Archive for the ‘Star Trek’ Category
We made a promise not to discuss the development of our 1:350 TOS Enterprise Star Trek model kit outside of our 1701CLUB updates. This blog post won’t talk about it directly but it does address a significant concern among modelers that seems to have turned into a great debate. This post won’t be about what we will do or what we won’t do, but explains the kinds of things that we have to keep in mind when making decisions about our new kits.
Two words seem to strike fear into the hearts of model builders everywhere… GRID LINES. So, let’s ask the question. Why in the universe would we consider adding such a detail to a hyper-accurate model kit? I don’t have to remind modelers that until we came along, no AMT Enterprise model was ever built without a modeler having to slave over meticulously sanding the stupid things off the saucer… Wait, none of them were ever built without doing that…? Well maybe as kids we never removed them. There was no way to accomplish that at that age and get it to look right. With time, our skills improved and we found ways of improving things as best we could and every build any of us ever did came out looking great… Didn’t it? Well, maybe there were some cases where incredible effort was put forth but some builds weren’t quite as nice as the next. Is that all on the modeler? Or is the manufacturer responsible to some extent? How many kits were made back in the day with saggy nacelles? If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.
So here’s the quandary, do we appeal to a core demographic of the really amazing modelers out there and leave something like the top of a saucer smooth or should we consider adding VERY fine engraved lines that would really help out everyone else to make their build look as accurate as they can manage? What if we could do lines so fine that when viewed from an arms length look like they’re drawn on…
Let’s break it down further…
1) it is not accurate to the filming model. The lines were drawn on with a pencil, not engraved.
2) Talented modelers are capable of drawing the lines on themselves.
3) … well… See reasons 1 & 2, I guess.
4) SEE REASONS 1 & 2! (Expletives mercifully deleted)
1) The model kit should represent the TOS U.S.S. Enterprise… as in the one with Captain Kirk standing on the bridge and Scotty in the back screaming that he needs more time. The ship has a deflector grid on the saucer that falls between metal plating resulting in narrow valleys on the surface of the hull. (Or did Apollo’s green hand draw them on with a giant space pencil?). The filming model had some other wonky stuff that we wouldn’t want to copy exactly either. So, we aren’t completely beholden to the filming model, our mission is to create a representation of Matt Jeffries’ design in support of what was shown onscreen.
2) If handled correctly, the engraved lines would look just like penciled on lines.
3) Drawing concentric circles on a 14” curved saucer is not an easy task for anyone. More often than not, most modelers will struggle with it.
4) Star Trek has a wide appeal beyond the modeling market. Tons of Star Trek fans would be interested in building such a kit even if they aren’t modelers or even artists. If engineered well and thought through, the kit should allow them to be able to build an accurate representation of the ship for themselves.
5) If we don’t keep in mind that any kit could be someone’s first kit, we as model kit manufacturers wouldn’t be doing our due diligence.
6) Most modelers who really work over the details of a build to achieve their vision of perfection have the skill to eliminate the lines without much trouble. Or at least they would not have nearly as much trouble removing them, as another modeler would have with drawing them on.
All this is considered without a firm decision in mind at this point. We’ll see how it goes. 1701CLUB members will be the first to find out the answer.
Our first 1701CLUB update has been sent out. If you signed up for the club but did not receive it, just drop us an email through the contact page of our website. Please be sure to check your spam filters. In a few cases, we have had members’ correct email information in our system but they did not receive the update. We will still be able to show the first update to them using an alternate method but we will not be able to do that every time going forward.
If you haven’t seen it yet, we finally got our Wonderfest presentation set up on our Round2ForYou YouTube Channel. Be sure to check it out! Thanks to Modelman Tom for putting all the polish on the clips.
Thanks for all of the feedback to my last post. It will really help us decide what to do next in our Star Trek Cadet Series line. Feel free to keep responding to that thread with more comments or suggestions.
