Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: USS Enterprise NCC-1701

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 made by Polar Lights.

Reviewer   George Hill
Date Reviewed   Aug 4, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments Everything about this model is superior to the AMT kits, right down to the box it comes in! OK, it's not as big, but it's a lot more accurate, easier to paint, and the decal sheet is absolutely incredible. I cannot see any reason why anyone would need to get aftermarket parts for this kit. It's that good. The one problem is the copyright notice on the bottom of the saucer, but I just sanded that off. This kit is cheap: I only paid $10.50. It is, in my opinion, just the right size: Not so small that everything keeps breaking, like on the AMT 3 piece enterprise, but not so big that it's hard to find a place for it. I have mine sitting on top of my computer right now, next to the Polar lights Delorian. (Another kit well worth getting) I can tell from this Enterprise that we are in for some of the best Star Trek Kits ever made!

Reviewer   Garry Stahl
Date Reviewed   Aug 4, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments I agree with everything quality wise that has been said about the Polar Lights Enterprise. There is a surprising amount of detail and flexibility for a "snap fit" kit. It is suitable for both beginners and detailers.

On the subject of beginners, I think it an excellent "first kit" for a kid. You don't have to get into glue and paint to produce a playable model or toy. And let's face it, kids build models to play with, not look at. It's not your favorite resin, it's a 13 buck plastic kit, let them play. Not only that but the snap fit is engineered sturdy enough to take a bit of zooming around at warp speed.

Like the first review I slapped the kit together in under 30 minutes. I was slowed down by RTFM syndrome, and had to back track several steps to fit parts I forgot. My steel putty spatula was most useful in working the kit apart. On the plus side some one (bless them) dropped an extra pair of nacelle bodies in my kit, so by using the spare parts for the other versions, I got two sets of nacelles. Some future scratch build just got lucky.

I will in time pull the kit apart, cut the pins down and apply glue, paint, and decals. I'll sand the seams and make everything look nice. However, I consider that I got my money's worth in the time I have fiddled with it already. Everything else is a bonus. Personally I don't like the Bandi approach. What fun is that? Everything is done for you. Polar Lights got this one so right I don't think they could have done it better.

Reviewer   Sean O'Leary
Date Reviewed   Aug 6, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments I was always disappointed by the accuracy of the old AMT/ERTL versions of the classic Enterprise. When Polar Lights announced they were producing a new kit of this famous ship, I was hoping they would finally design an accurate model. Did they succeed? I would say YES! The attention to detail on this 11" long model is truly remarkable.

For those of you wanting to build the production version of the Enterprise, be aware that there are some inaccuracies in the Polar Lights model that can easily be fixed. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about any major modification work. Here’s a rundown for those perfectionists out there:

  1. The front edge of the primary hull has a nub sticking out that will need to be sanded off.
  2. You will need to simulate a red and green formation light on the top of the primary hull. These formation lights should be positioned near the outside edge of the saucer, next to the red and green running lights (the clear bulbs included with the kit). The decal placement instructions actually depict the formation lights in their correct position. I guess it was an oversight to include them on the kit.
  3. The running lights are too close to the edge of the primary hull and will need to be moved in a little bit. You’ll have to separate them from the navigation lights (the clear part that extends through the bottom of the primary hull).
  4. The subspace communications antenna arrays (the 2 triangular objects etched into the bottom of the primary hull) will need to be filled in with putty. These elements need to be painted on since they aren’t included on the decal sheet.
  5. The bottom of the primary hull has two small nubs (depicting lights) near the edge of the saucer that will need to be sanded off. The transporter emitters (decal #32) should be placed in this general location.
  6. The etched line running down the dorsal connector between the primary and secondary hull should be filled in with putty. This separation should be depicted with a change in the paint scheme.
  7. There are two navigation beacons that protrude slightly from the sides of the secondary hull. These beacons are adjacent to structural frame markers 1837. The decal sheet depicts these beacons, but they shouldn’t lie flat on the secondary hull like a window.
  8. There should be a small red navigation light protruding from the top of the secondary hull, between the warp nacelle pylons and the shuttle bay homing beacon.
  9. The etched lines on the bottom of the warp engines should be filled in with putty. These etched lines run from the front of the engines to the support pylons. This area should be depicted by a change in the paint scheme.
  10. The impulse fusion reactors emergency eject hatches (decal #12A and 12B) are not correct. These hatches should be clear in the center - not white filled.

