Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Resin Kit Review: Resin Modeler 1:1400 NX Refit Class

NOTE:  You can click on most pictures to get a larger view of them.

It's been a while since I wrote a resin kit review, but this one has me all excited, and has been a long time coming.  I am of course talking about the 1:1400 scale NX Refit by Resin Modeller.

Resin Modeller's Recommended Paint Scheme

The first thing you should know, is that this is actually two separate kits.  Resin Modeller makes a 1:1400 NX kit and then you need to purchase the separate add-on kit that comes with additional parts.  I liked this concept as it made the build options much more flexible.

So in essence, you are getting technically two reviews for the price of one.  One for the NX kit, and one for the Refit Add-On kit.  :-)

The primary kit comes in 8 pieces.  Be very careful when unpacking the kit because the deflector dish and shuttle bay doors are very small and can easily be lost by a well placed sneeze.  The finished model measures in at around 16cm.


The Refit Add-On kit comes in 6 pieces.  four of these pieces serve as replacement parts from the main kit so yes, you will end up with some additional parts for your greebles bin.  Once again, be extremely careful with unpacking the parts.  As you can see from the picture below, there are even more small parts to loose.


What really sold me on this kit was that it is just slightly bigger than my pre-made/pre-painted NX class ships from Eaglemoss, Hallmark and Hot Wheels so it becomes a nice display piece next to those other models.

Normally, I interview the designer, however, I've been following Adam's work over at the All Scale Trek forums, so I have a really good idea of what went into this thing.   I placed my pre-order for this ship back on 7/10/2014 and he didn't ship them until May of 2016.  So it took Adam almost a year to design the ship via 3D modeling software and then 3D print the master and work out the molding issues.


IT WAS WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!

If you are new to the Star Trek: Enterprise series, you may not even know what this ship is.  Doug Drexler did up renders of the good old NX-01 for the TV series.  He always imagined what she would have looked like had the series gone on to a Season 5.  He felt that man-kind would have learned a few things from thier first Warp 5 ship, especially after her travels in the expanse (Season 3), and would have made some modifications to her based off these lessons.  He also felt that this new look would have gotten more attention as she now looked more like all the other iconic Enterprises that we all knew and loved.


If you are interested in reading more about this model right from the source, or wanting to purchase it, feel free to go HERE.

 
 
 
 
DeepSpace Pat's Paint Scheme

NOTE: The kit DOES NOT come with a base for a stand.  My stand bases come from my extra parts box.

I actually ended up buying two of these kits.  The short story is, in my impatience to get the ball moving on getting the ship in my hands, I ended up accidentally paying for it twice.  Instead of getting a refund, I decided to keep both models and just put one on my desk at work.

 
 
Side By Side Views of the Enterprise (NX-01) and the Couatl (NX-99)

As a more experienced resin kit builder, this was a relatively easy model to build.  There were some difficulties though.


As is the custom with ANY resin kit, be sure to give yours a good hot soapy bath to remove all the casting oils.  If you are new to resin building, or new to my articles, please check out the handy dandy "How To" guides that I share later on in this article.  They will help you have a better time with dealing with resin kits.


Cleaning the ship(s) up of defects was pretty strait-forward.  There were a few tiny bits if resin that needed trimming or knicking off and then some putty work that needed to be done near the rear of the saucer and the secondary hull.  This seems to be the norm with certain types of kits from Resin Modeller.  It has something to do with the casting process and the fact that there is a lot of nooks and crannies in those ares, and this makes it tough to get the resin to go there.  Since I've gotten better at doing putty work, this doesn't bother me and those areas can easily be fixed up.

As far as defects go, one of my secondary hull deflector dishes was snapped in half and the other was missing part of the antenna that sticks up from the center.  I was able to super glue the broken one back together.  There also was some defects along the edges of the grilles on my nacelles.  Those areas were hard to do anything with.  For my models, I just chalked it up to ship wear and tear if anyone asks about it.  So in all honesty, I felt the defects were very minor.

NOTE: I let Adam know about these issues as I was one of the lucky ones to get some of his first run of ship.  He will be watching out for the defects.  HOWEVER, Adam is also very good about replacing defective parts so if you have one, and you are not happy with it, drop him an email and he'll fix you up.

EDITOR'S UPDATE (May 2016): In the year that I've owned these kits in thier completed form, no one has ever noticed the defects that I mentioned above.

As far as colors go, there is much discussion on what color the hull should be painted.  The official color that Doug Drexler had Eaglemoss paint their model was silver, or perhaps, and unpainted metal would be the better description of the color.  I opted to try to get my two models as close to the TOS color as possible.  I was OK if it wasn't perfect, just close enough the make the point that this is where the starship colors were in a transition state.  To accomplish this, I went with Testor's Light Gray (#1123).  The problem with this plan is that you can only get this color if you buy the Testor's Aircraft Finishing Set (#9121).  Seriously, I've tried to find this color by itself, but I have yet to find it anywhere.  Which makes it kind of expensive to replace just that color, and you tend to end up with lots of bottles of extra color you don't need.


