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Posts Tagged ‘polar lights’

Polar Lights Model Kits: Quick update

posted by JamieH 10:44 AM
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

[UPDATED] I know it has been a while between posts and that is due purely to getting super-busy. (It happens all too often… but that’s a good thing, no?) I just received something to share that is worth interrupting my busy workday, but it will need to be quick. But while I am writing, a few updates…

POL952 U.S.S. Defiant – Arrived at our warehouse this week. You should be seeing it available from your retailers in the next couple weeks.

MKA028 Eagle Weathering Panel Decals – I totally overlooked the announcement of this. It is essentially the same sheet we included in the Brian Johnson special edition we did of the 22″ Eagle kit. These should be available in mid-late June.

MPC881 Hawk – Should be available from your retailers by the end of June.

POL957 U.S.S. Grissom & Klingon Bird-of-Prey – Due to delays in getting the test shots refined, this kit is slipping back to August. The shots look pretty good, but refining fit for a snap kit is always tricky. Packaging for the kit is being worked on now and we’ll show that off soon. We are thrilled to announce that it will feature a box lid illustration from Star Trek production designer John Eaves!

POL950 Klingon K’t’inga – Good news/ bad news … Delays in refining the CAD has caused this to slip all the way back to October. That’s only part of the bad news. The other is that this delay also pushes the test shots past Wonderfest by a few weeks. So we won’t have a fully built and painted model on display. On the good news side, the revisions were definitely worth it, because the factory was able to supply a second mockup based on the final CAD data and it has been assembling like a dream! We will have a new primered prototype with the lights on to show off at the show along with all of the buildups of the rest of our new kits mentioned above. We really look forward to seeing everyone at the show!

Now on with the thing I mentioned. A behind the scenes look at the K’t’inga nacelle tooling being created…

 

Polar Lights Models: More K’t’inga goodness

posted by JamieH 2:18 PM
Friday, March 9, 2018

It has been a great week. Thank you for such an overwhelmingly positive reaction to our K’t’inga kit announcement. We knew Star Trek modelers everywhere would love it, because you’ve made it perfectly clear how badly you wanted it. But still, the reaction was better than we could have predicted. A set of test shots for another kit did not show up this week as expected, so we’ll share some more images and info on the K’t’inga kit.

First, let’s answer some questions.

How long is the model? – In our excitement last week, we neglected to mention the length of the model. It will be 24″ long and nearly 18″ wide. Some have suggested that seems small, but the length was based on existing information that was widely accepted. Could one debate that it should be longer? Sure, but in process of developing a kit of this stature, weight has to be given to tooling space and the cost that incurs. So, it comes down to A) we can make an argument that at 1:350 scale the ship would be 24″ long and B) we can afford to tool up a 24″ long K’t’inga. We can’t afford to do a bigger one. If you disagree with the scale, you can call it what you want. No hard feelings.

Yay! Now when can we expect a 1:350 D-7, Reliant, 1:1000 Enterprise-D or 1:32 Galileo? – Your guess is as good as ours. Our history speaks for itself. So, don’t expect them soon. But, let’s consider this… what would there be interest a Galileo without a full interior? Deleting the interior would make it an affordable option at some point. No promises one way or another, but feel free to offer feedback on that notion.

It looks like the white parts in the mockup represent the clear parts in the kit. Is that how you plan to address the windows on the bulb? – For the most part, the unpainted resin parts in the mockup represent parts that are to be included as clear parts in the kit. However, part of the purpose of doing a prototype is to see what you think will work actually works in practice. After seeing the cobra head windows knocked out, we are considering knocking windows out in the bulb. Those windows will be tiny. A clear backer will be included, but if you want those portholes to filled to present a flush face window, we will be suggesting liquid window maker to fill them.

Is the hull plating symmetrical? – On the kit yes, on the filming miniature not so much. It mostly was, but not 100%. We are going to KISS it. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

What will prevent neck sagging? – Good engineering. The mockup had no locators whatsoever. We will be sure we have accounted for the possibility of the neck to sag or break at the bulkhead. It is a lot like the pylon issue on the 1:350 TOS kit. We know well enough to figure it out.

Will ALL the detail be maintained? – Yes and no. The work in the mockup had not fully taken into account tool drafting. In some spots details might be compromised, or we will break parts up a bit differently to get as much detail as we can. In some instances we aren’t satisfied with the result and we’ll see if the factory can find a way to do better. I predict we will be able to maintain about 95% of the detail by the time it is done.

