By Joe Hank Copyright © 1999
After seeing Star Trek:First Contact, I was wowed by all the cool new ships swarming around the Borg cube. I especially liked the prominently featured Akira-class, with its split secondary hull and flat profile. Though no physical model of this ship existed, I hoped my old 'friend' AMT/ERTL would market the kit, but the Sci-Fi offerings from any commercial injection-molding company have been few lately. Thus, I turned to my other friend, the garage industry.
A relative newcomer, Starcrafts is fulfilling a niche in the Sci-Fi modeling world with kits like the Akira. This kit consists of 8 white resin pieces, including the 'stand', and a decal sheet. Mine had no instructions. The kit is molded in 1/1400 scale, and measures approximately 10.5 inches long by 8 inches wide when completed. Thomas Sasser of Thomas Models made a second upgrade decal sheet with better lifeboats, different ship names, and other hull details. Though fulfilling your order may take some time, I recommend getting the decal upgrade. An accuate decal placement guide is included by Thomas. Excellent reference renderings can be found at Pedro's Ship-o-Rama.
I should note that my model is from the first batch of kits produced. Starcrafts has released an updated version in which many of the problem areas I encountered are supposedly fixed.
The saucer section measures 6 inches by 6.75 inches and is the largest piece. It has some paneling detail on it, but the bottom is especially sparse. I foresee a bit of work with the scribing tool. The phaser banks are very crisp, but have no ribbing on them. The lifeboats are also quite well molded, however, the sensor strips along the edge of the hull have quite a few bubbles and voids. On the bottom, the deflector has fine detail on the 'glowing' part, but numerous bubbles around it, in the cavity, Windows all over the hull were poorly molded, some looking like ovals instead of rectangles, some tilted from their neighbors, and all of varying depths.
The nacelles have a lot of detail, but are marred by many bubbles all around. Most appear to be able to be sanded off, but some places also have voids to be filled. These parts will need the most cleaning. The nacelle struts/secondary hull pieces have lots of detail on the top, but no (and I mean NO) detail on the bottom. In addition, the right piece did not conform to the saucer, which will required heating and bending. The rear parts around the impule engines had many small voids to repair. The sensor pod and bridge piece were also of average quality, with a few voids to fill also, and adequate details. The stand was a standard Star Trek chevron 3.5 by 6.5 with a flat top that the lkit rests on (No posts or holes!!).
Overall, the first run of this kit is definitely a good model of an Akira-class, but the casting quality is not up to the standard of a Warp Models or Federation Models kit. However, with some work and patience, the end results will be a kit that looks as good as a higher quality casting. Starcrafts succeeds in producing accurate ships, but production quality could improve.
^ The assembled model, unpainted - top view.
^ Underside of the saucer section
^ Assembled, unpainted model - bottom view.
^ The rest of the parts.
^ Decals. On the left are Thomas Models' upgrade set, which I recommend.
This page copyright © 1997-9 Starship Modeler.
Last updated on 8 February 1999.