Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: USS Excelsior

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Excelsior made by AMT/ERTL.

Reviewer   Eric Harrold
Date Reviewed   Nov 3, 2000
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments It's nothing extraordinary, just your basic AMT/Ertl kit. The detail looks okay without modification, but it won't stun you with it's quality, either. With some clever paint work (and some aftermarket detail parts, *cough* Don Matthys *cough*), it can be a very nice model. Those who like their kits big will be disappointed, though- it's pretty dinky compared to the Reliant, the refit Enterprise, the Enterprise-D, and most of the other Ertl "Trek" kits. Still, if you like the Excelsior, or need a kit to practice new techniques on, it's a decent enough choice.

Reviewer   Mouse Man
Date Reviewed   Nov 28, 2000
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.

I am an inexperienced modeler, in fact, this was the first model I ever actually completed. So all I can offer you is tips so you don't do the same screw ups I did. This review was made to help an inexperienced modeler.


Paints used:

Testors flat enamel gray, Testors flat enamel yellow (oil based paint), Testors flat enamel red (oil based paint), Testors flat enamel black (oil based paint), Testors steel (oil based paint), Tamiya clear red (water based paint), Tamiya clear blue (water based paint), Testors Model Master flat gull gray (water based paint), and Krylon Short Cuts flat enamel white (spray paint).

Of these paints, I did not like the results of: Tamiya clear red (water based paint), Tamiya clear blue (water based paint), Testors Model Master flat gull gray (water based paint)

Also, the Krylon Short Cuts flat enamel white (spray paint) was not an exact match of the exterior white on the Excelsior, but I liked it. In addition, I suggest you get two cans.

A note: I spent more on paints than I did on the model itself.

First of all, I suggest you only use spray paint if you are also an inexperienced modeler (except for the yellow, red, black, steel, and maybe grey - there are some small parts which are to be painted grey which would be hard to do with spray paint, but they are large areas which also needed to be painted grey). My paint job was only mediocre, and a little sloppy.

Second, if you decide to use water based paint, I suggest you don't do so. It was impossible for me to make an even coat of paint with it.

Also, in a previous review, they suggested you use Tamiya clear red and blue paint for the engines. I have to disagree with this. It is water based, so I couldn't make an even coat. Also, the blue was very dark and didn't look good. In fact, it didn't look at all like realistic warp engines.

I suggest you brush on the glue and use very small amounts. And be very careful with what you are gluing! After completing the model, I realized I glued one of the warp engines on crooked, and after fixing that, I realized that somehow I put the neck on crooked and I couldn't fix it. I used something called Testors Model Master Precision Gluing Tips which make the amount of glue coming out of the tube a fine line, and they helped a little, but next time I am going to try brushing on the glue.

Decals: soak them for 15 seconds in warm water and gently slide them off. They are VERY delicate! And if they fold over each other, take them off and re-soak them. The should come apart. But don't do this to many times, or the adhesive on them will become dilute or something and they will fall off, even when dry. That is what is sort of happening to the side decals which say "Starship USS Excelsior - United federation of Planets" on mine.

Overall, I was satisfied with it, considering it was the first model I ever completed and I suck at modeling. I would like it much more if my final product didn't suck so much. I hope yours turns out much better than mine.

Reviewer   George Hill
Date Reviewed   Dec 26, 2000
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments After building 3 Enterprise-Bs, I finally got the Excelsior herself. I liked it because it was a lot easier to build than the Enterprise B, and the parts fit nicely (though I did have some trouble on the nacelles.) My problem with it is that I wanted to make it the Star Trek III version, and the kit is the Star Trek VI version. There are some major differences, notably the reactor and the shuttlebay, as well as the registry number. With some clever cutting, I managed to make the Decals which read NCC-2000 to say NX-2000.

Reviewer   Frank LaMarca
Date Reviewed   Feb 26, 2001
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments Like u I waited eagerly for this kit but when I opened it was so small I couldn't beleive it. There were little things too like the gap between the connecting dorsal and the impulse deck, also how raised the grid lines were. The decals were ok but the banner strips and starfleet delta was to big for the scale. A little more detail would have been nice. But it went together well and I put the correct size strips and delta on. Don Matthys has a new decal set for this kit which has hull detail which is amazing.

