Got some extra money from the holidays burning a hole in your pocket? Perhaps a late-model starship is within your budget. Join TrekMovie’s Rob Lyons as he gives us a comprehensive out-of-box review of the new 1:2500 release of the USS Enterprise, USS Reliant, and Klingon Battlecruiser from the original Star Trek motion picture era. Our first look video follows the cut, together with some tips and observations from the assembly process, and an overview of 2012’s releases from Round 2.
Cadet Series Motion Picture Era Set
This particular three-piece set is a new addition to the popular Cadet Series lineup, presented in 1:2500 scale. This is the first time that the Klingon Battlecruiser and USS Reliant have been made available in this scale from a licensee. Our out-of-box video includes looks at each of the three kits, as well as the decal sheet for the set.
During assembly, the Reliant has the most issues, followed by the K’t’inga. The Enterprise is very well engineered, and was the easiest of the three ships to assemble. Let me most strongly impress, however, that the detail on the K’t’inga is superb, as I hope the photos will show.
The Reliant saucer and torpedo bay have some barely perceptible flash above the intended upper surface of the connection pin receivers. This resulted in some hobby knifing to get a closer fit on the parts, but I still ended up doing some puttying to get a filled seam. The torpedo bay is, by far, the worst, and it wasn’t until I had painted several coats of primer and base that I was finally sure I wasn’t going to have to do some more detail sanding and repaint the entire ship. In the assembly phase, the Reliant was the only kit I found a need to putty, though, in retrospect, I wish I had filled the base of the warp nacelle pylons on the Enterprise.
The K’t’inga has some issues on the upper secondary hull surface where a part joins… and I didn’t dare putty for fear of messing up the engraved panel lines. I was hopeful that some primer on the model would take care of the gap. By the time I finished with the primer coat, I felt that it would be sufficient, and I think the final result bears out my decision. One suggestion on the K’t’inga in particular – go skimpy on the glue. It is engineered fairly well and needs only the barest amounts and some pressure for a good connection. I used too much glue on the neck, and needed to do a bit of fine sanding to take care of this issue.
One thing to take into consideration early with this kit is the fact that it has no stands. I went to my local hobby shop and purchased some thin gague brass tubing, and used a pin-vise with a small diameter drill bit to make holes in the bottom of the ships. I then purchased some inexpensive wooden disks at another hobby shop to use as a base. I may consider getting a larger disk and placing all three on the same base before I finish up that portion of the project.
Temperatures around here made arranging for painting difficult… but I was able to get a corner of the garage up to about 55 degrees for a few hours. For the kit I used gray Rust-oleum gray professional primer on all the ships. Whatever you do, especially on the Enterprise and Reliant, do not use a white primer. A darker primer will ensure that the copyright notice printed on the inside of the saucer does not show through when your models are in the light. The two Federation vessels were then painted with Rust-oleum gloss white enamel, and then given a coat of Tamiya TS-45 pearl white. The Klingon vessel was painted with Testors 1253 Graphite Gray Metallic. (This is not the recommended color from Round 2… I decided to go rogue with this one!) The paint was given 72 hours to fully set up before the decaling process began. Since the surfaces of all three ships were quite glossy, I skipped a clear coat before decaling.
I decaled the Klingon vessel first, since it was the simplest job. I did not use all of the decals, because several of the detail decals were not printed over white, making it difficult to discern the already dark window decals. Otherwise, I used all the provided marking decals. I ran into a small problem – my kit’s color decals were printed at a slight offset to the white underlay around the Klingon Trefoils and the nose art, resulting in a small, but discernable, halo effect on some of the decals. I then went back and highlighted certain areas of the ship with white paint – namely the forward and aft torpedo tubes, the impulse thrusters, and portions of the warp engines (or, for my fellow TAS afficianidos, the S2 Graf Units). I let this white paint set up for 24 hours before coming back and painting in some colors in those areas. I used Tamiya clear orange for the impulse drive, Tamiya clear red for the torpedo tubes, and Tamiya clear green for the engines. All in all, this creates a very pleasing ‘glow’ effect under the right light. I am particularlly happy with this ship.
Next came work on the Reliant. This was the first ‘wallpapered’ ship of the kit I tackled, and I learned a lot. On the whole, the decals are thick and required significant amounts of Micro Sol and Micro Set in order to properly conform to the surface. They were also very tacky, which made floating the decals and working them extremely difficult. On the upside, they were nigh-on indestructable, which is always a good thing. In particular, I was very pleased with the Reliant’s nacelle decals… they wrapped perfectly on the engines on the very first try… all four decals. To particular dissapointments on the decals were found on the saucer’s rim, where the sensor bands are not long enough to cover the necessary space. I improvised by using a Pigma Micron .5 pen to freehand a docking port in the bow. It’s not canon, but it was the only way to fill a big white gap. The other issue is that the phasers on the Reliant seem slightly oversized, and are missing the emitter nodes. Using the same .5 pen, I hand-dotted the ship’s six standard phaser banks to create the nodes. I also used the small gague pen to do some detail painting on the nacelles. This is my first time working with a Micron pen, and I found it came in very handy.
