Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: USS Enterprise-E

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Enterprise-E made by Bandai.

Reviewer   George Hill
Date Reviewed   Feb 4, 2004
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments I don't think this kit was as good as the Refit Enterprise. Whereas the Aztec pattern on the Refit Enterprise is subtle and looks good no matter how far away you are when you look at it, The paint scheme on the E stands out and looks stupid if you get too close. The parts do not fit together unless you force them together, and even then, there are gaping seams where light leeks through. This model seems to be a model of the ship in between Nemesis and Insurrection... since it has the torpedo launchers that the Enterprise got in Nemesis, but is missing the extra phaser banks. If the modelmakers had left the torp launchers off, or put the phasrs on, this would be a decently accurate model... but since it's missing stuff, it looks stupid. And it's really expensive too... not worth the $70 I paid for it. For $70, you're better off getting the Ertl kit and accurizing it. You'll have a better model.

Reviewer   Simon Hill
Date Reviewed   Feb 22, 2004
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments Like the Enterprise refit, I was wholly impressed upon opening the box again on my Enterprise E, Bandai have done a superb job in packaging and box art.

Sadly, it was pretty much downhill from there as I went on to build it, albeit in about 6 hours, as the fit on some sections were difficult.

My initial observations were that whilst it looked superb in the box, the paint aztec scheme looked too 'severe' to me. Quite unlike the subtle aztec designs seen on the screen version. I wouldn't call it aztec some much as 'mozaic' design, and the greys seemed too dark, with too much contrasting in colours and panel lines. The Enterprise E is too 'cluttered' for me, and I prefer the subtle clean lines of the older, Enterprise's and not the 'lego land' look that star trek designers later adopted.

Panel demarcations, grooves, lettering, logo's seem all faithfully and beautifully reproduced. Even the Enterprise's 'lifeboat' hatches are there and reactionary control thruster quadrants are all faithfully reproduced.

Bridge and upper saucer hull superstructures do seem a little too 'squat' though compared to the lines seen on the movie miniatures....

Now to the building of the kit:

Some building improvements were made upon the earlier Constitution class Enteprise refit, in that bulb wires were already cut to the right length. Two 'test wires' were included to an already wired-up interior lighting section to fit inside the primary elliptical saucer hull, which you can clip-off after testing. Nice touch, and there is a clear plastic [or vinyl] lighting 'spreader' that fits inside the upper primary hull half. This, I suspect is the cause of later ill-fitting and gaps between primary hull halves.

Engine nacelles proved difficult, it seems whenever you press together some area, another area decompresses! As someone mentioned, more of a 'squeeze together' kit, not snap-fit! I found the nacelles notoriously tricky to 'mate' together and the pylon fit was questionable to the nacelle underside.

I was disappointed to find Bandai had again employed the exterior wiring idea down the nacelle pylon exterior again, with the inclusion of foil tape to 'disguise' it. Not very well either as it did on the Enterprise refit! Bandai might want to rethink this, and replace perhaps with a fine metal strip, inside the pylon to carry the voltage to the lights?? External wiring doesn't work in this fine, fine scale it looks horrible.

Secondary hull sections left the biggest disappointment, as huge gaps are present vertically down the hull, where forward and aft section meet. Where the secondary hull 'mates' with the primary hull too, is a large gap, which I suspect is worsened by the interior hull transparant section....

In order to get a better fit, some drops of Superglue are needed here and there, taking great care not to marr the exterior paint scheme. This helps, but not entirely overcomes the problem. I may consider dismantling mine later to do this.

I'm not sure if the term 'snap fit' applies to these kits, as to get good finishes, much more time needs to be spent to do so. Die hard trekkies might be disappointed with the 'generic' Enterprise E that's presented here, and its design oddities. I mean the features that cross-over between the movies versions, making the Bandai more a hybrid somewhere between the 3 movie presentations.

