The Custom Replicas 66″ Enterprise or be careful of what you wish for…

You might get it, and find out it’s not as wonderful as first perceived.

When I saw Sean Sides build of this kit I really wanted one. He did one heck of a job.

He has much more on his site it’s well worth the visit-

Square Models

This model was Produced by Custom Replicas, I got one in 2007.

There were damaged parts from shipping, those were taken care of by Custom Replicas. But there is always a period where you can only see with rose colored glasses. When they came off I found a very big problem with this kit.

The supplied armature didn’t match the hull. At first I was confused maybe it’s supposed to be that way. I did try to ask Custom Replicas about it at the time, but I never received a reply back. I didn’t have time to peruse the issue because I moving at the time. After I was settled I took it up again, but I got a very cold reception. I was told there was a 90 day warranty period and I would have pay $100 to get a new part. Without this part the $3100 I spent on the model would be wasted. After a few email exchanges, I figured it would better to pay for the parts. These guys were really making things difficult. I asked a friend if I could fix it, he told me no. The fiberglass didn’t have enough layers to keep the part stable. So I reluctantly paid for it and got the replacement second hull. That one fit the armature.

At the time I was so frustrated with this experience, I put the model back in it’s boxes and left it to rot on a shelf. Maybe one day I would build it, after some time had passed and my temper cooled(I have this issue with a number of models in my collection, buying garage kits can be a very frustrating experience).

Until a friend showed me these-

Uh oh, that’s not good. It’s the upper saucer from the same kit I have.

So I went and checked the condition of mine(I haven’t looked at it in years).

It came in a very big box.

It was stored in the original box. I took it out and checked it’s fit(I wish more companies packed their products with such care). This is the upper saucer.

But first I have to do some dry-fitting.

I needed to secure the armature in the saucer securely(only temporarily), So I used a pen and a rubberband.

I had to make sure it’s well seated to the second hull.

Then I put the upper saucer on and…

Yea, that’s kind of wonky. But…

That doesn’t make me feel comfortable.

Yep, the shape is changing, eventually it will look like my friend’s saucer if left alone.

With a lot of tape it can be held down, so it’s going to be ok. But I have to build the model so this issue doesn’t get worse.

You ask why is this happening? Heat? Cold? Apollo showed up? Kirk pushed her one step to far?
Nope it’s physics, the material it’s made out of is polyester. A relatively inexpensive type of fiberglass(there are a lot of different types). But the fundamental problem is, the saucer was to thin to resist the tendency of the material to do what it wants. Which it did. If the upper saucer was made thicker it wouldn’t have been as big an issue. Gluing the saucer together will solve the problem. This doesn’t happen with all types of fiberglass. It was just a poor choice for this part.

I strongly urge those of you with this kit on the shelf-


It can be corrected, as long as it doesn’t get to far out of shape.

Place it on a flat surface in the sun and it should flatten out(This advice was from Steve Neil he has a lot of experience with this stuff).

Since I’ve embarked on building this kit, I can say it has a lot of issues. But you say, “It’s a garage kit of course it’s going to have issues”. That’s true, I’m happy it’s at least buildable(I have a few that are not). But not without a lot of work, and a bunch of things that are included with the kit are nothing but junk. The manual that comes with it, is only good for a very very loose guideline. If not next to useless, in fact it makes the build harder than it needs to be.

I’ll be chronicling all of this, so some of you that tackle this model will have an easier time with it.

Yes, there is much more to come…




66" TOS E, Models and Props

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