I would recommend you check out the pictures at this website to better visualize the ten suggested corrections:

There are only two complaints I have about the model. The first is that the windows were not cut into the model like Bandai did with the movie version Enterprise model. It looks so much better to have actual windows instead of applying decals to simulate windows. This leads to my second complaint - some of the decal windows are colored white to simulate a lit window. I wish they printed all the windows black, since white doesn’t convincingly portray a lit window.

As you can see, most of my complaints and suggested corrections are quite minor. This is a great kit, and with a little effort, can be transformed into a beautiful recreation of the classic Enterprise. My hats off to Thomas Sasser for a job well done!

Reviewer   Craig Mah
Date Reviewed   Aug 20, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments I spent $20 CDN on my kit. (I bought two) I realize that the price is higher than what other Canadians are paying but hey,only one hobby shop in my city had them! If I were to have mail ordered for one, it would have cost me more than $20 for each kit with S&H.

The Polar Lights Enterprise lives up to the hype over the past year. I write this because Polar Lights has given modelers an opportunity to construct an accurate representation of the Enterprise, her sister ships; or variants at a great price. The quality of the kit combined with the price makes this model a must have for all Trek modelers. Keeping in mind the price combined with accuracy, this kit outdoes any AMT release and Bandai's 1701-A. I must say this is one of the more thoughtful Star Trek models released. The attention to detail (everything from the box art; instructions and the parts themselves ) captures the "spirit" of The Original Series. Looking over the box and the contents, one would think The Original Series was still being produced. Kudos to Polar Lights!

It is too bad that this model wasn't released thirty years ago but at least Polar Lights got it right! That is not to say that the AMT 18" and cut-away Enterprises doesn't have its merits and charms but it doesn't compare to this kit in terms of overall accuracy.

I was particularly pleased to see the absence of the grid lines on the top and bottom of the saucer! I don't know if that was due to budgetary reasons or a conscious decision to do away with the now-accepted grid lines but I give Polar Lights and Thomas Sasser credit for this! Let modelers add those lines if they want them.

The possibilities for this kit are awesome. The ability to construct three variations of the Enterprise along with markings for five Starships is commendable. In addition, the potential to light this kit is there. Clear pieces for the nacelles and saucers give modelers that opportunity. Furthermore, this model looks great. Compare this to any AMT release and you'll see how far this kit has come. The fit of the kit is very good and Bandai could learn a thing or two by looking at the design of this kit. The parts fit together nicely and the seams were acceptable for a snap-kit. Construction and the instructions are logical and clear.

Deciding to build the production version, I had chosen to snap the kit together and use glue to strengthen the bond and help reduce the seams. Some filling and sanding was done to minimize the seams. Since this is not a pre-painted kit, one can easily do this. I painted my Enterprise with Model Master's Flat Gull Grey.

The kit comes with an extensive decal sheet with markings for Enterprise and other ships, including the Mirror Universe Enterprise. Great idea! Stickers are provided for novice modelers and water slide decals for everybody else.

Keep in mind the price everybody. How many of these models can you buy for one Bandai Enterprise? I'll let you figure that out.

My only gripe is that the model relies a little too much on the decals. Most notably the windows. It would have been nice to have the windows molded in.

I won't criticize the size of the model keeping in mine how affordable it is combined with all of the parts.

This model is easily accessible to anyone due to it's affordability; ease of assembly and potential to embellish the kit with more detaill. Novice modelers to expert modelers will enjoy this kit.

Congratulations to Polar Lights and Thomas Sasser for a job well done. Now get working on a refit Enterprise!

Reviewer   Justin Leighty
Date Reviewed   Sep 26, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments This kit isn't perfect, but it's as close as we've seen in a model of the Enterprise from the original Star Trek series.

When it was initially released, a few people complained about the size of the kit, but it's not so small it loses detail and it's not so large it takes up a lot of shelf space.

