Kit preview of Polar Lights' Seaview.

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Polar Lights' Seaview Preview


By John Lester - images & text © 2002

Scale: Not Stated (roughly 1:350 - the kit is 13"/ 33cm long when assembled)
Parts: ~20 black injection molded styrene
Instructions: 1 page exploded diagram
Decals: None
Molding Quality: 8 - thick sprues, but little flash or other flaws
Detail: 5 - Not a lot, and less than the original
Accuracy: 6 - mostly faithful to the movie version
MSRP: $17.99 USD (~$27.55 CAN/Ä 16.81 EUR) available from hobby shops and discount retailers everywhere
Overall Rating: 9 - a fun, fast, blast-from-the-past project

[Box art]

[Built up - click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

[Fins and bottom piece]

[Details]

^ Parts

Nostalgic modelers have long lusted after the Aurora Seaview, a kit that sells for hundreds of dollars on the collector's market. Since Polar Lights has built a reputation for issuing back-engineered Aurora kits, and even bought the rights to use the Aurora name, those same modelers have been pressing Polar Lights to release a version of the kit as well. It took several years to work out the details, but Polar Lights have finally released their Seaview.

What You Get

Inside a box decorated in the old Aurora style - and strong enough to stand on! - is deja vu all over again for many folks. The 20 or so shiny black plastic parts are duplicates of the Aurora kit (not from the old molds, as I understand it, but from new ones back-engineered in much the same fashion as the company's Lost in Space Robot.) The model comes as two hull halves and a bottom piece, with detail pieces for the fins, missile tube hatches and various small bits, plus a clear insert for the front windows in a separate bag (thanks Polar!). A two-piece "ocean floor" base and name plate are also included. A sheet of assembly directions and a product catalog round out the box contents.

Flash and other defects were pretty much non-existent on my sample. Detail is noticeably soft all over, and particularly on the hatches, doors, and ballast vents. Also apparent is the flat surface of the hull. The first releases of the kit had totally smooth surfaces and heavy black plastic, while the 1975 release had raised panel lines all over.

The instructions are typical for Polar Lights s/f kits. Assembly directions consist of an exploded diagram with some text and vague painting suggestions.

Is it accurate? Well, not really. There were two variants of the sub, seen in the movie and first season and then for the rest of the show's run on TV. This model approximates the movie version closer, at least in that it has the two rows of four windows up front. However, various details (like the position of the Flying Sub's hatch) are incorrect and it appears that the distance between the front of the sail and the bow is too short. However, that's faithful to the Aurora kit ... and if you're really concerned, Rebellion Creations makes a resin correction set for both Late TV and Movie/Early TV versions.

Assembly and Finish

The old Aurora kit had noticeable seams and fit problems all over. Polar Lights seems to have corrected most of these. However, the front clear piece (windows and light) is still as bad of a fit as itís always been and will take some effort to blend in seamlessly.

As for painting ....

Like the original Enterprise, the actual color of the sub is a subject of much debate. It appears certain the filming miniatures were painted with a darker grey above and a white or light grey below. Some reports suggest the main hull color was a Ford Gray as used on the 1960 Falcon with white (tinted with blue) underneath. Others suggest that the model in Admiral Nelson's quarters appeared a blue-grey above and light grey underneath. To further complicate matters, the miniatures had shading added in the second season to help them stand out better in the underwater scenes.

Conclusion

Despite the kit's flaws, Polar Lights have put out another winner. The kit is decent enough, and promises to build quickly enough, to satisfy most modelers. It's inexpensive enough that those who want to accurize and super-detail it can do so without breaking the bank. Can't beat that with a stick.

Recommended for all skill levels.

Thanks to Chris Doll for his observations on detail and assembly, and John Bond for corrections.


Many thanks to Polar Lights for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Published 23 March 2002. Last updated on 20 January 2003.