STC Start 1/288 Energia-Buran

Boxart Manufacturer: STC Start
Material: injection molded plastic, 48 pieces + decals
Price: 15 pounds sterling + 30% postage via Comet Miniatures (about $30)

STC Start is a new Russian company specialising in space subjects. First in their range of model kits, which later should include a injection plastic Mir, is an 1/288 scale Energia-Buran. This kit is not the old Master Model Energia-Buran. It is much simpler of construction, which unfortunately has some consequences with regard to accuracy.

Kit parts The box-art is an aerial picture of the real Energia-Buran on the launch pad. On the sides are line drawings of Energia and Buran, both in Cyrillic as well as in English. The construction manual has some English text, but this only concerns the technical description, not the assembly itself. No painting instructions are included. As the manual has some exploded construction diagrams, assembly is not that difficult. However I made an error: booster halves A1 to A8 should have been joined to form 4 pairs, a1 to be joined so A1 to A2, A3 to A4 etc. I mixed these up which resulted in some boosters only having half seperation motors on top instead of none or complete ones. The boosters are poorly detailed, with some of the detail completly wrong, like the external fuel pipes, which are too thin and have no bend in them. And other detail like the parachute covers on top at the wrong place. They don't smoothly fit to the off-centre nose cone. This is strange as the sides of the box depicts these items right in the line diagrams. The main booster is poorly done, the intertank corrugations are just slight raised lines with very overscale bands wrapped around the core. The Buran attachment points are very thickly done, where they actually should have been rods. I understand this is difficult to represent in 1/288, but this really is too thick. The Buran main components are an upper and lower half with some wing flaps inserts and a rear tail. Here the manufactuere has tried to make painting easier by making the areas to be painted black in black plastic and the white areas white. The overall outline vaguely looks like a Buran, the forward end done completely wrong (too rounded) and the rear end not too bad. The decal sheet only has two tracking squares while this should have been 4. The base (which consists of 2 parts) is nicely done, representing the start ramp. It is not as good as the Master Model kit, but still satisfactory.

Concluding I would say the kit is easy to assemble straight out of the box, but if you want an accurate 1/288 Energia-Buran you should prepare for a lot of work...

A. Julius de Roo
Sportstraat 37-1
1076 TR Amsterdam
The Netherlands