The phenomenon that began with the TV Series Star Trek has permeated American culture since the inimitable sixties when our favorite villains, the Klingon’s, invaded our space. This kit has been issued a number of times since then attesting to the popularity of the show and delighting the Sci-Fi hobbyist as well!
This review covers the AMT Klingon Bird of Prey (BoP) 1:350 Scale AMT Model Kit #949. This kit is molded in light green styrene which is a close approximation of the final color and could be built as such. On the other hand, for the best look, painting and highlighting the model is needed.
This kit has been released before but the parts have not really changed over the years. The exception is the inclusion of landing gear in this version which is a welcome addition. It is appropriately rated a skill level 2 build in its unpainted format. Painting and highlighting the BoP would move it into the intermediate skill level and painting callouts are included. There is also one design flaw that should be corrected for the sake of accuracy. The new (50th Anniversary) version can be posed in one of three positions: cruise mode, attack mode, or in a new, landed pose. This release includes metal landing gear parts, decals and illustrated instructions. To accommodate the new landing gear there are revised wing baffles to pose the ship accurately. A dome style display base is also included. In its largest configuration the finished dimensions are: Width: 14”, Length: 10", Height:4½" (landed mode).
Construction and Detailing
A novice could easily assemble this kit right out of the box and have a kit to be proud off on their display shelf with little trouble. However, some filling, sanding, and refinishing are required to bring out the kit’s full potential. That said; it’s a beautiful kit and the extra detailing time is worth it when you’re finished.
The instructions for the build are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. You’ll need to decide fairly quickly what mode you want to build the kit in (cruise, attack or landed), because some parts for each are structurally different. Some of the parts like the radiator baffles can be painted and decaled prior to assembly. Most of the decals are placed over non-flat surfaces so a decal setting solution is recommended. Detailing the laser cannons with some metalizers will enhance that portion. To assemble the main fuselage you have to choose the build mode and use the commensurate pieces.
There is an issue with the landing gear doors when displayed in the open position. If pinned flat to the body as prescribed in the instructions they would be incorrect. The doors would normally open like wings and not slide out. To repair this you would have to cut the doors off and reinstall them at a different angle. After attaching the ramp and door you can prime and paint the bulkhead section and add some highlights with contrasting shades of green and washes to bring out the detail.
The new landing gear parts are white metal and very detailed also having the strength to hold the model up securely. That was a great choice by Round2. The landing gear should definitely be primed first before paint then Superglued into position. You can use the base to install them with the landing pad feet to eye them up for symmetry and a level pose. Assemble and paint the wings prior to attachment to the body and add the decals to those too. Now put the upper hull, panels, scoops and attendant pieces together in stages according to the instructions. Prime then paint the unit as a whole and follow-up with paint and highlights according to the paint guide. Use some Superglue to place the wings into position for strength.
The engine and torpedo emitter are made of clear plastic and look great using some transparent red and metallic tones for effect. That completes the model and at that point you can add some weathering and other effects for a very nice looking display.
Thanks to the new landing gear parts you can display it without the stand if you wish or if you chose one of the other modes, just snap the prop rod or swivel into the base and you’re ready to put it on your shelf.
If you love Star Trek this is a “must have” kit! It is a simple kit to assemble on one level but it has so much detail that if you apply a nice finish with some highlights it can really be a standout model. There is one issue regarding the landing gear doors for an accurate display like the TV/movie version but it can be altered. The scale of the kit is fairly close. Most of the fit issues from earlier releases have been corrected by AMT. Overall, it was a clean build but it takes some time to finish properly. I want to thank Round2 for making this kit available again and IPMS for letting me review it.