03 January 2016

U.S.S. Voyager, NCC-74656 (1/677 scale model)


The Voyager was the last Star Trek starship I built (late summer/fall 1995...or maybe 1996), ending four years of starship modelling and –inexplicably– beginning my 20-year hiatus from model building altogether (which I ended in mid-2015 with a 1/12 scale C-3PO).

Box art.

I don't exactly remember, but looking around online confirms that Monogram made the first Voyager kit in '95, and this is the one I built. My digging around online also supplied me with a rough scale for this ship.

Nice lines.

I have fond memories of building this model even though I didn't really do much more than assemble the (very few) parts, apply the decals, and do a little painting. My minimal effort leaves the ship looking very plain, detail-wise, but the overall shape of the of it remains very appealing. If I were to build this ship now I'd probably use the great after market photo etched parts available and maybe do more with the windows (all but ignored here). Maybe some lighting. Maybe.

Nice profile.

Again, the design of the ship is nice and the lack of neck (the elongated saucer section and engineering hull are blended together) somehow works here, and still looks like it belongs in the Starfleet family.

No idea.

When building this ship, I thought I'd misplaced a part or two meant to go in this void, but I didn't and I still don't know what this weird notch above the two torpedo launchers is supposed to be. According to a schematic I found online, it's a recessed EVA hatch, but I'm skeptical, as I don't remember it being used as such (or at all) onscreen, and the model's lack of detail here is weirdly plain.


The model came molded in a grey that's close enough to the onscreen ship that I felt I didn't need to paint it except for the phaser strips, escape pod hatches, the main deflector dish, sensor clusters, and the RCS thrusters.

Fixed, now.

The warp nacelle pylons on the show can tilt up for warp (at various angles, optimizing the warp field) and are horizontal at sublight speeds. An interesting idea, I guess, but I don't really care since, IIRC, they didn't use that aspect as an aid (or a hindrance) on the show.

The model also has the capability of tilting up, but I've now glued them to stay horizontal, partly for looks, but also because they wouldn't sit perfectly flat or raised at the same angles.


Here's a detail I'm not too fond of: while I like the overall shape of the warp nacelles, I find the Bussard collectors (the red bits) too small and unnecessarily divided in two. Maybe the designers were trying to minimize the amount of red on the ship or to distance it from the various Enterprises, but these tiny bits look silly and ineffective.

Too many greeblies.

Once more: the overall shape of the Voyager is very pleasing, but I find these "sensor arrays" break up the smoothness and look out of place on a Starfleet vessel which are known for their clean, refined design. It looks more like a Star Wars motif where bits of hull plating are removed (and not replaced) for easy access, as in the Y-wing, among others. Having these areas exposed seems like a backward step for Starfleet design.

Star Trek: Voyager wasn't always a great show, but it had its moments, and its intro theme and montage is my favourite of all the Trek shows.


I went through the trouble of masking off that curved recessed area to get the six shapes as per the box art (or the paper instructions; I didn't have very good photo reference), but the way that part doesn't fit flush inside the back of that area always bugged me –especially since that's the way it's supposed to be! I should have tucked it in...


All of the decals have turned yellow in the parts that should be clear (the colours themselves are okay, even the whites). Some Micro Sol and Set would have helped them conform to all the panel lines, but I didn't really know what I was doing back then.

So basic.

This model is nicely detailed and decently screen accurate, but I did a woeful job with it, doing the bare minimum...but that's only because I didn't know what else to do. I didn't know about filling seam lines or how to do that; I didn't think to open up the windows and put clear plastic in there; it never occurred to me to install lighting; and so on and so on. But I had a lot of fun and that's the main thing.

Would I build it differently today? Yes, more (and more accurate) detailing, at least.
Am I going to give it another go? No, I don't feel like revisiting any of my old starship models.

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