Thursday, May 26, 2011

Polar Lights Model - U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701

This week, we celebrate Zach Trek's fiftieth item. If you’ve been on Zach Trek before, then this item should look familiar:

This Polar Lights model of the Enterprise is what I used for the header image above. That was, in fact, one of the primary things I wanted it for.

Although I was very pleased with how this model turned out, Polar Lights is guilty of some false advertising on their packaging, as we'll see below. The kit does not contain everything you need to have your model looking like any of those pictured on the box, front or back. The back clearly says, “No paint required,” yet if you don’t find a way to add color to several of the pieces, you end up with something that looks very incomplete.

The set comes with extra pieces to make several different versions of the Enterprise, as pictured on the back. Surprisingly, the box does not mention or show that there are also extra parts and stickers to make this a model of the mirror Enterprise. There are also different stickers or decals to make it the Constellation, the Defiant, or the Exeter instead of the Enterprise.

When I first opened the box I pulled out a sheet of decals and began reading the instructions -- and panicking. I’ve never used decals before and they sounded a little more involved than I was expecting. I was very relieved to discover that there was a matching sheet of stickers. The stickers were challenge enough for me -- there were almost 40 to put on, and some of them were so small I had to use a pair of tweezers to get them in the right position.

I’ll explain in the photos below how I got this from looking like the Constellation to looking like the Enterprise (Zach Trivia: The Constellation, as seen in The Doomsday Machine, was, in fact, an AMT Enterprise model, made and then damaged, with the name and numbers on the hull changed).

Let's start out with a look at the box, which is really pretty nice.

Once you get the lid off, you get to see these
images on the bottom half of the box.

Now let's see the back. The back shows three variations of the
Enterprise you can make with this kit: The "series version" (which
is what I chose), the "1st pilot version," or the "2nd pilot version."
The box boasts "Paint Not Required," but notes that the models
pictured were made by a professional modeler. However, using
only the parts provided... ends up with this. The warp nacelles look a little dead, don't
they? And the sensor dish on the front is a little plain. I experimented
on some of the extra parts, and had little luck with paints, but I
finally discovered that colored Sharpie markers worked perfectly
on the clear pieces. I tried a metallic Sharpie for the sensor dish,
however, and it didn't work. I bought a gold paint pen, which was
too thick to reach every crevice of the area, but I managed to used it
with a small paint brush, resulting in...

...this. Ahh, Scotty finally got the warp drive online.

I also got the red and green lights on the saucer
correctly colored. boldly go where no man has gone before..."

Next Week on Zach Trek: I think it's high time that there should be a comic book on Zach Trek. Stop by next Thursday to see one.

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