Polar Lights 1/350 NCC-1701 (50th Anniversary)
Advantages: Well detailed, HUGE, Easy set up for lighting.
Disadvantages: HUGE, flash everywhere, warped parts.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, its five year mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Of all the Enterprises, the most famous one still belongs to one Capt. James Tiberius Kirk’s original NCC-1701 (no bloody A, B, C, or D…and now E and F). Commissioned in 2245, the ship was built with parts made in San Francisco and then assembled in orbit. It was first commanded by Captain April and then given to Christopher Pike before given to its most famous successor, One Captain James Tiberius Kirk. It’s the first ship to complete its five year deep space mission, during which ship made contact with many life forms and put in constant danger with not only Klingons, the perpetual enemy of the Federation, but also, the reclusive Romulans, Tholians and the Gorn among others. The ship supposedly went on a second five year mission before put into spacedock for a massive 18 months refit that totally changed the outlook of the ship including different warp pylons and nacelles, and a heavily modified saucer. This ship was destroyed in 2285 over the Genesis Planet after Kirk activated the ship’s self-destruct sequence after tricking the entire Klingon crew off of their Bird of Prey onto the ship.
The fact of the matter is, the original Star Trek was ground breaking in not only sci-fi, but also the make up of its crew. Remember at the time Star Trek first aired, the U.S. was under the throes of the civil rights movement. For a show to feature not only whites, but also an Asian helmsman, a Russian ops officer (Remember, the country was deep in the Cold War back then) and especially a female African-American communications officer (Nichelle Nicole, who inspired among others, Whoopi Goldberg to become an actress. This is also the main reason why Whoopi was adamant about appearing on Next Generation, as Guinan) and of course a first kiss between an African-American woman and a Caucasian white. The ship was designed by Matt Jefferies and the filming model is on display in the Smithsonian.
This ship of course, was the one that almost all trekkers wanted when Polar Lights announced they would make a 1/350th scale USS Enterprise. The first kit of this ship was well received, except for the fact that many complaint that the saucer lines look more like trenches than anything else. Now, for the 50th anniversary, the original kit was re-released, with one major difference, the saucer is now smooth. Otherwise, the rest of the parts are all the same as the original kit.
Upon opening the box, which is the same size as the Refit/A box, one is greeted by about a dozen or so sprue (just be noted that there is an inner flap that covers up the opening. This inner flap not only protect the contents, but also serves as the painting guide for the kit), three of them are clear parts for the windows and the bussard scoops and the like. The sprues are divided into three colors. The first one is a slight pale blue green that’s in common with the ship’s color (not really as you will learn later), the second is a neutral grey color for parts of the warp nacelles, and the third is a cooper color for the navigational deflectors. A single “small” (ok not that small. But when compared to the MMMAASSSIIVVEEE azetc decal sheets of the Refit/A, this sheet is quite small) decal sheet round out the kit along with a big black dome style display stand with a metal support rod.
The kit details are generally good, even though the original ship did not have that much details compared to the Refit/A and the Next Generation ships, what is there is generally good. However, be noted that due to age and the fact many of the parts still uses the original mold, there are flash and mold studs everywhere. Some of which you can see in the photos. The worst are the warp pylons. They are slightly warped upwards, meaning you need to straighten them out when it is time to assemble them. Other than that, not much can be said. This will be a huge kit when done that’s for sure!
Construction begin with the bridge. A small bridge is included. However, if you gonna leave the clear ceiling piece clear, be sure to get the photo-etch set with all the figures….The ship will not look proper without James T Kirk and the crew sitting or standing around their stations here!
Next are all the clear pieces and lights that go on the saucers, top and bottom.
Step four assembles the bridge onto the top of the saucer before it is joined with the bottom. Leave the clear dome for later
Next come the neck. Be sure the clear pieces are well attached to their spots.
Warp pylons are next. I would add some metal rods to them to keep them straight and prevent sagging cause as mentioned, the pylons have sagged through mold aging.
Assembly of the hanger bay and secondary hull are the next few steps. Just make sure you follow the steps carefully and read the instruction carefully also.
The rest of the construction deals with the assembly of the warp nacelles. Just becareful with the assembly of the bussard scoops. There are a lot of clear parts involved so plan ahead on what to do when painting comes along.
Speaking of painting, as stated before the main hull color is a pale greenish white, just be aware although this color is correct, the true color is the common pearl white (Testor’s semi-gloss white) common with the refit. Originally, the filming model was painted in this color. However, due to lack of funding and time, the paint was allowed to wear down to eventually, in the later season, it became that strange pale green white. Both color are correct. I’ll be using semi-gloss white for this model as I still have several bottles left after the Refit/A kit.
If you still do not believe me, just hop onto the Smithsonian web site and take a look at the original filming model before restoration and after restoration. The ship, as it look at the end of season two, is a pale white similar to pearlescent white, the “before” shows the pale green after some neglect. Also, lighting have a way with it too. Under certain light, the ship do look slightly pale green also but its original color is pearl white.
Well, as I told Scott in discussing my NCC-1701-A kit, one big thing deserves another and this kit certainly is big. Not as big as the –A since the saucer looks slightly smaller, but still big enough when completed. Just when though is another question as I’m saving for the photo-etch set and the lighting kit. Yes, I’m gonna try and light this puppy up! Why I torture myself sometimes I don’t know. But it will be fun right? RIGHT?!?!?!?!? Ahh well, at least no one made a 1/350th scale kit of the –D yet! I might just jump if someone did…Yes, I know, at that scale the b**ch will be 6.25 feet long by about 4 feet wide and would cost around $2000 but ahh just to get a fleet of Enterprises going on the ceiling of the basement…I MUST be CRAZY!!!!!!!
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page Back to the Review Index Page Back to the Previews Index Page