“Retro-Review” Kit Review: Starcrafts’ 1/1400 scale Original Series Tug!

When Starcrafts first released his Original Series Constitution class Enterprise, he was almost immediately requested by the nascent online community to build sister ships for the Enterprise — the extended fleet that we first saw in the Franz Joseph tech manual, as well as the fan designed ships that have cropped up over the many years in publications like Starfleet Schematics, and other non-canon tech manuals of the day.  It took a little time to get around to it, but SC did indeed finally come around to releasing a few of the most well known fan designs: the Federation class Dreadnought, the Saladin class Scout ship, and the Ptolemy class tug.  I picked one up shortly after he released it in 2010.

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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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The parts all appeared clean and well cast.  There were no air bubbles or voids to fill in, but there was a fair little bit of flash, particularly with the container endcaps and the “magnetronic adhesion plate,” i.e., the curved hull plate that holds the container in place.  Starcrafts does provide a section of PVC tube to use for the cargo container.  The parts for the sensor dish are really well cast here and could practically be press-fit in place.

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Starcrafts deviated from the Franz Joseph specs here where the pylons meet the hull, and I think he made the right choice for this scale.  Instead of ending the pylons right at the interconnecting dorsal joint with no additional support, the Starcrafts model brings the pylons out just a bit and provides a larger surface area to mate into the primary hull.  This gives the parts much more support and will be far less likely to snap off in case an errant asteroid or toddler (whichever concerns you more) should accidentally come in contact with the ship.

Starcrafts Ptolemy Tug Decals
Kit Decals

The kit-provided decals that come in the box are perfectly fine — with one exception.  The ship is registered as the USS Ptolemy, NCC-3801, and the container has it’s own registration of NCC-1083 (as it should).  But the registry decals that go on the bottom of the ship’s saucer should read 3801, not 1083 as they do on the decal that was provided.  My copy was purchased in 2010 and I know Starcrafts was made aware of the error; I don’t know if it was ever corrected though.

But the decal issue got me thinking.  I wanted a few more decals for my container than were originally provided, and I wanted my ship to have a different name.  “A midsummer Night’s Dream” was running through my head at the time and, partly because Obron has been used a few times already in Star Trek lore, and also partly because it amused me to do so, I settled on the name of the father to fair Hermia, and the USS Egeus was born.  While I was drawing up those decals, however, I went a bit farther and decided to draw something that none of my TOS shis yet had: saucer grid lines, and the rust ring to go with it.

Aftermarket Decals
New Decals

The model assembles cleanly with very little work to be done beyond the standard steps any resin kit requires: some minor sanding and possible filling, followed by a good wash with a mild abrasive such as barkeepers friend to help remove any leftover mold release agent.  I pinned the parts together briefly to have a good look at the kit:

Those warp engine pylons worried me in the same manner that the TOS Enterprise and Coronado’s engines did.  Simply put there’s too much weight and torque on the pylons because of the length of the engines to be able to say they won’t bend some day in the future.  So I applied the same fix to this model that I do to all of my TOS era ships: thin brass strip on the pylons, laminated with CA glue, then blended with putty to make the transition fairly seamless.  It’s been years since I built this kit, and I’m happy to say that these engines are still firmly in place since the day I completed her.

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The caps for the cargo container lack any significant detail (which I corrected with my decals above) and when I test fit the provided PVC tube, I decided it was a little short for what I wanted to see.  Yes, it was perfectly in size for the FJ blueprints, but……it just looks better longer.  Trust me.  😉

When you build this, make sure to soak the curved resin container adhesion plate in some hot water, then conform it directly to the PVC tube.  Mine was just a little narrower in diameter than the PVC, so I wasn’t getting a good glue join.  A few seconds in boiling water, then a plunge under cool water while holding the parts together, fixes this problem in a jiffy.

I”m giving this model a 5 out of 5 stars.  This is a beautiful resin model, with little cleanup and no repair work that had to be done.  It’s great for beginners, easy to assemble, but like a blank canvas, can be used to really add on detail if you so wish.  I’ve already seen people building kits with multiple tug containers added on, for instance, or I can imagine a diorama with a tug in space, emptying its cargo of spare parts to a wounded capital ship in need of a new warp engine.  As a non-canon design it’s certainly interesting and a nice departure from the norm.  And finally…..it just looks damn good on the shelf! You can see the rest of my finished pictures of the model on my website, Novahobbies.com

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If you want to add this to your collection, simply email Starcrafts and let him know what you wish to order, or you can find the ship on www.federationmodels.com.  Happy modeling!

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