Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: USS Enterprise (refit)

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Enterprise (refit) made by Bandai.

Reviewer   Craig Mah
Date Reviewed   May 28, 2003
Overall Rating       Average. Get it if on sale or you love the subject.
Comments This model should not be referred to as a "snap-together" model. Bandai has made a new genre of models: The "squeeze-together" model.

I may be a little more harsh on Bandai's Enterprise than other reviewers. Don't get me wrong, the finish of this kit is absolutely amazing. The paint job and the parts look great. The lighting system is very straight forward and the Bandai provides templates to cut the wire to the proper length. When placed together, this model is perhaps the most accurate representation of Enterprise. The packaging was absolutely amazing and this kits sets a new standard for packaging. The box, instructions and separately bagged sprues are first rate. It was my intention to build the kit right out of the box. This kit should look like a museum piece...


The fit of this model is not great. I paid $94.00 CDN for this kit from Hobbylink Japan (Not to mention the $17.00 duty). For this much money, the parts should fit together and not be forced. Total construction time was five hours. The last hour and half was assemblying the secondary hull which leaves much to be desired. I had to apply a great deal of force to insert the nacelle pylons into the secondary hull. I resorted to using a pair of pliers to squeeze one pylon in. It took that much force on my kit. I used cardboard to protect the finish from the pliers. I was afraid that I would break parts with the amount of force I was applying.

The secondary hull has a skeletal structure that consists of the wire hub; light bulbs and two large clear pieces to distribute the light evenly. The interior is very crowded. The exterior hull pieces are attached to this skeleton. I didn't have any difficulties with the top and side pieces. The bottom piece was another story. There was a lot of resistance when trying to "snap" the bottom piece into place. The part wouldn't mate properly and popped back out. This single stage of construction took the most effort. Careful examination revealed that the connection pins were too large for the receiving piece. There was evidence that the connection pins were not fitting into the receptacles. I ended up cutting down four of the six pins to get the piece to mate with the rest of the hull. This is absolutely unacceptable! Even with the parts cut down, there is a hideous seam.

The seams on this kit are unacceptable. The warp engine nacelles also have a nasty seam that runs the entire length of the structure. The aft ends of the nacelles don't mate properly. In addition, a modeler must be very careful when separating the part from the sprue. It is easy to marr the finish of the kit.

Perhaps I received a lemon but I didn't not enjoy the process of building the kit. The high cost of this kit combined with the fit problems prevents me from providing a higher rating. While constructing this kit, I thought "There is no way a kid could build this by him/herself." I have twenty years modeling experience and that secondary hull proved very taxing.

Overall this is a great looking kit minus the hideous seams and fit problems. Modellers with some experience may want to glue their kit together or "re-engineer" the parts to minimize the seams. The only people who should spend this kind of money are true Enterprise fans. The casual Star Trek modeler should hold off and save their money for Polar Lights or the Art Asylum Enterprise.

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