near the forward shuttle support
- One of the communication antennas on the back (between the shuttle supports) was removed
- The decals for this kit were inaccurate for the 1977 Approach and Landing Tests; they represented the current NASA 747, aircraft N911NA, which also has the NASA symbol on a white tail. I asked my friend
Stephen if he could make some custom decals for me to represent the original 747, aircraft N905NA which had the stylized word “NASA” on a grey tail
- The decals also included a single blue line to circle the plane around the windows; a color scheme also used on the present NASA 747. As the original plane was formerly an American Airlines 747, it still had the red, white and blue stripes around the windows, which I painted on with my airbrush and some careful masking.
- Overall aircraft painted with Alclad II Aluminum Metallizer paint with steel walkway on wings, tail and shuttle supports painted light gray. Kit instructions (for aircraft N911NA) called for white overall with gray underside and wings).

Photos by Ron E.