The Reliant - Miranda Class
Not only do I seem unable to build a kit which I only have one of, but I also seem to be unable to make a kit I like. The Reliant has got to be one of my least favorite Star Trek ships. It breaks one of the cardinal rules of the Federation Trek cannon - it has no deflector array. I suppose somewhere on the net there’s some explanation of why it’s lacking or where it may be hidden, but the fact of the matter is that it hasn’t one. The ship was designed for Star Trek II, Wrath of Khan. They needed a federation ship which would be recognizably Federation, but not like the Enterprise. Thus the saucer on skates was born. (Wouldn’t it be nice if filmmakers actually consulted with people who follow the franchise?)
For some reason my analyst has yet to identify, I picked up three of these kits from Model Expo for about $5.00 each. I decided to build one for practice. Going into a project with such high expectations, it’s hard to fail.
Assembly of the kit wasn’t much fun. The saucer didn’t go together easily. The areas around they nacelle pylons were especially troubling. The bottom curve of the saucer actually touches the upper half of the saucer which didn’t have much to do with construction, but says a bunch about the ship or model design. The clear parts were easy enough. There really are only two of them to worry about at the aft of the ship. The other clear parts didn’t need to be clear at all and were just painted.
Having done several Federation ships lately, I was a little sick of regular light blue/gray schemes and decided to do my own schemes. I went with a darker gray/blue which is hard to see on the pictures. Not wanting to another Aztec pattern like on my Enterprise D, I just masked off squares along the hull and painted a second, lighter, blue/gray. This gave me a nice panelling look. I had to mist the light gray over the model to tie them in a bit when I saw the contrast was too stark. Playing with this panelling effect justified building the model, but not much else did.
I made the mistake of gluing the top sensor array (a.k.a. the roll bar) onto the ship before painting. This make painting a problem to be sure, but it pretty much removed any hope of decaling. I left the decals off even though I purchased some after-market decals from JT Graphics. These will probably find their way onto another Reliant one day if I find a way to like this ship.
When I was getting sick of building of this model (it happens some times), I resorted to a little black-lining with a sharpy on the warp nacelles. I was too lazy mask them and paint them properly. The effect was as good as you think it would be; it was aweful.
I might finish this model one day, but outside of the decaling, which just isn’t calling me, it really is as done as I want it to be.