By Justin 'Bluesman' Miller - images & text © 2005
One of the little jewels I picked up at Wonderfest this year was a kit of what is commonly referred to as the "soapbar" shuttle. The ship was used in the first couple of seasons of Star Trek: TNG. The ship design follows the lines of the original Galileo shuttlecraft, but was updated with a smooth curved hull and warp engines similar to the Enterprise D.
Image: Main hull, right/front view
Image: Head on
Assembly/paint/decal placement guide
^Parts test fit - left/rear view
Image: Right/front view
Image: Right side
Image: Left side
The kit is the first in a series in a collaborative effort between Federation Models and Probert Designs called "Concept Kits". This line of kits is based on Andrew Probert's conceptual design work for film. There will be more about that from Mr. Probert later in this review.
What You Get
The kit comes in a sturdy lockable box full of foam peanuts, 3 parts for the kit, a decal sheet and an 8.5 x 11 instruction sheet that includes a paint guide and decal placement diagram. One unique feature of the packaging is that the boxes are signed by Andrew Probert.
Upon inspection of the parts I found the kit to be very well cast. There are minimal areas of flash on the nacelles which can be easily cleaned up with a few passes of an Xacto blade and a file or sanding stick. The main hull was also cleanly cast. I found a few very small pits at the forward part of the hull around the nose, but these were so small that a shot of primer will probably fill them in. I looked the hull over very carefully and it was difficult to find flaws in my particular kit. Panel lines are thin and not too deep
There was also a very small bump that was on the front of the hull. I thought this might be a detail like a light or something, but it was slightly right of center and did not look like it belonged there. Once again it can be removed with a little sanding.
The instruction sheet is well laid out and very simple. The sheet includes the decal placement and paint guide. There is also a four view drawing of the ship and a color key with Federal Standard colors called out. I thought this was a nice feature.
The decal sheet features standard Starfleet markings and names and registries for three ships: Galileo, Copernicus and Feynman. In speaking with Mr. Probert at Wonderfest, he informed me that the pennant stripe decal tapers into a single stripe in the preliminary concept but the final version of the decals will feature a double stripe. An updated sheet with the double stripe will be available soon.Assembly couldn’t be easier. Simply use CA to attach the nacelles to the hull and you have a shuttle ready for primer and paint. The nacelles have tabs that fit into mounting points on the hull, so alignment will not be an issue. Test fitting the parts revealed no problems. The assembled model measures about 1.5 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide.
Overall I think this kit a great one to add to your collection and would recommend it. With a signed box by Andrew Probert you won't want to throw the package away, and with the 25% discount offer for a print of the box art adds a little extra touch to this line of kits.
It is a quality piece of work and would make a nice model for someone working with resin for the first time. With just three parts and a simple yet attractive paint livery, this kit would also make a good weekend project. As with all resin models, be sure to clean the parts thoroughly to remove mold release agent and always prime before final paint.
I'd like to than Andrew Probert for providing the excellent sample of the box art/print for this review.
I had a few questions for Mr. Probert for this review and here is how he responded via eMail:
“Each kit is individually signed and also contains a 25%-off coupon for an art print of the box art. All 'Concept Kits' will follow this format and box art prints are also available through my site.
This kit premiered at WonderFest (2005) and is the first of many planned for the new "CONCEPT KIT" line. Some of our upcoming plans include an Ambassador Starship, vertical Warbird, Sphinx pod, a Klingon attack fighter, and a Cylon Centurion...all from the conceptual world of SF hardware. And, of course, I'm open to suggestions. These kits will be available through Federation Models as well as Probert Designs.”
Many thanks to Justin'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!
This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler. First posted on 26 September 2005.