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Images copyright Paramount Pictures and AMT/ERTL.


A review of -- gasp -- a decent kit from AMT/ERTL! Their Klingon Bird of Prey is a nice build-up.

This Megalania page has been visited times since March 18, 1998.

Star Trek starships are enormously popular with modelers -- and why shouldn't they be? They look terrific and feature prominently in the stories. I myself can't bear to watch the television programs -- the positive view of mankind's future nauseates me! If that's the future bring me back to the Dark Ages! What makes it bearable for me are the enemies of the Federation -- the arrogantly imperialist Romulans and, especially, the ferocious, noble Klingons. These aliens get annoyed, covet other's property and generally behave more like human beings than the human beings!

Their ships reflect this. Federation vessels have nightclubs in the forward hull; Klingon warships are *warships*. Klingon sailors sleep on retracting boards! You can analogize this to the vessels of the U.S. Navy when compared to those of the Royal Navy during the Thirties and Forties, or the vessels of the Soviet Navy when compared to the modern U.S. Navy; the WWII-era British vessels and modern U.S. ships have long-term, world-wide power projection missions, and have to accomodate their crews at sea for months at a time. I personally prefer the bristling-with-weapons appearance of the Soviet ships, and their Klingon analogues.

I loved the new Klingon scout ship design when it first appeared in the movie STAR TREK III, and looked forward to a kit of it for years. Eventually a small one was included in a boxed set of "Adversaries" along with a large Romulan Warbird and a small Ferengi Marauder, but this small Bird of Prey was primitive and undetailed. Then, in 1995 came a terrific full-size kit coinciding with the awful movie GENERATIONS. The scale is listed as 1/650th scale, but this seems pretty far off. I'd guess that around 1/350th scale is a better call.

Most AMT/ERTL science fiction spaceship kits are a challenge -- getting the pieces to sit down and behave with each other can be quite a challenge, particularly, I assume, to the kids who buy them at K-mart. This one is actually a breeze to build compared to, say, the Imperial Star Destroyer! Not to say that it falls together, but regular builders of/sufferers with AMT kits will be pleasantly surprised. The variable geometry wings (well, sort of -- they go up and down) can be built in either position -- separate pieces are provided for either. I particularly like the way the kit is broken down so that the separate pieces can be painted in a solid color, then added to the kit.

I was amazed by the painting guide provided in the instructions. They are thorough and very helpful. The kit paints up brighter and more colorfully than I remember it from the movies and TV shows, however, and remains so even when stained with Future Floor wax with a little black guache added. I think I'll hit it with a *very* light mist of a white green to tone down the colors a bit more.

The provided base is flimsy and has one of those hooks so that kids can remove the kit and fly it around the room. I suggest that you construct your own.

A very nice kit. For the sake of frequent Trek kitbuilders, I hope it is representative of a new direction for AMT/ERTL. When I pick up the Imperial TIE Fighters I'll have a better idea.

I enjoyed building this up and recommend it. It looks a lot like the movie ship out of the box, but offers superdetailing possibilities as well. Hmmmm: maybe I'll try the awesome new Romulan Warbird next. Wonder if the kit builds up looking like the great new ship design?

Well, I'll certainly never build one of these goodie-two-shoes starships -- give me evil any day!

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