Kit: No. 3604
Scale: about 1/667
Manufacturer: Monogram, 8601 Waukegan Road, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2295, 708-966-3500
Comments: Injection molded, 63 parts, decals.
HURLED to the other side of the galaxy, the starship USS Voyager valiantly tries to make its way back to Starfleet space. So begins the fourth TV series in the "Star Trek" universe.
While we are used to seeing "Star Trek" models by AMT/Ertl, Monogram obtained the license for the Voyager series and has produced the title ship, a Maquis vessel, and a Kazon ship.
Voyager is molded in a few large parts, aimed for a beginner's fingers and capabilities. Usually this means ease of assembly takes precedence over detail, but this kit balances the two nicely.
The instructions are well laid out and follow a logical assembly sequence. Painting and decaling instructions are scattered throughout, so pay attention to avoid missing some. All the parts are named and numbered, so you'll learn something about starship terminology. Still, generic color suggestions and the lack of a designated overall color may send experienced modelers into a wormhole.
I started assembly by masking all of the windows in the clear parts with Bare-Metal Foil, installing them, and reinforcing them with 5-minute epoxy. I didn't want any windows falling in after the model was finished.
The auxiliary deflector base (part No. 25) did not fit well, so I used putty to fill the seams. The auxiliary deflector (No. 8) sticks out too far, so I reduced its thickness with a razor saw -- but it still isn't right.
Studying the TV show I see the forward sensor platform (No. 7) should be recessed more below the surface of the saucer section. The saucer halves fit well with only a little filling and sanding needed.
I was worried that the seam on the bottom of the hull, with all of its bumps and channels, would be difficult to erase, but it fit well. Reinforcing the seam with sheet plastic from the inside ensured it wouldn't pop open later. I left off the hull insert (No. 12) until the saucer was attached to the hull, then filled the small gaps between the saucer and the hull with epoxy putty.
The engine pylon wings are designed to move between warp and impulse positions. I replaced the plastic hinge pins with brass rods to prevent them from being locked in one position as the hinges were glued together.
Although the wings should snap into the different positions, my sample's starboard unit wouldn't lock into the warp position. I glued a thin sheet styrene shim to the outside of the lock rib on the lower wing to fix it.
Dry-fit the wings and test them before gluing the center section together. The fit of the wing unit to the hull is poor. I used epoxy putty to blend them together and left the engine pods off until everything was painted and decaled. I also left off the warp engine clear parts (No. 35) until final assembly.
I painted my Voyager with Testor Model Master light gray, then shaded several panels a slightly darker gray. This isn't shown in the painting guide, but I followed the black-and-white photo of a finished model on the front page of the instructions. It would be impossible to reproduce the blue glow of the main deflector, so Monogram suggests painting it brown. I painted various panels in several shades of gray tan, and brown. I used opaque white ink in a technical pen to fill in the recessed windows (except for the clear ones). The forward and aft photon torpedo launchers were covered with Bare-Metal Foil, then painted with Tamiya clear red.
The decals are thick but well printed. They adhered well but did not respond to setting solutions. I finished my Voyage with a wash of gray and brown oil paints to bring out the details.
The Starfleet-emblem-shaped stand was covered with gold and silver leaf (available in craft stores).
I spent 24 hours on my Voyager, with about half dedicated to painting and decaling. No scale is given, but a length of 1,130 feet is stated in the instructions. That makes the 20 3/8"-long model about 1/667 scale.
Monogram's Voyager captures the look of the starship. It's easy enough for a beginner to build, yet provides the basis for a detailed miniature for the advanced Trek builder.