|The following are reader's opinions of the Federation Dreadnought Conversion made by Sci-Fi Spaceship Miniatures.|
|Reviewer||Cary L. Brown|
|Date Reviewed||Oct 15, 2003|
|Overall Rating||Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.|
|Comments||First off, this is the only attempt ever made that I'm aware of to make the "upgraded Federation-Class Dreadnought" as a kit. And it was a decent representation, but it relied far too heavily on the stock AMT parts, where the Fed(U) class was significantly different.
The kit comes with a third, vacu-form nacelle, a vac-form A-deck bridge module, a vac-form main interconnecting dorsal, and a vac-form set of nacelle support struts. The fact that the primary load-bearing components are vacuum-formed is the first troubling aspect of the kit, so if you find one of these, the first thing you need to do is build a support structure for underneath these components.
There are three MAJOR issues with the kit.
First off, while the Federation(uprated) Class Dreadnought has a secondary hull which is similar in appearance to the Constitution-Class, a close side-by-side inspection of the design (which was fan-produced during the years when fandom was not yet being beaten back by Paramount's lawyers, and which was part of a remarkably consistent fandom-driven ship design system) will show that the dreadnought secondary hull is almost 30% longer, and actually has almost half again the internal volume. There is an extended external platform for the hangar deck. Of course, the windows and docking ports and so on are all in different configurations (for example, no botanical gardens in the dreadnought).
Second, the primary hull's B and C deck superstructure is also much larger on the dreadnought than it is on the heavy cruiser. The concept is that on the heavy cruiser, B-deck has the communications room and the upper high-bays of the officer's lounge and the ballroom (at the front). C-deck has the formal mess (port side), the informal mess (starboard side), the kitchen (seen in ST-VI) in the middle, the ballroom to the fore, and the officer's lounge to the rear. This area is used for diplomatic functions as well as serving as a place for relaxation for senior officers... think of a contemporary officer's club on a military base.
On the Dreadnought, the ship (according to the fan-fiction that was completely prevalent and accepted during the pre-paramount-crackdown period) was not intended for long cruises or any diplomatic functions. The dreadnought was stationed at a starbase and, during peacetime, served as the "ship on call" at that starbase. During conflicts, the dreadnought would serve as a fleet command ship, however. And the B and C deck superstructure consisted of a full fleet operations center with only a small adjoining lounge to the rear. It was, on the AMT scale, about another inch in diameter.
Finally, the attachment points where the nacelle struts adjoin the nacelles is significantly different than that found on the Constitution class.
Well, I fixed the primary hull superstructure by molding a complete new structure with super-fine-grade epoxy putty, right atop the primary hull, OVER the existing structure. This was a long and time-consuming project in itself.
The secondary hull was even tougher. I used two secondary hulls as my basis. (I had a second one left over from my "Monocerous-class Scout" conversion I'd scratch-built) I built both hulls, then sliced them into 1/4" wide rings. I then layered them together to extend the hull while keeping the same general profile, then reinforced the inside of the resulting structure and created an entirely new outer surface with more super-fine epoxy putty. The hangar area was fixed in much the same way.
For the warp nacelles, I simply tossed out the provided third nacelle, because it was wrong. The inner nacelle requires "inside" engine grills on both sides, but the nacelle provide has OUTSIDE grills on both sides. On all three nacelles, I removed the existing "control reactor" fin on the underside (where the engine attaches to it's pylon), and filled this in with... you guessed it... super-fine epoxy putty.
At this point, I realized that even with internal reinforcement I couldn't get the provided vacu-form engine struts or dorsal to bear the weight they needed to, so I used them as templates to make new parts from scratch, using metal tubing and large amounts of laminated styrene sheet. The resultant sections are almost solid and very stable. With my secondary hull having (after all my work) almost a half-inch wall thickness, I have a very sturdy structure.
One additional flaw in the model as provided is the lack of aft-firing torpedo tubes (directly aft of the forward firing ones, in the same location as they're found on the heavy-cruiser). So, I also scratch-built that detail.
At this point, the ONLY remaining vacu-formed part I had was the bridge module. And after giving the blueprints for the Federation(U) class some serious review, I decided that this wasn't quite accurate either, so I scrapped it and did some simple sheet-styrene reworking of the existing kit bridge unit.
Bottom line... I bought this kit and ended up not using ANY of it, because no part of it is really "good enough."
But, If you want the model to be an "accurate" (if such a term can be used for a now-repudiated-by-paramount design) representation of the design, you're best off just working from scratch from the very beginning.
This is the only (sadly, out-of-business) Sci-Fi Spaceship Miniatures kit that I ever bought that I was dissatisfied with. Still, if all you want is a kit that looks "cool," it's a decent kit.
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