The Enterprise E in spite of the above quibbles builds into a nice looking desk-top model and looks great lit-up in the dark. Windows are a lot smaller on this 1/1700 scale than the refit's 1/850th scale obviously, but there's a lot more windows on the 'E'. I would like to see an Enterprise D in the same scale as the 'E' in the 'Generations' subtle paint scheme, slightly different from the TV version.

I'd like to see Bandai do some more homework on their next issues, (?) and would like to see an Enterprise D and maybe Enterprise NCC 1701 TV version released. (With aforementioned improvements?) All in all though, excellent collectables for star trek officianado's everywhere. Maybe too, these are just teething problems for what is basically and untried type of kit and an undisputed collectable?

Simon Hill

Reviewer   Andrew
Date Reviewed   Mar 5, 2004
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments I have just read the main review for this model and I have to agree with him on every single point! I too, originally was introduced to Bandai through it's Constitution model, which I myself was impressed with (just a shame none of the hull spot lights were included). So when I heard about Bandai releasing the Sovereign Class and the NX-01 Enterprise I thought I'd get both to hopefully reduce the postal costs, as getting these 2 through British Customs was, well...expensive!!

I had the same problems with it squeezing together and not snapping together (what the box says anyway), so much so, you squeeze so hard sometimes whilst building it that you feel you are going to break it!

Also the bleed through lights are also a little annoying, as you try your darnedest to avoid getting them, put with no prevail! Click attached URLs for the pictures! Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4

If you're a die-hard Trek modeller, this isn't for you...but if you want a well painted desk ornament, it is!

Reviewer   Alex Pritchard
Date Reviewed   May 19, 2004
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments This kit is about 1/16th inch away from being worth 4 stars. I'll explain in a moment.

First let me say that unlike others, I was lucky enough not to get a large gap where the engineering section mates with the saucer. There's a fractional gap however - starboard side too, I wonder what keeps causing these?

In fact, my kit went together OK until the absolute final moment. The stand will not slide far enough onto the completed ship to reach the contacts to make the lights work. I can see that the inner section that it slides on to is either too deep, or the outer section is not fastened down enough. I didn't screw the screw in tight at all, and in spite of squeezing etc. I can't resolve the situation at all at this time. It just appears to be one poor fit that's spoiling the whole thing. If I get desperate I could fashion a 1/4 inch extra contact for both positive and negative because the stand does at least go on far enough for it to be stable but that would be fiddly and really quite annoying.

This kit is a great idea executed rather badly by Bandai. The nacelle construction is very poor design. You have to put a lot of force on the wires to make them fit and the foil that is supposed to hold the wires in place becomes a complete joke when the time comes to slide the nacelle halves together. I was quite amazed to see that a sticker would hide the wires from external sight as well. This is very poor.

The wiring of the secondary hull is also a bit of a pain, I would re-write steps 14 and 15 to provide a lot more information. This is a shame because the rest of the instructions are really very clear.

If just a couple of things about this kit were changed it would become brilliant. The overall finish is very good and I'm pleased with the way she looks. It just needs a few more pre-assemblies from Bandai because the kit can be ruined by just one thing not being able to go together right. I HATE screwing screws into plastic! I think for the price they want to charge you for this kit, it could and should be a lot better.

Because of this, I will not be buying another Bandai kit unless I see one heavily discounted.

Reviewer   si beech
Date Reviewed   Nov 8, 2004
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments Don't just write this off as a toy in kit clothing. Correcting its' many flaws is as big a challenge as painting and building the ERTL version. Filling all the rather huge gaps, correcting or removing some of the eronious details on the secondary hull and painting a decent navigational deflector over the rather boring yellow one could make this 3 hour, over priced toy into a real challenge. Think of it as an accurising project and buy it cheap.

Reviewer   Dan Collins
Date Reviewed   Mar 1, 2004
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments I was introduced to the Bandai Star Trek models when I bought the Enterprise NX-01 last year for a bit of a hobby to do. I thought a pre-painted light up model would be sweet since I hardly had any time to do all that work anymore. It was due to the great results I got after constructing NX-01 that I decided to get the Enterprise E - my favourite of all the Enterprise's.

