by: Russ Amott [ ]
Snap-tite kits generally aren't the most popular subject with modelers. If you look at the forums on this website, you will find many topics dedicated to "serious" modeling, and many reviews highlighting detail, accuracy and complexity. Snap-tite kits still have a valuable place in the hobby as they were the first introduction to modeling that many of us had, and for those who wish to pass on the hobby to a new generation, they are still the primary doorway. In addition, modeling can help build skills in hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow instructions and think three-dimensionally. It can build confidence in children and create bonding time.
Revell offers a variety of snap-tite kits, including the subject of this review, the space shuttle.
The kit comes in a plastic blister pack with all parts visible through the packaging. There are 22 parts total, pre-painted. Only two rocket nozzles and the landing gear are attached to sprues. The instructions are simple line drawings, clearly showing the assembly process. My 6 year old daughter, Ana, assisted with this review by doing the build.
The top and bottom of the shuttle come attached and will need to be separated to install the rear engine deck and the cargo bay ends, which are numbered and are not interchangeable. Once these are in place, the top and bottom can be rejoined. The rocket nozzles, motor covers and rudder are inserted, cargo bay doors put into place and landing gear installed, and the kit is ready to go. The mission module pack is joined and a small sensor array is attached and you are done.
Ana was able to do most of the assembly, but some of the parts required more pressure than her small hands could apply. She was able to follow the instructions and best of all for her, she made it herself. Once assembled, all parts are secure, allowing the kit to be used for play. It has enough detail that it can also be used for instruction in reference to the real shuttle, meaning it can spark an interest in a lot more than modeling.
Detail may be lacking, but as a teaching tool, this snap-tite kit couldn't be better. I believe suggested retail is $9.95, and this kit can be found both in hobby stores and online.