The best features of this kit are the stellar accuracy and the low price. I've purchased it from various sources from $7.99 to $13.99. The kit's design is great; it strikes me as being designed for ease of painting. The three version options are great, and the decals allow for various other ships seen on screen (and they're in the correct fonts, not like the AMT kits). One note on assembly — FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, especially on the engines. Mount the inner engine half onto the pylon mount before putting the outer engine half on. Most seams aren't bad; a file helps the saucer parts mate together better and the engine halves mate together well (especially if you trim the rear two of the three mating pins). Some putty is advisable on the secondary hull, especially the joint between the pylon mounts and the secondary hull. Also, putty is necessary on the pylon mount halves. The engine domes and the bridge dome need masking and then painting; I've used liquid masks to good effect here, while others have cut out masking tape. I have mixed feelings about this; ultimately, I think it would be easier to have the clear parts separate from the parts that have to be hull color, but really I can't complain about the way they handled this. It just takes a bit more care. This is a kit you can throw together in an hour and slap the stickers on, or you can spend a few days to really make it look flawless. Lighting it would take a lot of work, but I'm certain some people are up to that challenge. All in all, it's a far better kit than has ever been available, and at a ridiculously good price.

Reviewer   Lee Rilea
Date Reviewed   Oct 11, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments This kit is what we TOS Fans have been waiting for! A well designed, well engineered TOS Enterprise. At first is was dissapointed in the size, but like mentioed before, takes up less room, which is good, and still well detailed. The original miniature didn't have much surface detail either. Awesome decals too. The possibility of 16 diffrent s can be built from this . And very accurate to the original. Can't wait until January for their Klingon D-7 ship!

Reviewer   Josh Knight
Date Reviewed   Oct 28, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments I am certainly no professional, but this kit is amazing! You will be extremely surprised by the accuracy in detail of this kit. The only thing I was disappointed with is that the size. I would have liked it larger, but its size makes the attention to detail even more impressive. Definitely worthy of 5 stars.

Reviewer   Kenn
Date Reviewed   Nov 5, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments I'm a "Trekkie" and one of the biggest fans of the futuristic design of the original Enterprise. I bought the new Polar Lihts version and threw it in the garbage where it belongs. Let me tell you a few things as I see it.

(1) This model is too small to do justice to the elaborate details that would appear on a larger model. This model should have been made no less and 22" in scale with the "Cutaway" version!

(2) What are you talking about accurate--where are the lines and circle markings on top of the saucer section?

(3) Why did they put the trademark logo on bottom of the saucer section instead of in the inside where it could not be seen. The person that designed this model should be fired from ever working on another model. This is inexcusable!

(4) If Polar lights wants to make this for 6-10 year old kids--fine! That is all this model is good for--kids. The fans and 'Trekkies" want something that does justice to the original master. HOW? Listen up!

We want a 3 foot--perfectly detailed lighted version with modulating bussard caps and blinking navigation lights for under $200.00 dollars. This is America!!! This is easy for Polar Lights to do. This 11" inch plastic thing is a joke and an insult to all of the fans who are still waiting for an accurate 3 footer or at least 22" version. My dad always said :"if you gonna do something do it right or not at all"! Polar Lights needs to start doing things right by producing big size perfect replicas under $200.00! I'd be willing to pay $500 for such a model.

Reviewer   Rimi
Date Reviewed   Nov 17, 2003
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments This kit is amazing!for the price,you get a great model,GREAT decals/stickers for the ship ,and you get a choice of SEVEN DIFFERENT ships to make. This model is a must buy for any trekkie!

Reviewer   Count Johnny
Date Reviewed   Nov 24, 2003
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments In General, I like the kit.

It has been a long time since we have seen a classic Enterprise as a production model. It is an easy job to do. It builds-up very well, and looks nice when built.

Despite the praise I have given the kit, I still decided that it should only get an average rating. There are 2 reasons for that.

  • The first reason is the size of the kit. I feel that the kit should have been produced on a slightly larger scale.
  • The second reason I give this model a lower rating is the hull details. Let's face it, the body of the kit is very plain. The bulk of the details come in the form of decals. Though the kit assembles easy, a novice modeler may have trouble making a decent model because of difficulty in placing decals. Not just placing the decals, but in trying to make the edges of the decals "blend-in" so they won't be seen. Based on the reasons I have just stated, I feel that many of the details should have been molded to the body instead of being placed in decal form.

    That is all I have to say about it!

  • Reviewer   Jeffrey Griffin
    Date Reviewed   Dec 4, 2003
    Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
    Comments Fantastic little kit! Designed in such a way that a novice modeler can pick it up, build it using the snap-kit abilities, slap the stickers on it and display it. Or, a more experienced modeler can make it in to a work of art - as has been shown by many of the images in the gallery pages here at Starship Modeler.

