[Editor's Note (May 2016): This will mark my second re-write of this article. Now that I've written a bunch of articles, I feel like I've developed a certain style and flow to them and I wanted to make all of them have that same feel across the series. Consider this the REFIT version of the original article.]
C.H.I.'s eBay Advertisement
The Declaration class was first seen in the form of a painting on the wall of the recreation deck of the refit Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It has since appeared a couple of other times in the forms of paintings and models in the other Star Trek shows and movies. Officially, there is not much known about this ship. It has been described as a starliner which has been incorrectly assumed to be a passenger ship. The reality is, starliner is a generic term for starships. There was a series of small books called the "Federation Spaceflight Chronology" and in the first volume, the class of ship described in much more detail.
The first picture is the variant that Jay has decided to replicate. According to the history of this ship, the picture above on the left is what they eventually looked like after warp trials and the engineers rectified some issues with the supports. Jay's model is what the ship looked like when it first left "drydock". The picture on the right is what the ships were eventually refitted to look like several years later.
The kit itself comes with nine pieces plus a base for a stand. There are some basic decals to to allow you to customize your ship a bit more.
I think what excited me the most was the fact that you could now own a model of one of the oldest starships to carry the name of Enterprise. I was also very nervous as this was a more unique build that presented what I thought were going to be new challenges, especially with the rings.
DeepSpace Pat's Paint Scheme
As far as cleaning up the excess resin, this was pretty straight forward. There was a spur on the rear of the ship that needed trimming and some minor scraping along the rest of the hull. The support strut and extra engine part were pretty easy to cut out and trim down.
And then I began tackling the warp ring assembly. After studying the situation from several angles, this is what I did to build it...
I first cut the short strips to the designated length as per the instructions. I then glued on the two long strips onto one of the short strips as seen here.
I left enough gap on the short strip to allow me to connect and glue the other ends of the long strips to it as well.
When I glued the other ends of the long strips in, I got my rings.
To cover the gap where the ring strips connect, you are to use another one of the short strips. I deviated slightly here by cutting out three more short strips from some thicker styrene that I had lying around.
I used Jay's supplied short strips on one side of the rings just as his directions had shown, but I then used my thicker styrene rings on the opposite side of the rings.
I spoke with Jay at C.H.I. about his kit. He said that he has had drooping as well, but it has occurred over a time span of 15 years, There are several ways you can rectify this issue it it occurs or if you want to be preemptive to the possibility of it occurring.
Jay's recommended method which is the easiest method is to not glue the ring assembly onto the support strut. Then when your assembly starts drooping, simply remove the rings, rotate them to the next "spur" and place it back on.
Another method would be to purchase some slightly thicker styrene, and fashion your own rings like I did with my third rendition of this ship. You can see this method at THIS LINK. This method is a bit difficult as the thicker the styrene, the harder it is to bend and hold it in a ring shape while the glue takes hold.
The third option would be to do the refit version of this ship and build the extra support struts. I show this off in my second rendition of this ship. You can see that method at THIS LINK.
The reality is, it is kind of a no win situation for C.H.I.. and us builders. If Jay uses thicker styrene, the cost of the kit will go up, and it will make it too difficult for the average person to bend them into the right shape. I can attest to that from my third rendition of this kit where I used my own styrene. The lesser of too evils is to just watch and deal with the drooping if it occurs.
The other parts of the kit were rather easy to assemble. If you paint the primary hull and parts before you mount the rings, and paint the ring assembly before mounting it to the hull, then this part of the build will be a breeze.
I will admit that when I first got this kit, I was a bit nervous about building it. It seemed like a complicated build. I was very wrong. Jay's directions made perfect sense and I found that gluing the ring assembly together was actually easier than mounting the struts and nacelles of my Oberth class and Hornet class builds. I would probably still tell a beginner modeler or resin kit builder to stay away from this one until they get a little more skills under thier belt. However, I enjoyed this build so much that I went and purchased two more of these kits to attempt some other variations of this ship. Ring drooping aside, it's a great little kit.
I hope you found this article as useful and informative as I did while writing it. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions below.
So, for now, "Live Long & Prosper!"
Helpful Hint Articles
Every once in a while, I'll have a little extra stuff to share with you that sort of fits in with my comparison articles.
As I stated, I built two more variants of this model.
Declaration Class Refit
Declaration Class Upgrade
This model has removable extra struts so that I can display her in either a single struts or multiple strut configuration.
Declaration Class Upgrade/Refit
If you want to read more about these two ships, feel free to check out the article for them at THIS LINK.
NOTE: If you are new to my reviews, then please read on. This section talks about the garage kit maker that made this kit as well as a little about why I'm writing this review. If you are one of my regular readers, then feel free to skip the rest of this article as it is a word for word repeat of stuff from previous articles.
Kit Maker Information
Jay who runs Cozmo Heavy Industries sells all of his kits via eBay. He changes out what ships are for sale every Saturday evening so it is best to check in once a week to see what he has for sale.
Jay also maintains a FaceBook page where he likes to share his work in progress on future kit releases. I really like this approach as I'm a big fan of behind the scenes stuff.
Lastly, Jay does have a website, but it is more of an informational page about the business and he has hinted on FaceBook that he may be closing down that site.
I find Jay to be a very approachable garage kit maker. He has a regular day job and uses the business to not only allow him to make new ships for himself but to also help fund his love for the hobby. If you have ever followed Jay's work, you will know that he hand makes all of his kits from pre-existing parts, and he hand crafts all the other pieces for the ship. This allows him to produce all sorts of unique model kits. He loves to talk about the hobby and has lots of good advice about the hobby if you ever ask him for it. He will usually answer any questions you send to him within a day or two.
C.H.I.'s eBay Seller Profile: CLICK HERE
C.H.I.'s FaceBook Page: CLICK HERE
C.H.I.'s Website: CLICK HERE
Jay recently shared on his FaceBook page about his stance on stands. In it he wrote, "Everybody does theirs different. I use .055" piano wire and not everybody has that size drill bit. Plus, that tiny wire would put a hole in the bag and get lost. I have also seen people use clear rod, or use the base as a badge to apply to a larger stand." So there you go. And as I've said in other articles, I have yet to see a resin kit that comes with a rod.
I consider myself an intermediate model maker. I'm pretty good with assembling kits these days and OK on the painting side of things. I ultimately end up with ships that look good enough to me to display in my collection. I've found that there are all sorts of neat ships out there that no one has made a pre-built or pre-painted model of, so, in an effort to expand my ship collection I've turned to building them myself, either by kitbashing or purchasing ready made resin model kits.
There are several smaller garage kit makers out there that produce some very good kits. I've actually developed a good relationship with a couple of them and volunteered some of my time to write up reviews about the kits I've purchased from them. I have already warned them that I intend to be pretty objective, not pull any punches, and these reviews are going to be written from the point of view of an intermediate model builder. If this means that I warn away a first time builder from a particular kit, then they will need to be OK with that approach.
Lastly, due to the nature of resin casting, not every kit is going to be the same. Excess resin and air pockets are a part of the game when you get into this sort of model building. The kit that I got and built may be slightly different than your kit as far as minor quality issues. I will still point out flaws with my kit as those flaws could lead into a lesson of some sort for either you the reader or the kit maker themselves.