Polar Lights 1/1000 USS Grissom & Bird of Prey

KIT #: POL 957
PRICE: $27.99
DECALS: Several options
NOTES: Snap Kits


USS Grissom

The USS Grissom was an Oberth class starship with a crew compliment of 70-80 whose main role was as a scientific research vessel and or scout ship. It did have limited shielding and equipped with a phaser bank for self protection, but was not designed to be a warship which explains why it was destroyed so quickly in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. The Grissom design was first seen in Star Trek III and then was seen in many episodes of the later Star Trek series.

The Klingon Bird of Prey

The Bírel Scout Ship made its first appearance in the movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. According to various ďsourcesĒ, it was a curious hybrid of Klingon and Romulan technology (the primary enemies of the Federation) due to a shaky political/technological alliance. The Klingons provided the warp engines and weapons while the Romulans designed the Bírelís hull (it seems the Star Trek designers gave the Romulans a bird fixation when it comes to designing their starships) and provided the cloaking device.

In Star Trek III, a Bírel class scout ship was commanded by the renegade captain Ziggy Emmett Brown Ignatowski, uh, Kluge, who was ran a covert operation to obtain the secrets of the Genesis device. The net result of the mission was the destruction of the Genesis planet, the death of Kirkís son (apparently one of many), the loss of Star Fleetís most famous starship, the USS Enterprise, the deaths of Kluge and most of his crew, and the capture of the Klingon scout ship by the Enterpriseís survivors traveled to Vulcan to reunite a fellow named Spock with his soul.

The captured ship was eventually renamed the Bounty and was destroyed in another film while trying to save the Earth from the ravages of a menacing dark cylinder. It crashed into San Francisco Bay carrying a trio of whales from Earth of the past.

Like the Grissom/Oberth Class, the Klingon Bird of Prey reappeared often in subsequent movies and TV series.


 The kit comes with two separate models. The Grissom parts are molded in three small sprues of white plastic while the Klingon Bird of Prey parts come in two sprues of Green and one sprue of clear plastic for a combined total of 31 parts.

There is a single sheet of instructions (mostly for the Klingon Bird of Prey) and the paint/decal guide is located on the box as per Polar Light's current style so don't throw out/recycle the box till you are finished.

It comes with two black plastic stands as well as a decal sheet (mostly for the Grissom and includes naming options for other Oberth class ships seen in various Star Trek series or movies.)

Very straight forward simple snap together kit.


I opted to base paint each of the sub assemblies first before detail painting, weathering and decals added as per pictures from the movies or TV series or from the internet. The Bird of Prey was actually easier as it only had a few decals to add which made the thing a very quick painting session.

I used Tamiya XF-71 as the base green color applied with an airbrush. The various green colored panels were brush painted Tamiya XF-5 Flat Green or XF-67 NATO Green. I used Model Master Acrylic Insignia Red with a brush for the red feathers underneath and Mission Models Dark Ghost Grey for the various grey parts while the Klingon Disruptor Cannons were brush painted Vallejo Metal Color Magnesium. The engine exhaust was bursh painted Glossy Red, Clear Red, Yellow and metallic Grey.

When the paint was dry, I sprayed on a thin gloss coat of Future. When that was dry, I added the decals as per the instructions. I didn't encounter any issues with the Klingon decals using MicroSol/Set and the odd drop of Solvaset.

After the decals dried, I used an oil paint wash of 50/50 Burnt Umber/Black mixed 1:1 with thinner to pop out the details. When it was dry I sprayed on thick coat of Tamiya Flat XF-86 to seal them in.

Once the parts were dry, I glued them together for the final assembly. The wingtip disruptors don't have the most solid fit so I used CA glue to attach them to model.

The Grissom wasn't as straight forward as the Klingon Bird of Prey. I glued some of the parts together based on the paint scheme. The parts and sub-assemblies were painted flat white first then sprayed either silver, pearl white or XF-23 Light Blue. The underside pod was the worst because it required a lot of masking in awkward shapes/places. It took a couple of tries to correct overspray and paint leaking thru the tape.

Once the parts and sub-assemblies were painted to my satisfaction, I sprayed on Xtracrylix Gloss coat to prepare for the decals. And there are a lot of decals for such a small model. I had the hardest time with the underside pod (again) because of the shape and the awkward (relatively) large decals that didn't fit the curves as well as I hoped. I had to use a fair amount of Solvaset to get them to snuggle down into the detail. I'm not all that happy how the decals for the underside pod worked out, but it looks okay from a distance (and there was no way to correct the issues.) Once the decals were dry, I wiped down the parts to remove excess solvent and glued them together.

I used Xtracrlyix Semi gloss for the final coat. I didn't weather the Grissom like I did the Klingon Bird of Prey because Federation ships have fairly clean surfaces compared to the grimy Klingons.


The 1/1000 scale fits in with the other ships and gives one the relative sizes of each in comparison to the USS Enterprise. The Klingon BoP is the best of the two kits with a straight forward paint scheme and build. The Grissom is easy to build, but the decals and paint scheme makes things more complicated than expected. I would recommend the BoP for any builder, but the Grissom requires a modeller to have some experience with large fiddly decals and masking many small areas.

Dan Lee

19 April 2021

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