The photos below will show some “behind the scenes” shots of the mockup in various states of assembly. They should provide a decent sense of scale. It also gives a preview of how the light kit will look. A thin coat of primer wasn’t enough to hide the light, but we needed to install as much as we could to be sure we had enough light where we needed it and adjust as needed.

Lastly, you’ll see an image with yellow arrows pointing to some parts on the filming miniature. As most people realize, many of these details were pulled from plastic model kits available during production of the film. Our consultant team identified nearly all of the “greeblies” that were used. This is the most noticeable piece one has evaded our attempts to identify the kit (or thing) it originally comes from. If you know, please let us know. We used the limited reference we have to draw up the part. If we can make it more accurate, we would like to.

Star Trek Model Kits: All-New 1:350 K’t’inga Model Kit

posted by JamieH 1:28 PM
Thursday, March 1, 2018

To say the least, we’ve teased this announcement for too long already. So without further ado… THIS!

Yes, Round 2 has been developing a 1:350 scale Klingon K’t’inga as featured in STAR TREK: The Motion Picture! This is one of the kits we have been asked about since Round 2 got into the model kit business 10 years ago. Rumor and/or speculation has been that development of this kit started back at Playing Mantis before Polar Lights was obtained by RC2, but I’ve found little to no record of that in the development notes I’ve encountered in my role as the chief sci-fi kit product developer here at Round 2. We have been working with Charles Adams for well over a year now on this project. He has supplied the CAD model for the basis of the ship. Steve Neisen is also consulting on the add-on model kit bits that were used on the original filming miniature. Jim Small is also involved in the development and will be building our publicity model. I have been discussing with Charles the possibility of writing some guest blog entries about the ship to share some of his years-long research into the model.

The photos show the mockup (prototype) of the kit and it needs a little bit of explaining. The factory has been working over Charles’ CAD work and adding details that he would have supplied as model kit parts on his own studio scale model. We sent kit parts to the factory to scan. In some instances they used scans and in some cases, they tried to rebuild them from measurements. In some cases you can’t tell the difference. In some cases you can. Our partner factory in China recently took their annual holiday for Chinese New Year and did their best to get the mockup to us before leaving for their break. They were up against the ship date with some details needing adjustment and with minimal engineering to fit the parts properly together. No locator pins, etc. This was a freshly printed rapid prototype and they had no time to test fit or make adjustments, so I’ve been doing my best to cobble it together.  have no fear of gaps and obvious glue bombs. All will be revised well before production.

Let’s see what else… answers before there are questions…

  • The target retail price will be around $100.
  • Yes, we will be putting out a light kit. We’ll show some candid pics of that in a post later on.
  • Yes, we plan to do a ST:VI Kronos One version later down the road as long as sales on this first release supports that notion.
  • The kit is currently scheduled for September release. Yes, that soon. If we can stick to the schedule, that would mean we’ll have a test shot built to display at Wonderfest in June.
  • Distributors can look for this product to appear on our next price sheet which will go out within the next week. (By 3/9)

For now, enjoy a look at the mockup. We’ll put higher res pics on our Facebook page. Feel free to ask questions here and I’ll come back and answer a slew of them all at once in a future post.

Qapla’!

 

With a great license like STAR TREK, there is no end to the subjects we can introduce as new kits, but sometimes the question does arrive of “What should we do next?”. That question is usually tied to the investment needed for tooling the kit. It isn’t easy to do large, grand scale kits very often, but there are plenty of ships to consider at smaller scales like our popular 1:1000 scale kits. Except for maybe the Klingon K’t’inga, we have represented most of the recognizable ships in one scale or another. However, it seems like nearly every time we’ve asked modelers what ideas they had in mind, we often found one ship asked for over and over… The U.S.S. Grissom. The Oberth-class ship is a bit of a departure from the usual Starfleet fare. Though a fan-favorite, the Grissom was infamously taken out by a Klingon Bird-of-Prey in STAR TREK: The Search For Spock before other Oberths went on to appear in three more films and several episodes of ST:TNG. The ship is a relatively small design with an accepted length of 120 meters. That gave us bit of pause to do as a 1:1000 scale kit. A kit of this size wouldn’t be substantial enough to stand on its own. Though a 1:350 scale kit of the ship seems very appealing, we felt the need to check the reaction to a smaller investment first and come back to a large scale later if that seems feasible. So, what could we do? We could have reboxed our Enterprise Refit and included it in that like we did with the Botany bay in our TOS Enterprise kit, but I wanted to hold out on that and see if teaming the Refit with a dry dock kit might be viable later on. With the Refit still available and our recent U.S.S. Excelsior release, it became apparent that the last of the ships from STIII: The Search For Spock was the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. A smaller ship with a debatable length of about 90 meters, we could afford to team the two ships together in a 2-piece set and allow modelers to build a collection of every ship from that film. The KBoP is a beloved design and is in my personal list of top 5 space ship designs.