EDITOR'S UPDATE (May 2016): I believe that I have found a new enamel paint that will serve as a good replacement color for future builds.  It looks like Testor's Model Master enamel paint line has a Light Gray as well.  If you Google search "model master enamel paint 1732" you'll find lots of links on where to get it.


The end result is nice though and comes in pretty darned close.  You can see in this next picture a side by side comparison with my Hot Wheels TOS Enterprise.


The actual paint work was very easy.  As long as you painted before assembling most of the ship, there weren't any hard to reach places.

 
 
 
 
 

For the most part, assembly of the ship was a breeze.  HOWEVER, I will make one suggestion that will save you lots of headaches.  I'm sure it had to do with how I assembled the ship, but my secondary hull's struts (on both of my models) did not touch the struts on the primary hull.  I initially tried forcing the struts up and super gluing them.  BAD IDEA.  I ended up shattering the struts into 4 different pieces, and sending one of those pieces flying across the room.  Luckily I found it.


If you run into the same problem as me, I recommend using an exacto knife to score along the top side of the struts where they join to the hull.  If you cut them off, that works too, but the preferred result would be to give them a little bend so that you can easily bend them up so that they will now touch the bottom of the primary hull strut assembly.  Then super glue the parts on and I'd recommend adding a little super glue to where you did the scoring.


On the big manufacturer's model kits, or the resin kit pictured below, there will usually be a groove and the parts will have tabs that fit into those grooves to help you align the part.


I would have to say that on almost every resin kit I've built, the parts typically do not have these little helpers.  I think that this is probably because it is really tough to get resin to form around the mold for the groove and thinned out resin for the tabs usually doesn't form at all.  Which means that in the end, it is usually much easier for the garage kit maker to just avoid the whole thing.  I typically cringe and procrastinate like crazy before mounting nacelles onto my resin kits.  I do this because I am not a patient man, and I lose my cool while trying to hold resin parts together so that the super glue can set and hold the parts.  Nacelles are my weakest area for this sort of thing and I often time either muss up my paint or glue my hand to the model or part.

I say all of that because, of all of the resin kits I have ever done, that don't have the tounge and groove helpers, this one was by far the easiest to mount the nacelles onto.  I made sure I had the excess paint scraped off the mount areas, and applied the glue.  And they stuck on the first try, no fuss, no muss, and I didn't get angry at my impatience.  And more importantly, I didn't become one with my model and end up leaving some of my DNA behind because of needing to peel the ship off of my hand.


Adam did a really good job making sure that the nacelle struts were nice and square and the mount points on the actual nacelles were nice and flat allowing for a nice square and clean fit.

The kit comes with decals and I usually don't do decals for a very good reason... I SUCK at them.  The ones made up by the garage kit makers are a bit more sensitive to mistakes as well, so it was with great care and nervousness that I applied these...


I fared at a level of "OK" with applying my decals.  I didn't use all of the supplied decals, but he does supply some really nicely detailed ones for you.

Conclusion

Well then, what can I say about this kit?  First of all, it is not for a beginner resin kit builder or beginner modeler.  There is too much work involved in getting it to look right that I think would be too complicated for a newbie.  That being said though, this is an AWESOME kit for those modelers who collect and build ships in this scale or at this size.  Being able to add a small version of this ship to my fleet has been a highlight to my collecting habit, and it, and her sister ship that was built simultaneously, was a joy to build.

  
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.

And as always, "Live Long And Prosper!"

Additional Links To Photos Of My Collection:

Helpful Hint Articles
Washing     Warped Parts     Gluing     Filling The Gaps     Making Stands     Decals 



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

Adam who owns and operates Resin Modeller does most of his business through his website.  He will also occasionally sell his kits through eBay, however, it is always recommended to go to his website for orders.  Although he does not maintain a FaceBook page for his business, he does post his work in progress stuff over at the All Scale Trek forums.

R.M.'s Website: CLICK HERE
R.M.'s eBay Seller Profile: CLICK HERE

A majority of all of Adam's kits are produced via 3D design software and then professionally 3D printed.  He then uses these as his masters in the mold making process.  In my opinion, this produces a very crisp model.

In my dealings with Adam, I find him to be a very nice guy to chat with.  He will usually answer inquiries within a day or two of being emailed.  Like most garage kit makers, he has a regular day job, and the kit building business is his way of funding his love of building models.  He has shared that he has found a lack of 1:1400 scale ships and since that is his preferred size to build in, he just makes the ships he wants for his collection.  

DISCLAIMER SECTION

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.

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