I was going through my bookmarks the other day, doing some house cleaning and organizing and came across the Polarpaedia page. Someone had pointed it out to me way back at our first appearance at Wonderfest. It was a site I thought would be a good reference about the history of the Polar Lights Model Kits brand. I knew there was a lot going on the PL message boards back in the day and had heard some of what went on back then from some of the folks that carried over from PM to R2. As I looked at the site again, I took note of traditions that had been begun but had fizzled through the years. I know bringing back the glory days is impossible but I’m wondering what little things can we bring back that were worthwhile back then? What are we missing? What can we bring back? The one particular thing that I took notice of was the Golden Frankie awards given out each year at Wonderfest to celebrate one individual’s impact on the hobby. Though we don’t currently have the license to pop a Frankenstein, maybe we could do something similar. I’m open to any thoughts or ideas.
Round 2 Models announced at Wonderfest that we’ll be bringing back the Deep Space Nine kit in 2012. (working on a video of our presentation and hope to have it up soon) I mentioned our idea to inject it in clear plastic. Some liked the idea, some didn’t. I just took a look at the kit again today and it seems like a good candidate to do in that treatment. What say you?
I’ve seen conflicting reports about the DS9 kit scale. Some say its 1:3300, the box says 1:2500, my calculations say 1:3700. Thoughts?
If we wanted to throw in a small scale Defiant, would you rather see it in perfect scale with the Space Station or in 1:2500 to match our Cadet Series kits?
Next question is what ships would you like to see introduced in 1:2500 scale? I’m thinking Reliant, Voyager or we could go TOS and do the Romulan Bird of Prey. What enemy ships would you like to see in that scale? We wouldn’t be looking at the larger ships like Akira right now. I’m looking for subjects that we could do as kits with lower price points like our existing Cadet Series ships. The smaller they are at 1:2500 scale, the more we can do sooner rather than later.
What do you think of the little Klingon Bird of Prey and Ferengi Marauder kits that were included in the adversary set? They may be returning soon as well.
I’m all ears. The topic of the DS9 kit and suggestions for little kits is on the table. Your input on these Star Trek models counts. Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: bringing up these questions in no way guarantees future product selections. Everything should be considered hypothetical until you see a kit on the shelves.
So, how was your weekend? If I can count my day off after Wonderfest as my weekend, I can say mine was restful. The week of the show was incredibly busy working day and night to prepare for it. As always, it was a good show. I really get an energy boost from it by being able to talk to all of our customers out there that enjoy the product I pour so much time and effort into.
This year, we had our usual display of buildups and our annual survey. This year’s version had quite a bit less of letting us know what you want as far as specific model subjects go (we have a pretty good handle on that by now) and focused more on your process.
On Saturday at noon, we held our panel in Theater A. Everyone that had come to the booth asking what our big announcement would be, attended the panel. I was happy to see all of the familiar faces. I hate the idea of getting up in front of a crowd and speaking but I stumbled through the first part where I talked about all of the more boring stuff about the company without losing anyone. After a very short Q&A I read a letter from Tom Lowe. Those who weren’t there can read it here.
So we will be producing a 1:350 sale TOS Enterprise and we’ll be presenting it a couple ways. I will summarize our plans here.
1:350 TOS Enterprise Standard Edition
This will contain everything you need to create the production version of the ship including shuttle bay and will be available through all of your usual model retailers for an SRP of $124.95.
TOS Enterprise Accessory Pack
This will include weathering decals, photo-etched parts and a light kit including motors to turn the Bussard fan blades. We have a target price for this but will announce it once the time comes to take orders on it.
1:350 TOS Enterprise Premiere Edition
This was the kit we were talking up the most and for obvious reasons. It includes everything in the standard version plus parts to make the 1st & 2nd Pilot versions. It comes in a commemorative box and includes a serial-numbered certificate of authenticity. The kit is a limited edition of 1701 pieces for the price of $149.99 and is scheduled to arrive before the standard version hits stores. The kit is really aimed at all of you Star Trek modelers who have been waiting patiently for the kit to come out. It is available exclusively through Round 2 and we started the pre-order sign-ups at the show. As an added bonus, everyone who pre-orders is invited to join what we are calling the 1701 CLUB. Membership in the club gets you a t-shirt to wear as a banner to tell everyone that you were there on the ground floor of this kit. The shirts themselves are also limited editions. We have 100 gold, 250 blue and the rest are red. Members will be sent email updates about the development as well as some interviews and a few never before seen pics of the filming model. This will be the ONLY place we will be giving out development updates. So past this post, this blog will be mum on the subject until the standard kit is ready to hit the stores.
