By John Lester - images & text © 2006
VA Minitures have released/will release three kits based on the same general movie-era design: a Stingray-class Destroyer, up-gunned Stingray-class Cruiser and (coming soon as of this writing) a 1/2500 scale 'Parts Pack' with parts from these kits, plus others.
Variations on a Theme
The base Stingray-class Destroyer kit provides a saucer/primary hull, a weapons pod on a pylon, a base and two underslung warp nacelles. The Cruiser kit adds another nacelle and weapons pod. The Parts Pack includes two nacelles, 4 weapons pods in two different styles, plus tinted bussard scoops. The Destroyer and Cruiser also include generic markings on a small decal sheet. All come with a very basic instruction sheet.
The parts are decently cast, with few imperfections (bubbles, pits, flash, etc). Detail is adequate for the scale; the only flaw I found was on the rear of the saucer, where the ... shuttlebays? impulse engines? is a bit rough.
The instructions provide general tips for resin kit assembly and some hand-drawn diagrams suggesting placement of the various parts. The beauty of these kits is that there is no real "wrong" way to build them: the number and placement of parts is entirely up to you, so more detailed instructions are not necessary.
Decals apear to be ALPS-printed and provide generic striping and pennants.
Assembly and Finish
It took me all of half an hour to knock the Cruiser together, a near record (at least for me). A few swipes with a sanding stick cleaned up mold seams, a few more rubbed out the rough patch at the back of the saucer (whether shuttlebay or impulse engines, in my opinion any raised detail would be overscale and better represented by a decal. But that's just me; your mileage may vary). I needed a tiny bit of filler to fair the upper nacelle into the hull. A quick coat of Mr Surfacer showed a couple spots that needed more sanding, after which I sprayed a couple light coats of Tamiya Light Grey as a basecoat.
I let that dry overnight and prepared to apply decals. That's when disaster struck - and it was my fault, too. I always brush a coat of Microscale Liquid Decal film onto all garage kit decals. It makes them easier to handle - especially if you're as naturally ham-fingered as I am - makes them much less fragile, and keeps them from shattering if the decal printer got a random bad sheet of decal paper. This time, I forgot. And of course, since I forgot .... the first decal shattered as soon as I'd slid it off the paper and onto the model. The air over the worktable turned an electric purple as things went south from there.
As I said - my fault for not doing my homework. I've got enough left over decal sheets lying around here that I can cobble together the appropriate markings, so this is merely an annoyance. Oh well - you can learn from my errors, I guess.
Despite the decal flub, I enjoyed the model. I like the freedom of mixing and matching parts, and I like the general outline of the ship. The price is reasonable enough you can pick up several and kitbash with other 2500 scale ships and not miss the mortgage payment. They're simple enough that anyone can build 'em. So what's not to like?
Many thanks to VA Miniatures for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2006 Starship Modeler. First posted on 12 June 2006.