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USS Enterprise

AMT 1/650 Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer AMT/Round 2
Subject Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701 Scale 1/650
Kit Number 0609 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Outstanding decal sheet, great price Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.95

First Look

USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise

As I reported from the 2008 iHobbyExpo, the molds that were acquired by Racing Champions (RC2) over the last several years are coming back. A new company called Round 2 has scheduled the release of a number of kits under the AMT and Polar Lights brands that have not been available for a while. This kit was one of the toolings from AMT that remained in near-constant production from its introduction in the late 1960s to its retirement in the late 1990s.

What many folks don't appreciate is that this kit has undergone a number of subtle changes over the years. I remember having one of the first releases of the kit back in the 1960s where it had the grain-of-wheat bulbs in the saucer section that illuminated the clear bridge and ventral clear domes. What's more, the front domes on the engine nacelles were clear amber and were also illuminated. Rotating the circular base of the deflector shield on the engineering section would switch on and off the lights.

In subsequent releases, the lighting in the engine domes was eliminated, as were the clear amber engine domes themselves. This feature remains constant today. At some point over the years, the lighting and wiring was eliminated altogether, though you can still see the clear domes for the top and bottom of the saucer sections.

With Round 2's release of this kit, what is new? First of all, you'll note that the styrene is white (again). Issues of this kit from AMT/ERTL brand were gray, whilst my first example was white. Second, the raised detail on the upper saucer section is gone. The surface is smooth. You can read more about the differences between generations of this kit in Jay Chladek's article over on CultTVman's site.

So here we have the kit, molded in white styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus the two saucer section halves, and a small tree of clear parts. As memory serves, construction is straightforward though you will have to use some good liquid cement and allow time for the cement to dry/bond. Some folks will be tempted to use cyano, but that adhesive is not tolerant to flexing and any handling of this model will definitely cause twisting/flexing.

The big news in this kit is the decal sheet. In the past, you had to rely on aftermarket decals to obtain the intricate stenciling and windows to fill in the visual details on the kit. This sheet has the most thorough set of markings and stencils I've seen in a Star Trek kit. In fact, I think the only reason the kit box is back to its larger size is to accommodate this huge decal sheet - it doesn't fit on my scanner!

In addition to the stencils, the kit provides markings for other members of the Constitution-class starships including:

  • USS Constellation NCC-1017
  • USS Constitution NCC-1700
  • USS Defiant NCC-1764
  • USS Enterprise NCC-1701
  • USS Excalibur NCC-1664
  • USS Exeter NCC-1672
  • USS Farragut NCC-1647
  • USS Hood NCC-1703
  • USS Intrepid NCC 1631
  • USS Lexington NCC 1709
  • USS Potemkin NCC 1657
  • USS Republic NCC 1371
  • USS Yorktown NCC-1717
  • Plus ISS Enterprise NCC-1701 from Mirror Universe

If you're still not happy with the kit out of the box, there are quite a few aftermarket details available to light up the engines, accurize the bridge decks, and more. One of the best resources to release your AMS modeling drive is to stop by CultTVman's online shop where you can find lots of interesting updates for this kit. In fact, that is where I bought my kit!