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StarFleet Assembly Manuals

By John Lester - images & text © 2004

Softcover, 224pp., by Paul M. Newitt
MSRP: $11.95 USD (~$ 16.13 CAN/ 9.72 EUR ) plus postage available from the CultTVMan's Hobbyshop.
Overall Rating: 9++ - well-researched, clearly presented, and definitely worth the price.

Paul M. Newett's Starfleet Assembly Manuals have long been considered the holy grail of starship modeling. They were the first resources available - even in a limited scope - to help build and detail Star Trek® ships. They've also been long out of print. Now, Paul has collected all three into one volume, and added new material. The books offer in-depth discussions of basic model building, how to do battle damage and lighting, all using AMT Star Trek ship kits as examples. The new edition spans 224 pages and includes an extensive analysis of the original series Enterprise's true color as one of several bonuses.


What You Get

This book collects the first three StarFleet Assembly Manuals, and includes an Appendix section with new material. Each of the sections include notes from "StarFleet" and reproductions of the original artwork that graced the first publications. The heart and soul of each book, however, are the detailed, extensively-illustrated, step-by-step guides to building select models:

  • SFAM 1: Assembly Procedure for Heavy Cruiser Starships: this walks the modeler through building AMT's 18" TOS Enterprise kit.
  • SFAM 2: Assembly Procedure for Klingon Battlecruiser, Romulan Bird of Prey: This covers building and lighting AMT's Klingon (D-7) Battlecruiser and the large RomBoP, with added sections on making realistic-looking battle damage.
  • SFAM 3: Advanced Assembly Procedure for Heavy Cruiser Starships: This covers lighting and super-detailing AMT's 18" Enterprise, with a step-by-step guide to a unique circuit board that was developed specifically for this kit.
  • Appendix: This contains errata for each of the original booklets, plus an in-depth analysis of the original Enterprise filming miniature's color (matched to today's commonly available paints), tips for building the Polar Lights Enterprise and Klingon D-7, and other ancilliary information.

Each section is clearly illustrated with annotated photographs of the models under construction. Diagrams and blueprints provide comprehensive painting information. The text walks you through every stage of building, from what tools will be necessary to final finishing.

As guides to building the specific kits depicted, these books were well worth the investment. Their true value, however, is the discussion and depiction of various modelling techniques in a clear, easily-understood manner. The advice given, the methods discussed - it's as applicable to building model cars as it is to Star Trek ships.


I first heard of these books in high school (early 80's). It took over twenty years, but I finally have a copy of them all. All I can say is this book was worth the wait.

Highly recommended.

I should also mention that a deluxe edition, signed by the author and including exclusive Klingon decals, is $19.95 USD (~$ 26.94 CAN/ 16.23 EUR ) plus postage. Please see CultTVMan's Hobbyshop for details.

Many thanks to CultTVMan for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 8 June 2004.