“It’s been a long time getting from there to here,” no truer words were ever said. For theme songs, it not only counted for the show, but also for the build of the NX-01 Enterprise.
The kit was from Polar Lights or Round 2, and it was a well thought out for the sculpting of the ship, but certain areas could have been improved on. What I mean by this is that the impulse deck sections will have to be braced either on the top or bottom. If you do not brace them with brass square tubing or rods they will sag and will cause the ship to not be straight. With adding the bracing you will also have to plan on how best to run your wiring if you decide to light the kit.
When or if you light the ship, you would do well to look into items from Tena Controls. Ralph and his team are wonderful at creating the computer boards that control strobe and navigation lights. If you truly want to come to build the best representation you will have to add some more LEDs. One spot of the ship is the nacelles. On the back of the ship, the starboard and port side navigation lights are provided. But you will have to add LEDs for the strobes and the marker lights on the bottom. If you add the strobes and marker lights remember to run the extra wiring you will need to connect to the board. Also, think well on how you do those wires. What I mean is the wiring from the nacelles will have to go along the inside of both pylons respectively for the nacelles. You should also think about how you want to place the board and wiring on the inside of the ship. I found it best to run all the wiring down one side on the impulse deck. How I accomplished this was after having every piece in place and wired I ran the positive and negative wires through the posthole. And then I ran the rest of the wires that I was connecting through the saucer and the nacelles. Like I said I chose to run this down the starboard side impulse deck. It gave me enough room to not only hook the wires together from top to bottom, but it gave me enough room to move the wires when I put the two parts together. It helps that there are two parts that you have to glue on to the impulse deck this gives you enough room to adjust the wiring.
Now actually lighting and wiring the ships was the easy part, while the ship was molded well which includes the portholes and the navigation and running lights holes there were a lot of issues that I found. One of the biggest issues I ran into is that after I installed the navigation and running lights, the saucer outside walls had fit issues. The designers got the locations right on the ship for these lights there was not any thought given for installing the lights with the walls. I had to glue one side down then carefully bend and glue sections of the wall into the lower saucer for the right shape between the two halves. You will run into having to fix small gaps on the bottom of the part and the top of the saucer to fix light leaks. Now the other problem I ran into was the parts I left off of the impulse section to make sure the wires were in the ship. When you go to put the easy parts on you might run into a fit issue. While the starboard side of the impulse lined up and fit with no problems, the port side needs work. I had to take my Dremel to shave plastic from the kit. The only thing that I can think of is that the company did not do quality checks on most of the kit.
The last item I would like to let you all know is that there are a lot of decals. It will take you a couple of days to place them all. The first thing is these decals are fragile, and by that, they can tear with just using a toothpick to get them in the right spot. While this can be a headache the lines in front of the bridge and under the nacelles are more of a headache. The best advice I can give is to study the instructions well and be ready to do some out of the box thinking. I would suggest that after you have studied the instructions that you cut these into better working sizes. If you cut them as I did you can always blend them and weather them to hide the cuts. Round 2 should have done a bigger sheet decal to replace the ones in front of the bridge. You will find that the hundreds of small decals are a lot easier to work with then the pinstripe ones.
Now when you start to paint, you will have to research and go with the colors that feel right to you. One thing I would suggest is look into masks. The ones that I recommend are masks by Aztec Dummy and can be found on the web page Culttvman. His masks make painting the Aztec designs a lot of fun and also the masks for the portholes and clear styrene pieces save a bunch of time. It’s better than using your hobby knife trying to cut them out of tape.
I did have a lot of fun building this kit. Even with the issues found, it was fun and very eye-opening for building such a big kit. I cannot wait to do another one. The last thing is you can get frustrated and angry and think about why I am building this thing. Take a break and come back and look at it with fresh eyes and keep moving forward. I will see you on the bench again soon.
Category: SciFi Spacecraft Illuminated