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   Simon Hill
Date Reviewed   Feb 5, 2004
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments A much vaunted kit, I was looking forward to getting a copy myself, also being a self-confessed officianado of the Enterprise and refit version/s. I wasn't disappointed overall and was well impressed by the precision and quality of the parts as I opened the box and examined them. I thought how 'ideal' this kit was for someone like me who is an accuracy freak, but with insufficient time to take on such a project.

The kit isn't a 'toy' it's too precision for that and I wonder how younger modelers will fare with all the wiring?

The aztec panel designs would take an age to immitate on a model such as Ertle's larger kits and are so subtle and complex as to challenge even the most skillful modeler. I've given up as many times as I have tried on earlier examples, so this was a nice change, to have it done for me!

Test-fitting is pretty important, and helps you to assemble properly, and I found that even this model needed some subtle sanding to get a near-perfect fit and reduce light leaks later.

Take care in seperating the parts from the sprues, as damage to the subtle white outer paint can result, spoiling the overall effect. Cut parts away slowly and carefully with scalpal 'inwards' to avoid scratching or damaging the outer edges. Don't attempt to 'twist them off' their sprues too vigorously either as the same result will happen.

The wiring was 'fiddly', but DO follow the Bandai recommended length's for the grain-of-wheat bulb wires, as there's no room for 'stuffing' excess length's of wire anywhere. The secondary cigar shaped hull fits together so tightly, there's no room for excess wiring or mistakes here, and is where all the wiring comes together.

Be very careful when 'stripping' the wire ends after cutting them to length, as not to break them, they're darn small and fragile....

The kit assembled well overall, but I encountered a few problems with the secondary hull 'fit', and this resulted in a few light leaks, which I'm sure others will by now have encountered. Disassembling the secondary hull and some jiggery-pokery were needed to get a better fit. Some gentle sanding down of some of the locations pins and lugs, to get tighter, and more snug fits was needed, and I finally got a more satisfactory finish.

The engine nacelles required careful fitting together too, as did the pylons and their 'fit' into both nacelle and secondary hull. A tiny drop of superglue was used to 'secure' them once properly in place.

A good kit as it is, I was surprised to note some paint inaccuracies compared to the Industrial Light & Magic movie miniature, and several omissions by Bandai. There are several, but the most noteworthy are the omission of logos along the primary hull sides and airlock details, such as "United Federation of Planets Starship U.S.S. Enterprise". The primary hull phaser banks yellow panels were without red borders, but this detail WAS added to the 8 reactionary control thruster panels arranged around the lower and upper primary [saucer] hull. Some other round airlocks were without red borders but this detail was added on other airlocks, such as on the secondary hull.

I would have liked to see the large observation deck windows on the lower secondary hull surfaces lit, as a nice dramatic touch. A feature very much evident as the Enterprise 'soars' overhead in some of the movie scenes.... Some of the secondary hull windows were too brightly lit on the model, and some subtlety was lost here in the overall effect.

I coloured my model's secondary hull main sensory dish 'blue' using an aerosal light cote inside, as depicted in the movie often. The dish was clearly lit blue as depicted in Star Trek II, during the battle in the Matura Nebula sequence.

I'd like to see a re-issue of this kit with these inaccuracies taken care of, and if done so, this would be undoubtably then be the ultimate in Enterprise model kits, albeit small in size. There, that's my 2 Cents worth....

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