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Your Two Cents: USS Enterprise-E

The following are reader's opinions of the USS Enterprise-E made by Bandai.

Reviewer   Simon Hill
Date Reviewed   Feb 22, 2004
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments Like the Enterprise refit, I was wholly impressed upon opening the box again on my Enterprise E, Bandai have done a superb job in packaging and box art.

Sadly, it was pretty much downhill from there as I went on to build it, albeit in about 6 hours, as the fit on some sections were difficult.

My initial observations were that whilst it looked superb in the box, the paint aztec scheme looked too 'severe' to me. Quite unlike the subtle aztec designs seen on the screen version. I wouldn't call it aztec some much as 'mozaic' design, and the greys seemed too dark, with too much contrasting in colours and panel lines. The Enterprise E is too 'cluttered' for me, and I prefer the subtle clean lines of the older, Enterprise's and not the 'lego land' look that star trek designers later adopted.

Panel demarcations, grooves, lettering, logo's seem all faithfully and beautifully reproduced. Even the Enterprise's 'lifeboat' hatches are there and reactionary control thruster quadrants are all faithfully reproduced.

Bridge and upper saucer hull superstructures do seem a little too 'squat' though compared to the lines seen on the movie miniatures....

Now to the building of the kit:

Some building improvements were made upon the earlier Constitution class Enteprise refit, in that bulb wires were already cut to the right length. Two 'test wires' were included to an already wired-up interior lighting section to fit inside the primary elliptical saucer hull, which you can clip-off after testing. Nice touch, and there is a clear plastic [or vinyl] lighting 'spreader' that fits inside the upper primary hull half. This, I suspect is the cause of later ill-fitting and gaps between primary hull halves.

Engine nacelles proved difficult, it seems whenever you press together some area, another area decompresses! As someone mentioned, more of a 'squeeze together' kit, not snap-fit! I found the nacelles notoriously tricky to 'mate' together and the pylon fit was questionable to the nacelle underside.

I was disappointed to find Bandai had again employed the exterior wiring idea down the nacelle pylon exterior again, with the inclusion of foil tape to 'disguise' it. Not very well either as it did on the Enterprise refit! Bandai might want to rethink this, and replace perhaps with a fine metal strip, inside the pylon to carry the voltage to the lights?? External wiring doesn't work in this fine, fine scale it looks horrible.

Secondary hull sections left the biggest disappointment, as huge gaps are present vertically down the hull, where forward and aft section meet. Where the secondary hull 'mates' with the primary hull too, is a large gap, which I suspect is worsened by the interior hull transparant section....

In order to get a better fit, some drops of Superglue are needed here and there, taking great care not to marr the exterior paint scheme. This helps, but not entirely overcomes the problem. I may consider dismantling mine later to do this.

I'm not sure if the term 'snap fit' applies to these kits, as to get good finishes, much more time needs to be spent to do so. Die hard trekkies might be disappointed with the 'generic' Enterprise E that's presented here, and its design oddities. I mean the features that cross-over between the movies versions, making the Bandai more a hybrid somewhere between the 3 movie presentations.

The Enterprise E in spite of the above quibbles builds into a nice looking desk-top model and looks great lit-up in the dark. Windows are a lot smaller on this 1/1700 scale than the refit's 1/850th scale obviously, but there's a lot more windows on the 'E'. I would like to see an Enterprise D in the same scale as the 'E' in the 'Generations' subtle paint scheme, slightly different from the TV version.

I'd like to see Bandai do some more homework on their next issues, (?) and would like to see an Enterprise D and maybe Enterprise NCC 1701 TV version released. (With aforementioned improvements?) All in all though, excellent collectables for star trek officianado's everywhere. Maybe too, these are just teething problems for what is basically and untried type of kit and an undisputed collectable?

Simon Hill

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