“Retro-Review” Kit Review: Starcrafts’ AGT Dreadnought Conversion Kit!

So there I was, surveying the stash, deciding on what models I wanted to pull out and finish this season.  I have a fair number of half-finished kits (DON’T WE ALL!) and a plan for the next couple models on the bench.  I knew I was going to be pulling out the Don’s Light & Magic clear parts to build a lit Nebula in the near future.  I like to work in pairs, though, and I had no clue what other kit I should be building in tandem.  The idea popped into my head, all sudden-like, in such an obvious ‘Aha!’ moment that would otherwise seem like bad scriptwriting, if it hadn’t been true.  I’d build and light an AGT Enterprise D as well!

Except for one problem.  I didn’t have an AGT conversion kit.

Oh, I’ve built one before, many moons ago before Starcrafts was Starcrafts.  Visit my gallery here and you can see the only remaining photo I know about of my Macro Trek “Future Enteprise” conversion….a fine kit for the time it was released, but definitely lacking in a few key areas of detail.  I’d never gotten around to purchasing the updated Starcrafts conversion kit.

One more problem, and I bet you who have seen the conversion are already two steps ahead of me.  “But, Nova,” you may say, “the resin kit has a lot of opaque parts.  You can only light the engine.”  Well, that’s true.  Or rather, it used to be.  After some emails back and forth, and through the goodness of his heart, Starcrafts has agreed to start selling custom orders for CLEAR RESIN conversion parts for his AGT kit!  Go ahead and celebrate a little.  I’ll wait.

Okay, that’s enough celebrating.  Let’s get down to business.  Here is a Retro-Review of a NEW version of a kit: a clear AGT Enterprise D conversion!

After a few emails and an agreed-upon price, I found myself the new proud owner of yet another box of delicious-smelling resin:

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I’ve reviewed enough Starcrafts kits for this next part to be practically boilerplate:  Sturdy white cardboard box, well packed and almost overflowing with foam peanuts (I simply do not know how he fits them all; they never all go back in), with an assortment of loose resin and bagged small bits.  Here’s the parts layout for you.

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For a conversion kit, it’s relatively parts-heavy.  16 resin pieces, in clear and opaque resin, are nestled tightly among the aforementioned styrofoam peanuts.  There are a few pieces that will have no light transmission which Starcrafts kept opaque, but he went all out for the clear bits.  If there was even a single lighted window or greeblie on the part, he cast it in clear.  Even a couple parts I didn’t expect to be cast this way got the clear treatment.  It goes without saying that I was very happy when I opened the box!

The detail on this is really very nice.  There is minimal flash on the resin, and compared to the old Macro Trek model I used to own, this iteration of the model is a huge step up.  I found little greeblies on this model that I had no idea were on the studio model until I started looking for images on the web.  His phaser canon, upper pod, and weapons “spikes” are all pretty much spot-on.

I did notice a certain texture on the clear resin parts that seemed….strange.  Not all the parts are perfectly smooth; in fact, the texture is almost a crackle.  I’m not sure if that’s a function of the clear resin reacting with the mold, or if it was intentional, but it doesn’t look like it will interfere with the model.  A little light sanding on the affected parts should clear up the problem in 10 minutes or less.  The parts I noticed it the most on were the upper weapons pod (see the above image) and the pylon going from the strongback to the upper warp engine.  Everything else seemed fine.

Speaking of the pylon and strongback, here are some closer shots of the parts.  These new impulse engines are huge.  They’re going to look great lit up with some red LEDs.  The part fits snugly against the kit part, and you will use the shuttlebays on the original kit part to align the conversion piece.  Just don’t use the shuttlebay doors from the kit and you’ll be fine.  You can see all the windows on the strongback (and some on the pylon) that will shine through with light once everything is wired up.  These windows, and the impulse engines, are the main reason I wanted this conversion in clear.  Seems a shame to go through all the trouble to light your model, yet have 1/4 of the ship in darkness when you power her up.

I’ll be honest with you, this came as a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting the BFG to be cast in clear.  There are a couple windows in the section closest to the neck, but that’s it.  So it was a nice treat to see this come out of the package!  Since it IS in clear, I think I’m going to light up a couple non-canon spots for some visual appeal when we get down the road.

As you can see, the main parts dry-fit together very snugly and will require just a bit of sanding to get them flush.  The instructions are the standard Starcrafts one-page assembly and tips diagram, with some nice color references for painting and pinstriping the add-on parts.  You can also find some great references for painting right here as well.

All in all, I give this a very solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.  As this kit is a few years old, there are a couple details that aren’t quite right, and the odd texture will need to be corrected on a couple parts, but the new clear parts to allow you really get in there and light this bad boy up right.  Although I wouldn’t be too sure about recommending this to a new resin modeler, I would be 100% confident in telling anyone who has had one or two resin models under their belt that they would be completely happy with this purchase.  If you want to add this to your collection in the new clear resin, simply email Starcrafts and let him know what you wish to order.  The regular version of the AGT conversion is $65, and the new clear version will be an extra $15 to the order.  Happy modeling!

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