Kit preview of Planet V's Kestrel Shuttle.

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Planet V's Kestrel Shuttle Preview

By John Lester - images & text © 2001

Scale: 1/144 - about 8"/ 20cm long assembled
Parts: 24 resin + base and brass tube
Instructions: 5 pages (text & photos) + marking guide
Decals: 1 sheet, ALPS-printed waterslide
Molding Quality: 9 - no defects and only small mold seams
Detail: 8 - raised bumps & engraved lines -
Accuracy: 9+ - looks dead on to me
MSRP: $65.00 US + shipping, available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 9+ - great subject, great kit.


I wanted a model of this vessel from the moment I first saw it dodging missiles to land CDR Sinclair on Epsilon 5's surface in "Voice in the Wilderness".

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^ The hull is hollow, reducing overall weight

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^ Parts are cleanly cast with no defects

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^ Decals are printed by JTGraphics, so you know they're good
Vince Hoffman, who mastered this kit, had done one a couple years ago and I was fortunate enough to get a copy from him. This kit puts the first edition to shame.

What You Get

Inside the sturdy box with the attractive artwork are a hollow cast fuselage, 23 other parts in a zip-lock bag, resin base, decals and instruction pamphlet.

The model itself consists of the fuselage, flying surfaces, intakes, landing gear doors and three four-piece engines. Detail on the parts consists of engraved lines (some quite thin and fine) and raised "bumps". The engines borrow heavily from the Revell-Monogram Starfury kit .... which is only fitting, as the actual CGI model did as well. Open landing gear wells are provided, along with gear doors. The wells are featureless, so it's a good thing they'll be covered up by the doors (a set of metal landing gear will be offered separately at a later date). Casting quality is top notch; there were no pits, buggles or other casting flaws in my sample, and only the barest mold seams apparent on any of the pieces.

Decals, printed by JTGraphics, are of the ALPS-printed waterslide variety. Markings are included for a Presidential transport, as well as three sets of EA flashes and three different serial numbers/ tail codes. The fonts all look correct; the Presidential Seal decals are far better than those that came with the Starfury kit. My only nit is with the EA flashes - as I recall, the top of the "A" should not show (i.e., there should be no bump across the top of the "E"). That's the way it is with Starfuries, anyway. Regardless, it's a 1/2 second job with an eXacto blade to remove it, so no worries there. There are no stripes provided for the markings on upper fuselage and flying surfaces; those will have to be masked and painted.

Instructions are very nicely done - I wish all kits had something this comprehensive. The consist of general assembly tips, parts list, 9 detailed assembly steps, and a paint and marking guide. Each step in the assembly process is clearly illustrated with b/w photos of a kit being constructed.

Assembly and Finish

Assembly should be quite simple, and I see no problems following the sequence outlined in the instructions. I'll probably paint the majority of the kit prior to putting the parts together - that should make it easier to mask the demarcations between the colors, and to add the striping for whatever version I choose to build.
My only concern is the hollow hull - the resin is rather thin, and I might have problems with the wings drooping in the future. I guess we'll see....

Is It Worth It?

All-in-all, this appears to be an excellent kit, one that can be built by novice or expert just as easily. Given the quality of the moldings, the size of the completed model, and the fact the fuselage is roto-cast, $65 is not an exhorbiant price. Recommended!

Many thanks to Federation Models 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 26 September 2001.