I’m sure you’ve got questions. Hopefully these are the answers…
The kits will be out sometime in 2012. It could be anytime between March and October.
You can reserve up to 5 Premiere kits right now but if we have 1701 members, 1701 people will get kits. If we fall short of that number we will come up with a system to allocate the rest.
Only one shirt per member regardless of how many kits you want to buy.
We still had some gold shirts available after Wonderfest but the people who have found the sign up page have taken us well into the blue ones.
If more than 1701 people register for the presell, anyone over that number can still signup and may be offered the chance to buy a kit if someone else decides not to buy their kit.
We will likely release the pilot parts separately once all of the Premiere Edition kits have been sold out. The combined SRP for a standard kit and the extra parts will be no less than the price of the Premiere Edition.
We taped the whole presentation and hope to have it edited to put up on You Tube. It wasn’t much of a site as far flashy graphics goes. It was just me and then me and Gary Kerr talking. I did show the first images of the digital mockup from the factory. They made some pretty glaring mistakes but they also got a ton of it right to my surprise. I credit Gary for that one. So here are the pics of the mockup in its current form. I’ll let you know when the You Tube video goes up and then it will be radio silence. Go sign up for the CLUB, if you please.
Any time there is a lag between blog posts you can count on one thing… Jamie is BUSY. I used to try to write weekly then every two weeks but I’m slipping more and more all the time. Oh well… I figured I’d offer up a quick update on a couple projects we’ve been working on.
I received test shots already for our collector’s tin release of the Klingon Battle Cruiser. It’s looking pretty good. Check out the pics!
Also, just arriving today are the test shots of the Leif Ericson. It needs a little refinement but it is looking great. We finally get to see test shots of the red engine parts. They fit and look incredible.
We’ll have all of these test shots along with our usual display of model kits at the upcoming Wonderfest convention. We are still working on our questionnaire, giveaways and a few other goodies. It seems like we are supposed to discuss something else at the show… can’t remember what it was though. Oh well, come see us there.
A few people have been asking around about what our plans are for our upcoming release of the classic Star Trek Klingon Battle Cruiser Collector’s Edition Tin. With AMT creating the original filming model in partnership with the television show production group back in the day, the kit version was arguably the most accurate Star Trek model ever produced. With that said, if you look closely you will find that there is always room for improvement. Inexplicably, some details were changed between the model used on the show and the model that landed on shelves. Most modelers point out the differences between the detail on the sides of the engines. That’s where we are starting but it is not where we are ending.
To figure out exactly what else to do, I contacted our friendly neighborhood space ship buildup expert, Jim Small. He has built plenty of them and had done more than his fair share of research on the ship. (I think his article about the color of the ship was one of the first articles we posted on our website.) It turned out that our development for the re-issue was about as perfect as it could get. He had been contracted to refurbish one of the rare ICONS studio scale models. I asked him to give us a little background on it.
A fellow out in Calgary, Alberta had contacted me telling me he had an old “Icons” studio-scale model of the Klingon Cruiser that was in disrepair, and asked me if I’d fix it up for him. He sent me a few snaps showing the areas he felt needed attention and I quoted him for a re-paint and re-gluing of some parts that had broken off.
The model itself has it’s roots in a casting of the original filming miniature, as the individual who restored the original model for the Smithsonian (along with the original Enterprise) had molded it before repainting the original an incorrect overall battleship gray instead of the blue-gray and green it’s supposed to be and sold off copies. I must assume that’s where Icons likely got their master pattern. Therefore except for a few things that seem to have been changed for manufacturing purposes, the model is quite accurate to the original, which is exactly double the size of the classic AMT kit.
