Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: USS Enterprise (refit)

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Enterprise (refit) made by Bandai.

Reviewer   N.W.O.
Date Reviewed   Dec 31, 2003
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments After reading about the new BANDAI 1/850 scale USS ENTERPRISE NCC-1701 kit for months, I finally received the fabled kit as a Christmas gift in 2003 from my Sister-In-Law.

I was quite excited about it, and was eager to begin construction of the kit. I was very impressed with the kit when I opened the box. BANDAI’s concern for quality amazed me. The perfect paint and detail work is top notch. The almost OVER packaging of the kit was surprising as well. Most manufacturers just put all of the parts into one poly bag. Not BANDAI. They choose to package EVERY single part in its own poly package. A very nice touch. The box photography/art is very nice as well.

After getting past the initial excitement and early construction, I realized that this kit has many problems.

The wires on the outside of the nacelle struts are just hokey in my opinion. I realize that size limitations are in effect with this model, but since this is a ‘snap together’ kit I think that BANDAI could have made the support pylons a TWO PIECE assembly. That way the wires could have been INSIDE the pylons instead of running down channels on the outside. The ‘real’ Enterprise did not have huge cables running down her support pylons. Wait, maybe she did, however we just could never see them because they were covered with GIANT pieces of DUCT TAPE! Yeah, that’s it.

The FORCE fit of the nacelle pylons into the secondary hull is a nightmare. I was finally able to get the pylons to seat into the secondary hull piece after uttering much profanity, and using enough force (with a pair of pliers, no less) to bend steel. I still don’t know how I managed NOT to break, or crush the secondary hull piece, or the support pylons.

The fit (and I use that word very loosely) of the eight primary hull edge (window) pieces is just horrible. They don’t fit properly at all. There are HUGE gaps on the top, and on the bottom, and many of the pieces are not even long enough to close the gap between pieces! I tried everything I could think of to get them to fit properly. Hell, I even BROKE one trying to get it to fit like it should. I HATE when things don’t work like they are supposed to. Very poor engineering by BANDAI in my opinion.

In order to ‘fix’ this problem, one would have to use massive amounts of milliput, sculpey, modelers putty, or some other type of major gap filler. Then one would have to sand and shape until their hands fell off in order to regain the proper shape, and contour. Then of course a complete REPAINT of the entire model would be required in order to make the whole base color match. By then of course, the WHOLE point of this model would have been defeated. Gone would be the beautiful BANDAI paint work, and detailing. Gone would be the perfect little pad/screen printed graphics.

The model would then be a piece of junk unless one were a professional modeler who had the time, patience, and skill to restore the WHOLE thing.

Another gripe of mine would be the lack of a color guide, and lack of suggestions for touch up paint colors. However, I did find a base color that VERY closely matches the color of this model. After I BROKE the Primary Hull edge/window piece (in TWO places, belie dat!), I had to glue it back together. Easy task, but after repairing the part I had two glaring black seams in it.

I searched high and low for some paint that would match the flat, light gray of BANDAI. I found it! Buried in my modeling drawer I found a years old, unopened spay can of TESTORS FLAT LIGHT AIRCRAFT GRAY.

I opened the can and sprayed a test piece. CRIKEY! An almost perfect base color match! I say ‘almost’ because the TESTORS #1233 is just a TAD bit darker than the BANDAI grey. No matter, the match is almost perfect, and with the glaring gaps in the edge/window pieces no one will ever even notice the slight color mis-match.

Whew. Those are my main gripes with this kit.

I applaud the effort BANDAI went to in painting, detailing and packaging this kit. I also liked the instruction manual. However, I berate the poor fit of many of the parts, and the major physical effort it took to get some of the parts to seat properly. The wires down the outside of the nacelle pylons are just unacceptable as well.

I do not think I will buy a BANDAI kit of my own. Whether it be another 1701 kit, or the ‘E’ kit, or the new NX-01 kit. I don’t want to waste my hard earned money on a kit that does not go together properly.

I had such high hopes.

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