    Since the "cirlces and lines" on top of the primary hull are visible in only a very few screen grabs, I think that PL was more than justified in not wanting those added. It's not like it takes a rocket scientist to add those on with a plastic ruler and compass, anyhow.

    The size of the model makes it perfect for a desktop display at work or a shelf full of all four variants of the basic design - 1st Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Regular Production and "Mirror" Enterprise - as well as the other starship names & registries included. And then there are all the conversion kits that are either currently available (such as the PNT "Franz Joseph" dreadnought, destroyer/scout & tug) or on the horizon (such as the Larson, Loknar, Detroyat and others soon to be available). You can easily put four of these kits in the place of one 18" kits space on a shelf!

    Details are great, as well - especially since there were so few of them on the studio model! Windows not being engraved in the hull isn't a real problem, nor should it be for more folks. You can use the stickers as a guide should you feel the need for "real" windows to be in the hull. Stick 'em on in-place, break out the #11 Xacto blade or scribing tool and go to town! Overall, I love this kit and look forward to the upcoming 1/1000 scale TOS Klingon Battlecruiser and 1/350 scale NX-01 kits. Models for modelers, designed by a modeler and produced by a company that loves models. :-D

    Reviewer   Jagdson
    Date Reviewed   Dec 12, 2003
    Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
    Comments Praise for this kit is richly deserved. If it was from Hasegawa it'd cost at least three times as much, and I can scarcely believe it'd be any better. It's a snap-together kit, which for years has implied "simplified for children," yet it screams quality. I even think the size is right. It may not be the exact size to "realistically" sit next to your favorite resin piece or Ertl clunker, but consider the subject matter. It's TOS Enterprise - if you want a fleet line-up, buy another one and use different registry decals.

    The price is so low (even with my local Target adding a couple of dollars' jerk fee) that there's really no excuse to avoid buying at least one. Polar Lights has made my modeling year; first with their big Godzilla, and now with the overall best 'Trek kit I've yet seen.

    Reviewer   Joel Foust
    Date Reviewed   Jan 26, 2004
    Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
    Comments As far as accuracy goes, this kit is beyond question.

    It is a snap-tight, so seams MUST be glued & puttied smooth. That is my only gripe. It cannot be considered accurate with the joints showing. Complains about the absence of "deflector shield grids" only shows ignorance. This is the only true commercialy-available representaion of the 1960's Video Starship with it's variations. As with most models (I find) construction SUCKS, It's the painting I enjoy! I am only at that point now, after 13 + hours of construction. I think I can do the next steps rather quickly.

    Any who, after 30+ years of waiting, I REALLY like this Kit! ( I rate it as "Not Perfect, but Damn Close & Better than anything COMMERCIALLY better before!)

    JW Foust

    Reviewer   James Topoleski
    Date Reviewed   Feb 18, 2004
    Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
    Comments While i have a few sore points on the model (gaps because it is a snap kit and the notorious Paramount forced marking on the exterior which I realize couldnt be helped) for trek kits this one is the absolute BEST.

    If this is what we are going to expect from PL I am so glad they have the Trek model rights!!! My first trek models where the Enterprise A and Klingon Battlecruser from the Star Trek VI ATM line and while those where never finished because I got so fed up with the builds... I find myself not only taking MORE time to do these kits right since they look so beautiful built, but buying MORE cause I love them so much.

    Reviewer   joe
    Date Reviewed   Feb 27, 2003
    Overall Rating       Save your money.
    Comments What a piece of junk!

    I had to use glue on half of it because of poor fitting!

    Part of the damn thing broke during assembly even though alot of care was given.Not to mention it is not balanced for the stand.It is ashame this could have been a good model. It is also ashame that most of the science fiction models are hard to find and WAY over priced.