(Note: Two models were made for the studio by AMT, one was filmed, the other one was given to Gene Roddenberry who had it for a long time after being pantographed for the AMT kit. That kit, despite a few small detail conflicts, remains an anomaly in that it is extremely accurate in overall proportions for a sci-fi model kit of the time!)
Our correspondence on the matter, led to some more topics that I hope to post about a little later on.
So with such a great piece of reference right at his fingertips, Jim took some great photos for me of detail areas that would benefit from the some rework. As with most projects, we couldn’t do it all. As usually, we tried to make changes that would have been the most difficult for a modeler to change on their own.
Here is a rundown of what we have planned accompanied by photos of mockups from the factory.
1) Engine details- the most obvious thing to start with. We found that the best way to correct it was to add the detail directly to the engines rather than tool up out of scale details to mount to it. (The remainder of the raised tab will be eliminated as well)
2) Top “wing” vent detail- (though no mockup will be done for this) We will be removing this detail as it was not present on the model used to film the show.
3) Clear Parts (aren’t so much any more)- Part of our quandary was that the clear parts tool had gone missing or was replaced some time ago. The parts that had been retooled were not accurate. In order to do more changes, we opted not to replace them but to modify other parts to include them. There were no visible clear parts on the filming model anyway so there was no loss of authenticity by doing so.
4) Dome base- (not pictured) The inclusion of our dome style base called for the old mounting holes to be filled in and a new one added at the center of gravity.
5) Upper housing vent (for lack of a better term)- Lastly but probably most significantly, we have accurized the shape of the vent on the upper housing. The vent detail before was incorrectly shaped and the louvers in the vent were too thin. Don’t let the caramel colored putty used on the mockup fool you. It looks pretty darn close to the original.
In the end, the changes work to make the kit more accurate to the original filming model. The only knock is that we are making some rather permanent changes and it won’t allow it to be built “the original way.” I hope this isn’t too disappointing. If it is, there are still plenty of copies out there of the old kit.
Many people have been inquiring about the new movie Enterprise model kit. We have the following statement.
Round 2 is not proceeding with development on the U.S.S. Enterprise model kit, as based on the 2009 film, Star Trek. We will continue to focus on classic Star Trek by reissuing nostalgic favorites and enhanced re-releases as well as some all-new tooling of favorite Trek subjects.
Live long and prosper,
The Round 2 Model Kit Team
Believe me when I say… “We hear you.” I keep seeing the question coming in and being asked through our website, facebook and on the message boards. Will we or won’t we add a 1:350 scale TOS U.S.S. Enterprise to our lineup of Star Trek model kits? The answer right now is we are talking it through. We in the creative team are doing what we can to make it happen. For right now, all I can say is…
Nothing is official until we say it is despite what others might say, believe or think. We will make a final and formal announcement one way or another at Wonderfest in May. I hope to walk out of the place alive regardless of what that announcement might be.
Please note: Just to be perfectly clear, the red background is not indicative of anything… just my sick attempt at humor.
At last year’s Wonderfest we announced that we would be releasing our 1:350 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit decal set. Modelers have been clamoring for them since we first released them in our re-release of the Star Trek model kit. We thought we would be able to release them in the fall of last year. The timing didn’t quite work out for them to make it back then.
Well, the stars have aligned and we have finally been able to finalize our plans and release the 1:350 Refit decals set at long last. As a bonus for those that have been waiting so long, we are including a fifth large sheet of registries and engineering colors. We have even made an attempt to make them look more like the Motion Picture version in color and design.
The product is beginning production now and should arrive in April. Here’s a preview look at the final fifth sheet. The printed colors are more subtle than their onscreen appearance.
