Model building is not for the faint of heart. It takes money (the kits, the tools, the paints), patience (Rome wasn’t built in a day), skills (it helps if you are innately talented), and lots of space to display your finished pieces. Once upon a time I had the skills and the patience, but not the money or the space. Now I have the latter but lack the former, dang it!
It’s not all a lost cause because luckily for me there are the ‘Cadet’ series Star Trek kits from good ol’ AMT/Round 2. I stumbled upon the set of Enterprise models at 1/2500 scale several years ago and figured since I once was pretty good at model building surely I could do it again. So on an impulse (as always) I purchased the 6 original ships and felt pretty good about my decision to embark on that project.
After all how hard could it be? I do pretty good job with 1:1 scale prop replicas, I have attention to detail, and as a parent of 2 I have sharped my skills de patience, surely I could make this happen. I opened the first package, looked over all the pieces, examined all the decals and put it all back away for about 2 years.
Yeah I don’t know what I was thinking. Who has time for something like this? So time went by and really about a year later I unexpectedly had a lot of time on my hands. What I really didn’t end up having was much use of my actual hands (eventually I will make a blog post about this very cryptic sentence). It really did take me 2 years to get back to these rather simple models but I finally decided it was time to make it happen. I love the Enterprise E and really my second favorite is the Enterprise D but I wasn’t about to do this backwards, I started with Kirk’s Enterprise from TOS. And I’m glad I did. It was the perfect gateway model.
One quick note here: It says no glue or paints needed but that’s really not true. Be prepared to use glue if you’d like the pieces to stay together, and be willing to use paint if you want them to look half way decent.
Not a lot of decals on this first Enterprise and very minimal paint needed for a good finished product.
The Enterprise Refit (with an extra decal should you wish to make it the Enterprise A) certainly had a lot more decals, all the aztecing of the ship done that way, and also using multiple layers but over all not terrible. And Captain Harriman’s Enterprise B wrap up the first package. The B was the first one to require more glue as some of the thin pieces just wouldn’t stay together.
At this point I was exhausted but feeling pretty good about myself. A good place to call it a day, take some glamour pics, pat myself on the back, and go to bed. 3 down 3 to go.
For lack of better options (the sets don’t include any kind of stand) I am using Lego based stands.
The next session begins with the often forgotten Ambassador Class starship USS Enterprise 1701-C. Perhaps the ugly duckling of the bunch but it certainly deserves more love than it gets from model makers. DST made the Excelsior and will release a Reliant before they ever consider doing the C, what’s up with that?
For me, one of the best things about these sets is that they are all to scale with each other. I just love seeing how large something is compared to something else. Uh but only when it comes to starships… These sets give you a really great idea of just how much larger Captain Garret’s Enterprise was compared to Kirk’s or even Harriman’s.
You will note a general lack of progress pictures for the Enterprise C because at many occasions during her build I considered trashing her, and even scrapping the entire project. Her decals musta been old or extra cheap or something because they were impossible to work with. Didn’t stick, cracked and split all the time, didn’t fit right, argh! Compared to the relative ease I had been treated to so far I was just flabbergasted. Over all I am not happy with how she turned out and I was very worried the other two ships would give me the same kind of grief.
Finally however she was done. Again my time building Lego sets with my kids has paid off.
Building the Enterprise D proceeded as quickly and easily as the first 3 ships had. Yes it had a shit-ton of decals to be done and probably the most paint but all totally worth it. Star Trek TNG is the show that really made me a Star Trek fan and as such the Enterprise D will always rank very highly on my list of favorite ships. She gave us saucer separations, holodecks, Ten Forward, a wonderful aesthetically pleasing bridge, and slew of characters to love.
And I was able to put her up against another 1/2500 model I have from another of my favorite Sci-fi franchises. To see how large she was in comparison. Really only starships…
Last but not least (and yes I know I don’t have the NX-01 or the Enterprise J or for crissake the JJ Prise but those are worth a whole blog post on their own don’t you think?) we come to Picard’s second Enterprise, the Enterprise E. The most advanced ship in the fleet. To be honest though at this stage in the project I was pretty much burning out. If I had to put on one more decal, why I ougtha… I was overall happy with them all but I realized this wasn’t something I would necessarily want to do very often and that I was the reason companies nowadays sell pre-finished kits. I certainly was glad these ships had such extensive sets of decals, I certainly couldn’t have done them up this well with paint alone. My hands just aren’t steady enough and it’s been too long since I had done a lot of model building. Not sure it really was my cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot) anymore.
All Good Things…
And although I felt my Lego stands were pretty ingenious I did feel these deserved a bit better. I nabbed some Playmates action figure stands and converted them for these ships.