Hasegawa 1/200 Shuttle with boosters


SP 134




Challenger, Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour, Columbia


Scott Van Aken


Includes the crawler


I can't think of any of our readers who have not heard of the Space Shuttle. Conceived as a reusable space vehicle, it went through a very long gestation period before The first flight of Columbia (STS-1) on 12 April 1981. STS stands for Space Transport System of which the Space Shuttle is basically it. Before this was a great deal of development starting with the announcement by President Richard Nixon in 1972 that the US would develop such a system.

The first Shuttle was the only one that never flew into space. Enterprise was used for gliding and landing tests so was never really fully equipped for space travel. This was followed by Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis. Following the loss of Challenger during STS-51L in 1986, a fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built, making its first launch in 1992, six years later.

Recently, the Columbia joined Challenger as shuttles lost during operations. As sad as it is to have loss of life, space exploration and travel is one of the most hazardous undertakings that there is, with a myriad of things that could go wrong and jeopardize the crew. However, we need to take these losses in stride, learn from them and go on. Compared to the number of people who died in the early days of aviation, Space Shuttle operations are comparatively safe, and should be continued.



Hasegawa has two basic boxings of the Space Shuttle. One is of the orbiter itself, which comprises the upper central two sprues and the black sprues on the lower left. With the inclusion of the boosters, the entire STS is offered. This kit also includes the crawler on which the shuttle is delivered to the launch site.

I'm really unsure of just how old a kit this is, but the instructions are dated 1994 so that would make it about 10 years old. It is typical of Hasegawa kits, consisting of finely engraved panel lines and the tendency of stuffing all of the parts into a single plastic bag. These are then stuffed into a box into which you cannot properly replace all the sprues once they are taken out!

As you can see, several of the parts are molded in black, supposedly to make the model paint free. However, once one gets through with the usual gluing and filler, it will need painted anyway. The Orbiter is a rather simple construct, and the builder does have the option of displaying it on its landing gear. This may seem like an odd option to include when one has the boosters, but the Orbiter is available as a separate kit unto itself. A full payload bay is offered with the option of having it open. A payload and the Canadian-developed arm are included to full the bay. With the stack (which is what the orbiter and boosters are often called), these bits will be relegated to the spares box along with the landing gear. There is no cockpit, typical of a 1/200 kit. I'm not sure if the bay is even required, but I'd install it anyway to ensure proper stiffness of the Orbiter.

The rest of the 'stack' is in two halves, a very easy way of doing things, but one that makes it difficult to tackle any seam problems on the external tank and boosters. The rest of the kit is the crawler and this is a simple construct of 9 rather large pieces. Again, in 1/200, there is no reason to have any major detail as it would be so grossly out of scale as to look most odd.

Instructions are typical Hasegawa and give Gunze paint references. The basic colors are black and white for the Shuttle stack and grey for the crawler. However, we all know that these colors are subject to change. The most recent Columbia mission had a coating on the booster that was orange and other colors change with the missions. There are tons of web sites dedicated to the Shuttle so references will be easy to find. Decals are provided for all of the Orbiters. This boxing adds the Columbia and Endeavour (not shown) to the lot as the Orbiter model itself only has the other three on the decal sheet. NASA markings are the 'wurm' variety. NASA has since returned to the original NASA insignia.  Decals are typical of Hasegawa in that they are thick and the white is ivory. However, one is stuck with them as no aftermarket replacements are available.


With this kit, you can now have your Space Shuttle in 1/288, 1/200, 1/144, and 1/72 scale. The kit looks quite easy to build, though painting it will be a bit of a challenge, especially the bands around the solid boosters. Thankfully a black decal is provided for the window area.


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