Wednesday 8 September 2021

Shuttlecraft Galileo

 It's Star Trek Day apparently, so by way of minor celebration, here's a nearly completed model of Galileo, from The Original Series.

The shuttlecraft was one of my favorite SF designs, standing out even though it featured in relatively few episodes. I like the utilitarian, non-aggressive look and the way it echoes some of the design features of the larger Enterprise, suggesting a common technology.

The first model kit of any type that I owned was the AMT Enterprise, largely built by my dad and later broken (by me).  AMT had gained the rights to produce the kit before the original series aired, via a strange deal that saw them producing the prop and miniatures for the shuttlecraft to be used in filming. AMT made one full-size shuttlecraft which still exists, albeit after extensive restoration. Weirdly, to me, AMT didn't release their own kit of the shuttlecraft until 1974, half a decade after Star Trek's initial run. I don't ever remember seeing one in the shops, although I had the AMT Klingon cruiser (broken by me) and the Spock diorama (also broken by me - can you see a pattern here?).

This new kit is from Polar Lights and was released in 2020. It purports to be the most accurate rendition of the shuttlecraft and I've no reason to argue with that. It lacks any interior detail but that's not too obvious once the model is finished as not much light gets in. Mine went together quite easily although I did have to use a bit of filler here and there to get the seamless look of the studio model. I sprayed it using Ford Dove Grey and it looks about right. The decals are excellent but the absence of panel lines and so on makes it a bit tricky to get them aligned.

My model came from Antics:

And here's a fun video about the restoration of the original prop:



  1. We ran a piece on the Galileo kit by Gary Kerr – the modeller/illustrator who created it – in Star Trek Magazine #77 last year. He and Matthew Cushman also wrote a big feature in the subsequent issue about their documentation of the 11-foot Enterprise model. I'd be happy to send you PDFs of the features if you'd like to read them.

  2. Thanks, Nick. I'd very much appreciate seeing those pdfs. I'll put my email address in an additional reply which I'll delete once you've sent me the files.

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  4. Yes I too remember the original model back in the 70's. Although I wasnt the best model maker I did the best I could as a 10 year old and played with it for hours. I did the same with the Enterprise although I never could get the nacelles just right. In both cases I didn't even paint them, just used my imagination and had a blast.

  5. Thanks for the walk through of your Shuttle - loved that you painted it Ford Dove Grey :-)

    And thanks for including the link to Star Trek Day ... I have now lost several hours watching the footage when I should be doing something else. Few spoilers in the Teasers for the new shows/seasons too. Nice to see Wil Wheaton fronting the 55-year celebrations.

    Live Long and Prosper

  6. Hey Alastair, I was wondering if you use an airbrush for your models and if you could recommend one? I'm slowly getting back into the hobby and am researching which one to get. Just started Inhibitor Phase and am loving it - so thank you very much!

  7. Apologies for the slowness in replying. My laptop was in for repairs.

    I have a few airbrushes. My oldest is a Badger 200 single action which I've had since about 1981, although it needs some new parts. I also have a beautiful Devilbiss which I mainly use for art since it has a very small top reservoir. It works well with acrylic inks. My most recent acquisition, about ten years ago, was an Aztek set with a number of interchangeble nozzles. It's pretty good but the nozzles need frequent cleaning, for which I find an ultrasound bath very handy. The airbrush itself is very flimsy and plastic-feeling but it works perfectly well when clean. If I was going to buy a new one I might look at an Iwata as they have a good reputation.