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Starcrafts NSEA Protector Kit Preview

By John Lester - images & text © 2003

Scale: Not stated - about 10"/25.4cm long assembled
Parts: 9 resin, incl. base
Instructions: 1 sheet, includes decal placement and paint guide
Decals: ALPS-printed waterslide
Molding Quality: 8 - some flash, with bubbles lurking under surface
Detail: 8 - nicely done overall, though some of the windows are not mis-aligned
Accuracy: 9+ - looks bang-on to me
MSRP: $70.00 USD (~$94.56 CAN/ 59.57 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 9 -- great subject, well done, looks like a good weekend project

[Box art]

The day I walked out of the theater after seeing Galaxy Quest was the day I wanted a model of the NSEA Protector . It's been two years or so, but Starcrafts has finally come to the rescue.

[Click to enlarge]

^ What you get

[Flying bridge]

^ Even the underside of the 'Flying Bridge' is detailed

Image: Engines and 'pylons'

Image: Base

Image: Decals - the colors have been adjusted to better see what's on the sheet - it's not this dark blue in real life

Image: Instructions are adequate, and include a brief painting guide, as well as comprehensive decal placement guide.

What You Get

Inside the familiar white box are 8 resin pieces plus a resin base (but nothing to connect the model to the stand), ALPS-printed waterslide decals with markings for the Protector, and a one-page instruction sheet.

The kit is pretty representative of Stacrafts recent work. The resin is a white, medium hard sort that sands easily and has only a mild amount of mold release. My sample had some flash on the parts and minor mold seams. While the surface appears otherwise blemish-free, there are many small bubbles apparent just under the surface - particularly on the main hull. These will be exposed in any place where sanding is done - so keep some Mr Surfacer handy. Fortunately, there does not appear to be many places where sanding will be necessary. The detail on the parts is very nicely done throughout, with crisp engraving and sharp relief. About the only nit I could come up with is that some of the windows are not aligned perfectly evenly -understandable, given the curve of the hull. They are, however, uniform in size and depth.

Decals are provided for one marking scheme - the Protctor. They're sgarp and perfectly registered. They do appear a bit 'grainy', particularly the blue markings, which is a typical result of the ALPS printing process. Past experience indicates they'll go on easily, stand up to some abouse, and respond well to setting solutions. Given the background they'll go against is uniformly white, opacity is not an issue.

The instructions provide general resin assembly tips, a brief paint guide, and detailed decal placement guides. They are quite adequate for this kit.

Assembly and Finish

After quickly trimming off pour stubs and flash, I taped the parts together to get an idea of fit. What I see is favorable - the pieces look like they'll go together with minimum putty needed. Starcrafts thoughtfully provides alignment pins to aid in getting everything in the right spot. I would add short lengths of brass rod as pins bettween the major bits as well, for long-term strength.

Because the overall color of the ship is white, careful surface preparation is a must before painting. I plan on polishing out my primer coat(s) with automotive paint-polishing sandpaper before laying down any white coats. Polly Scale's Reefer White will probably be what I use, though it will require a clear gloss before decals are affixed. Whatever you use, add a drop of blue to the mix to help prevent yellowing (likewise, don't use Testor's GlossCote, as it tends to yellow with age. Their Metallizer Sealer is probably a better idea).


I like this kit and can't wait to tackle it. Thoughtful engineering and good detail outweigh any flaws (in my book, anyway). This is a simple enough kit that it should make an ideal subject for anyone wanting to try resin for the first time.


Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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