The Grissom is based on CAD work by Angelo Bastianelli and the KBoP will be based on our larger AMT kit. The Bird-of-Prey will come with two sets of wing baffles to build in either cruising or attack modes. Both kits will feature snap assembly to fit right in line with our other 1:1000 snap kits.

A few things to note on the mockups. On the Oberth, the factory made a couple mistakes. they grew an earlier copy of the deck. So the mockup shown here has the incorrect detail on the back the rear edge of the deck also shows more detail than we will end up with in production. They put a base rod hole in the bottom large enough to accept the rods for our 5″ dome bases, but these kits will come with our small bases, so that will be less obtrusive. On the KBoP, they forgot the base hole altogether. More significantly, they were supposed to grow two sizes of the ship. the one shown in thepics measures about 3 1/2″ long and would be comparable to the kit included in the AMT Adversary Set. At this length the ship would have been 90 meters long “in real life”. However, this deviates from the debated, but generally agreed to length of 110m. The second mockup was to be about 4 1/2″ long to bring it in scale with that measurement. The detail looks great at the smaller size, but we will most likely kick it up to the larger size. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Here, for the first time, is a look at the upcoming kits. The set is scheduled to be released by May 1st. So look for it at Wondefest 2018.

 

 

Now, I’ve been mulling “something” over… We are working on another brand-new kit. It will be big, and probably unexpected. I wish I could talk about it. It is really driving me nuts. It has been in the works for a long time already, and we are nearly finished with the CAD work. We will probably get a mockup within the month of January. I was hoping to hold out on this announcement until Wonderfest, but if we manage to stick to our development timeline, the kit should be out in August. In which case, we will probably announce it before that. I’ve been considering announcing it now as a Christmas gift to all of the sci-fi modelers out there. BUT, we all know how these things go. Any number of circumstances could crash down on the project. So I won’t say any more except…

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I hope one (or more) of your gifts is a model kit, but even more than that I hope you receive the peace and joy behind the season.

Star Trek Model Kits: U.S.S. Defiant kit update

posted by JamieH 1:41 PM
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Things rarely go according to plan. I was hoping to show the mockup for our NEXT new Star Trek kit this week, but delays at the factory are preventing that this time. Good news though that we already have test shots for our all-new U.S.S. Defiant snap kit! So here’s a quick look. I’m also showing a look at the decal sheet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit the additional registries some have been asking about. (Updated) We are also including a cap (not shown in pics) to seal the base hole for those that choose to use a different mounting method.

We are pretty far along with this kit with packaging underway. Jim Small may be showing off some pics of our buildup soon on social media. We’ll be sure to share those pics on our Facebook page.

Everything shown here is subject to licensor review.

Star Trek Model Kits: U.S.S. Defiant update

posted by JamieH 12:16 PM
Friday, December 1, 2017

When we offered a re-issue of the AMT U.S.S. Defiant from STAR TREK: Deep Space Nine a few years ago it turned out to be a nice solid seller for us. It offered a substantially-sized kit at the odd scale of 1:420. However, the sweet success was short lived. After just a few production orders for us, the tooling was catastrophically broken. It was going to cost us the price of a new kit to fix it. So we decided to do just that!

It took us a while to get to it, but when it came to deciding on our next 1:1000 release, the Defiant seemed to be the perfect choice. As a kit, the subject is simple from the tooling standpoint. We aren’t just making a smaller version of the old AMT kit though. We are making sure that this one is nicely accurate even if it is smaller. 1:1000 puts the overall length at about 6 5/8” long based on an established length of 170 meters. (Yeah, I know the ship was infamous for changing size to meet the need of the shot.) We had Angelo Bastianelli draw up the CAD model which was based on the filming miniature.