    Reviewer   Nik
    Date Reviewed   May 28, 2004
    Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
    Comments Overall, I enjoyed building this kit. I'm just getting back into scale modelling after a few years break and for a newbie like me, it's pretty good... That and the fact it only cost me the equivalent of £6.50 to buy it, plus a few more quid to get it shipped to me in the UK means it's a good kit for someone to have a good practise on before spending money on some of the more expensive (resin) kits that are out there and making a right mess of them! (The fact that it got to me from the U.S a lot quicker than pretty much most of the post I get sent through the Royal Mail hasn't clouded my judgement at all) ;-) I've been working on it slowly over the past two evenings, trying to not mess it up and so far it's going OK. I'm just about to glue the nacelles on and start painting it, and I'm pretty happy that there's not much in the way of detail because I'd probably only just make a hash of things if there were! As for some of the comments saying it's a waste of money and that Polar Lights should do an all singing, all dancing version for under 200 bucks, well thats fine, but what about those people who maybe can't afford so spend so much on a model kit? I personally think this kit is a brilliant example of making a well built, good looking, cheap kit. Yes, for those that can afford it, and justify spending mega-money on a pre-lit, pre-built kit then by all means, go ahead and tell Polar Lights to start building one for you, but I'll stick with my little grey bit of plastic for the time being... Besides, if we had a ready made, lit up version of the Enterprise up for sale, where's the skill in building it up gone?

    Reviewer   Sven Ferron
    Date Reviewed   Jun 28, 2004
    Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
    Comments Absolutely great. The possibility to make three versions, the nice set of decals and the bonus of those stickers, the parts you have left over for kitbashing projects when you've put your favorite model together - what's left you could wish for? For the first time I ordered three of those kits and the first is already to see in the readers gallery - that won't be the last. A kitbash of a Saladin-Variant is on the way and other bashes and models will surely follow. Keep on the great work PL and Thomas Sasser, that were surely not the last kits of the TOS Enterprise I have bought!

    Reviewer   Patrick Lynch
    Date Reviewed   Jul 5, 2004
    Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
    Comments First, I have to admit that the last model I put together was the lights and sound Enterprise 1701-A in the early 1990's. I had been reading about the Polar Lights model and wanted to try it out. So this review is from the perspective of someone coming back to modelling and whose eyes are not as good as they used to be.

    The structure of the model is way better than the later AMT kits. It reminds me a great deal of an AMT kit I did in 1972. The size would not have bothered me if my eyes were better, I found it a little hard to paint in places. But once it's together is a good size. The box art was wonderfully retro and made it feel like Star Trek was still in production. Very nice!

    If I could put in a request for some changes to the model it would be this: Mold the bridge modules the same colour as the hull. If the hangar deck dome can be cast that small as a clear piece, maybe the upper bridge dome could be as well. Also, I'd like to see the bussard scoops to be separate from the rest of the housing. I like the way the inner part of the scoop fits into the outer. Instead, take the part that attaches to the rest of the nacelle and slip the outer part of the bussard scoop into the housing.

    The reason I suggest that is, if you merely want to snap it together without painting, the bridge module and the bussard scoops with their housings that attach to the rest of the nacelles look strange clear.

    The last thing I would like to see changed structurally is to make the primary hull snap tighter to the interconnecting dorsal and easier to align correctly. Maybe some alignment pins that snapped into the upper portion of the primary hull. All the AMT Enterprise models I've ever done had this spot as weak point as well. I'm willing to pay more for kit with these changes.

    Other than that, structurally, Polar Lights is to be commended for addressing the weak points of the AMT models secondary hull pieces and especially how the warp drive pylons are attached. Kudos also for the attachment of the warp engines. But the field restoration cowls at the back of the engines had to be glued on and fit a little strangely.

    I too, would have like the window details on the hull, but I commend Polar Lights for the detail on the impulse engines that's not even present on the 22 inch cutaway Enterprise.

    A final caveat. If you have put together a lot of the 18 inch AMT Enterprises, read the Polar Lights directions carefully. Go through all the pieces and see how they fit together before committing to final assembly. I made some mistakes because I fell into old habits. Fortunately, I was able to work around it. I'll buy a second kit having learned from this one.

    I'd like to see Polar Lights do a bigger Enterprise up to 22 inches with all the detail that is possible with the larger size. If the Polar Lights people read these reviews, how about a full TOS Enterprise bridge kit? Scaled to the size of the Playmates TOS bridge crew action figure set? Just dreaming aloud.

    Reviewer   George Fordyce
    Date Reviewed   Mar 5, 2005
    Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
    Comments I liked the kit,I already have the TOS Enterprise from AMT,but I got this one because they give you a choice on what ship you want to build.I personally built the MIRROR/MIRROR enterprise,It was my Favorite Enterprise.I like the different decals they give you with the kit.And for thre price I paid $7.00 it was well worth the money.

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