Polar Lights 1/1000 USS Enterprise Refit
KIT: Drag
KIT #: PL-820
PRICE: $22.95 MSRP
DECALS: One option


Introduction (ST Movies, the Early Years)

The early 1970s saw a limited amount of SF on TV and the movies.  There were a few good movies mixed with a lot of very bad TV (Space 1999, Logan’s Run (TV Series) and Planet of the Apes (TV Series) among them) a situation which did not start to change till Star Wars appeared in 1977.  During the early 70s, Paramount noticed that the Star Trek reruns were very popular in syndication and felt that the show had some potential to make more money.  Gene Roddenberry proposed a Star Trek 2 show based on the further adventures of Kirk and crew (minus Leonard Nimoy who was in his “I am NOT Spock” phase and refused to put on the ears.)


One of the things that was done was a redesign of the series iconic starship.  Star Trek TOS’ USS Enterprise was designed in the tail end of the plastic fantastic era, where everything was angular and/or saucer shaped and clean.  In the proposed 2nd Star Trek series, the USS Enterprise was redesigned for a 1970’s sensibility.  Gone were the perpendicular struts, cylindrical warp engines, the exposed sensor dish and the grey paint.  In were the more “aerodynamic”/angular struts, more warped warp engines and sadly for Star Trek modelers, that damned Aztec Paint Scheme. 


The 2nd Star Trek series was cancelled due to the fact that at the time no major TV network would pick the show up and that syndication of non network shows was in its infancy, but the producers ended up using the sets and models in the expensive (for the time) and not as big a blockbuster as expected Star Trek:  The (slow) Motion Picture.


The cost of the movie freaked the studio execs out because the box office was not as good as expected.  Why should they have been surprised?  It had a recycled plot (lifted from the episode “Nomad”), spent way way way too long lingering on SFX shots that added little to the plot and lacked drama/conflict.  There is a reason why the first movie is mocked to this day as Star Trek:  The Boring Picture.


On a personal note, I am magically drawn to this movie when it plays on TV despite of everything (yeah, I don’t get it either.)  It is timeless as the middle of the movie still bores me in the same way as an adult as it did when I saw it the first time as a kid.


AMT produced a kit of refit Enterprise in 1/535 scale for ST:TMP.  It was considered the best of the refit versions as it was smooth with raised panel lines unlike the later versions which had trenches for recessed panel lines.


The Wrath of Khan

“Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold?  [Pause]  It is very cold in spaaaaaccce!”


It is actually a Sicilian quote, but it stuck.


In an attempt to revive the franchise, Paramount kicked Gene Roddenberry to the side and brought in a non-Trek producer and director to rev up the action.  In a review of the episodes, they realized that Space Seed would be the best option to provide continuity with the show.


Wrath of Khan made the movie universe safe for Star Trek movies with enough scene chewing by Richardo Montolban and William Shatner, a plot of psychotic obsessed revenge and starship battles.


The Wrath of Khan recycled many of the shots and models from the 1st movie to save money, but added space combat (huzzah!), drama (huzzah!) and the death of Spock.  It turned out to be one of the best, if not the best of the Star Trek movies.


With regards to the plastic models, AMT produced several recessed panel versions with a wood grain like plastic of the Refit Enterprise.  All versions (including the TMP version) were rather inaccurate, suffered awful fit, and suffered from warp nacelle droop due to the way the parts were designed plus the weakness of the plastic.  In what some might consider after the fact, AMT released a model of the USS Reliant in 1995.



The 1/350 version of the Refit Enterprise kit is an amazing kit, but many modelers don’t have the space to put a 3 foot by 2 foot by 1 1/2 foot model anywhere (I don’t, which is why it is still sitting in the box with the lighting kit I bought for it.)  However, 1/1000 is a much more manageable size.


Like the original 1/1000 Polar Lights Enterprise, the “old” new Enterprise kit is a snap together kit consisting of 27 white plastic parts, nine clear parts and one plastic base and one metal rod.  The parts are almost flash free and contain fine (if not way over scale) details.


The instructions and decal placement sheet does a very good job of identifying the parts/decals and explaining their placement.


It also includes a decal sheet for the dreaded Aztec Pattern which has become the “standard” for all Star Trek starships and (to my own annoyance) on other non-Trek series ships.  Yes, it looks cool, but it can be a pain to reproduce in the smaller scales.


One thing that is much better than the original 1/1000 kits is that the stand is much more stable and sturdier with the wide base and metal rod.




I have found that as a Snap Tite kit, Polar Lights/Round 2 does an amazing job of making it easy to build.  However, if you’re like me and insist on gluing everything together and dealing with the seams then be prepared for a lot of work.


I hope that my near Khan like psychotic episode with the original series’ USS Enterprise kit will not be repeated with this kit (see my review in the SF reviews.)


I have to applaud Round 2 for rolling out new kits as well as the long lost kits from the AMT, Polar Lights and MPC catalogs and hope for more in the future.



NCC-1601 in Action, Skwadron Publications, 2383

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