I built my first Starcrafts reliant model close to 20 years ago, and I have to admit that it was looking…..a little rough. While I was building my USS Luna, Phobos-class starship, I thought I would try resizing the Arthur Pendragon Reliant decals and seeing how they fit on a smaller kit. Here are the results.
Since my first Reliant was a little too rough to warrant a repaint, I’m going to save her for the Multi-Verse Design Anomaly Soyuz kit. As you can see above the rollbar has suffered a few too many knocks and bangs, and the resin guns have been chipped and broken a few times. Since I won’t need those parts for the Soyuz….no harm, no foul. So let’s buy a new Reliant instead!
The model comes simply packed. It consists of 4 resin parts for the ship, a Starfleet emblem stand, decals to make one of two ships, and a simple instruction sheet.
It’s worth noting that the Reliant is actually a kitbash of Starcrafts Enterprise-A model. The Reliant was mastered by Larry Wherthy, who was a close friend of Starcrafts, and the master was then cleaned a bit, prepped, and sold with Larry’s blessing through the Starcrafts name.
My new copy had a little flash on the rollbar that took some careful cleaning (especially around the megaphaser emplacements), and a difficult mold seam that was INSIDE the front vent for one warp engine. There is some nice scribed detail in there that I didn’t want to lose, so it took a bit of work to carefully carve out the somewhat thick mold parting line in this area. The results are worth the extra effort, though — while you COULD just fill in this area and paint it to match (it’s very small), the finished detail as molded just looks so much better.
OK, enough of the review…let’s get building! I’m skipping some of the beginning basics. Mainly because…..I didn’t take pictures of that phase! Here’s the rundown, in case you’ve never built a resin model and this is the very first thing you’ve read about it. (If so, Welcome!) Model was washed in a mild detergent, and examined for air bubbles. I sanded all four parts, removed the flash and spent some time cleaning up the rollbar and guns. I carved out that seam in the engine nacelle vent, then primered the model in automotive grey spray, followed by another light sanding and cleaning, and base-coated the model in Krylon flat white. From there on out, I decided to apply decals before I started digging in with detail painting.
These decals were originally drawn by Arthur Pendragon for a 1/537 scale plastic kit. His art included grid lines as well as panel detail, and as you can see, a few of the grid lines don’t line up 100% perfectly. It’s enough to beat the 18″ test, and maybe even the 12″ test, so I re-scaled an redrew some of the blatantly mis-scaled parts and left others alone.
I painted the shuttlebay equipment modules a euro blue-grey, and did some detail painting on the bridge with sky blue, silver, and gold. The decals for this were behaving moderately well. These decals are much more subdued than the Round2 decals, and for this scale I think it works better.
I painted the detail on the lower hull with the same Euro Blue-Grey that I used for the top equipment bays, being careful to mask off and follow the kit miniature as a painting guide. The detail on this section doesn’t perfectly match the filming model, but you really have to get in there with a magnifying glass to notice. I wound up having to re-draw almost every part of the lower hull Aztec, as the fit for the Pendragon images just wasn’t cutting it. That tends to happen when you rescale a drawing, however. I am sure they fit the big Ertl kit just fine.
I returned to the top of the hull and decided on a name. The kit decal sheet gives you two choices, and I thought, “Eh, everyone does the Reliant,” so I decided to go with the Brattain. It was a great episode, and I sort of like the idea of modeling a doomed ship. Also you can see here a kit part of a model I’ve been threatening to finish for years now…the Knox class frigate. I swear I’ll finish it. Really.
After I snapped this picture I posted it on social media. And an eagle-eyed reader immediately pointed out that the name was misspelled. “Yes,” said I, “it’s supposed to be,” and I pointed out how it had been misspelled on the show.
“True,” he replied, “but that’s not what I meant. The I and the A are also switched…unless you really wanted the USS BRITIAN?”
I did not want the USS Brittian. So, somewhat sheepishly, I decided to redraw the decal. And since I was doing so, I gave the ship her proper name. The USS Brattain was reborn.
From here on out, I began a marathon of detail painting and tiny, tiny decals. Pennants were applied, along with pin striping, warning squares for personnel hatches, phasers, and more. Starcrafts did a beautiful job adding many details as carved parts, such as the vents above. These were easily picked out with a black ink wash.
Here you can see the Brattain being outfitted with her final details decals alongside her berth mate, the USS Luna. I’ve discussed the build of that ship in another construction log. You can see here she has her Impulse Crystal all warmed up and much of her pinstriping done.
And she’s all done! There are of course some flaws in my build, but all in all I’m quite happy with the kit. I haven’t yet decided on a proper display stand for her, and when I do I will post pictures on the Novahobbies website to replace the old photos there. Thanks for looking, and happy modeling!