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Gizmotron Models 1/2500 Belknap Class Strike Cruiser Kit Preview


By Jeffrey Griffin - images & text © 2005

Scale: 1/2500 - right at 4¼"/108mm long
Parts: 5 resin (no base)
Instructions: One page, full color sheet. Used primarily as a decal instruction sheet, but gives a good idea of where all parts need to go, in case you couldn't figure it out yourself
Decals: One full-color sheet for U.S.S. Belknap, NCC-2501. Decal sheet includesfull hull aztec pattern and colored "engineering hull" markings, to include the pylons and nacelles.
Molding Quality: 9.5 - fairly crisp, but with no bubbles, only some minor mold seams that were easily removed.
Detail: 9 - Nicely detailed
Accuracy: 10 - Looks dead on from the references material in "Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One (Revised)"
MSRP: $25.00 USD (~$30.39 CAN/ 20.27 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 10 - Very nice kit that needs very little cleanup work

[Finished model]

Gizmotron Models has given us a number of great Star Trek related kits and decal sheets over the last couple of years. All of them have been of excellent quality and this Belknap-class 1/2500 scale kit is no exception.

[Please click to enlarge]

^ What you get

Image: Decals

Image: Instructions

The Belknap-class "strike cruiser" first appeared in the '80's as a fan-produced starship on a very nice and rather large poster. It was later featured rather prominently in other professionally produced works such as "Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One (Revised)", "Starship Design" and as a silhouette on the large poster "Federation Starship Recognition Chart". I've been in lust for a model of this since the late '80's, though feared I'd never do the necessary secondary hull justice. Later, Alliance Models gave me a conversion kit in 1/537 scale, but I've since shifted my focus somewhat to 1/2500 scale ships - since they allow you to have a huge fleet in the same space that maybe two or three 1/537 scale ships can be placed - and had a feeling I'd have to try and scratchbuild the necessary conversion parts for that scale myself. Thankfully, Gizmotron Models has made that unncessary.

What I Got

The kit comes packaged in a ziploc bag with the decal sheet and instruction sheet. You get a total of five resin cast pieces: one each primary hull, secondary hull w/connecting dorsal ("neck"), one single-mount warp nacelle pylon assembly, and two warp nacelles.

A one-page instruction/decal placement sheet is included. The resin appears to be a mix of the "standard" slightly yellowish stuff, with a white batch for the two nacelles. The resin pieces have only a touch of flash. While some seam lines are apparent, they're easy to take care of with a bit of Xacto and sand paper.

Detail is crisp and clean and consists of mostly raised surfaces on the exterior of the hull. The are no docking ports, windows, deflector grids or phaser "bumps", but the vents on the nacelles and pylons are present. The navigational deflector is bascially just a flat surface that will be represented by a decal. The impulse engine area is represented by a standard recessed dome, but there's little to no detail for the rest of the engine.

However, this lack of surface detail on the model is not a big deal, as it comes complete with decals to represent everything that's physically missing - detail that would likely look huge if not represented by decals at this scale. The deflector grid, aztec paneling, photon torpedo tubes, shuttlebay doors and impulse engine details are all crisply printed laser jet quality. Looking at them, you can tell that someone did their homework, which is a very good thing where the nit-picking of Star Trek fans is concerned - and I am certainly no exception to this rule.

Assembly and Finish

I've not yet completed one, but did put one together and primer it after cleaning the pieces with some some Comet Cleaner, rinsed the parts, then cleaned again with scrubbing bubbles to make sure that any mold release was well and truly gone from teh models surface. Assembly was straight foward requiring minimal flash/seam removal prior to dry-fitting. I used "Super Glue Gel" (Duro brand) to adhese the parts together and all has held together as expected up to this point. All parts fit together nice and tight, requiring almost no "fudging" with sandpaper or Xacto. It doesn't get much better than this!

Conclusions

I'm extremely excited about owning this and am eager to complete it for my collection, since I've wanted one for my fleet for so long and nobody had ever produced a Belknap class kit in this scale before. As already mentioned, I've already completed construction on my first one (I have two, along w/the Ascension-class dreadnought kit from Gizmotron Models) and plan to name this one the U.S.S. Belknap and will see if I can bribe someone in to making a set of custom registries for me to make the second, the U.S.S. Raan, NCC-2519 - after I construct some nacelles specific to this specific ship. If you're a fan of non-canon Star Trek ships, as I am, this is definitely one to get!


Many thanks to Griff's wallet for providing the review samples. 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 © 2005 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 3 August 2005.