Federation Dreadnought Missile Cruiser (DNG)
U.S.S. Solidarity, NCC-2123

1:3125 Scale Mongoose Publishing-Amarillo Design Bureau
Starline 2500 Gaming Miniature

Copyright
2012 Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Finishing materials and sequence can be found here on this page.
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Awards & Honors

My first Starline 2500 miniature, Federation Dreadnought Missile Cruiser USS Solidarity gave me a good introduction to this new line, manufacturer and a different game system. Suitable for use with any game system set in Amarillo Design Bureau's Star Fleet Universe, the Starline 2500 miniatures produced by Mongoose Publishing for their game system Star Fleet: A Call to Arms (SF: ACTA) are slightly larger than the previous Starline 2400 (and earlier) miniatures, coming in at 1:3125 scale. They are more accurate than previous incarnations of the starships produced for use in SFU, as well as maintaining a constant scale relative to each other. Though slightly larger than the Starline 2400 series of miniatures, these new ships are probably better suited to table-top gaming, and not so much hex-map gaming, as their bases and overall size quickly crowds a game map with close-in approaches (knife-fighting) between vessels or actions including several starships. But, for sheer size and "wow" factor, it's hard to beat the Starline 2500 series.

This miniature represents the Federation Dreadnought Missile Cruiser (DNG), a heavily armed sister vessel to the familiar Franz Joseph Dreadnought Cruiser. There were four of this class of vessel built by Star Fleet; NCC-2120 USS Entente (later converted/upgraded to Fast Dreadnought (DNF)), NCC-2121 USS Trusteeship (later converted/upgraded to Heavy Dreadnought (DNH)), NCC-2122 USS Unification and NCC-2123 USS Solidarity according to my copy of the SFU Starship Registry (dated 7 May 2007). I chose to christen my first Starline 2500 miniature DNG USS Solidarity. USS Solidarity wears custom markings created by Tenneshington Decals, as does the escorting FFG USS Martin Luther King, NCC-405 posed next to her.

In evaluating this six-piece miniature, I have to start out by saying these are castings early on in the release and might not be examples of the ultimate product. I think with the keen interest, the product might have been a little rushed to market, and could suffer from such. As the photos show, they are not as crisply done as the old Zocchi plastic minis, but are better detailed than previous white metal miniatures. I believe Mongoose Publishing intends to refine the process and production of the miniatures, so I can't say what the final verdict will be. Personally, I'd like the medium to be harder than it is now, even if the weight increases a little bit. I like the details. I like the positional stands - and could go with another option like using Gamescience Stands if I wanted to. Construction and cleanup was about the same as cleaning up a white metal miniature with this particular example, and slightly more than a typical plastic Zocchi mini, though compounded by the softness of the material and instances of resin feeling soft and not completely hardened during handling. Having access to the pilot CAD drawings of the ships aids in restoring lost details during cleanup of mold seams and missing or incomplete castings. Considering these new miniatures are going to retail at twice the cost of previous miniatures, I would need to see some casting quality improvements before I'd decide to make a major quantity purchase of them - like the near one-hundred dollar Fleet Box.

Midway through finishing my first Starline 2500 miniature here, Mongoose Publishing announced that they would undertake new measures to both increase the quantity and quality of products in this line to address concerns of players worldwide. I found this announcement encouraging and hope that the future product achieves this goal. It also gave me a little more desire to finish up this miniature.


The primary hull in my Squadron Box was well-done and relatively free of blemishes and excess casting flash. The first thing that struck me about these new miniatures is the softness of the resin - it will bend and give with rough handling. It has a hardness like soap, and a sharp knife can actually hurt you here more than a used knife, as it will cut deep into the material without much effort. Here, I had to clean up the seams around the saucer's edge and dig out some of the rubber mold that was embedded in one of the Impulse Engine exhausts. Of all the parts for the ships in Squadron Box #1, this was the best-looking of them all.

Above, the Stand that comes with these miniatures allows for posing the piece in exciting stances. The clear "hat" is placed over the "ball" on the Stand to allow for positioning. The "hat" is glued to the bottom of the miniature starship, and allows the owner to remove the ship from the Stand for easier transport or storage. The base of the Stand is two inches in diameter, more than enough to ensure the lightweight miniature has a secure footprint, and if left clear can be used with a hex map system as distances between ships are measured from center of the stand to the opposing stand.

Clean up on the Secondary Hull took some time and forethought. Above, the mold seam left over from the pour mars the Deflector Dish housing and proves difficult to remove and keep it round. Below, the mold separation goes behind the Neck and I was left with some filling here as well as reshaping. The Deflector Dish is a white metal piece that slips into the housing, just a quick clean up of the hole is called for. I cleaned up the white metal casting with a fine sanding stick to improve the finish.

