AMT 1/650 USS Enterprise Tholian Web Edition Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2011||Manufacturer||AMT|
|Subject||Star Trek USS Enterprise Tholian Web Edition||Scale||1/650|
|Kit Number||0695||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Interesting glow option for some; new Tholian ships; outstanding decal sheet||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.95|
Round 2 Models has issued a special edition of this classic starship kit. Somewhere along the line, someone figured that this kit was 1/650 scale but you'll also see references to the 18" kit refering to the length of the model after assembly. Either way they're refering to this tooling of the classic television starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 that created a cult following in the 1960s that continues on across many generations today.
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.
While the kit has undergone a number of changes over the years, so have the owners of the tooling. AMT/ERTL has the licenses from Paramount to originally produce this model in the 1960s. The AMT/ERTL brand was acquired by a company called Racing Champions who were really after the die-cast model assets of AMT/ERTL and the plastic modeling side of the business nearly disappeared. Several years ago, Round 2 Models aquired the AMT/ERTL brand rights and the plastic model tooling and have gradually rolled out many kits that haven't seen the light of day in many years. One such kit was the classic USS Enterprise.
This special edition differs from the original reissue in two key areas. First, the kit is molded in glow-in-the-dark styrene should you want to build the ghostly USS Defiant from the original series episode 'Tholian Web'. Second is the newly tooled Tholian web ships (two of them) also molded in glow-in-the-dark styrene. The kit features the superset decal sheet from the original reissue and a card stock background with the web background as seen growing around USS Enterprise in the same episode.
The kit is presented on four parts trees, plus the two saucer section halves, the Tholian web ship sections, 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.
My sincere thanks to Round 2 Models for this review sample!