U.S. Space Shuttle & Launch Tower (1981)
About the Design
Developed in the 1970's and first launched on November 12, 1981, the Space Shuttle was America's first stab at a "reusable" manned spacecraft system. Actually, the system was only partially reusable. The manned orbiter, which resembled the kind of winged "spaceplane" popularized during the 1950s and 1960s, launched vertically but landed horizontally like a conventional aircraft. (Technically, it was an unpowered glider incorporating lifting body technology.) After being expended, its twin solid rocket boosters parachuted to the ocean for recovery and reuse, whereas the massive external fuel tank simply dropped back to earth and was destroyed upon re-entry.
As of this writing, nearly 25 years after its debut, the Space Shuttle remains America's only operational manned spacecraft system.
About the Kit
The Space Shuttle has been kitted in many configurations and in many scales by just about every major model manufacturer in America and abroad. This is one of the most complex -- and expensive -- kits produced, featuring both the complete Shuttle system and its gantry/launch tower in 1/144 scale. Oddly, shortly after issuing this kit, Revell released a kit of the launch tower sans shuttle.
That must have made for a very attractive display.
The Space Shuttle and Launch Tower complex was released briefly in 1986 and then, by popular demand, released by Revell of Germany in 2014.
This kit was built from the original 1986 issue. Sorry about the single, small photo. I was just learning to use a digital camera when I snapped this one.