The Secondary Hull is further marred by the placement of a pour plug right over the Hangar Bay Doors - completely obliterating the detail intended for this area. Below, the mold parting seam on the back of the Neck, and area calling for filling and shaping. This mold seam ran down the starboard side of the hull, just right of the Strongback detail. My part was slightly shifted in the mold, so the step between right and left halves was pronounced here and had to be addressed. I wound up removing detail on the Neck during clean up that I replaced with a length of styrene strip - the Strongback detail that extends up the Neck towards the Impulse Engines.

Above and Below, the Center War Nacelle isn't bad, it proved to be easy to clean up and did not warp during the process. The pour gates on the end caps of the Warp Nacelle caused a little challenge to clean up and maintain a round profile.

Like the Center Warp Nacelle, the outboard Warp Engines called for patient clean up on the end caps, and suffered from slight mold shift. In an attempt to keep as round a profile as possible, I used putty in the worst spots as a filler. The way mold parts causes excess flash that endangers detail during the clean up process. Both of these castings were a little soft, like the resin had not completely cured, and I proceeded slowly so as not to warp them during with clean up activity. Neither are perfectly round, but close enough so as not to detract from the overall miniature.


A few hours later, I placed the Dreadnought Cruiser on a Gamescience Stand in preparation for priming and finishing. Yes, it does fit without modification onto the Gamescience Stand, and is quite secure due to its low weight. I like the way it looks on the Gamescience Stand and it is nice to have an alternate option for mounting it..

I assembled the miniature by first inserting the Center Warp Nacelle into position on the Primary Hull. The locating notch and bottom of the Nacelle's Pylon must be cleaned up neatly - as the fit is precise here when you insert the Neck/Secondary Hull from below. I only needed to use gap-filling superglue here to bond the parts together. With the Center Warp Nacelle, Primary Hull and Neck/Secondary Hull properly aligned and set with a little drop of superglue accelerator, I then set the starboard outrigger Warp Nacelle in place. Checking the alignment before setting in place with a drop of accelerator, I finished by placing the port Warp Nacelle in place. All in all, perhaps five minutes or so from start to insertion of the Deflector Dish.

The putty work on the underside of the Dreadnought Cruiser, location of the worse mold shifting and clean up. It was just a nasty task, and took some time not to obliterate all the detail here. In both photos you can see the forward left tip of the Neck is missing on my example. I thought maybe it had broken off during shipment, but I couldn't find it in its ziploc bag. In the bottom most photo, I build a putty fillet to replace this detail, not yet sanded smooth in this picture.

The bright white resin plays havoc with the camera, and your eyes, during assembly and clean up. When you get a coat of primer paint on it, however, the detail on the miniature pops out at you - as do the flaws. All of your effort in puttying, repair and filling will reward you. It is difficult to see every flaw in the bare white resin before you prime it with paint, so don't be surprised when you find some spots to address when you put paint to the mini.

When it came to applying the color coat, I airbrushed Model Master Acryl #4763 Flat Gull Gray and then applied a thin top coat of #4769 Flat White in a fine, cloud pattern, taking advantage of the deeply engraved and raised details on the miniature. With the larger size it's easier to airbrush some weathering effects by varying the tone of the finish. I picked out all of the smaller details with the same Vallejo Acrylics that I use on the smaller Starline 2400 gaming miniatures. Because there is more details to pick out - it takes longer to paint - but the result makes up for it. The Starline 2500 mini comes to life as you pull the details out with careful painting.

A little hesitant to apply an overall wash with the deeply (overly for my tastes) engraved Deflector Grid detail on the saucer, I thinned down an AK Interactive Dark Brown for Green Vehicles enamel pin wash. I avoided enhancing the Deflector Grid lines any more than they already were after the airbrushing, but did flow a highly thinned mixture over them to bring the whole area into harmony with the rest of the weathering on the miniature. Taking no chances with the wash, I let it setup for 30 minutes and gently removed the excess. Once satisfied, I then coated the miniature with Polly Scale Satin for later decaling.

Despite the rough surface detail, which I think is an artifact of the CAD "growing" process, the Starline 2500 miniature comes to life when you start picking out details. The larger size and abundance of raised detailing makes this an easier proposition, and as you proceed, you'll find yourself moving along faster and faster - kinda a fun rush to the finish line. Despite its problems and warts, a fan of SFU gaming miniatures will certainly love the end result. From the casual viewing distance on a game table, these Starline 2500 miniatures look great.

The Federation Missile Dreadnought's locating hole for the Stand is already a diameter that will also accommodate the Gamescience Stand shown here. I decided to use it after plugging the relatively tiny Burke-class Frigate onto the Mongoose supplied Stand. The "hat" is nearly half as big as the Burke-class Frigate itself - and breaks up the impression the mini makes when viewed on the table. So, I decided to use Gamescience Stands for my first five Starline 2500 minis.

Below, the set of custom decals created by Tenneshington Decals applied to the miniature. I also ordered a set of Combat Leader Rings for the saucer, as i really like this look. I intend for all my Federation starships in the Starline 2500 line to be marked with the Combat Leader Rings.






All content Copyright 1998 - 2017 Jim Lewis, guntruck.com, guntruck.us, guntruck.org, guntruck.net and GunTruck Studios.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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