I read all of the reviews on this site before going ahead and thinking "Why not?". I have the AMT/ERTL kit in its box and just knew it would be there until I retired before it would be painted and built.

The quality of the Bandai model upon opening the box was superb, just as the box describes its level of detail. Much the same as the NX-01 was. I felt the four stickers used to "patch up" the wiring was absolutely tacky though. Don't worry, this technique is not used on the latter Enterprise model.

Construction started off well, though I found myself getting ahead of myself a few times. The nacelles went together okay, though connecting to the pylons left some gaps on the inner side of where the nacelle meets the wing. The stickers were very flimsy to apply over the wiring, but look better than leaving the wires exposed of course.

Just like all those before me, the problems arose when it came to joining (squeezing) the saucer and engineering sections together. I couldn't live with such a huge gap, so I began sanding down the plugs on the internal structure. I figured the problems were with the spongy-ness of the clear internal pieces which are designed to hold the external parts together. A fair bit of sanding down later and I had reduced the gap quite substantially, but after a light test I could still see small specks of light coming through - mostly on the starboard side (strange that). So I used thin strips of electrical tape (rather than superglue) to line the inner part of the secondary hull. Just thin enough to cover the gap and not block any windows. The two hulls were married, and after much trial and error it was finally all good.

Screwing into the plastic I thought was okay, until I realised that one of the screws disconnected the wires which meant more modifications were required. i.e. re-stripping the wires down and reconnecting them before continuing.

The deflector dish/forward half of the secondary hull went on without a problem. It was the very bottom piece which runs from the deflector all the way back to underneath the shuttlebay which had some fitting issues with the hull. So a few little gaps exist at the bottom of the ship. I'm going to try to fix these some time soon.

My final problem came with the stand. I experienced the same trouble where the connection just wouldn't happen. We've bent the connectors to a point where we can get the stand to light the ship, but now we can't put the ship together properly on the stand. In order for my ship to light up, it has a rather large hole in the bottom of the hull, right behind where the stand goes. It's a little bit disappointing, but I'm hoping there's a way around all of this.

The model looks great lit up in the dark. The deflector dish is definitely the strongest light, but I feel the windows manage to get an even distribution of light. The warp engines light up superbly when compared to the NX.

Overall, the kit is well produced but perhaps just a little poorly executed. I can say that at least they fixed it up a bit for the NX-01. I would hope that Bandai fix up their stands, as we still experienced some issues with the NX kit. Saying all this, I would still buy another Bandai Star Trek kit in the future.

Reviewer   James Ward
Date Reviewed   Mar 26, 2005
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments The first thing I can say about this kit is that I didn't know what to expect. Many moons ago, I bought a fiber-optically illuminated model of Deep Space Nine by AMTL(If memory serves correctly...)

That kit was a major challenge to build. In fact, it's still not finished! It was neither pre-painted or prewired for its lighting system, and every illuminated window had to be drilled out with an impossibly small drill bit, and then needed to have the fiber optics fed through and secured. Any Star Trek fan would know what a Space Station designed in ring-fashion that is meant to be 1.6 kilometers wide with hundreds or perhaps thousands of windows is a heck of a job to work on.

Hence, when I ordered Bandai's 1:1700 scale, illuminated Enterprise-E, I was simply hoping and praying that the construction techniques for these Star Trek models had improved.

I was delighted when I opened the box.

This entire kit is pre-painted. The level of detail on the printing is remarkable to say the least. The printing of the words 'Starship U.S.S. Enterprise United Federation of Planets' along the length of the engineering hull is incredibly fine, and in some cases and I may even say that Bandai went [i]overboard[/i] in their efforts to decorate the ship. She is painted in the same 'Aztec-style' scheme seen on the Enterprise in Star Trek: Nemesis, but her structural detailing is closer to how she appeared in Star Trek: Insurrection. The first thing I checked for was the distinctive 'webbing' that was added to either side of the ship's primary shuttlebay for Nemesis. It's not there, and the saucer flows straight back on to the engineering dorsal hull.

