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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Polar Lights logo

Polar Lights Models is a manufacturer that produces Star Trek model kits, starting in 2003, as then regular kit producer, AMT/Ertl, started to wane in their releases of its Star Trek-line. Currently featuring a substantial line for themselves, two releases in particular, the highly detailed 1:350 scale models of the original USS Enterprise and its refit successor, are highly acclaimed in the Star Trek modeling community.

History

Polar Lights Models was the model kit-making division of toy company Playing Mantis, set up in 1994 with the specific intention to re-issue Aurora Plastics Corporation's signature monster and science fiction kits of the 1960s and 1970s. The company's name itself was an homage to "Aurora" (both references to the northern and southern polar lights). Apart from the figurine kits, the company also produced scale models of famous vehicles from various TV and movie projects, such as the Ghostbusters ECTO-1 and the Back To The Future Delorean Time Machine.

Star Trek association

In 2003, Polar Lights started to release Star Trek model kits, including some not previously released designs, having been given the license as then owner of AMT/Ertl (hitherto the regular licensed manufacturer of Star Trek model kits), Racing Champions, showed no interest to develop the Star Trek model kit line any further. At that moment in time, no Star Trek model kits had been marketed for four years. Unfortunately, holding company Playing Mantis itself was acquired late 2004 by the same Racing Champions and production of new model kits was halted immediately by the new owner, resulting in 2006 in the announcement of Polar Lights' closure, due to the elimination of the brand. [1]

Still, one year later in 2007, the product line of Polar Lights was sold to Round 2 LLC, having also acquired AMT the same year, and the brand was revived in 2008, resulting in that all active US-based licensed Star Trek model kit manufacturers were once again united under one roof. In June 2009, Round 2 indicated that by 2010, they would start releasing entirely new models under the Polar Lights brand, starting with the alternate reality USS Enterprise from Star Trek and the USS Thunderchild from Star Trek: First Contact. However, these two have been canceled as of 2012.

Star Trek releases

Item Scale Release Item No. Notes Boxart
USS Enterprise 1:1000 2003 PL4200 This kit can be built in three versions: the Enterprise seen in "The Cage", that seen in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and the standard "production version" seen in later episodes Polar Lights Model kit PL4200 USS Enterprise 2003
2008 POL803 Re-release of PL 4200; acquisition by Round 2; new numbering; two issues in 2008 each with different box art Polar Lights Model kit POL803 USS Enterprise first issue 2008
Polar Lights Model kit POL803 USS Enterprise 2008
2012 POL889 Lunchbox tin edition Polar Lights Model kit POL889 USS Enterprise 2012
1:350 POL880 Same size as original three-foot studio model; based on Gary Kerr's research; original detailed tooling; with interior bridge, shuttlebay and in-scale Class F shuttlecraft; avant-premiere edition for "1701 Club" subscribers, limited to 1701 pieces and regular edition with differing box art [2] 180px
180px
Enterprise NX-01 1:350 2003 PL4201 Featuring over 200 pieces and clear parts for lighting PolarLightsEntNX01
1:1000 2005 PL53028 Polar Lights PL53028 Model kit Enterprise NX-01 2005
2008 POL807 Re-release of PL53028; acquisition by Round 2; new numbering; two issues in 2008 each with different box art Polar Lights Model kit POL807 Enterprise NX-01 first issue 2008
Polar Lights Model kit POL807 Enterprise NX-01 2008
Klingon Template:ShipClass Battle cruiser 1:1000 2003 PL4202 This kit can be built and labeled as either the standard Klingon version or the Romulan version seen in "The Enterprise Incident" Polar Lights Model kit PL4202 Klingon Battle Cruiser 2003
2008 POL806 Re-release of PL4202; acquisition by Round 2; new numbering; two issues in 2008 each with different box art Polar Lights Model kit POL806 Klingon Battle Cruiser first issue 2008
Polar Lights Model kit POL806 Klingon Battle Cruiser 2008
2013 POL897 Released as Romulan battle cruiser with matching decals Polar Lights Model kit POL897 Romulan Battle Cruiser 2012
Star Trek Nemesis Reman Template:ShipClass fighter 1:33 2003 PL4203 Comes with Jean-Luc Picard and Data figures for the cockpit PolarLightsScorpion
USS Enterprise-A (or Refit) 1:350 2004 PL4204 Featuring a full interior shuttlebay, three small shuttlecraft, TMP-Style Work Bee pod, botanical garden, conference room and VIP lounge; includes a large number of clear parts to facilitate lighting of the kit; two box variants PolarLightsEntABox1
PolarLightsEntABox2
2009 POL808 Reissue of PL4204; acquisition by Round 2; new numbering; new box Polar Lights Model kit POL808 USS Enterprise-A 2009
1:1000 2010 POL820 Polar Lights Model kit POL820 USS Enterprise 2010
Canceled releases (boxart as proposed)
USS Enterprise (alternate reality) 1:2500 2010 POL836 This kit was developed using Ryan Church's CGI scans provided by ILM from Star Trek. Slated for a postponed 2011 release[3], but eventually canceled in 2012 Polar Lights canceled model kit POL836 alternate USS Enterprise
Polar Lights canceled model kit POL836 alternate USS Enterprise variant
USS Thunderchild 1:1000 n/a to be confirmed[4]; canceled without much further ado as of 2010. Polar Lights canceled model kit USS Thunderchild 2009

All the above kits are "snap-fit" style (meaning no glue is required for assembly) and featured detailed decal sheets. No glue or paint were included with the kits.

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