Inside The Enterprise Project


A Cradle of Inspiration
March 19, 2009, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

The Bandai Enterprise NX-01

The Bandai Enterprise NX-01

A few years ago… actually it has been longer than that… I was perusing around online looking for gods only knows what when I came across the Bandai model of the Enterprise E. She was a beauty, easy to assemble and nicely detailed. But the real clincher for me was the fact she lit up. I have never been an avid modeler. Actually, I have always hated doing it, even as a kid. Yet, here was a model that I could easily sling together and still look good. I was hooked. Hell, I didn’t even flinch at the price tag. Once it arrived I left it sitting on the work table in my studio for about a month because I just wasn’t in the mood to put it together. Oh but when I finally broke that box open, I was enthralled. The pictures had not done it justice. For a simple snap together model kit, I was very impressed and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt at the purchase price. After that I started grabbing up all of the Star Trek Bandai model line as soon as they came out and adding them to my collection of ships tucked away in my home studio.

But the real find, the one that practically had me jumping up and down with a geek-gasm, was when the Bandai model for the NX-01 was announced. This ship, my favorite ship, was finally getting her due in precise computer milled glowing prepainted plastic perfection. I even preordered, which I never do. And when she finally arrived at my doorstep, I practically destroyed the box trying to get at the damn thing. I was so excited I could barely hold the exacto knife I was hacking into the cellophane with. I remember sitting in the floor of the living room, carefully trimming each piece and snapping it all together. I was extra careful and she turned out perfect.

That night I remember turning that model over and over in my hands, drinking in all the little details and nuances I hadn’t seen before on the television show. I was struck at how much the warp coils stuck out from the nacelles. I was also amazed at the tiny little painted details that ran up her nacelle pylons and the extra plating on the bottom of the saucer. But the one thing that struck me more than anything was the crisp windows on the ventral surface of the saucer. I couldn’t help but wonder what those teensy viewports might look into. Could it be someone’s quarters? Was it a science lab? Did we see that area in an episode? My brain was flooded with possibilities.

So now, even after all this time, that little model still sits close by inspiring me. I will still hold it in my hands and work out a problem I have run into. For some reason that flimsy piece of plastic has made this ship more real to me than the entire mass of DVD screen grabs I have made over the last three years. I guess it has a familiar immediacy that my brain can grab onto. But what ever the reason, that eighty bucks I blew on her has been well worth it. My willingness to put it together with care has been too.

And I hate to admit this but I think it is also a true measure of my obsession with this ship. Normally, I hide my love of Trek behind a very tight door. Most people I am acquainted with have no clue about my fandom. Only my closest friends and colleagues know about it. However, this model can be seen sitting around the house in various places pretty much all the time. Sometimes it will end up on the dining table. One day I even found that I had left it on top of the washing machine. Needless to say, when all of my other Trek stuff is stowed away, this bit of inspiration is proudly displayed like a family portrait for everyone to see.

(And a little note: I am still disappointed that Bandai dropped this model line. The 1701-A was jaw dropping and the model for Voyager simply blew me away. The detailing on these ships is nothing short of amazing. I will still stand back and marvel at the ingenuity they poured into Voyager. I can only imagine what this company could have done with the Defiant, Deep Space Nine or the Enterprise D. But alas, we will never know.)

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