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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   Michel Morrissette
Date Reviewed   Jun 12, 2003
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments This week I received my shipment of four New STTMP Enterprises from Ban Dai. I had already been reading the reviews prior to receiving this kit, taking mental notes of issues so I would be ready for the challenge when they arrived. So, 2 days ago I embarked on building this rather impressive little kit.

I would like to say that the packaging of this kit is beautifully done. And even more impressive were the contents inside. Beautifully painted and detail parts all bagged by sub-assembly with an assembly "booklet" manual that is as impressive as the packaging and should be used as the gold standard for assembly instructions by other scale model manufacturers.

I wished that the actual making of the model had been as spectacular as everything else had been presented,but,alas, this was just not meant to be.

I decided to build my first kit straight out of the box, so I could experience problems,improvements or details I could add to another build of this kit at a later date. I followed all of Ban Dai's instructions to the letter.

I have been noting the relatively short assembly times that people have been completing their models in. I am not a stranger to building models and I build a lot of models from scratch, so I thought I could, also, complete this model in about the same time as everyone,else It didn't turn out that way Build time for me was an exasperating 14 hours. I am going to just list the problems and difficulties

1. The force needed to snap parts together varied considerably- from light-medium force fit to "Sumo" force and then some. ( I could not get the bottom piece of the secondary hull to close up completely on the port side of the model and there is an ugly gap. Upon further inspection of this problem I found that part of that bottom piece is resting just ever so slightly on the bottom edge of the wire terminal block inside the model, so I will try, again toight to see if I can get by that area and see I the gap will narrow. At the other end of the spectrum, the nacelle pods and struts fit togther so loosely and fit poorly that they would fall off everytime I had to apply any force to the secondary hull pieces to attach something. In the end,I left the nacelle pods snap loose, super glue'd the struts at both attachments points to make sure they stayed put.

2. Could not get the model to light AT ALL! (after 2 days (6 hours actual) of wrestling with this, I gave up. I confirmed power in the base unit and support, but not getting any juice to the inside wire terminal block at all. I tested all the light bulbs before I begun, and they all functioned fine. I tried putting some alum. foil around the contact points at the terminal to try to establish a current flow connection, but to no avail. The wires are not staying put and in contact with the terminals.I am not handy with a soldering gun or iron, so I am looking for suggestions from all of you as to how I can remedy this issue for my next build.

3. Some included base/primary color touch-up paint would have been welcome. While I found that if you cut the part sprues inward toward the insides of the parts at an angle, 75% of the time you get a clean break-off of the part, every now and then they wouldn't break-off clean and the end result is that your left with a little black dot. These black dot break areas detract from the overall look, somewhat. If there had been some included touch up paint, these would be easily fixable as well as the occasional knife slip.

In the end, with all of these issues, the model looks good for what it is, a desktop display model.

There are waaay too many seam gaps for it to be used for filmimg or photography (unless you want to fix these problems in an image editing program)especially given the relatively small scale of this kit.

In reference to scale, the scale of this kit is close to Franklin Mint's 30th Anniversary Die-cast TOS Enterprise. If anyone has this, scale comparisons are close. Making it possible to note just how much more attention to detail Ban Dai put into this kit.

The quality and quantity of painted detail and finishing is excellent. (I hope Art Asylum's offering will be similarly detailed) However, the hull plating details vary too much in contrast. The visiblity of the plating pattern on the primary saucer should have been done in this way for the whole model. The secondary hull plating and blue-green areas are too dark given the model's scale and the plating detail on the nacelle struts and pods is TOO Subtle, you can barely see it, unless you are viewing the model in strong light. Personally, I would have like to have had this model painted they way it appeared filmed in STTMP(overall pearlescent/stainless steel look). I assumed that the color scheme is what the model actually looks like before it is filmed.

For my next build, I will try to build a version without lighting, add some painted details such as coloring the different navigation and running lights, darken(probably use flat black) the photon torpedo exhaust area at the lower part of the dorsal section, change the flat black grille color on the outside nacelle pods to a darker copperish/black color to give this area more depth and three dimensionality.

Can't wait to see what Ban Dai does next.

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