Space In Miniature #2 includes a table comparing the three kits of the entire Shuttle stack that are available in 1/144th scale. That table is reproduced at this link.
Jay Chladek and another list member discuss the relative merits of 1/144th scale Shuttle kits.
In a message dated 99-10-28 03:53:23 EDT, you write:
<< Got a couple of questions... I've been limiting my efforts to 1/144, and I'm looking for a good Shuttle kit. I have the Revell kit with the stack, but the fit of the windows and the cabin is abysmal. I dumped a bunch of cyano on it, but there is A LOT of shaping to be done. Is this just my kit, or do they all fit this way?>>
As far as I know, all the Revell orbiters have less then stellar fit on the windows, and for that matter, the entire orbiter. Of the three kits though, the Revell window shape looks like probably the best compromise as far as being close to the actual orbiter configuration.
<<I also have the Academy Shuttle, but the nose on the orbiter is too pointy (tho' it does have the reaction thrusters on a separate bit.)>>
Yup, too pointy, but you do have some parts in there that can be salvaged for other projects, like the separate RCS piece, payload bay and flight deck interior (and engine bells, but RealSpace ones are better). I have plans to at least do a resin copy of the flight deck for use on my future orbiter fleet. If the shuttle you are constructing is in launch configuration, the separate RCS piece is not really needed, since the thruster ports have covers installed prior to launch anyway. The one good thing that the Minicraft kit (originally an Entex mold) has is a nice ET and SRBs which only need a little bit of extra stuff added to them to make them look really good. I still have no idea what they were thinking when Minicraft molded the ET and SRBs brown. Still, using the Revell orbiter on the Minicraft boosters would make for a nice model.
<<I've seen a kit for the Smithsonian / Airfix Shuttle at a local store, but I don't know if this includes the stack (I know, I have two already, why do I need a third? Because the kit is $25, and I don't want to pay that much for just an orbiter.) Has anybody got experience with the Airfix kit? There also is a 1/288 version at the same store. If the Aixfix is not that good, what is a good kit? Entex? Is there a better way to repair the Revell kit?>>
The Airfix kit is the full stack with ET and SRBs. I am almost done with the Airfix kit and it is a pretty nice model. Granted, since you already have the Revell and Entex kits, getting the Airfix one isn't really necessary to have the makings of a fine shuttle model. The Airfix kit has the best ET and SRBs in my opinion and the orbiter isn't bad either. Fit and general shape of the orbiter is very nice, but the windows provided are not as good as the Revell kit (my opinion) and come in two pieces for the main ones. I'm having to do a lot of CA blending on the Airfix windows myself to get them to look close to good. Once I'm finished, I'll post an article on my site, detailing what I've done. My next project will be to combine a Revell orbiter with the Minicraft ET and SRBs to make a Moonraker shuttle in 1/144.