Monday, February 28, 2011

Accurate Parts for your AMT/ERTL Excelsior and Enterprise B

Wow, my highlight for the AMT Round 2 USS Enterprise B apparently must have upset quite a few people judging from some of the email feedback I received (and how fast I am getting them). Apparently many were not aware of some of the discrepancies found on the older kits (AMT/ERTL Excelsior and Enterprise B) and wants to know where they can get aftermarket parts. Some have even felt "cheated" having bought a sub standard kit. I can understand the frustration.

Though I welcome requests, feedback and comments, I would also appreciate it if a few of you could refrain from using very strong profanities even if you're talking about the old AMT/ERTL. I know they're not directed at me, its just that I don't find them constructive and its only going to make you more upset. 

BTW .. ahem, just to be clear, I'm not affiliated in any way with Round 2 or ERTL/AMT, so I can't speak for them. But what I will say is that it is better to have a "not so accurate kit", than to have no kit at all. In some of your cases where you have already build yours, there's really not much you can do unless we're talking about "salvaging her"? For those others who have an unbuild Excelsior or the older Enterprise B kit, well, you're in luck.

What I can do is to list down some of the accurate aftermarket parts that are available to you, but do take note, these accurate parts do not address ALL the parts you may need. Some may require you to get those parts from other kits as I know of no aftermarket parts made for them. And yes, I agree that buying a second set of AMT Round 2 Enterprise B is a waste if you're buying her just for spare parts.

From Don's Light and Magic (DLM)

I can vouch for Don's Light and Magic as I have ordered direct from him and I am a very happy and satisfied customer (and no, he's not paying me for this either. Credit goes where credit's due). His resin casts are VERY detailed, with no air bubbles and flashes to clean. Comes highly recommended if you want a more accurate kit. So if you're building the USS Excelsior/Enterprise B/Lakota, and looking into lighting her and adding detailed parts:

The Excelsior Parts consist of:
Bridge Piece, Clear Resin
Planetary Sensor Array Spotlights (6) Clear Resin Parts
Impulse Engine Crystals (Clear Blue resin)
Photon Torpedo Launchers (2) Forward, gray resin
Photon Torpedo Launchers Aft, gray resin
Phaser Emitter Bumps (20 on a thin sheet)
Warp Engine Dekoids (2)

The Enterprise “B” set consist of:
Bridge Piece, Clear Resin
Planetary Sensor Array Spotlights (6) Clear Resin Parts
Impulse Engine Crystals (Clear Blue resin)
Navigational Main Deflector Dish, Clear Blue Resin
Photon Torpedo Launchers (2) Forward, gray resin
Photon Torpedo Launchers Aft, gray resin
Phaser Emitter Bumps (20 on a thin sheet)
Warp Engine Bussard Collectors (2) Clear Blue Resin

These parts are for model builders who will not be lighting up their Excelsior Class Starship. Made of solid gray polyurethane resin. The parts consist of:

Photon Torpedo Launchers (2) Forward, gray resin
Photon Torpedo Launchers Aft, gray resin
Warp Engine Dekoids (2)
Phaser Emitter Bumps (20 on a thin sheet)

1/1000 scale Excelsior/Enterprise B/Lakota Decals
Check out the amount of details on the decals from Don's Light and Magic for the 1/1000 scale Excelsior/Enterprise B/Lakota Decals. You need to know that Round 2 have not announced anything on coming out with a separate set of those "Aztec" decals even for their new AMT Round 2 kit. You may want to get these.

That's about it and I'll let you all know if there's anything else new coming from DLM for the ERTL/AMT Excelsior/Enterprise B kit.

Excelsior/Enterprise-B Replacement Neck/Saucer/Bridge
To correct the older Excelsior/Enterprise B lower saucer section, neck and bridge, you're going to need this set from Starship Modeler

Replacement one-piece neck, lower saucer and bridge for the 1/1000 AMT/ERTL Excelsior and Enterprise-B kits.  The replacement for the underside of the saucer corrects the planetary sensor array and includes the "trench" around where the neck connects. It also has engraved instead of raised panel lines.
These are d
rop-fit replacements; only very minor kit surgery required for use.  Master patterns by Brent Richter.

I just checked that site and WOW .... there's only 1 unit left. First come first serve guys.

And lastly with regards to the Excelsior's pylon piece, unfortunately I do not know of anyone who has made a replacement part for this. Until there's an aftermarket part made available, I'm afraid you need to ask around if anyone out there has a spare Enterprise B pylon piece they're willing to part with.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Review of AMT Round 2 Cadet Series 1/2500 scale USS Enterprise Kits

The AMT Round 2 Cadet series is aptly named for its simplicity (very minor painting required, comprehensive decals and simple snap-fit assembly) and I believe these kits were designed to mainly cater to the beginner. But I have found that many professionals opt on getting these as even at 1/2500 scale
(very small), they are quite detailed, and they all come in the same scale, giving them dimensions relative to their actual sizes if compared side by side. Who can say no when these are Starships we have come to love.

