posted 04-14-2010 01:55 AM
Plastic-wise, it is the Revell 1/72 kit circa 1979 with new decals.
Before Revell and Monogram merged, they had their own shuttle kits in 1/72. After the merger, the Monogram kit stayed in production until about 1998 or so while the Revell kit was off the market since about 1989. After one final issue of the Monogram kit as part of the 1/72 Space Shuttle with Boosters selected subjects reissue, the Monogram kit was discontinued and the Revell kit was offered again from about 2000-01 until 2008 or so. Since Revell of Germany will be the only producer of this kit this year, it will be available in the USA as well for about $80 retail or so.
As to how good the Revell kit is, it is kind of a toss up between this one and the Monogram orbiter. Both have pluses and minuses. A prime feature of the Revell kit is it features raised tile detail on the parts. The tiles look good, but they are too large relative to what they should be and I think they are based on the fake TPS unique to Enterprise as opposed to a flight orbiter. As such, they should be sanded off. The fit of the kit in spots isn't exactly great (the Monogram kit has similar issues as both toolings are old), so likely some tiles are going to get obliterated in the seam cleanup anyway.
I've built both shuttle kits and in my opinion, I think the Monogram kit has more potential for an accurate replica (if you overcome the problems unique to that kit), although aftermarket resin for items such as the engine bells and the payload bay levels the playing field rather nicely. The one thing I am looking forward to though with the Revell of Germany issue though is the decals as their 1/144 kit sheet for the shuttle stack is one of the most comprehensive and accurate set of shuttle kit decals that I have ever seen (and I've seen and even made some decals for shuttles, so I know where the weak points have been on other sheets). It looks like the 1/72 kit will be similarly packed with proper markings for an accurate shuttle model. Granted Realspace Models has improved their own aftermarket shuttle decals as well with more up to date markings, but I am still curious to see if Revell kept the good stuff from their 1/144 decal sheet on this one.