Our shows for the year have wrapped up with our attendance at the international iHobby Expo last weekend in Chicago. October has been a busy month for us with our two biggest shows of the year falling within the same month. iHobby covers the entire gamut of the hobby industry and is open for industry days on Thursday and Friday and open to the public on the weekend. For the past few shows, I’ve ended up working on consumer days which suits me because I’d rather talk to the guys building the kits than sitting around a conference table talking to guys with ties on. It turned out that I was assigned to help set up the booth and then return to work the last day of the show and tear it down again. Overall the show seemed less attended than previous years and I was surprised to see many booths close up mid day on Sunday and some had closed up even before consumers even had access. (Shame shame on a couple of our distinguished competitors…)
At the show we announced our plans through mid 2011 and gave a sneak peak at a couple things beyond that. Let me run down the highlights…
Batmobile- With the kits going to tooling, we were able to unveil our packaging plans. All are still subject to licensor final review. Of course we showed off the beautiful Alex Ross painting in support of the kits. Many have asked about prints of the poster. Sorry to say that that is not allowed under our current agreement. We gave a hint at what will be included in the deluxe version of the kit. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, ask your friends who did. (yes, that is a tease)
Star Trek- As usual we had plenty of buildups and box mockups and/or preproduction samples on display. We featured a buildup of the Klingon Bird of Prey sitting comfortably atop its new landing gear as well as other buildups previously on display at Wonderfest. We announced the classic Klingon Battle Cruiser would return this year. We are looking into what little bits of accurizing we can do to the kit. Also announced was a re-release of the classic AMT Enterprise. Sure we brought that one back once already but we have put a nice spin on this one. We are calling it the Tholian Web Commemorative Edition. The kit comes injected in glow in the dark plastic along with the usual decal sheet complete with decal dressing to create the ship as the U.S.S. Defiant. To cap it off, we are including two new Tholian Web Spinners. We showed a buildup of the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-B and showed a coupld of the revised parts, specifically the lower saucer and rear deck. We had no announcement regarding the 1:350 TOS Enterprise though the kit is still under consideration. Though we did have a prototype of the new movie Enterprise, it could not be displayed due to an error in the output. I’ll be showing that off in my next blog post though and explaining why it couldn’t be displayed.
Marvel Comics- We showed a buildup of our re-release of the Captain America kit. We will also be bringing back Spider-man (actually sooner than Cap) and a few other Marvel surprises later in the year. We will be doing these kits in Comic Scenes style boxes complete with cardboard backdrops and full color comic book instruction sheets. The faces in the Captain America kit will be resculpted. One of the resculpts is shown on the buildup but is subject to licensor approval.
Strange Change- We’ll be bringing back the Vampire and Mummy versions in the first half of 2011. The buildups on display showed how great they look when a great modeler gets ahold of them. The kits function really well (though I had my doubts as I was putting together test shots.) Look for the Time Machine version later in the year probably. And please also note that these kits will be made in the USA.
Dark Shadows- All three kits will return in 2011 with Barnabas Collins leading the way. We had great looking buildups of the figure kits on display. We are planning on reproduction boxes and glue parts just like the good ol’ days and we’ll throw in both soft PVC and styrene sets of arms.
Leif Ericson- When we brought back the UFO kit, most people asked if or when we would bring back the LE. Here it comes complete with reproduction box art, clear engine parts and lights (this time LEDs.) What I would like a little bit of feedback on is would you guys like the engines injected in red or clear so you can paint them whatever color you want? Or maybe a couple different color options. I’m listening for feedback on this.
Man In Space set- This set of historic NASA spacecraft will return with its original packaging art as well as the cardboard gantry that had been included in the first release of the kit. We had a mockup of the gantry on hand but just ran out of room to display it.
KISS and Yellow Submarine- We’ll be bringing back the stars of each band in a series of pre-painted model kits. As you may see in the photo the packaging offers a different twist to appeal to collectors. We’ll be doing the Yellow Sub in a lunchbox tin later in the year and we are exploring the possibility of doing prebuilt models of these subjects as well.
So that’s the plan Stan… or Bobby… or Richard… or Steve… (I’m getting slap happy now after so much planning and work) Thanks to everyone who stopped by and were universally complementary of our display.