Developing Revell’s New Star Trek Model Kits

By Juegen Zurnieden - September 01, 2011

Countless kids around the world have grown up assembling Revell model kits – cars, ships, planes, and, yes, several Star Trek ships, including the U.S.S. Voyager, a Maquis Raider, a Kazon Raider and a Kazon Torpedo. Now, Revell Germany is preparing to introduce several new Star Trek models – among them a TOS Enterprise kit and a TOS Klingon Battle Cruiser D7 kit – which will be available in most European countries starting in October. In the meantime, Juergen Zurnieden, Project Manager for Revell Germany, has penned a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the upcoming model kits.

Pre-History:

In 1996, our former sister Revell Monogram started development of plastic model kits in accordance to a completely new TV series, Star Trek: Voyager. The main ship would, of course, be in the focus in all episodes: the Starship Voyager. The item had tremendous success and we, Revell Germany, also sold many items.

When the last Star Trek movie premiered in 2009, we re-released the Voyager. This time, the model had more decals and a few more detailed parts, which made it better than the first kit. Strong sales showed high interest in Voyager, even if the series itself was currently not broadcasted. Thus, we decided to introduce models of a series everybody would know: the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from TOS and also theTOS Klingon ship, the Battle Cruiser D7.

The Research Phase:

It’s important to have reliable material on hand when trying to develop good models. Our Star Trek models are no exception.
Detailed views are vital so the development process started in September 2010 with the gathering of original material from the series, digitalized or original. We also collected privately made shots from a model in the Smithsonian and books from the series. The drawings in some books are a bit misleading and not always correct, so sorting it out was very important. Collector guides helped to determine exact forms and curvations.

The Design Phase:

After enough material was collected, the designer converted the research material into CAD files. This took more than two months for the detailed Star Trek models. The CAD process required further research to clarify questions and details necessary to create a great model.  Finally, the CAD files were ready early November 2010.

The Prototype:

Based on these CAD files, the first prototype was made of STL, a material similar to resin. The prototype was used to provide pictures for the product development process that began in early January 2011 and the prototypes were first shown in public at the Nuremberg Toy Fair earlier this year.

The Tooling:

After further improvements and revisions, production started in March 2011. The first shots from the injection molds arrived early June. Afterwards, these first parts were assembled for the first time. As usual, parts do not fit perfectly to each other; gaps appear, some parts are too loose, some to tight. All parts are carefully checked and a correction list is made to improve the parts, sections and sometimes also engravings. We are currently in this stage for the new model kits.

Next Steps:

Right now, we are finishing development of the boxes for the new models. We are convinced that Star Trek fans will find these models exciting, and we’re happy to provide an insight into the development of our Star Trek kits. We will keep the Star Trek community updated with future stories and more photographs.


Keep an eye on StarTrek.com for updates about Revell Germany’s upcoming Star Trek Model Kits.

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