Finally, the Enterprise took center stage. She took much longer to complete than even the Reliant… the more complex curvatures of the ship presented many issues when it came to getting decals to lay down… and even the thicker nature of the Round 2 decals didn’t always stand up to my pushing and prodding. I managed to clear up most of the issues with some patience, some Micro Sol, and some Q-tips… but it took the better part of two full nights of work. The Enterprise saucer rim decals were almost long enough, but I played it safe and cut them at the proper locations to allow me to create small gangway hatches on both sides of the saucer. On both the Enterprise and Reliant, I dotted the saucer and warp nacelles with green and red paint pens to create running lights. They turned out a bit overscaled, and I wish I had used a Micron pen instead.
The temperatures here in Indiana are now hovering in the 20’s most evenings, so I have been unable to get the garage warm enough to allow for the painting of my wooden bases or to shoot the models with clear and dull coats. I hope to do so when the temperatures rise late next week.
All in all, from box opening to now, I have put about twenty hours of work into the kit. On a personal note, my three year old daughter also helped me with this kit… she dabbed the colors over the white areas on the Klingon ship, and was excited to see it ‘glow’. As a result of her help with this kit, we have an Apollo Command/Service Module on our workbench just for her! This was a kit that made some fun family memories for me, but , but it presents some challenges to be sure. It is not for the beginner, but if you have built a model or two in your life and have a moderately steady hand and some patience, this new kit from Round 2 creates some sharp little models that are truly big on detail.
Round 2’s 2012 Releases
If the 1:2500 scale is not to your tastes, Round 2 has provided a bevy of plasticized starship goodness for your amusement, frustration, and admiration.
USS Enterprise Lunchbox Tin Edition
This kit is a repop of the Polar Lights TOS Enterprise in a collector’s lunchbox tin. The kit is molded in white plastic this time, as opposed to gray, and continues to feature the raised copyright information on the underside of the primary hull which will need to be sanded down. (learn more about sanders here) The kit also does not appear to contain the sticker package that the traditional boxed editions have contained in the past – which is no great loss to most modelers. Of note is the fact that it does not include the new universal mounting base that many of Round 2’s kits are being retrofitted for – thus, the flimsier delta-shield / girder arrangement remains the only kit-offered means of display.
Adversary Set: Klingon Bird-of-Prey and Ferengi Maurader
Klingon @ 1:1400 Scale
Ferengi @ 1:3700 Scale
This kit is a reissue of a portion of the old three-piece adversary set from the AMT ERTL days, but with a few upgrades (specifically in the decal department). Like the new Cadet Series set, this kit does not include a stand for the models.
The Romulan Warbird issue for this year was the third kit that had been included in the old AMT ERTL adversary set. Some upgrades include full window decals, glow in the dark engine nacelle options, and the new universal dome base which is much sturdier than many of the past bases included with Star Trek products.
Deep Space Nine
This DS9 kit is molded in clear for lighting and includes updated window decals. Also included in the kit is a mini-kit with a 1:2500 scale Defiant, also injected in clear.
USS Enterprise (TOS)
This is the holy grail… the one that Star Trek fans have been waiting for since they first watched the Original Series on television – a large scale replica of what is arguably the most iconic version of the starship Enterprise to ever grace the screen. The kit is available in two versions:
The standard edition of the kit features an internal shuttlebay, shuttles, and bridge. The windows come in various colorations (clear, black, smoked) to facilitate various display choices. The premier edition includes a lot of extras, including a lighting kit, parts to produce both pilot versions of the vessel, and extensive weathering decals (though no aztek – or hull plating – decals). All of these add-ons are available to purchase separately.
Reports are that this kit is very difficult to find in local hobby shops at the moment, with many in the modeling community reporting that their local stores have sold out of the first shipment.
Round 2’s 2013 Plans
Round 2 is releasing several additional kits in the coming months to entice Star Trek modelers…
Romulan Battle Cruiser
This kit is a repop of the Polar Lights Klingon D7 Battlecruiser, but totally dedicated to Romulan livery. The major change to the engineering of the kit involves the substitution of the dome base in place of the original plastic base, which was always fairly flimsy.
This is a reissue of the popular Motion Picture era Klingon kit, last made available under the Star Trek VI banner. It is in scale with the larger-scale Reliant kit currently available and the historic refit model that was available from 1979 through the late 1990’s, but which is no longer in production. This kit has been retrofitted with a more stable dome base and metal rod system as opposed to the original kit’s plastic base. TrekMovie’s review copy just arrived in the mail… so look for more information on this kit soon.
Original Series Enterprise Bridge
Summer Release (Date TBA)
This is a reissue of the classic Bridge model, but it includes panels for all stations on the bridge – meaning it will fill in the gap between the turbolift and the viewscreen from previous releases. The kit also features better-defined figures, and viewers for Spock and Sulu’s stations.
Classic TV Cadet Series
Enterprise, Klingon Battlecruiser, and Romulan Bird of Prey
The previous Cadet Series tooling of the Enterprise will be used, but the Klingon and Romulan ships are brand new.
A reissue of the Polar Lights kit, but without the Aztec decals.
Spock Lunch Box Figure
A reissue of the old AMT kit in a collectible lunch box tin.
Classic Enterprise Space Seed Edition with Botany Bay
A reissue of the Polar Lights Enterprise kit with a newly tooled model of the Botany Bay from the episode Space Seed, also done to 1:1000 scale.
Round 2 Models provided kits for this article.