The Cadet series is basically a repackaged form of the old AMT/ERTL kits. Set 1 previously came with the Classic Enterprise, the Refit, and the Enterprise D, while Set 2 completed the range with the Enterprise B, C and E.

AMT/ERTL 1/2500 scale Enterprise Set 1 and Set 2

With the Cadet Series, the first set is now repackaged with the Classic Enterprise, the Refit and Enterprise B. Enterprise C, D and E comes in their own separate triangular boxes. They are basically the same, using the same mold as with their earlier predecessor, but they now comes with very comprehensive decals packed together.

The only things that were omitted out from the Cadet Series were the display stands for these kits. In the earlier issues, those fancy display stands took up most of the box space as the ships were relatively small at 1/2500 scale. By removing the display stands, the kits can now come in those cute but unworkable triangular box. I didn't like them for 2 reasons, the first being its harder to keep them among my stash as there's no way to prop the boxes together properly, and second, try putting the parts back in again - especially the Enterprise D. I had to spend some time test fitting its parts still on their Spruce to fit in just nice.

As for their display stands, its looking like you may need to get creative. The Classic Enterprise, Refit and Enterprise B no longer have those gaps underneath so you may need to drill through for a display rod to fit. I do have some suggestions later on in this topic.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Review of the 1/1000 scale AMT Round 2 USS Enterprise B Kit

Here's a hot one. I know there are many out there that are huge fans of the Excelsior Class starships. I'm one too but unfortunately there aren't many kits out there for these (counting those resin kits as well), and even fewer in large scales. Technically the Enterprise B is a revamp of the Excelsior Studio model, which was later re designated as the USS Lakota (they're similar in design and patterns except for the registry change).

For this review, I will be comparing all 3 available plastic kits that are in 1/1000 scale from ERTL/AMT, PLATZ and from AMT Round 2. Interesting to note that PLATZ is a Japanese brand (I think) and their release merely improved on the decals. The parts' mold remain virtually identical to ERTL/AMT kit

Problem with both the ERTL/AMT and PLATZ kits was that the inaccurate parts are similar since both kits used the same mold. The most significant part in question would be the lower saucer section where the "neck" connects to the secondary hull. Major corrective surgery and aftermarket replacement neck was needed to correct these, but not so with the new AMT Round 2 kit. Those parts were corrected from the mold, hence you get a more accurate rendition of the Enterprise B seen on the movie screen.

From the different brands packaging, I'll vote for AMT Round 2's as the box is sturdier, and the parts fit in snugly inside unlike the ERTL/AMT and PLATZ boxes where there were like 70% empty spaces inside. PLATZ did use better cardboard material for their boxes though.

UPDATE: Aftermarket parts for the ERTL/AMT Excelsior and older Enterpise B kit are highlighted HERE

My Review of the 1/537 scale AMT Round 2 USS Reliant Kit

I actually received this kit a few days ago and boy, have I got a ton of excuses for not getting this review done on time. First, my cat gave birth, then I caught the flu cause I spent too much time outside in the heat taking care of the cat .. yadda yadda yadda ..... so after some heavy dosage of medication and snooze time, I'm feeling much better to get this done. So here's AMT Round 2 USS Reliant in 1/537 scale

What I plan to do with this review is to compare her with an earlier issue since Round 2 have done some retooling to this kit. Interesting to note that Round 2 has also released the Aztec decals for this kit and I'm waiting for Starship Modeler (SSM) to carry some stock before I order her.

First thing that is worth mentioning is the packaging. No more over sized flimsy box with 70% extra space inside. Round 2 actually provided a nice sturdy box and the parts fit inside snugly. Even the decals now come with wax paper protection.

On the left in the battered box is the earlier issue of the Reliant under the ERTL/AMT banner while on the right is the recent re-tooled issue of the same ship

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming Summer 0f 2011 : E.T. Sequel

I grew up with E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, watching Drew Barrymore grow up through the movies, and I even once did an excellent art project drawing and painting E.T. That cute huggable alien we all grew to love was harmless, friendly and an inspiration to aspiring astronomers.

What else could you expect from a Steven Spielberg production. The show touched millions of hearts.

So when a sequel comes out in a form like this ........

