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Enterprise Kit

Polar Lights 1/350 USS Enterprise NX-01 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Polar Lights
Subject USS Enterprise NX-01 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 4201 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Huge replica of the first Starship Enterprise to accompany the even larger NCC-1701 in this scale! Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $64.99

First Look

Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit
Enterprise Kit

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 the Vulcans, the fledgling Star Fleet was ready to push out into the galaxy.

Of course this last (for now?) Star Trek series served as a prequel to the first Star Trek television series of the 1960s. Before there was Captain James Tiberius Kirk and his USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, there was Captain Jonathan Archer and Star Fleet's first starship - USS Enterprise NX-01.

Despite its first season where the crew would stop and ponder each new situation, the later seasons were blessed with some outstanding scripts and mission that pull the viewers along with great interest. Unfortunately, since many of the television stations would run this syndicated show in some of the oddest time slots and then change those slots on a regular basis, it was next to impossible to see the show. It was no surprise when the show was cancelled due to lack of viewership - you can't watch what you can't find!

Before Polar Lights' parent company, Playing Mantis, was acquired by Racing Champions Corporation, the company was reissuing many of the outstanding science fiction kits started by Aurora eons ago. They didn't stop there, they improved on a few of them including the Chariot in the Lost in Space kit. The story didn't stop there as they starting releasing kits that Aurora never got around to, like the Lost in Space (TV) Jupiter II. With the mounting success of these releases, they pushed out into new territory and didn't look back.

One area they entered was the Star Trek universe, a subject previously dominated by another company that was later acquired Racing Champions - AMT/ERTL. While they issued several kits in the smaller scales, they blew everyone away with this one - a 1/350 scale NX-01! You can see just how large the Polar Lights' saucer section is in contrast to the assembled Bandai NX-01.

NX-01

The kit is molded in a very light gray styrene and is presented on seven parts trees, plus another six trees of clear parts (duplicate trees not shown). According to the box, the kit is comprised of over 270 parts, and on opening the box, they weren't kidding! I don't know what I was expecting, but having built the Bandai 1/850 scale Enterprise, you'd think I wouldn't be shocked at the sheer size of this model.

The detailing on the surface of the kit is scribed, though a bit on the heavy side. There is no sign of flash on any of the parts. You can see in the photos on the right just how nice this model looks.

In a model this size, another important factor is engineering. The model has some impressive design work in how it goes together. It has some heavy duty locator pins and spacers to ensure that everything goes together properly. Even more impressive is that the folks at Polar Lights had the saucer section halves and engine nacelle halves shipped dry-fitted together to ensure the least amount of warpage in the plastic by the time it reaches your bench.

The stand is an interesting silhouette of the starship. You'll want to add some weight to this base or laminate it to a larger base to ensure stability of what would otherwise be a top-heavy model.

While no provision is made to illuminate the finished model, the designers have clearly thought about lighting this beast up with many of the design decisions made. If you look at the clear parts, the domes and sides of the engine nacelles are clear, as are the impulse engines. There are lots of windows in the hull and superstructure that would also pop to life with a little back-lighting.

There are loads of stencils and markings included for the hull.

WOW!! I am still in awe over the size and engineering of this kit. It will look great sitting next to the Polar Lights 1/350 USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (movie version) one I can find enough space to part these two!

If you are a fan of the original Star Trek, this model is definitely a must-have!

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