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Polar Lights 1/1000 scale "Star Trek" USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)

Kit: No. 4200
Scale: 1/1000
Manufacturer: Polar Lights
Price: $11.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 60 parts, decals, stickers
Pros: Nicely molded and detailed, lots of building and marking options
Cons: Minor error in instructions, small display stand, decals printed slightly out of register

Star Trek's Enterprise is likely one of the most recognizable ships in science-fiction history. Although the original TV series lasted only 79 episodes from 1966-'69, its lasting impact and popularity as a pop-culture phenomenon have spawned 10 massively successful feature films and four spin-off TV series.

The first in a series of all-new "Star Trek" kits, Polar Lights' snap-together Enterprise arrives with its light-gray plastic parts trees packaged in plastic bags. The clear parts even get their own bags to protect them from scratches - a nice touch. Another bag holds a jam-packed 5-1/2" x 8" sheet of decals, as well as two sheets of die-cut stickers for beginning modelers who might not be comfortable applying waterslide markings.

Some details of the Enterprise filming miniature used during the production of "Star Trek" varied from episode to episode, and Polar Lights provides lots of extra parts and markings to model every variation. I built the familiar "Production Series" version of the ship.

I glued my model together, so I cut off the kit's snap-together pins with a pair of side cutters and assembled the parts with gap-filling super glue. Everything went together nicely, but there's a slight part-number error in step A2 of the instructions. Use parts 18 and 19 for the production version's engine nacelles - they have grilles along their inboard surfaces. The instructions mistakenly suggest parts 16 and 17, which are smooth.

Polar Lights provides a painting chart based on Testor enamel paints; I followed it, and the color choices look accurate. I airbrushed the model light ghost gray (FS 36375) after masking the clear bridge dome and nacelle caps with Bare-Metal Foil.

I added the decals to my model after airbrushing an overall gloss coat of Future floor polish. The decals went on nicely and responded well to setting solution. Some of the multicolor markings in my kit were slightly off-register, but it's only noticeable on close examination. Some of the larger, oddly shaped decals are easier to cut apart and apply one at a time in smaller sections.

A two-piece display stand is included, but it's a little small and tippy for the top-heavy 11-1/2"-long model, and I'll likely replace it with something more substantial later on.

Polar Lights' Enterprise was great fun to build, and after a couple of weekends of work, I had an accurate, nicely detailed model of the famous ship to add to my science-fiction collection.

- Matthew Usher

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