Kit review of Ravenstar's 1/1400 Klingon D-18 Frigate.

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Ravenstar's 1/1400 Klingon D-18 Frigate


By Terry Miesle - images & text © 1999

Way back in the good old days I played FASAís Star Trek Role-Playing Game. Typically concise, this game contained a simple and quick battle system. We played the RPG once a week, but often played battle scenarios more often than that. Included in the game system were numerous starship designs developed for the game, which nicely filled out the galaxy. I have often thought about scratchbuilding a few of the designs based on the FASA gaming miniatures, all of which were beautifully cast, in larger scales. If Ravenstar is going to release these designs in this 1/2500 (?) scale, I may not have to sculpt them myself.

The D-18 is an assault ship. It is meant for longer-ranged troop transport, and to carry the assault vehicles and weapons every good Klingon infantryman needs to kick a little ĎFed butt. It has the same propulsion system as the D-7, but not as much offensive punch.

Description and Cleanup

Ravenstarís D-18 kit has four parts: two engine nacelles, a fuselage and the neck/bridge. The pressure cast white resin parts needed a bit of cleanup, though there was no pitting or hollow areas. Of note was a mottling on the surface, perhaps the evidence of sculpting materials. After I primed the surface, I lightly sanded these areas and re-primed. This solved the problem. Some of the lines were poorly scribed, which is difficult to repair. The windows are hand-drilled, and some are not evenly spaced. These are signs of either building with a difficult-to-work-with material like clay or just rushing a project. Both can take some of the joy out of a project. The rest of the cleanup was fairly straightforward for a resin kit.

Assembly

The neck was sanded to the correct angle for attachment, although it does have a molded shaft and hole. I deemed it more work to clean the shaft than to sand the part clean and insert a pin. This pin is more than strong enough to support the part, though as light as the neck is Iím sure superglue alone would have been fine.

The nacelles were dryfitted and then superglued in place. I filled the gap with Squadron green putty for a smooth joint.

Painting

I decided on a dark gray green color. Testorís Acryl (TA) Graugrun RLM 74 provided the primer and basecoat. I used a card to hand-mask areas and overpaint them with Gunze-Sangyo (GS) H303 Semi-Gloss Green to feather-out lighter green areas. This can be seen on the top along panel lines, the nacelles, the hull edges and bridge. This helps the ship look like it has substance and size.

Click on each picture for a larger view

[Top]

[Oblique]

^ The base is scratchbuilt.

[Front]

[Rear/top]

After this, I washed the model with Testors Model Master (TMM) Flat Black thinned in mineral spirits. After removing some of this wash, retouched some areas with an additional wash. Moderate drybrushing with lightened RLM 74 accentuated some details and edges, while drybrushing some leading edges and corners with TMM Medium Grey added depth.

[Side View] I used TA Gunship Grey for several panels on the aft section, and flat black for the hanger bay and some details. After this was finished, I drilled out the windows and filled the holes with GS Flat White. This took several applications for good filling, after each step was mostly dry I used a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol to remove the excess. Unexpectedly, this wiping removed a layer of weathering, revealing the base coat. This gives a tremendous sense of depth and age Ė an effect I'll try to remember in the future.

The engines received TA gunmetal, TMM Chrome silver, and a mixture of light gray and red on the warp ends. This dull red was overcoated with Tamiya Clear Red to give a candy apple red appearance.

Conclusions

The quality of the casting alone will rate this offering one of the easiest resin ships I've done - ever. I like the subject as well, so I will give this a wholehearted recommendation. The only drawback is the lack of a base, which is standard in some other kits. But we can make our own bases, can't we? I popped together a little Klingon symbol as a base, which makes for an attractive presentation.

[Rear] Usually I find some little thing to nit-pick. If forced, I'll say the slightly rough surface combined with the apparently freehanded scribing and window drilling make this look a bit less than professional. There are ways to do both of those cleanly and accurately, particularly when making a master with so many other good qualities. Those details just should have been covered, no excuses.

Overall, an enthusiastic thumbs-up. If you're a fan of the old FASA minis, like I am, or if you just want an unusual Klingon ship, this is for you. Buy one, you won't regret doing so.

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