But this is not a major concern. Overall, the kit looks stunning, and it would take a very well educated eye to pick out any discrepencies.

I was further intrigued by the ship's lighting system. It has completely done away with the fiber optics seen on Deep Space Nine, and has replaced them with a set of 6 small light bulbs that are set behind hull-forming transparent panels that illuminate the ship's various windows that have been conveniently, and very cleanly pre-drilled in to the hull. The wiring is centralized in the Engineering hull about where the Warp Core is on the real thing, and is connected to two stainless steel contacts on 'Deck 24' that meet with two similar contacts in the top of the ship's display stand. (Which contains the switch and batteries)

I did a 'dry fit' of the model to see how the various parts went together early-on in the construction of the kit. In hindsight, I'm very glad I did this, as it showed me where I could expect to see possible gaps in the casting. The only really noticeable rifts I saw were the joints between the fore and aft sections of the Engineering hull, and most noticably, a rather large gap that ran between the ventral and dorsal hull sections of the ship's spine. I kept this in mind as I built her up, and thought about how I might fix it.

The wiring for the Nacelle lighting is concealled between two metal decals that run up the nacelle pylons. Admitedly, this doesn't look pretty, and I am still wondering if there was another way that Bandai could have wired the Nacelles. The thing to remember though is that this is an [i]illuminated[/i] kit. It [i]does[/i] have wiring, and it [i]does[/i] have failings because of it. Starships are not the only things I build, and I've built many World War II Naval models over the years. If this were a normal 'paint'n'glue' model kit with no lighting, and simple display purposes, then I could consider these failings almost inexcusible, but you don't buy a lighted kit and expect it to be the most absolutely stunning display piece ever created without investing some very serious work and time to make it look good.

I kept that in mind when building it, and did everything I could to make the ship look better. I wired up all the lights and soldered them in to place. Once this thing went together, it was [b]not[/b] coming apart, so wiring failures are a possibility unless you invest a good deal of time to secure it like the nuclear reactors of a US Aircraft Carrier.

When I say that this ship is not coming apart now that it's been built, I [i]mean[/i] it. As it turned out, the seams on either side of the engineering hull closed themselves up well when I seriously snapped it together and made sure everything was where it was meant to be. This was a relief, but the large seam along the spine was still a very noticeable flaw, so a small amount of Super Glue was applied before I snapped the top of the saucer down. The seal is now closed, and almost invisible.

Once she was finished, all that was left was to 'flip the switch'. The lighting as a whole was very good. Every window is illuminated along with the Bassard ram-scoops, the Nacelles, the impulse drives and the main deflector dish. Thankfully, my glueing efforts on the engineering hull bore their fruits and the seam which I had repaired was completely light-proof.

Having compared DS9's lighting system to the Enterprise's, I can see how Fiber Optics have their advantages. The bulb-system on the Enterprise leaves bright 'hot spots' through the windows which are a dead giveaway to where they are located within the kit. On a fiber optic kit such as Deep Space Nine, you don't get this unwanted 'overglow'.

The difference between bulbs and fiber optics comes down to the question of if you are willing to spend 2 or 3 hours on a ship that looks good, or several weeks on a ship that looks utterly stunning. If you have the patience, skill and determination to complete fiber optical lighting systems, then you'd probably prefer the later, but for a fun, detailed kit that just looks good, I can easily recommend the Enterprise.

In conclusion, the one thing you need to keep in mind with this model is that, like all models, it's completed appearance will be directly proportional to the amount of time and effort you put in. Building these things is half the fun, and I've seen many very mediocre kits turned in to works of art by simple time and patience, and likewise, I've seen many excellent kits virtually destroyed by lazyness. If you are willing to put in that little bit of extra effort to clean this kit up, fill in any gaps with polyfiller or glue, and retouch any areas damaged by removing the parts from the sprue, then this kit will look amazing.

