U.S.S. Armstrong NCC-57537 Challenger Class Scout


Model by Stephen L.



AMT/Ertl kits 6618 (Enterprise 3-piece set) x2, 6619 (USS Enterprise-D), and Revell kit 05073 (1/400 'Typhoon' class Russian Submarine), sheet styrene

Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/1400
Length = 28.6 cm
Width = 18.7 cm
Height = 9.0 cm

This is a kitbash of Starfleet's Challenger Class. The most notable vessel of this type was the USS Buran NCC-57580 which was destroyed by the Borg at Wolf 359.

The USS Armstrong was named for the first human to set foot on Earth's moon in 1969. The starship Armstrong was ambushed by Klingon forces in 2373 and took heavy casualties. It later docked at Starbase Deep Space Nine for medical aid.

This Challenger Class model was built in much the same way as the study model filmed for 'Best of Both Worlds, Part II'. The known components include two 1/2500 upper Galaxy Class saucers,  two 1/1400 Galaxy Class warp engines and bridge module, and the sail tower from a 1/400 Russian Typhoon sub. Based on the one photo available of the Challenger Class, I speculated that the engineering hull was made from two back-to-back secondary hulls from the 1/2500 Galaxy Class. I also included the 1/1400 Captain's Yacht.
Both upper saucers were glued together after the 'neck' sections were removed from the Galaxy Class parts. (The two saucer undersides were used in the construction of the Cheyenne Class model.) I cut both of the assembled Secondary hulls at their widest point and glued both back halves together. This gave the hull the approximate length and shape I determined from the study model photo.

This photo was taken at the approximate angle as the only known photo of the USS Buran study model. This was done to show where I made assumptions as to parts involved in the model, placement of windows and escape pods, etc.

The picture of the studio model of the USS Buran can be seen on the
Challenger Class page at the Ex Astris Scientia website.
The Typhoon sail was only slightly modified to fit. Only the upper nacelle had some plastic removed so it fit flush to the top of the sail. The bottom nacelle was connected by using 2mm styrene sheet fitted to the pylon mounting slit and up into a slit cut in the secondary hull underside. The difficult part of assembly was getting a strong joint between the saucer and the secondary hull. Sheet plastic was used to 'sandwich' the parts for strength.

I tapered the Galaxy Class pylon structure to meet up with the vessel separation lines of the saucer.
The basecoat of the Armstrong is French Light Blue Gray. The phaser color is Medium Gray.

Lifeboat hatches were made with extremely thin styrene and were painted Sand.

Windows were Dremeled indents in the plastic and were either painted Black or White.

The Bussard collectors and impulse engines are Gloss Red. The warp grilles are Mat Sky Blue. The vent rings and RCS thrusters are Zinc Chromate Yellow.
I am assuming the vessel would have a horizontal warp core. I had a marking prepared for the core ejection hatch, which I conjecture is the center-most cargo door on the underside aft of the secondary hull, but did not apply it at this time.

I made all of the markings for the Armstrong using Adobe Illustrator. They were printed on self-adhesive clear label paper. Theses are only temporary markings, but they look pretty good on their own. When I can get proper waterslide decals printed, I intend to battle damage the model and rename it USS Buran, the Challenger Class ship that fell at Wolf 359.

Photos by Stephen L.