Kit preview of Alliance's Danube-Class.

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Alliance's Danube-Class Kit Preview


By John Lester - images & text © 2002

Scale: 1/100 - about 9"/ 22.9cm long when assembled
Parts: 3 roto-cast resin plus resin base
Instructions: 1 page general assembly tips + marking/paint guide
Decals: ALPS-printed waterslide; markings for three ships
Molding Quality: 9 - almost zero defects
Detail: 9 - sharp overal; consistent engraved panels and crips raised details
Accuracy: 9+ -- dead on, as far as I can tell
MSRP: $65.00 USD (~$100.53 CAN/ 68.85 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 9 - nice size, well cast - and a good project for a rainy weekend.

[Box art]

Alliance's new Danube-class Runabout model is a welcome addition to the expanding number of Star Trek® ships available in kit form. It's big enough to display a wealth of detail but small enough not to hog all your shelf space

[Click to enlarge]

^ Top of the hull. The nacelles slot in to the "steps" on either side

[Click to enlarge]

^ Underneath the hull

[Click to enlarge]

^ Closer look at the area around the cockpit

[Click to enlarge]

^ Nacelles: top (l) and bottom (r) views

Image: Instructions are terse but adequate

Image: The resin base is sufficiently large that it will easily support the model.

[Decals]

^ Decals are provided for three ships assigned to DS9
- an important consideration when you have as many models vying for a spot on a shelf or in the display case as I do!

What You Get

Inside the box are four resin pieces, a small decal sheet, and a legal-sized page with instructions and paint/marking guide printed in color on one side. This kit is smaller than the ERTL, and is made from an original master, not reworked from something else.

The three resin pieces that make up the runabout are roto-cast -- which means the mold is placed on a device that looks like something you'd see at an amusment park, partially filled with resin, and then spun around across three axes until the resin cures. This leaves the casting hollow, which makes for lighter casts (which use less resin). The process also uses a different resin than one normally sees, one that's "stiffer" and less prone to warping over time. On the minus side, one can't roto-cast under pressure, which means that airbubbles may get trapped in nooks and crannies of the mold and produce "divots" in the surface details. Also, the process doesn't result in a uniform thickness of resin all about the mold, so in some areas the piece may be so thin it can be easily punctured while handling.

The review sample I have shows none of those flaws (nor do several other Alliance kits sent in for review, for the most part). I found only two small areas where the detail wasn't top-notch, and both will be easily - and quickly - fixed with a file (there appears also to have been a small ding on the master, just behind the cockpit windows, that will need a hint of putty as well) . There is no flash at all on any piece, no pits or resin bubbles anywhere, and only the barest mold seam on the main hull. The only real sanding I see necessary are the remnants of the pour vents - all on the undersides of the parts, which means that the two on the nacelles will be invisible after assembly and you won't even need putty to fill 'em in. Detail throughout is sharp. Engraved panel detail is consistent in depth and width, with no over-runs or crookedness. Gotta like that.....

The assembly guide provides a few general tips for working with resin. Given that the three pieces fit together in only one way, that's more than adequate. The bulk of the sheet is devoted to painting instructions and showing where the decals go. The paint guide lists what colors go on what components but don't really show the limits of the colors - you may want to dig up the paint guide from the ERTL kit to help out. Decal placement instructions are also a little vague - but there aren't many markings to place and where they go is pretty self-evident.

The decals themselves are ALPS-printed by JTGraphics. Crisply registered and vibrantly colored, they should present no problems (though remember they'll need to be carefully and closely trimmed from the sheet before dunking).

Assembly & Finish

Assembly really is a no brainer. Theoretically, you could light this kit - strong lights behind the resin and clear paints could probably do the trick. However, there's no really good place to open up the kit to get in and place all the electronics, even if you get a fairly consistent thickness of resin in the areas where you want the light to shine through.

Overall Impressions

I like it. The detail is good, the casting is good, and the size is big enough to really go to town painting and weathering, but not so big as to force you to buy a new house to display it in. The ease of assembly, excellent casting and thoughtful engineering make this a perfect kit for those who have build a plastic kit or two and want to "graduate" to resin models.

Highly recommended to those with an interest in the subject.


Many thanks to Federation Models for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 17 June 2002.