I filled in many of the gaps by glueing the kit together rather than just using the snap-fit design, and I soldered the wiring to make sure it doesn't come apart any time soon. All up, it took me just under 3 hours to build, and the kit looks excellent. But there is still alot of other stuff I could have done to make it even better.

The Enterprise is well made, well painted and easy to assemble. If you ever need a quick, fun weekend build, or a model that you can strive away at to produce a museum-worthy masterpiece, then I can wholeheartedly recommend Bandai's USS Enterprise as that kit.

Five out of Five Stars. ENGAGE!

Reviewer   Steve Hein
Date Reviewed   May 14, 2005
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments After finally deciding to buy a Bandai Kit, I found the E on sale at Hobby Link Japan for about $50 USD. Not too bad, but it's well worth the price.

The kit went together in 4.5 hours. I did a little of my own extra work to correct some of the flaws. Once you start, you just keep going and moving along until you finally click the display stand into place. Speaking of that, I had the same problem with the stand as everyone else. It failed to make contact after all the hull pieces were on. I just sanded the piece blocking it down a little, patched it with Gunship Grey paint, and it works perfect.

Assembly is straight forward, and everything is perfectly detailed. I still don't know how they got all those windows cut so sharply! The corners of all the windows are clean, sharp, and look like they cut it with a laser, or maybe even molded that way.

I ran into only a few problems. First was the fit of a few parts due to the fact that the outer hull panels conform to clear internal pieces that literally fill the interior of the ship. The only places I had gaps were on the underside of the warp engines (not bad at all) and behind the shuttlebay (noticable)

At the very tail of the ship, the two halves leave a good sized gap behind the shuttlebay. The shuttlebay doors are a separate piece which cover a lot of it, so that was a saving grace. But where it says "Enterprise" under the doors, mine says "Enter prise" It's a little thing in the overall scheme, but it's annoying. I still need to find a paint to match the tan/grey of the hull. Once I do, I will fill and paint that. Then I will use an "Enterprise" decal from the Enterprise-B AMT kit to replace the printed name that has a big gap inbetween two letters. Don't let that turn you away though. I read the main review here before buying this and almost didn't because of the gaps that he had on his model. I suspect that internal parts were not cleaned up enough, or for some rare reason had too much mass to them. In my example, my parts had a difficult fit until I removed the burrs from where they attatched to the trees. And on a lot of those internal parts, you can easily take an exacto knife and shave them down a few millimeters. If you do that, then you get a spectacular fit. A friend of mine looked over the model and could not find the seams on the sides of the Engineering hull, or on top of the ship. Mine totally disappear. I have literally no light leaks on mine. I credit that to careful observing of part fits, and a little luck. The gaps I mentioned above, do not leak light despite being noticable to the eye. They have overlapping parts on the inside, so that helps a lot.

All in all, this is a really good kit. Don't let negative reviews dissuade you. Patience and work to find the solution to any problems that may crop up will pay off bigtime. If you put in a little of your own work on this model, it can turn out truley fantastic. Remember; any problem you face with this kit can be solved.

So enjoy this nice little project that takes a lot of strain off of your painting hand ;)

Reviewer   Munky
Date Reviewed   Jan 12, 2006
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments I made this model and did it well in less then 4 hours. i used a dab of glue in hard spots. For example where u needed to have the light sitting just right in the clear caseing, but it doesnt want to stay there when your putting the 2 sides together.

I simply did as the instructions wanted which is neatly and evenly cut off the nibs and i virtually have no cracks. The saucer has a little crack, but its hardly noticeable. infact seems like an alright place to have a crack so it doesnt destroy the beauty.

Only problem i have. The stand doesnt go in right. From what i read everyone else had this problem. Personally i didnt have any interest in the lighting but a stand was more interesting.

superb model I'd say.

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