U.S.S. Enterprise Refit (Enterprise-A)
from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979)
About the Design
Although billed as a "refit" of the original U.S.S. Enterprise, the motion picture Enterprise was actually a whole new ship, from the proportions of its primary hull to the bulk of its engineering section to the shape of its nacelles. Not only was the ship significantly more angular and infinitely more detailed than the original TV miniature, but it was the first to feature what became known as an "Aztec" exterior paint scheme; that is, instead of being a single color, the exterior was checker-boarded with panels of various shades of the ship's base color, giving it a much more convincing sense of reality and scale. The "Aztec" color scheme would be used on all subsequent "Star Trek" spacecraft, and taken to extremes in the coloring of the digitized ships used on the "Babylon 5" TV series of the 1990s.
About the Kit
Bandai's U.S.S. Enterprise, released in Spring 2003, represented a major shift in the creation and marketing of Star Trek model kits. First, Paramount Studios issued licenses simultaneously to Bandai for the Japanese market and Polar Lights for North America; this meant that American hobbyists had to either buy the Bandai kit through a Japanese reseller (such as Hobby Link Japan) or find a stateside hobby shop that carried exotic Japanese imports. Second, Bandai designed this kit in a much smaller scale than American audiences were accustomed to, but compensated by issuing the model pre-painted, including excellent Aztec-style exterior paneling. Finally, this was not a traditional "glue" kit, but a "snap-together" model (Actually, it was more of a "squeeze-together" kit!) designed to appeal to the casual hobbyist -- this despite its exotic $50 to $70 price tag. The model came with an internal lighting kit -- that this particular builder chose not to include. (Internal lighting seems pointless when photographing kits under photo spots!)
This model was built from an original issue.