by: Jim Lewis [ ]
Perhaps one of the fastest selling kits to hit the shelves this summer, Polar Lights' brand new kit of the classic Star Trek USS Enterprise is a gem in a sea of ST kits for Science-Fiction modelers. Not only is this a new miniature of what's arguably the most famous sci-fi starship of all time - it's really nicely presented, adorned with a multitude of decaling options, and is cheap! This is amazing in the era of +100 dollar kits becoming the norm across the hobby. At this price, with all you can work with, it's easy to envision modeling all of the original starships on a reasonable budget.
In the Box
I ordered three of these puppies after hearing good initial reports on the kit. Now, I'm going back and ordering more. There are around 50 pieces in the kit. The model is designed to be "snap-fit" so no glue is required. However, I'd recommend going back and using glue. I intend on removing the pins too to make it easier to assemble using traditional methods. The Instruction Sheet is a single-piece affair, and illustrates simple diagrams pointing out what parts to use to construct the particular Constitution Class Starship you set out to model. You've got a choice between modeling the first pilot version of the USS Enterprise as seen in the episode "The Cage"; the second pilot version as shown in "Where No Man Has Gone Before"; the 'production' version of the USS Enterprise familiar in the series episodes; and a real treat - the ISS Enterprise as shown in the "Mirror Mirror" episode for you guys who liked the bad counterparts to our heroic crew.The kit comes complete with a surprisingly comprehensive set of markings for all these starships - plus markings for USS Constitution, USS Defiant, and USS Exeter - seven starships in all. Markings underneath the primary saucer hull and even the secondary hull are present. And, these markings are done with the traditional waterslide setup for experienced modelers and on separate sheets you get stick-on versions of these markings, better suited for young modelers.
The kit parts are cleanly cast in light grey plastic. On the underside of the primary hull, near the Dorsal Connector, is manufacturer/license information that you're gonna want to sand away. Not a tough job. Other than that, the parts are cleanly molded - no patterns, windows, hatches, or deflector grid lines present. A smooth surface on which to work. Clear parts are given for the Nacelles, Navigation Lights on the primary Hull, and Dome Caps for the Bridge. Two different Navigation Deflector Dishes and two sets of Warp Engine Nacelles are provided for the different versions of the starship as well. One bugaboo I noted upon examining the kit is the way Polar Lights decided to present the Warp Nacelle Struts. These come in two pieces, intended to sandwich together and slide into a notch on the secondary hull strongback. I can get past the notch, but I think some cleanup will be called for here to render Struts that mimic the starship shown on screen. Younger modelers might seek assistance from Mom or Dad on this one.
This is a good one - for both building and collecting. You can model other starships based on this hull - or even some of the Franz Joseph designs that became popular in the 1970's by using this kit. It is cheap enough for a group build or campaign subject, and should please novice to experienced modelers. It is a perfect entry-level sci-fi subject of a very popular series - and reference material abounds. I really think it deserves a nod as Kit of the Year - because it's very good in all aspects modelers seek in kits. Kudos to Polar Lights for in this release - good stuff does come in little packages.
Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Lewis [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.
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