The mockup looks great. It features some pretty fine engraved panel lines which the factory states they can match in production. We’ll see how it looks when we see test shots. They captured some nice greebly detail in just the right spots. The kit will include clear parts as needed unlike the older kit where things like Bussard collectors were merged into opaque bulkhead parts. The forward-facing weapons on the nacelle cowls, front “mouth” (did they refer to is as a deflector? It obviously isn’t a “dish”) and round exhaust vents on the back are also clear.

I have to admit I like most of ST:DS9 less than other incarnations of Star Trek. I was one of the viewers the show lost by the time the stakes were raised around the Dominion War. But I have to admit the more I look at this mockup the more I appreciate this ship. If the details translate into the test shots, this will be a great looking little kit!

Star Trek Models: 1:350 scale developments

posted by JamieH 2:44 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2016

UPDATE: It now looks like a strong possibility we will have test shots of the new saucer parts at Wonderfest. See you there…

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It has been a while since we’ve talked about upcoming sci-fi releases. I’ll spill the beans on a few things, but focus on what we have in the works for our 1:350 scale kits that should arrive later this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of STAR TREK: The Original Series.

Part of the fun of fandom is holding the great debates… DC or Marvel…? Star Wars or Star Trek…? Chicken or egg…? When developing our 1:350 TOS Enterprise kit, it was “engraved panel lines or no engraved panel lines…?” In order to serve what we considered to be the widest range of modelers, we opted to engrave the panel lines on the upper and lower saucer. We did so knowing that it might upset some, but would satisfy others that didn’t have the skill or tools to install them in pencil like the filming miniature had. We have decided it is time to reverse course and offer the saucer without the panel lines. We will be releasing the saucer as an accessory piece so everyone that already has untouched kits can supplement them with these replacements and save the time and effort from filling and sanding them. Along with that change, we have corrected the position of two sets of windows that were off by a few degrees, but got by us. The “toothy” surface texture will also be removed so the saucer should now be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

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Some may say “Well, if you are doing that, you may as well include them in the kit that way now.” To which we say “Yes, indeed.” And while we are at it, we will be updating the color reference to reflect new-found information gleaned by the team of experts that are restoring the Enterprise filming miniature. Our go-to Star Trek guy, Gary Kerr, has played a key role in the restoration and is dutifully documenting the untouched/unseen areas of the miniature to determine the exact paint colors that were used. We’ll finish off the offering with an updated 50th anniversary scheme on the packaging. We plan on giving the Pilot parts accessory pack the same treatment and everything should be out by the end of the year. Additionally, we’ve heard the demand for more light kits and a new batch is on a boat as I write this. Expect them on store shelves within a month. If you have been on the lookout for a set, let your retailer know you want a copy (item number is MKA007).

There is a slim chance that we may have a test shot of the saucer on display at Wonderfest. We should have a preliminary look at the 50th anniversary packaging at the show as well. As usual, we look forward to seeing everyone at the show. It is a personal highlight of mine every year to get a chance to meet the builders that enjoy our products so well. We will once again be sponsoring two prizes in the model competition. We will present awards for what we deem to be the best use of a Round 2 model (any brand or subject) in the junior/teen and adult categories. The junior/teen winner gets a selection of kits from all of our brands. The adult winner will receive a gift certificate to autoworldstore.com which despite the name does deal in sci-fi kits as well. Good luck to all who enter. see you at the show!

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I was actually going to make this a lead in to a longer Star Trek models post that also included an update on the U.S.S. Excelsior since I’ve received the first set of test shots. My point in doing that was to deliver positive news along with what will be a disappointment to some of you. Instead I’m just going to rip off the band-aid lay out the situation with the Galileo Shuttle.  No forward progress is being made to engineer the kit. I doubt this will come as a huge shock to anyone. I hope my directness and openness on the subject is appreciated. It pains me more than anyone to make a statement like this.

I won’t drop that bomb without giving some kind of reason. Basically it comes down to timing and the budgetary limits of a company our size that offers such a wide range of products that we do. Sci-fi model kits take up a relatively slim slice of the pie when considering our automotive and military kits, die cast cars in several scales (including the recently re-acquired Johnny Lightning brand) along with other endeavors. Priorities have to shift when opportunities arise and for now we aren’t in a place where we can commit to the kit. Sometime we can invest in something grand, and sometimes other lines get to do something else instead.

