Kit preview of New Ware's Lockheed Starclipper .

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New Ware's Lockheed Starclipper In The Box

By John Lester - images & text © 2001

Scale: 1/144 - 10.5"/ 27cm long when complete
Parts: 22 buff resin, including partial stand
Instructions: 1 page pictorial, plus one page marking guide
Decals: Waterslide, printed by Propagteam
Molding Quality: 10 - best I've ever seen on a resin kit
Detail: 9 - nicely engraved panel lines and exquisite engine bells
Accuracy: 9+ - looks spot on to the drawings I've seen published
MSRP: $52.00 USD + $ 10.00 shipping ($30/$7 for just the orbiter) available from New Ware Models
Overall Rating: 10 - beautifully executed kit of a neat design

Long before the design for the Space Transportation System (aka the Space Shuttle) was finalized - 1968, in fact - Lockheed proposed a shuttle concept they called "Starclipper". An elegant design built around a lifting body, it remained a paper project.Addendum

[Box art]

[Click to enlarge]


^The kit is comprised of 22 perfectly cast parts

[Engine bells]

^The engine bells are especially nice.
Too bad - it really does look more elegant (to my eyes, anyway) than the boxy, utilitarian Shuttle.

What You Get

The Starclipper is the subject of New Ware's latest kit. Two versions are available: the orbiter by itself (NW010B) and the orbiter with boosters (N010A, the subject of this review). The complete orbiter and booster kit is comprised of 22 resin pieces, a small decal sheet, and instructions.

The model is made from a hard, smooth and oderless resin. My particular example has zero defects - not one bubble, pit, void, or mis-scribed line; no flash; no misaligned mold halves. The only way it could be nore perfect is if there wee no pour stubs to cut off, and how realistic is that? I have bought and built at least a hundred resin kits, from manufacturers around the world, over the years - and this is easily in the top five I'vve ever seen interms of quality of castings.

There's not a lot of detail, but what I've seen in drawings is accurately represented. Most of the detail is finely engraved panel lines, deep enough not to disappear under a coat of paint while not being the trenches you might expect for that depth. The engine bells are particularly nice, with ridges that sport sharp corners and don't waver around the circumference of the part.

The orbiter is made up of main body, wingtips, flaperons, three engine bells and two smaller nozzles (manuvering jets?). The A-frame launch vehicle consists of the two boosters (at least I assume they're boosters and not auxiliary fuel tanks - I wouldn't think the orbiter's engines sufficiently powerful to thrust it into space on their own) (I was wrong, of course), the triangular piece joining them and what should be the housings for the booster's engine bells. These last pieces fit onto two pyrimid-shaped "umbilical housings" that form the stand.

Instructions consist of the front side of one sheet of paper with a front and side view showing where the parts go. With the relatively small number of parts and the clarity of the diagrams, I should have no problem getting peices to go where they're needed. Waterslide decals with generic US markings are included. These are perfectly registered and should go on with no problems (though you may want to be careful when applying them - the experiences I've had with Czech-made decals is that they are super thin and liable to tear if roughly handled).


If you couldn't tell, I'm excited about this kit. I'm really very impressed at the quality of the castings; it's not rare to see well cast parts with minor flaws - it is rare to see castings that have no flaws. How much of that is due to scoring one of the first pops from the mold (I ordered it the same day I posted the news of it's release) I can't say. I can say that all the other items I've ordered from New Ware have been of similar high standards. Because of this quality, assembly should be a snap - here's a kit I can recommend for your first foray into resin with no hesitation.

And you know, that orbiter looks a lot like John Chricton's Farscape module...

Addendum: Thanks to David Smith for the following information I missed:

"In 1968 the Starclipper was a proposal by Lockheed Missle and Space Company for a orbiter type vehicle. The one modeled is a "stage and a half design" with all propulsion provided by the orbiter engines. The external tanks were disposable with minimal equipment in them. There were several different ideas all using very similar orbiters. The one modeled is closest in appearance as near as I can tell to the LS-200 proposal. I wish I knew all this but I read it in a "must have" book called "SPACE SHUTTLE : The History of Developing the National Space Transportation System" by Dennis R Jenkins."

Many thanks to my wallet 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 4 September 2001.