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Refit Enterprise 1701 Aztec Paint Masks

Aztec Dummy 1/350 Refit Enterprise 1701 Aztec Paint Masks First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Aztec Dummy Productions
Subject Refit Enterprise 1701 Aztec Paint Masks Scale 1/350
Set Number - Media Vinyl
Pros Will save significant time and frustration replicating Aztec patterns Cons Costs as much as the kit!
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $50.00

First Look

Refit Enterprise 1701 Aztec Paint MasksThere you are, admiring your new Polar Lights 1/350 scale USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (refit) or NCC-1701A, when it dawns on you that a simple one-color finish wasn't going to work on this version as it did with the original TV version. Someone came up with the concept of 'Aztec' pattern designs.

So what is Aztecing? In the context of a starship model, it is the application of slighly different colors and/or combinations of gloss/flat surfaces to render detail to the eye where an otherwise flat surface would be. It visually adds detail to the model where physical detail doesn't exist. Aztecing on one of the smaller AMT/ERTL starships is nice-looking, but on this kit, it is hard NOT to Aztec without the final model looking too simple or bland.

The kit instructions provide a set of templates for you to cut Aztec patterns out of Frisket paper. I pondered that option for a few milliseconds and wondered if there wasn't a better way. The solution. is Aztec Dummy Paint Masks. At $50.00 per set, they're just about as expensive as the kit itself, but the set comes with four full sheets plus two additional strips of masks to selectively cover the upper and lower saucer sections, the engines, and the support pylons. Indeed, the time saved alone is worth the expense (to me). You can see in the image to the right (click to enlarge) the masks to replicate the Aztec patterns and panels on the surface of the model.

If you're looking for an easy way to achieve a similar look to the studio model of the USS Enterprise, and especially if you're going to go to all of the trouble to light the model, this set is definitely a must-have!