Starship Modeler - The complete information source for modelers who build sci-fi, fantasy and real space subjects


Starcrafts 1/1400 scale Constitution-Class Starship Preview


By Owen Oulton - images & text © 2002

Scale: 1/1400 stated (1/1365 actual) - 8 ¼"/ 211mm long
Parts: 5 resin, plus base
Instructions: 1 small sheet of general resin kit tips. No assembly, painting or decalling guides.
Decals: ALPS-printed waterslide - complete decals with options for 4 different starships.
Molding Quality: 6 - The moulds on my copy were beginning to break down, and the surface was powdery.
Detail: 8 - Pretty good.
Accuracy: 4 - Skewed details on the saucer bring this down from a 7.
MSRP: $35.00 USD (~$55.68 CAN/ 35.56 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 5 -see review

[Boxart]

The kit comes packaged in a sturdy corrugated flip-top box with a colour laser-printed label.

[Click to enlarge]

^ Parts

[Click to enlarge]

^ Details on top of the saucer appear offset
The parts are nestled in a bunch of styrofoam packing pellets, and the tiny sensor dish is further protected by two individual pellets and wrapped in masking tape.

The parts are moulded in white resin with a somewhat powdery surface. This appears to be talcum powder used as a mould release. The suggestion in the minimal instructions to scrub the parts with a household cleanser should serve to remove this. The parts are broken down into saucer, secondary hull, left and right warp nacelles, and the sensor dish. Pour stubs and mould seams are about average, but the mould the secondary hull of my copy was taken from was beginning to age - a minor seam collapse was visible around the docking bay beacon, and a tiny bit of excess resin was clogging the slot for the dorsal. There were a few minor bubbles lurking in the leading edge of the saucer, and in the intercoolers on the starboard nacelle. The rings on the forward end of the secondary hull around the mounting point for the sensor dish are very delicate, and half of one ring was chipped away on my sample, but this will be easy to replace with stretched sprue. The spire on the sensor dish was bent and will need to be heated and gently bent back to shape. There is a prominent mould seam across the sensor dish which may be a bit tricky to remove.

The shape of the parts is pretty good, although the secondary hull looks a little slender and the ball-shaped detail on the aft end of the warp nacelles looks a little too prominent to me. Windows appear to be correct in size and location on secondary hull. The area aft of the three blocks surrounding the base of the main sensor are not recessed as they should be. Careful use of a flat needle file will take care of this. The primary hull is where things fall down. The running lights and window details are all skewed several degrees clockwise. This will necessitate slicing off and replacing or relocating the raised details, as well as filling and redrilling the windows (the windows immediately surrounding the lower saucer sensor dome are close enough to leave alone). Some panel details that should be engraved lines are raised panels. The profile of the underside of the primary hull looks to be somewhere between that of the large 11'-2" shooting miniature and that of the smaller 33" miniature. Proportions look generally pretty good, although the secondary hull looks decidedly slender - it should be about .040" (1mm) larger in diametre at the forward end.

Fit is adequate - even after cleaning the excess resin from the slot for the dorsal, the locating tab needs minor trimming to fit, and the port nacelle pylon is slightly loose. A sliver of vinyl electical tape on the pylon end made it fit nicely. The mounting holes for the pylons are deep and correctly angled, so the nacelles line up properly and securely, a major problem with other kits of the ship.

At 211.5mm long, the ship scales out to 1/1365 scale, off by 2.5 per cent from the stated scale of 1/1400, an acceptable margin of error.

The resin base is undrilled and does not include a dowel to mount the ship. It's shaped like the Enterprise chest insignia, so modellers wanting to depict other ships from this era will want to discard it. It's a bit small for a model of this size anyway.

The instructions are next to non-existant, consisting of a business card-sized sheet with general tips on assembling resin kits, with no assembly instructions or illustrations, and no paint or decal guide. The box illustration should be enough information for assembly, as this is perhaps the most well-known fictional spaceship around, and the parts breakdown is quite basic. Painting the model should be likewise pretty easy. Decalling is somewhat more problematic - the markings are comprehensive, and many casual fans will be unfamiliar with the markings for the underside of the ship, as they were rarely seen on TV. Much of this information is available on the Web, but that's no excuse for not including it in the kit.

The decal sheet is, as indicated above, comprehensive and fairly well printed. Being ALPS printed, you must trim each decal closely, and adequate space for cutting is provided. The print resolution is on a par with most kit decals, about 600 dpi. Seen from 10" away, they look pretty good, but close examination reveals a few ragged edges. The tiny "draft" numbers for the secondary hull are illegible, but at this scale that's understandable. The red looks right, but the yellow should be slightly more on the orange side, closer to a "school-bus" yellow. Some of the underside markings for the secondary hull are screened grey when they should be white. The decal sheet is matte-coated, but some glossy patches show through and a few of the numbers have minor scratches - nothing that can't easily be touched up. Markings are provided for USS Enterprise NCC-1701, USS Lexington NCC-1709, USS Intrepid NCC-1631 and USS Potemkin NCC-1657. These numbers are correct according to the Star Trek Encyclopedia. I would have liked to see numbers and names for other known Constitution Class starships, but as these markings are black, they can be produced on clear decal sheet with a laser printer.

Conclusions

Overall, the kit will produce an acceptable replica of the USS Enterprise, although the skewed details on the primary hull are glaringly obvious and must be corrected. The secondary hull profile will be harder to fix, but is much less obvious and most modellers will not find it worth the effort to fix this. I'd recommend this kit to anyone with experience correcting surface details, and it would make a good introduction to resin kits for an experienced styrene kitbuilder.


Many thanks to Owen's wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
Read other reader's reviews of this kit      Submit your own review of this kit

Go back up | Star Trek:Enterprises | Starship Modeler Home | Site Map | Feedback

This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 1 August 2002.