Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-A, 1:2500 scale by Martin Schultz

Here we go again.  This time it’s the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A from the movie Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home. My kit came from the AMT 3 piece Enterprise Kit #6618 which contained the original series NCC-1701, the NCC-1701-A from the movies and the NCC-1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show.

You can get the same kit with better decals in the re-issued AMT Cadet Series U.S.S. Enterprise Starship Set Kit #660. Yes, it is a snap kit, but it can be built up into a nice looking model.  I’m going to use the Absolute models decals on this build and the Cadet Series issued decals on an Enterprise 1701 Refit build later since the -A is separate on the name decal.

Here is what you get.  This sprue is from the AMT#660 Cadet Series release from 2010, same as the earlier AMT #6618 3 piece set .

For comparison, here is the sprue from the Cadet series Motion Picture Set Kit AMT#762 from 2012.  The copyright date is on the inside of the saucer.  The changes in the arrangement of the parts on the sprues indicates this is a new tooling for this ship.  The panel lines have been removed from the primary and secondary hull, engines and shuttle bay doors and there are a number of other changes including a lower bridge dome, concave deflector dish and the impulse engines.

First I assembled the primary and secondary hulls and nacelles, then sanded off the large panel lines.

I had placed a block of styrene inside the secondary hull, so that when I drilled a hole in the bottom of the secondary hull I could insert a brass rod to use with a stand.  I attached the warp drive pylons to the secondary hull and added the nacelles.  I trimmed off the attachment pins and used Ambroid Pro Weld to glue everything together.  Here is what it looks like with a coat of Tamiya Grey Primer. It’s looking like a starship now.

After sitting in primer for 3 ½ years I finally got back to work on the ship.  I started with a base coat of Tamiya Pure White.

The Tamiya paint is thin, so several coats were necessary to cover the grey primer.

In an effort to make the kit look more like the filming miniature I experimented with nail polish (not white enough), iridescent embossing powders (great, if I wanted to mask series of panels for each shade of blue, green and pearl) and Tamiya Pearl White (PS-27), before I decided that all that work might not show up under the decals, so I decided to just use the Tamiya Pearl White.

I sprayed several coats of Pearl White over the base coat.  In this photo you can see that I ended up with too many coats of paint which made some of the features lose their sharp edges.  Next time I will either decant the spray paint and use my air brush, or just use pearl powder with an airbrushed clear carrier.  I polished the paint with Novus #2 plastic polish to make sure there would not be any problems with silvering under the decals.

Now I was ready for the decals.  I had decided to use the Absolute models decals since the decals in the original kit amounted to the name and number and not much else.  The decals from the Cadet Series kit have additional Aztec patterns for the bottoms of the engine nacelles which are not present on the Absolute models sheet.

I started decaling with the deflector dish and the engine pylons.  The decals respond well to Solvaset and heat.  In this photo you should also be able to see the pearl effect on the saucer.

Next up was the neck and the bottom of the saucer.  Trim the clear carrier from the areas where you need a close match, like between the neck and the saucer.  Trim and test fit several times before soaking the decal off the paper.

After positioning the decal as best I could, I ended up with a ridge of extra material in one area.  I let the decal dry like this, and at the base of the crease there was almost no gap.  Later I used a knife with a brand-new blade to cut the extra off and then more Solvaset and heat to get the small remaining raised edge to lay down.

Next came the top saucer decal,  Again, I trimmed to fit before soaking the decal.

Test Fitting

Initial application of the decal.

I use this type of makeup applicator to roll across the decal to squeeze out the liquid underneath before an application of Solvaset.

One thing I missed at this stage was lining up the thrusters between the top and bottom of the saucer. I didn’t see that error until I was applying the decal to the saucer edge. Here you can see the mis-alignment of the thrusters between the upper and lower saucer decals.

Upper secondary hull and Engine decals.

Lower secondary hull.

Impulse engines, strongback  and bridge decals applied.



Decal application continued over several modeling sessions until I was finished.  I was happy to see that some of the pearl effect does show through the decals.  After the decals dried for a week or more,  I gave the entire model a coat of Testors Dullcoat to seal the decals.  Overall I am pretty happy with how this one turned out.

Start date:  September of 2011.

Completion date: December 2016.



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