It’s hard for some of us to believe it’s been nearly a half-century since Star Trek’s debut in 1964. Over the decades, the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701, has arguably become the most recognizable, esteemed, and influential vessel in intergalactic travel -- so influential that even the first NASA Space Shuttle bore her name as the result of a massive write-in campaign from Star Trek fans in the mid-1970’s.
Her incarnations have been many, starting with the original “made for TV” Constitution-Class NCC-1701 in 1964, “refitted” in 1979 for Star Trek the Motion Picture, carbon-copied as NCC-1701-A in a sequel, then finally being outright up-classed in the form of the Excelsior-Class NCC-1701-B in Star Trek - Generations in 1994. Other Starfleet vessels bearing the Enterprise moniker have followed, and proceeded, but the “Refit” version from the 1980’s movies is the subject this offering under the Polar Lights brand from Round2 Models.
Authenticity to Prototype: “A”
Overall proportions, dimensions, and layout appear to scale well to online documentation and to actual movie footage. No doubt rivet counters (assuming rivets are still used in the 24thCentury) may find some other discrepancies, but for an old-school Trekkie, these kits really resonated in their overall presentation. One will note when reviewing the Round2 Models website, that there has been extensive collaboration with the original studio model designers to ensure extremely accurate reproduction in the AMT and Polar Lights branded Star Trek kits.
Engineering and Molding: “A”
The crisply-molded white styrene was essentially devoid of mold parting lines and ejector pin marks. Surface detail is a crisp combination of the raised and recessed varieties – emphasis on the latter.
Assembly, by design, was a “snap”…with some liquid cement added for good measure. It took us less than four hours total in assembly time. Assembly was straight-forward and simple. A tad of putty and Mr. Surfacer 1000 provided quick spot-fill for a couple small blemishes along seams. Total assembly, fill, and paint prep time took only a couple of hours.
Features, Detail, and Accuracy: “A”
Although just a hair over 1 foot in length, this little Enterprise is packed with detail from stem to stern. Hull and panel sections are clearly demarked by crisp recessed detail. Bumps and bulges for phaser banks and other features are also reproduced in convincing proportion. Separate clear parts are provided for the impulse crystal, deflector array, and inboard side of warp nacelles, lounge windows, and photon torpedo tubes.
160 decals – that’s right – 160 decals. No good work of building should go unpunished, right? In their zeal to capture a truly authentic look of the refit Enterprise, the folks at Polar Lights created 3 sheets of absolutely stunning decals for this kit to emulate the “Aztec” marking patterns. Super-thin, they require careful and patient handling, and respond extremely well to Microscale setting solutions, and give the “painted-on” look. Any thicker, they would be a train-wreck. Any thinner, the modeler would become a cursing train wreck.
All decals were printed in perfect register. Colors seemed to be spot-on for the desired visual effects. The “Aztec” patterns are truly works of modeling art, and I pity the poor designer who was tasked to create them…but they are brilliant! Wish I would’ve had those 30 years ago on the first-release refit kit!
Masterfully done, the assembly, painting, and marking instructions were extremely clear and well-labeled. Color call-outs were clear and mapped to Testors Model Master colors, and marking guides left no question where the 160 decals belonged. A narrative explaining that the pre-decal color should be pearlescent white to achieve the true “studio model look” was also very helpful as I chose my paints for the project (ended up using Tamiya spray cans – Fine Gray Primer, True White, and then Pearl White). Detail work was done with Model Master Acryls and Tamiya Transparent Blue and Transparent Red.
Overall Grade: “A”
Although a snap-engineered kit, this is one of the finest Trek kits I’ve ever seen. Engineering, details, decals, instructions all absolutely give the modeler everything needed to capture the essence of Enterprise and turn heads on the contest tables.
Recommendation and Summary
All said, I heartily recommend this kit to intermediate and advanced modelers of all ages, and to kids and parents who can be satisfied without applying the countless decals. Looking forward to picking up the TV-Series counterpart in the near future, and can’t wait for the “New Movie” Enterprise next spring!
Thanks to Round2 for their gracious provision of this review sample…please keep ‘em coming!
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