Reviewer   Steve Hein
Date Reviewed   Jan 20, 2002
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments My Excelsior experiance started when I saw Generations. I always liked the Excelsior herself and built a decent model from the AMT/ERTL kit. But for some reason I liked the way the Enterprise B looked a little better. It's the flares and the revamped warp nacelles. I have recently started work on my second Enterprise B. I didn't like the way my first one came out. (Plus the fact that it fell off the shelf, both nacelles snapped off, and the saucer cracked) I highley reccomend going over to Federation Models, ordering PCModelers Aztec Hull decals for the Excelsior, then heading over to Thomas Models and getting his insanley detailed decal sheet for the Excelsior refit.) Like a lot of people, I do not have the technique for getting those aztec details just right. They always appear off to me. Part-wise, the kit is pretty good. There are a few spaces that will need to be filled and a few pieces that need a bit of filing or sanding, but overall mine worked well. It is a good model to paint and detail because getting it looking good at that scale is half the fun. Although it would be better if it was in scale with the Enterprise 1701-A from AMT/ERTL as stated by so many modelers.

Reviewer   Eric Banker
Date Reviewed   May 3, 2002
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments I recently decided to start modeling again and I picked up one of the Enterprise B models for around $30. Like others have said this is a small model. If you put it next to the Enterprise A, D, or even the Ertl 18 inch original enterprise this kit looks small, really small. Anyway on to the review.

The Saucer Section: The saucer has quite a large gap when put together that took quite a bit of work to get rid of. One other problem is the impulse engines. I don't know why ERTL made a separate part for the impulse engine holder. Sometimes I think they intentionally make things difficult. This piece does not fit well and had to be filled and sanded and filled and sanded. This part was a pain.

The hull: The main hull was not that bad to put together. There was not much of a seam to fill on this part and it went together easily. Just take your time on this section and it will come out fine.

The Neck: This is another one of those "Why did they do it this way" ERTL things. On the one I bought the neck lines did not match up at all. It took a lot of work with a small file and putty to finally get it looking even remotely like the neck of the ship.

The Engines: These went together pretty easily. For this part just be careful when taking the parts off the trees.

Over all it's not a bad ship. If you wanted to slap it together real quick and paint it then it would not look that bad. If you really want to take the time to get rid of the seams and gaps and get it looking really good though this kit is a pain. The parts just don't fit together well and the molding of the neck is a nightmare.

Reviewer   Jeffrey W. Griffin
Date Reviewed   Nov 22, 2002
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments Not a bad kit, though it has a few issues with accuracy, mostly where the detail is a bit soft or raised where it should be recessed. Still, it's a nice kit.

Reviewer   Sven Ferron
Date Reviewed   Jun 9, 2003
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments The Excelsior I think is a good kit to start modelling with "Trek-kits". I like the design of the Excelsior and I've to say that the ship is one of my favourites. But there are some facts I was a little disappointet with. Even it is a relatively big kit, it has only a few windows. Most of them are around the saucer. The windows on the secondary hull are in a rectangular, not in the typical oval/rounded shape. The most of them are much too big and for such a big kit there are definetly not enough of them on the secondary hull. On the Saucer Module the phaserturrets on the undersite of the hull are not placed on the typical rectangular base, like the turrets on the top of the saucer. And the kit is like her sistership, the Enterprise-B, not in Scale with the most of the other Trek Kits ERTL has produced. On the other hand, there are a lot of aftermarket products even for this kit. With those you can make a very nice beauty of your model. The fit of the parts is good from what I can tell, and I had fun building her. If you're an advanced modeller/kitbasher, this model provides a lot of kitbashing possibillities in itself

Reviewer   Richard D
Date Reviewed   Jan 5, 2004
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments this model is great. yes it has faults but you can do so much with this kit. building is easy, pianting is easy and kitbashing is childs play. they are cheap enough and parts are plentiful. a good kit all round.

Reviewer   Dylan Messer
Date Reviewed   Jan 31, 2006
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments The USS Excelsior model kit is well worth the money.I got mine at Fedaration Models for $60.00.Yes its sort of a ripe-off but I think its worth the money. So if you love the Excelsior ,GET THIS KIT , GOT IT!

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