David Hanners’ Columbia

This is the Revell 1/144th scale Shuttle Orbiter kit, built as OV-102 Columbia after its last refit. I made a number of modifications to accurize the kit, and used aftermarket parts and decals from RealSpace and Cutting edge.

Modifications during construction included drilling out the RCS ports and replacing them with styrene tubing, opening the star tracker doors and detailing them, cutting out the gap between the inboard and outboard elevons, addition of the drag chute compartment to the tail, addition of a scratch-built SILTS pod to the top of the tail, widening the body flap, drilling out the APU exhaulsts and adding strengthening panels to the lower portions of the OMS pods.

Before painting, 3M Durapore surgical tape was cut into small squares and applied to the appropriate areas of the shuttle to represent Advanced Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation (AFRSI). The model was sprayed with a gloss white enamel, and additional detail painting was done by brush.

Cutting Edge tile decals were used for the High-Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) areas, as well as for some of the Low- Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (LRSI) areas. I photocopied the Cutting Edge decal sheet onto an 8.5X11 sheet of white decal stock to have additional HRSI decals. Once applied and dry, a thin wash of Badger gloss black was used to darken and streak the HRSI areas to give it a more accurate appearance. I made extra LRSI decals on my home computer using a brick pattern found in Word, which I printed out onto clear decal stock.

Cutting Edge and Real Space decals were used for all markings and all tile detail around the window frames. Strips of solid-color decal were cut for use to replicate the wing leading-edge Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) T-seals; the seals between the sections of the payload bay doors and various other panels found on the Orbiter. When painting was completed the windows were masked and the model was sprayed with Testor Model Master Semi-Gloss lacquer overcoat.

Once dry, Badger Clear Flat was brushed onto all RCC and LRSI areas. Weathering was kept to a minimum, and done with dry brushing. Gray streaks were dry-brushed to the nose RCS housing, as well as the underside in the area of the front and main gear doors, the External Tank closeout doors, the body flap and the area immediately forward of the body flap.

I added the RealSpace SSMEs and OMS nozzles (painted with Model Master Metalizer paints) to finish the model.

David Hanners

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