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NX-01

Bandai 1/850 USS Enterprise NX-01 Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2004 Manufacturer Bandai
Subject USS Enterprise NX-01 Scale 1/850
Kit Number 122721 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Snap-together construction, pre-finished, internal lighting, fast build Cons Out of Production
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of Production

Background

After Zefram Cochran discovered the warp drive and subsequently made first contact with a Vulcan exploration vessel, Earth wanted to explore the stars beyond where the limited warp one and warp two ships could reach. Despite the limited help offered by our Vulcan 'allies', the fledgling Star Fleet was ready to launch its first warp five capable ship - the Enterprise NX-01.

Of course this latest Star Trek series serves as a prequel to the first Star Trek television series of the 1960s. Despite its first season where the crew would stop and ponder each new situation, the current season has been blessed with some outstanding scripts and mission that pulls the viewer along with great interest. Even when this particular story line concludes, the writers have a vast array of potential stories yet to tell.

The Kit

It seems like only a month or two ago that we tackled Bandai's last Enterprise installment, but it was actually last November when we build the USS Enterprise NCC-1701E. Nevertheless, Bandai has turned out another installment in the Star Trek legacy - the Enterprise NX-01.

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NX-01 NX-01
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As with their NCC-1701A and NCC-1701E kits, the NX-01 comes completely painted and marked. And as with the previous two kits, this one is a snap-tite assembly that can be built in a few hours. In fact, NX-01 goes together faster and easier that its predecessors.

Molded in black styrene and clear plastics, the kit features some of the best surface detailing yet. The only place you'll see the black styrene is on the stand after you're finished. The rest of the kit has an outstanding paint job. The panel shading on the hull (top photo) is stunning and makes me grimace a bit at the thought of masking and painting that same pattern on the upcoming larger scale NX-01 from Polar Lights. At least I have a terrific painting guide handy!

Construction

The engineers at Bandai have been learning from each release. While the design of the NX-01 is naturally simpler than the NCC-1701A and NCC-1701E, the assembly process has also been improved with better power connectors, more wire channels to ensure that everything stays in place during assembly.

NX-01

Construction begins with the warp nacelles which have light pipes inside to distribute light along the sides of the nacelles as well as out the front domes. This is the only heartburn I have with this kit as the light doesn't distribute as evenly as the light pipes in the nacelles of the NCC-1701E. The light level out the red front domes is also a bit dim as well. Nevertheless, assembly is quick and painless.

The huge light pipe that illuminates the saucer section is quite effective and all of the appropriate port holes, sensor grids, etc., light up nicely. The only challenge in this step is getting the saucer section's navigation lights to stay put during assembly.

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As with the previous two Enterprises, the stand doubles as the battery holder and power switch. They have made improvements to the switch contacts as this kit did not need any 'tweaking' to adjust the contacts.

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Final assembly is nothing more than snapping the stand onto the starship and fitting the appropriate cover plate on the hull. On my example, the cover plate that goes with using the stand does not want to stay snapped in place. I have avoided the temptation to glue the sucker as I will no-doubt want to change a bulb or something in the future.

Conclusion

These have to be some of the most expensive snap-tite kits on the market (though I think the Gundam community has these beat), but these are not your kids' snap-tites! These models go together smoothly, do not require painting or decals, and have a museum-quality finish when completed. If you are a starship lover and/or a dyed-in-the-wool Trekie, you've got to get these starships!

NX-01

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