By John Lester - images & text © 2011
Hello, old friend.
Image: Saucer halves
Image: Everything else
Image: Decal sheet
This is the classic AMT 18" 'no-bloody-a-b-or-c' USS Enterprise, the one most of us have built at one time ore another. It's the second time the kit has been reissued by Round 2. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that any issue has gone beyond the original kit parts.
What You Get
Inside the attractive, "retro-style box" (as touted on Round 2's website) is 31 or so plastic pieces, instructions, a folded cardstock backdrop and a large decal sheet.
All but six of the plastic pieces belong to our old favorite, the AMT Enterprise. The molds have obviously been restored. In contrast with the last one I built (back in 1994), there is no flash (no sinkmarks or nast ejection pin towers either, which is nice). Round 2's reissues also have removed the raised gridlines from the upper saucer, thankfully. The new parts comprise six "wedges" about 1". 25mm long that build up into the two Tholian webspinner craft. Molding looks equally decent here. All the plastic is a relatively soft "glow in the dark" variety of styrene.
As for accuracy: this is the old 18" Enterprise. Need I say more? Outside of the smooth upper saucer, no attempt has been made to accurize the model. Millions of words have been spilled discussing its "flaws". Suffice it to say the end result looks like the iconic starship, and a whole cottage industry has sprung up to provide parts and details to make the details closer to one or another of the original filming models. The webspinners look just fine.
The cardboard backdrop displays a depiction of the (in)famous Tholian Web. It's sharply printed and looks nice enough. To fit it in the box it's been folded in half, which somewhat limits display options.
Instructions are a mixture of the old-style assembly diagrams and new paint/decal placement guide. Assembly instructions are more than adequate - this is a simple kit. The paint/marking looks to be almost a duplicate of the 1/1000 Polar Lights model instructions. Information is provided for both 1st and 2nd Pilot markings, with a note that says you'll have to scratchbuild the different parts (bridge, nacelle spikes, end caps, etc). that go with those versions, since the kit does not provide them.
The decal sheet is lovely and fills the bottom of the box. It looks to be a scale-up of the PL kit decals, tweaked to fit this model. In addition to all the various markings you get windows and names/registries for all the original 13 ships (in what looks like the correct font).
Assembly & Finish
I've built several of these over the years, starting when I was 8 years old - and 20 years or so later, when I returned to the hobby. It's a simple kit. Fit is what you expect from a model molded 40+ years ago - but not horrible. It can be made up into a work of art with some model building skills and patience. The spinners click together (though you will need glue to keep them together- they are not snap-fits). Some putty will be needed at the joins but it's a simple, flat face.
The model is molded in the green glowy plastic so you can build it as the Defiant, stuck in the web. You'll probably need a blacklight to make that effect convincing as the plastic glows fairly dimly, and not for very long, if you just turn off the room lights. If green glowy is not your thing, it won't be evident under a coat of paint (something that disappointed me greatly to learn at 10 years old…).
I have fond memories of this kit and it's good to see it back in production. The webspinners are a nice addition - as is the extensive decal sheet. I don't have a TOS Enterprise in my collection at the moment - maybe it's time to correct that. Though the kitbashing opportunities are endless, and I don't have a Kelvin-style starship either…
This page copyright © 2011 Starship Modeler. First posted on 4 May 2011.