First Look: 1701 Club For Trek Modeling Enthusiasts
By Jamie Hood - February 04, 2012
Many Star Trek fans have fantasized about traveling through the galaxy at warp speed in a starship of their very own. Luckily, there are manufacturers who are able to capture some of that excitement - even if it is just in miniature form. Since 2008, Round 2 has been producing Star Trek model kits under the AMT and Polar Lights brands. In most cases, long-lost classic kits have been brought back to their former glory or made even better than when they were originally released. As a product developer for Round 2, Jamie Hood has been guiding the Star Trek model line and has had the pleasure of bringing back old favorites as well as developing brand-new Star Trek kits. He is excited to take a minute to talk about the development of a new 1:350 scale Original Series U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as a club -- the 1701 Club -- through which modelers and collectors can buy a special limited edition of the kit and receive behind the scenes information as the kit is being developed...
Modelers have been clamoring for a 1:350 scale TOS U.S.S. Enterprise kit since the day we started producing models in 2008. At 1:350-scale, the model measures approximately 30” long. I believe this was the same scale used for the Master Replicas Enterprise that was released a few years ago. The kit supplies all of the parts needed to create a replica of the production version of the ship. Details include a quarter-size bridge and shuttle bay complete with two shuttles. The kit is currently scheduled to come out in October and will retail for about $124.99. We have found that there are modelers out there that love to add in as much authentic detail as they can. So we are also developing a separate accessory set that will include parts to add further detail, with photo-etched metal parts, a complete light kit and Bussard collector fan motors. Along with this, we are also developing another accessory pack of optional parts to allow modelers to build the kit as one of the pilot versions.
We have found that fans of our products really value opportunities to learn and see how we develop our products. In an effort to share this information, we launched a special initiative to communicate directly with our fans, and allow them the opportunity to purchase a limited edition of the kit. The 1701 Club is the exclusive place where we share behind-the-scenes development information. Club members receive email updates that show the progress of the product’s development. By signing up for the 1701 Club, members reserve a copy of the Premiere Edition of the kit at the price of $149.99 plus S&H. (No payment information is required at sign up. Ordering information will be sent when the kit is ready.) The Premiere Edition includes everything in the standard kit as well as several added value items, including optional pilot version parts, a numbered Certificate of Authenticity, a special commemorative packaging treatment and a free 1701 Club t-shirt, which is delivered upon sign-up. The Premiere Edition is slated to be delivered to club members 1-2 months before the wide release of the regular edition kit.
The Premiere Edition and t-shirts are limited to 1701 pieces each. So, the first 1701 members to sign up get a t-shirt and the first 1701 members will get top priority to place their order. Members can ask for more than one copy of the kit, but only one kit will be available to them if we have 1701 individuals place orders.
The program was launched in May last year at the annual Wonderfest sci-fi modeling show. At this point, we have 1,560 club members. We will continue to accept club sign-ups beyond 1701 members, but those people will be placed on a waiting list. They will be given the first opportunity to buy any kits that go unclaimed.
Reaction to the 1701 Club has been outstanding. So far, we have released four club updates and will have another launching in the next week or so. Fans and modelers have been able to see the steps we’ve taken to create a highly detailed model that will be easy to build and modify. Our next installment will show photos of the pilot edition parts, factory direction and correction to the standard kit, and a preview look at the completed box lid artwork.
It is our intention to make this the model kit of the century. We hope the kit exceeds the expectations of modelers and that the information shared through the 1701 Club is enough to whet their appetites while they wait.
Fans can sign up online now at Round 2 Models.
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