ET Sequel: "ET-X" (Extended Trailer)

All I want to say is ... "What The Hell .......????? " Will the new movie win hearts over, or cause a mass opposite reaction like it did me? Guess we will have to wait and see

UPDATE : OK, just realised this is a nicely done ..... "What If". Thanks to Kertrats for the heads up. Did some checking and this show ain't happening - PHEWWWW!!!!! And yeah, I was tricked with this one .. very nicely done though

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Outer Space Outfitters Lighting Panels are now Restocked at CultTVman Hobbyshop

Finally after waiting for what seems like ages, Outer Space Outfitters have once again reissued some of these highly sought after lighting panels. They are now restocked over at CultTVman Hobbyshop but I'm not sure how long these will stay restocked.

As promised, I am highlighting them here so as to alert some of you to go get them NOW. Please bear in mind that these items may go out of stock anytime soon judging from the amount of feedback I have received for them, so I would recommend if you can to get yours ASAP before its too late. I myself don't fancy waiting another 6-8 months for another re-stock.

Here is something interesting. I wasn't aware that an accurization set was still available for the ERTL/AMT Shuttle Galileo II kit, and it does look VERY tempting. Kit includes rear engine bulkhead, landing pads, rear landing strut, and nacelle details.  Please note that you will need to do some clean up on these resin parts. I might consider this set since I know Brad Hair's quality of work is simply superb. Just check out his work HERE

You'd need to go over to CultTVman Hobbyshop to see what else you need that's restocked. And it looks like a lot of stuff including some new kits are available now.

Its Official! New 2009 Movie Enterprise from Polar Lights is Cancelled

It was only expected  looking at the way information and images from Round 2's blog could mysteriously disappear. Some may rejoice while others will mourn, and as for me, well, it would be nice to be able to have her in my collection.

Their official statement:

Round 2 is not proceeding with development on the U.S.S. Enterprise model kit, as based on the 2009 film, Star Trek. We will continue to focus on classic Star Trek by reissuing nostalgic favorites and enhanced re-releases as well as some all-new tooling of favorite Trek subjects.

Steve Iverson of CultTVman perhaps rounded up the entire debacle over this development the best in his brief summary at his blog. Now we await to see the fate of the 1/350 scale Classic Enterprise.

Coming Soon : My reviews on AMT Round 2 Star Trek Kits and .....

Got these today. The package actually arrived on Saturday at my office and since I don't work Saturdays, the delivery guy sent it to the company's mailing room. Of course no one notified me.

My cousin however did inform me on Saturday that he had received his kits, so I had assumed mine was coming today (Monday). It had to. Both packages were sent out at the same time. Imagine to my horror as I waited .... and waited ... almost the whole day went by and nothing. I checked the tracking and it stated "attempted to make delivery on 19 Feb" .. I was like WTH!!!! Where could she be???

Then close to going home time, my office dispatch gave me a call and said, "Bruce, you have a package with us. Came last Saturday ..."  A little annoyed but I'm a happy camper now.

And I was suppose to begin an extensive review and comparison for each of these kits using their past releases as comparisons. I had all these planned out but because I spent too much time playing nurse to Momma Kitty (see last two post where she just gave birth), looks like the review will have to wait until much later. Need to turn in for the night as I have to still earn a living tomorrow. And I didn't realise playing nurse could be so tiring.

But here's what you can expect :

Received these today. The complete 1/2500 scale Enterprises, 1/537 scale reliant and the 1/1000 scale Enterprise B
I will be comparing these to their early issues, and I already know the "Enterpise C" still has her decals in error
As for these two, I want to see their Aztec decals .. later.

The Reliant will also be compared to her earlier issue - lots of corrected parts with this kit

As with the Enterprise B. Looking forward to compare her to see the completely new lower primary hull as well as a different "top" to the secondary hull. The planetary sensor dome is now also more accurate and there is a "trench" that was not on the lower saucer on the original kit

 Also coming will be my review on my humble collection of Patlabor Anime kits. It ain't much but from what I see, most of these already come pre-painted.

And lastly .... well, I saw this selling in a shop. She looked cute so I got her. My foray into the Naval Model Scene ... just don't know when that is going to happen yet.

Later folks. Need to catch some zzzzzz's now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT! Black Sun Models 1/72 Scale Galactic Recon Utility Craft

Good news people. I have received confirmation that Black Sun Models will be doing another run of the 1/72 scale Galactic Recon / Utility Craft (we know them as Raptors) coming soon in a month or two. Unfortunately the 1/48 scale will not be reissued as the masters for that scale is no longer available.

And I am announcing this as I have received quite a few feedback, requests and even offers about selling my Raptor kits which by the way, they're not for sale. Sorry.

So if you had missed out on this highly sought after kit of the Raptor, stay tuned to this blog as I'll make the announcement as to when she will be available. OR you can constantly check the Starship Modeler Shop site for any updates.

In the meantime, I just saw a fantastic build up of John Ross's 1/72 scale Raptor at Gallery. Click the link to see the rest of his beautiful build up kit. I'm going to use his build as reference to my own later