You may ask why we’ve steered away from this one while producing others instead. That’s a fair question and this is where timing kind of comes into play. Initially, there was a bit of a delay in getting completed plans of the ship. Gary Kerr is our most trusted consultant on all things Star Trek, but when we first dug into the project, his plans were very preliminary and just captured the basic shape which we used for the basis of the shuttle in our 1:350 kit. By the time he turned them in, they consisted of over a hundred pages of crystal clear information. That took some time to do and while he was hard at work drawing up the plans we did other kits. Keep in mind it is easy to think about the old AMT kit and imagine that we could just do an improved version of that, but you know our reputation of doing a new kit right when we do one. At scale, the ship measures 11” long and over 7” wide. In that old kit one wall provided the interior and exterior. That won’t work for a kit that is intended to be accurate. it requires separate interior and exterior walls, floor, ceiling, roof, etc. So once parts get laid out on a tool, it essentially becomes the equivalent of two kits! I studied ways to cut back or compromise, but ultimately they would have seemed like a shortcut or cheat. The savings in doing so were negligible. One factor that actually worked in our favor was that when combined the 1:1000 Romulan BoP and U.S.S. Reliant were more manageable financially and they gave us more marketable kits at a lower price point. They also tied directly to other kits of the same scale. If we had done the Galileo those kits may never have come to market.

Why do the Eagle and not the Galileo? That qualifies as a textbook “tough decision”. Ultimately we decided that the Eagle gave us the basis for three variations along with many potential add-ons and accessories while the Galileo could pretty much only exist as itself and therefore limited us with what could be done with the tooling. On top of that, sales on the Space:1999 license proved that the market was hungry for a new kit and that seems to indeed be the case. That isn’t to say one license won over the other. We still have a lot we can and want to do with the Star Trek license!

So why say this now? I could have said something a few months ago, but I was knee deep in other matters. Plus, I still have hope and an idea to be able to do the kit sooner than later. I just wanted to clear the air with everyone that really wanted a straight answer on it. So the straight answer is we aren’t doing it right now, and they way things look we won’t be considering it for a while. I DO want the kit to happen and like I said, I have schemes and ideas, but it is time to move on for a bit with the intention to work back around to it. So what will we do? We’ll see. I’ll show you when I have something to show. Onward…

 

Polar Lights Model Kits: U.S.S. Reliant Aztec decals

posted by JamieH 9:17 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hi guys-

I promised this post a while back. I know we are running behind on getting the U.S.S. Reliant decals out to market, but they should be here by the end of August.

The images below show you what to expect so you can plan ahead so you can start building while waiting for the decals. as expected, it s a our usual aztec wrap and we’ve added in several alternative names and registries as well. A preview of the instructions gives you a better idea of how they are broken up and placed on the model. I’ve pumped up the contrast of everything I am previewing here so you can see it at the relatively low resolution that our blog system restricts me to.

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Polar Lights models: Wonderfest is right around the corner

posted by RJ 4:56 PM
Friday, May 10, 2013

 

One of my personal highlights each year continues to be the annual Wonderfest show in Louisville, KY. This year’s show is coming up the weekend of May 18 & 19 and it seems to be shaping up to be another great one. Seeing all of the great product available and seeing the work of all of the great modelers out there is a rare treat. Most of all though, I look forward to seeing all of the familiar faces and the chance we get to have to talk about our kits, the hobby and what you guys think.

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Even though we won’t be unveiling big news like the 1:350 TOS Enterprise, there will still be tons to talk about. We look forward to showing off our brand new buildups of our 1:144 C-57D, Robby & Altaira, Wolverine, the U.S.S. Enterprise bridge set and plenty more. We’ll give some info on development of the Galileo, Superman and all of the other all-new model kits we have brewing. We’ll have some surprising licensing announcements including hints at our plans for the ALIEN license. As always, we’ll have our annual survey ready to fill out to supply us with your feedback. We’ll be sure to fill in everyone that misses the show with our usual follow up youtube video of our booth and announcements.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone at the show!

 

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http://www.autoworldstore.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=wolverine&Submit=Search

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