Published on
January 21, 2015
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Polar Lights - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site


As featured in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Federation starship USS Reliant was the vessel commandeered by the despotic Khan Noonien Singh, a late 20th century superhuman product of genetic engineering. Khan first appeared in an episode of the original Star Trek TV series, “Space Seed,” where he and his crew were discovered in cryogenic stasis while drifting through space aboard the SS Botany Bay. Revived by USS Enterprise’s crew, Khan and his followers were permanently exiled on a remote planet by Captain James T. Kirk after a failed attempt to seize Enterprise.

As with most twice-deposed despots, Khan had quite the axe to grind with Kirk. The Wrath of Khan follows the titular character as he seizes upon the opportunity to avenge his exile and reign havoc on the Federation with the newly-created Genesis Device. A favorite of many Trek fans, Wrath of Khan was a throwback to the classic TV series, and it is punctuated with eye-popping special effects, many featuring the hot-rod Miranda-class starship Reliant.

The Kit

Polar Lights rocks the house with this installment in their 1/1000 scale Star Trek series. Building on the success of several earlier releases, including the Enterprise Refit (IPMS Review) and Enterprise “Space Seed edition (IPMS Review), featuring the SS Botany Bay, from the aforementioned Khan episode of the original series, Polar Lights has delivered another superb builder-friendly kit to those modelers looking to expand their scale Starfleets.

Molded in white and clear styrene, Reliant bears fine, yet distinct, detail true to the studio model, at least as best as we could tell from internet images and about a dozen viewings of the battle scenes in the movie. The kit is engineered to be assembled with snap fit, but glue can be used as well. A black dome base and plated steel rod are included as the display stand. It is rated as Skill Level 2, suitable for ages 10 and up.

Painting is needed to capture the true basic look of Reliant, and color callouts and a painting guide are included in the instructions. The kit decals contain basic hull numbers and Federation standard markings. Polar Lights offers an aftermarket decal sheet that contains the “Aztec” pattern skin, other markings details, and optional Miranda-class starship markings. This sheet is reviewed separately at U.S.S. Reliant NCC-1864 Aztec Decal Set.

The Build

As with the USS Enterprise “Space Seed” edition, this Skill Level 2 kit was right in the proverbial wheel house of my son Camden (age nine), so he was conscripted to do the build and apply the aftermarket decal set.

Assembly was straight-forward and instructions followed a logical build sequence, although the cadet did need a wee bit of correction when he reversed the installation of the warp nacelles and pylons. The snap features functioned well, but adult hands were needed to fully engage some of them. The overall assembly was complete in less than two hours. A few dabs of putty were needed here and there, but overall fit was very good, especially for a snap kit.

Taking our cue from some information on the Polar Lights website and the Enterprise Refit instructions from a previous review build, we chose to paint Reliant pearlescent white in anticipation of the Aztec decal set, even though they were still pending release at the time of the build. The bare plastic was primed with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (White) and then overcoated with Tamiya Pearl White—both out of the rattle can. Camden then used Tamiya, Vallejo Model Air, and Italeri acrylics to brush paint the metallic blue, black, and intermediate blue detail areas.

Following a few weeks sitting idle in space dock, Reliant’s Aztec decal set was released and received. The Aztec decals were applied and then overlaid with the kit decals (hull numbers, ship name, basic Federation markings). Although thin, easy to apply, and in register, the kit decals did have some stray black-ink spots on the clear carrier film areas. Hopefully this was an early production issue which will be corrected in subsequent releases. As mentioned previously, the full review of Aztec decals can be found at U.S.S. Reliant NCC-1864 Aztec Decal Set.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Thrilled at the prospect of building Reliant, Camden was not in the least disappointed with his final result. Quite suitable for the young or beginning modeler, the basic kit is absolutely fantastic. For all Star Trek and space/sci-fi modelers out there, this little Reliant is a “must have!” And yes, I’m going out to buy one for myself now.

For the more serious or advanced modelers and Trek fans, the aftermarket Aztec decals are also worth every cent. Yes, they cost almost as much as the kit, but I have purchased a set for my own Reliant build!

Many thanks to Round 2 for the review samples and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity “to boldly go where no man has gone before” by sharing this review with you.


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