By Matt G. - images & text © 2002
From childhood 'till now (I don't wear the uniform - OK?) I have, like many, built all of the Enterprises from various kits and in various scales. Model-wise, what do I have to show for it now?
Image: Primary saucer, top
Image: Underside of the saucer
Image: Secondary hull
Image: Secondary hull from another angle
Image: Aft photons
Image: Aft shuttle bay (top)
Image: Main shuttlebay
Image: Small bits
Image: Compared to other 1/1400 scale Enterprises
Day-glow Aztec patterns (seemed great at the time), sagging warp nacelles and incorrect B/C decks. Rather than excavating these models from under the fossilised dust that has buried them over time, I thought I'd start again with all new kits in the same scale, namely 1/1400.
Having already purchased the Starcrafts Enterprise-A after reading Paul Garcia's in box preview of the same ship, I decided to plump for their Excelsior Class Refit kit and ordered it through Federation Models. The kit arrived less than seven days later, which for an international order (I live just outside Edinburgh in the UK), was exceptionally fast.
In total there are seven resin parts, six of which make the model. The seventh part is a huge Starfleet emblem shaped chunk of resin to make a base - it's this large to make sure it can cope with the hefty weight of the finished model, without toppling over at the slightest breeze. The model parts themselves consist of the saucer section (incorporating the neck), the secondary hull, two warp nacelles (attached to their pylons), the mound that sits between the pylons and lastly a hull section to cover the exposed shuttle bay on the secondary hull. The mold seams are well placed in that they are barely visible, don't interfere with the detail and also have virtually no flash, making for quick assembly. The parts smelled lovely and fragrant - just like J&J baby powder.
The main problem I found on this kit was with the sharp edge on the circumference of the saucer. Part of this edge on my example seems to have broken off in the mold due to a large number of air bubbles that had collected there, weakening the resin. Further examination revealed more groups of bubbles in similar places around the saucer - you could crush the edge with your fingernail. Repairing this kind of casting flaw is straightforward but is time consuming, especially when you have to re-sculpt window and grid details.
Shuttle bay detail looks accurate enough, but most of it would be covered up anyway. The piece to cover the shuttle bay was slightly warped and had an air bubble right on the edge - a quick blast with a hair dryer and a spot of putty would fix that. The other parts of this kit had virtually no flaws and the detail on them was crisp and sharp. There wasn't even the slightest hint of warpage on the nacelles, considering that they are long pieces of straight resin (about 18.5cm long). The secondary hull is full of detail and is criss-crossed with sharp panel lines and nicely formed windows - tons more than the AMT/ERTL offering.
Assembly and Finish
Assembling the saucer section to the secondary hull should be straightforward, as there are three locating pins to keep it in line. On the other hand, the warp nacelles and the mound thing in the middle will have to be built into a sub-assembly before attempting to line it up with the secondary hull - there are no locating pins. Due to the heavyweight nature of resin in general, all of the joints will require some sort of pinning - this is especially so with the long nacelles. A length of brass tubing through the mound and well into each nacelle pylon is what I'd recommend, as well as from the saucer into the secondary hull. You wouldn't want to end up with the "USS Banana" now would you?
There isn't a paint guide supplied but it only takes a minute to find accurate reference pics on the web. The sharp detail on this model will lend itself to a good finish while an assembled length of 35cm lets you indulge in the detailing.
Even though there were casting flaws on the saucer edge of the kit I received, the sharp,and what looks to me accurate, detailing more than makes up for it. The flaws are repairable, all it means is that it'll take a few more hours to complete - but isn't that what it's all about? I guess that because of this I could only recommend this kit to intermediate modellers or to those with a bit of resin experience. Overall, I'm glad I bought this kit.
Many thanks to Matt's wallet 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!
This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 2 March 2002.