Restoring AMT-Ertl's U.S.S. Enterprise Kit

  Shortly after completing the Enterprise model, I made epoxy castings of the custom vacuform molds used to make the warp drive domes. This was in the hope of sharing what I did with other modelers and also to make a little cash in the still new Garage Kit industry. The STARSHIP LIGHT-UP KIT by Plastic Things included all of the parts needed to light up the AMT kit's saucer domes and add the missing "Aft Navigation Beacon" to the kit. It also came with the translucent parts necessary to light the warp engines in the same manner that I did.

   Learning from my experience, the kit's warp dome pieces consisted of a streamlined 2-dome arrangement.

   The kit came with an eight page instruction booklet with detailed instructions and drawings that included some of my original concept sketches. Not having access to a computer in 1993, the booklet was made using a typewriter with hand-drawn illustrations and was printed using a copy machine.

   The image below shows the kit as packaged along with the included components. In the middle from the top down are a half-inch section of Plastruct 1/4-inch O.D. tube, battery clip, 3 clear and 2 amber model railroad lamps and about 3 feet of double-stranded electrical cord. The two vacuform sheets on the right are the silvered mylar reflectors at the top and the warp domes at the bottom with the Navigation Beacon in the middle of the sheet.

  My timing could not have been worse. At the same time the Light-Up Kit became available, production of the original AMT Enterprise kit ceased after a successful run of over 30 years. The classic 18 inch kit was replaced by a 22 inch "Cutaway" version. Ertl would never re-release the original.

   About a dozen kits were made and I managed to sell most of them over the course of 3 years. Some kits were sold by vendors who worked at local Star Trek conventions, others were by word of mouth. By the time I finally established any kind of presence on the Internet, the AMT Enterprise was long out of production and modelers were buying Polar Lights' more accurate 11 inch Enterprise kit.

   A few parts from unsold kits were used as spare parts for kit-bashing, winding up as, for example, the two small communication dishes on my 2001 Discovery model, the High-gain antenna dishes on the Apollo CSM and also as a diffuser for a red astronomy flashlight.

   Over the years, I had heard of modelers building the AMT Enterprise using the Light-Up Kit but to this day haven't seen a single example or photo. If, back in the '90s, you happen to have built a model of the Enterprise with my lighting kit, please, please email me a photo or two at alanoodle1 "at" optonline.net. With your permission, I'd even like to post your photos here!

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chapter 5
chapter 6
chapter 7
chapter 8
chapter 9
chapter 10