One of the highlights of visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for Star Trek fans is seeing the original on-screen model of the USS Enterprise on display there. But all of the restoration work that went into the model six years ago can now benefit private collectors, as Tomy has created a remarkably detailed replica of the ship based on the original screen-used model.
Five years after the original Star Trek series was cancelled, the model of the USS Enterprise used to film all of the external shots of the ship travelling through the cosmos was donated to the National Air and Space Museum. But because Star Trek wasn’t as big a pop culture phenomenon 50 years ago as it is today, the model was just hung from the museum’s ceiling, which heavily damaged its structure. In the ‘90s, thanks in part to the popularity of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a restoration was attempted, but with added lights and details that weren’t accurate to the original model.
After a stint in the museum’s gift shop, in 2014 the museum finally started a full restoration of the USS Enterprise model to its original paint and detailing, and in 2016, it went on permanent display again alongside the National Air and Space Museum’s other iconic exhibits.
Over the years there have been countless models and replicas of the USS Enterprise made available to fans, but Tomy has announced a limited edition, 1/350th-scale die-cast replica of the NCC-1701 that promises to stand out from the rest in terms of accuracy. The 34-inch replica is based on all the restoration work put into the 3.35 m model currently on display at the Smithsonian, and Gary Kerr, widely considered the ultimate authority on the original series’ model who also worked on its restoration efforts six years ago, collaborated with Tomy’s own designers to help ensure this replica is as accurate as possible.
Besides a paint finish that closely matches all the shots of the ship as seen in the original 1966 Star Trek series, Tomy’s USS Enterprise includes light-up animated nacelles designed to replicate the original special effects, an illuminated hangar bay you can actually look inside, 70 LEDs in and around the ship including navigation lights, a glowing impulse drive, and a saucer section that actually separates from the rest of the hull, with a reconfigurable display stand that supports both parts.
As you’ve probably guessed, this replica isn’t priced for casual Trekkies. Tomy is taking a crowd-funded approach and will only put the limited run replica into production if it receives 5,000 pre-orders for the ship, with pre-orders starting tomorrow. That’s a lofty goal, especially with a price tag of $US600 ($833), and with pre-orders being limited to just Star Trek fans in the United States. If Tomy finds enough backers, its Prestige Select U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 replica will ship out to fans next Summer in 2023.