By Tim Utton - images & text © 2010
In the 1980, FASA Corporation created a number of unique and original starship designs for their line of licensed Star Trek role-playing and starship combat simulator board games. While FASA may have folded years ago, their designs are still popular today in the Star Trek scale modelling community. Odyssey Slipways has successfully recreated several of these designs into popular 1:2500 scale resin kits; with this latest effort, the Romulan Nova Z-1 Battleship, it appears they have another winner on their hands.
Image: Nacelles with modifications
Image: Base coat
Image: Port side
Normally I avoid 1:2500 scale kits; for my taste, they’re too small for the price. However, the Nova was one of my favourite FASA designs, and given its relative size in the Star Trek universe, it promised to be a large build.
What I Got
The sample I built was a pre-release version. As such, it did not include decals, instructions, or formal packaging. However, molding quality was exceedingly high; I can honestly say this is the best resin kit I’ve ever had the pleasure of assembling. Flash was minimal, there was absolutely no warping, and bubbles…the bane of resin builders…were virtually non-existent. I only had to sand off a few minor injection stems, and fill one or two tiny bubbles in the wingtips.
The kit came with 13 parts. That might seem like a lot for a 1:2500 scale model, but it speaks to the options available to the builder. The ship itself is constructed from five large parts: upper and lower hulls, wings, and the nacelles. The remaining parts allow the builder to choose from three different bussard collector designs, and two different “beak” designs that mount on the top of the hull just forward of the wings.
Compared to the original FASA design, the kit is very accurate. Shape, details, and dimensions have all been accurately recreated. Some of the finer design details, such as the textured panelling on the aft portion of the FASA design, are missing from the kit. However, I think this was a wise omission. Too much detail on such a relatively small kit would have resulted in a cluttered build that spoiled the illusion of scale. As it stands, the details are crisp and clear, and strike an excellent balance between “not enough” and “too much”. The result is a convincing recreation of an enormous starship.
I chose to utilize the “original” bussard collectors, as the blunt shapes conveyed a sense of raw power to my imagination. Both the FASA design and this kit have raised discs on the forward face of these nacelles. I chose to modify them by drilling them out so as to insert small green glass beads in them later. The remaining bussard parts went into my spares box.
Assembly was a snap, even without the instructions. The kit has been designed in such a way that there really is only one way for it to go together.
The only drawback to this kit was the mold release agent. Odyssey Slipways uses a release agent that I feared would be difficult to remove during prep. It was somewhat glossy and tacky, and tended to hold my fingerprints. However, I can’t complain too loudly…after all, this was probably the reason why my sample kit was nearly defect-free! It turned out I was worried about nothing: carefully scrubbing the parts with Ajax cleaned them off nicely.
Initial assembly consisted of gluing the two hull portions together, and then gluing the completed nacelles to the wings. The fit of all these parts was superb, with only very minor filling and sanding required between the two hull sections. The wings themselves fit so seamlessly into the upper hull that no filling would be needed later.
I primed everything with Testors spray primer, and allowed it to cure for two full days.
As this is a purely conjectural design, there’s no right or wrong way to paint the ship. The design came out in the mid-80s, several years before Star Trek: The Next Generation would debut and solidify “bright green” as the Romulan colour of choice. In contrast, FASA publications of that era depicted Romulan vessels in a variety of bright colors and grey base coats. I decided to go with a nice Romulan green in order to draw an obvious parallel with the other “canon” Romulan builds in my display case.
I painted the entire ship with Testor’s Model Master acrylic Pale Green (FS 34227(F)) before applying a dark wash and some light dry brushing to pick out the details. I applied another light coat of Pale Green to blend in the weathering. Using Tamiya J.N. Green (XF-11), I carefully airbrushed panel lines and other details. The “feathers” were highlighted by carefully masking and spraying them with Testor’s Model Master acrylic Clear Green (#4668). Finally, I sprayed the warp coils with Testor’s Model Master acrylic Cadmium Yellow Light (#4611), followed by Tamiya Clear Green (X-25), a combination I’ve found creates an ideal recreation of the traditional Romulan warp engine glow.
Once all the paint was dry, I glued the beads into their receptacles, and glued the wings in place. As the kit does not come with a stand, a rock and a piece of stiff wire were co-opted into service.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this kit. I try to avoid 1:2500 scale because I find them to be too small. However, this kit is large enough that it won’t get lost among my 1:1000 collection. Most importantly, it’s an eye-catching design rendered in sharp detail. I’m glad I got it, and you will be too.
This page copyright © 2010 Starship Modeler. First posted on 17 February 2010.