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Airfix 1/144 scale NASA Orbiter OV 099

by George Ting


Space Shuttle Challenger


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This is NASA orbiter OV O99 Challenger as represented here in her final tragic Mission : STS 51L.

The Airfix 1/144 scale kit comes complete as the full stack shuttle. Orbiter, External Tank (ET) and Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) are all included. A ‘In FIight’ base is also supplied in this kit.




Construction is quick and fairly easy with some simple modifications to improve accuracy:

  • Port holes were drilled on the nose section for the star tracking system.

  • Reference materials was obtained from the web and books.

  • I scratched and added interior cockpit details and it can be seen from outside, but with somewhat limited view by the windows.

  • The Payload doors are scribed to duplicate the sections.

  • Aft panels on the lower OMS pod- There’s a new panel on the OMS Pods.

  • I used plastic card, cut to shape and glue them in place.

External Tank (ET)

The ET is nicely molded and is the best in 1/144 scale by far.

Various feed lines are added and some sections removed.

Build up was straight forward and painting was done with shades of red, yellow & white as seen on the variations of weathering effects on the ET.

A lighter shade was mixed up to represent the foam insulation on the ET.

Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB)

The SRBs was built with not much difficulty & painted accordingly.

Masking tape was used on the lower rings sections to represent the foam insulation. Strips of decals & markings from the Realspace Model was used to detailed the SRBs.

Accurizing Parts, Decals & Markings

Resin Shuttle Nozzles set are used on kit and for better accuracy & details.



The kit supplied decals were not used.


Painting, Weathering and Finishing

Tamiya acrylics colors were used on this model. Various shades of white & black was sprayed and once dry, decals were applied. I used Realspace Model and aftermarket decals.

Weathering was done with lead pencils and pastel to simulate the effects of re-entry on the orbiter. More visible areas are the nose sections, fuselage sides.

After a few weeks the model was coated with lacquer clear & sealed with flat to finish it up.



The Airfix 1/144 scale Shuttle is the nicest Orbiter kit that I have encountered so far. I am happy with the results and with the many hours spent detailing the model.

I guess much has been already written about shuttle kits, so here is my finished model…..enjoy!



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by George Ting
Page Created 05 April, 2005
Last Updated 05 April, 2005

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