Alun Owen's Romulan Warbird

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Starship Modeler: Romulan Warbird Kit Review

By Alun Owen Copyright © 1999.

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This was a kit which I first built up a few years ago, when I knew next to nothing about modelling and just slamed it together and shoved some paint on it. At the time I painted it a bright, almost luminous green, as it appears on television. There was very little detailing on the model and to be honest to looked pretty awful. I decided to give it another go and to use the existing model.

I first stripped the paint off with a commerical product designed specifically for plastic models. The product was called "ModelStrip" and is applied to the model with a spatula, getting into all the nokes and crannies. This worked extremely well and left the model really clean when it was finished, a highly recommended product.

The model was then ripped apart. This only caused a small amount of damage, because the kit had been so badly assembled first time around.

I decided to install some lights into the model to give it some further interest as there is little surface detail to attract the eye. This was a fairly simply process, since there do not appear to be any flashing lights on the Warbird, except on the keel of the ship, more or less where the stand fits, so it wouldn't be possible to fit anyway.

The windows where made by simply drilling out the windows with a 0.4mm drill.

Initially I tried to keep the windows in neat rows to simulate the decks, but after looking at some pictures it appeared that the lights are not organised like that, but are much more random. When all the painting was finished the windows were filled using ClearFix (Humbrol), a product designed for gluing clear parts together, but which is thick enough to use for making small windows.

There are 7 minibulbs in the kit, 1 in the bridge section, 1 in the rear section, 2 in each nacelle and 1 in the underside of the top hull. The bulbs are 5V, 60mA 3mm sub-miniature bulbs (from RS in the UK,, which have a rated life of 40000 hours, so they shouldn't blow too quickly. The bulbs were wired in parallel, so that in the event of one blowing they won't all go out. The wires were then run between the hulls to a 3.5mm mono jack socket on the underside. The stand has a 3.5mm mono plug mounted in the top, which supplies power to the kit but allows it to turn freely or be removed from it. Because the kit is relatively light it doesn't require any additional support.

Reassembly was pretty basic (there aren't many parts afterall) and was as laid out in the instructions. The only additional work was to fill around the two necks which connect the bridge section to the upper and lower hulls. This was the main area of damage in disassembling the kit. I should have made the nacelles flush to the upper and lower hull, but didn't notice this detail until too late.

The colour of the kit is a custom mix of green, grey and blue, which is a bit like the colour of the studio model, but has more of a green overtone to it. This was just mixed up 'on-the-fly' until I had the colour I wanted. The "feathers" are airbrushed by spraying a light grey paint past tape masking off the adjoining "feather".

Overall I think the final result came out quite well.

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Last updated on 18 January 1999.