Polar Lights Trek kits
Polar Lights USS Discovery and USS Shenzhou will examine the two most famous federation ships of recent times. With AMT and Polar Lights in the barn, Round 2 seemed the natural place to produce kits from the latest Star Trek TV series Discovery. The company did not disappoint and has now manufactured kits for the USS Discovery and the USS Shenzhou. In the 1: 2500 scale, they are smaller than many of the Polar Lights Trek kits, but fit the Cadet series, which has been expanded to include many of the franchise’s most important ships.
These kits have a molded color and are designed to snap together or slide together more precisely. They have a small number of parts and are easy to build for new model builders. The intricate surface patterns, often referred to as Aztec, would be challenging, but both kits contain a full set of decals that cover virtually every inch of the ship’s surface. Each also contains a three-part stand with a movable head.
The USS Discovery consists of 26 mostly golden plastic parts. The bridge glass, the navigation deflector, the buzzard collectors, and the pulse motors provide clear parts. I painted the inside of these parts before installing them.
I built Discovery into four subassemblies: primary hull including neck, engineering hull, and two gondolas. The fit of large sections, such as B. the double-disc primary hull fits together so that the seams are almost eliminated. I filled the seam between the halves with some super glue. The connection between the halves of the neck is harder to fill but is largely hidden by the washers.
Most parts fit well without glue, although for safety reasons I flowed in liquid cement. I struggled to keep the gondola halves closed around the rear end of the long clear inserts for the warp spools, so I added more glue.
Polar Lights USS Discovery and USS Shenzhou
The Shenzhou consists of 15 silver plastic parts and seven transparent parts for the bridge, the navigation deflector, and the components of the pulse and warps motor. The technique is good here too, and I only used filler material on the edge of the primary fuselage. For painting, I divided the ship into six sub-assemblies: primary hull; Engineering hull, two pylons, and the two warp gondolas. The clear inserts for the warp engines are difficult to see when the nacelles are together, and even more difficult to mask.
After masking the clear parts with duct tape and a microscale liquid mask, I brushed Discovery with Tamiya Titan Gold, which was lightened with a few drops of aluminum. Shenzhou was painted with a Tamiya spray can make of bare metal silver, which fits well with the plastic, but is a bit too light for the ship. I recommend Tamiya Metallic Gray as a better addition. My only complaint about these kits is their color charts. They are extensive and show the vessel from six sides, but the details can be difficult to see and the shading can make it difficult to see the necessary painting. This is particularly noticeable with Discovery when trying to determine the transition between bronze and light gold on the neck.
The highlight of both kits is the decals. The small diagrams can make the positions of some markers vague, but the decals fit almost perfectly and conform to the complex shapes, with a bit of support from microscale decal solutions and the tip of a # 11 blade. I only found a few glitches: With Discovery, the outer top window decals were a bit short, so I had to repair gaps with paint; and on Shenzhou, the windows on one of the bottom decals are in the wrong place. Adding the decals was time-consuming, but less than masking and painting these panels. I sealed it with a clear surface and pushed the parts together. When they were mounted on the stands (which I painted black), the little duo was ready to take on the Klingons.
These are beautiful kits and the colorful markings make them striking. The ease of assembly and the fact that they can be finished with spray cans and hand brushes make them great entry-level kits – just be prepared to spend three-quarters of the time with decals.