AMT/Ertl 1/72 Star Trek: DS9 Rio Grande Runabout
KIT #: 8741
PRICE: $20.00 or so when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Donald Zhou
NOTES: Advantages: Well detailed, simple, large, and easy to set up for lighting. Disadvantages: decals incomplete, some fit issues, details overstated and no interiors


When the Federation took over the Cardassian space station “Terok Nor” after the Cardassians abandoned the planet Bajor, they found the stations in ruins. The “Carddies” did a great job of trashing the station completely, necessitating the Federation, who came in to help Bajor at the behest of the Bajorian provisional government, to nearly completely rebuild the station. The rebuild took on a whole new meaning when then Commander Sisko made contact with the “wormhole aliens” and opened up a stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, shaving years of travel at warp speed to only a few seconds. This immediately made the Bajor sector of strategic importance to the Federation and DS9 of vital importance, especially since once Cardassians heard the news, they constantly tried to incur upon the territory to see if they can get the wormhole under their control.

To help with the Station and to give it some “legs”, initially, several Danube Class runabouts were provided to the station. These are oversized shuttle crafts with a small anti-matter reactor and capable of warp speeds. These shuttle did yeoman work on the station, providing everything from transports to in and out of the Gamma Quadrant, shore duty to Bajor, delivery of vital shipments/personnel/cargo and various other things. Despite welcoming the Defiant starship later, the runabouts still went about its quiet but important work, all through the Dominion War and beyond.

The most important thing about the Danube class is its modular construction. The forward section contain the pilot pod/cockpit with a small rear section containing the crew’s living area/rec area. The top section contains the anti-matter pods and the deuterium pods, with a center section containing the anti-matter reactor, with two swing out wings that leads to the impulse engines, the navigation deflectors with two warp drives in pods underneath. The entire center section, excluding the reactor section, is empty. This empty space can be used to attach various mission specific pods. Normally, a utility cargo pod is attached although various scientific and other pods can also be used. To give the craft further usefulness, a long range sensor pod can be attached to the top of the craft for long range missions.



I originally bought the kit way back in 1993, when it first came out. The cost was around 20 bucks then. I built the thing, stayed with me for years but then have to give it up when I moved to California. I always loved the Runabout due to its utilitarian nature and even in 1/72 scale, it’s plenty large so this Christmas, with my cash back earned, I used it to buy another one from Amazon…The cost has ballooned to $50 now but to me, it’s worth it.

The kit is basically what I remembered. Star Trek kits are simplicity of easy and this one is no exception. It contains nothing more than the main fuselage halves, divided top and bottom. The two warp nacelles, various parts for the wings and the navigation deflectors and eight parts for the long range sensor array. The clear parts includes all the windows and the clear warp expellers and bussard ram scoops. All in all, around 35 parts, that’s it!

The biggest fault of the kit is that it does not contain any interior sets. Bare minimum, the front cockpit section and the rear crew living/rec areas should be included. Ohh well, if that were the case, then I need two 1/72 DS9 crews to at least pilot the shuttle since my original one, and this one, will be a runabout that is “on” and in operation. The second is even though the kit is well detailed, the details are way overemphasized. The lines look like trenches and the rest of the details are way “blown out”. This actually looked fine to me back when I was a kid, but not so much now but under several coats of paints, should look fine. Also, from previous experiences, some parts of the kit will not fit too well. A norm for AMT kits of those days. This kit is older, which means the molds are older too. This means the ill-fitting parts will also be worse than usual. So take that one under consideration. All in all, construction should be easy. There are not many parts, the steps are self-explanatory and it’s hard to goof this up.

Oh, caveat. Even though the kit box says it’s only the Rio Grande, the kit decals does contain three markings, the aforementioned Rio Grande, and also the Yangtze Kiang and Ganges so you have your choices.



This should be a fun build! All Star Trek models are. Again, they are easy, fun, and enjoyable. For anyone who wants to get started in this hobby and wants to get back into the grove, then you can’t go wrong with any Star Trek models! Donald Zhou

December 2016


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