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Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Practicing on the 1/537 Enterprise
« Last post by MattA on November 22, 2017, 09:53:21 pm »
I've built a 537 and a 350 scale refit.  I just finished the 537 last month, and found that while challenging, it turned out to be fun.  I didn't fill the brick pattern, and it wound up being ok.  Filling it in will look better, of course.  I also lit mine.  It definitely gives the impression of being the Enterprise.

Good luck with the build! 
Edit: Hm, as I look through this paint guide I bought this evening, I see that they list the Polytranspar's  "shimmering iridescent" range of paint, so I guess that might the one choice for this project.

That's what I used (the lacquer variety) on my refit build. They're beautiful colors albeit a bit challenging to airbrush. If you get them make sure to also get the recommended thinner: you'll need a lot of it. The paint is too thick and opaque to spray straight from the bottle. You need to keep it nice & thin so you can build up the color intensity to the desired level.
Just joined? Introduce yourself here / Re: New to SciFi Model Action Forum
« Last post by TrekFan1701 on November 22, 2017, 02:34:30 pm »
Thanks Steve, I am still learning how to navigate this site. I couldn't see how to reply to your reply.

It has been many years since I assembled a model. I put together a small AMT original Enterprise model that was made with blue plastic and I had to paint it. I used fiber optics to light it.
Since then I put together a simple Enterprise-D where I painted most of it.

This is my first time putting together a model with the Aztec decals. I have a small Enterprise-C I started putting together that has the Aztec decals. I watched some youtube videos about applying decals since it ha been a while. It recommended using some decal solutions, which I purchased. It recommended coating the surface of the model with the preparation solution, then soaking the decal in warm water for 10 seconds and then placing the decal on the model. After placing it right where I wanted it, then dab it with a paper towel to remove excess water and then apply the softener.  It also recommended cutting large decals into smaller pieces to make it easier to apply them. I did this and the first one went pretty well, but the second was an epic failure. After soaking the decal in the warm water for 10 seconds, I went to slide it off the paper and it shattered into little pieces. So now I am stuck with what to do with this and is very discouraging.

Do you have any suggestions fro me?
Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Practicing on the 1/537 Enterprise
« Last post by Decoman on November 22, 2017, 02:11:51 pm »
I would test out approaches to avoiding orange peel for the painting, or for avoiding general unevenness.

What you should try out, is to start using fine sand paper, after every layer of paint, to sand down all uneven areas, with each layer of painting.

You must be careful not to sand through the paint.
You must be attentive to cleaning ALL panel lines, ELSE, the dust from the sanding risk clogging the panel lines, and then in the end, things won't look pretty if the panel lines are filled with dust trapped under a gloss coat.

I worked on this 1:350 submarine model, and added some 7-8 layers of gloss coat, as an experiment to achieve a very smooth glossy coat. Unfortunately, I forgot to clean the dust from the panel lines in places, and I was impatient, and did not let each gloss coat dry for 12 hours, and so there was tension building up at the bottom layer or something, making the layers of gloss coat start cracking in places around the model.
Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Polar Lights 949 - Enterprise Refit, 1:350 scale
« Last post by Decoman on November 22, 2017, 01:59:06 pm »
Thank you for your input Gadgetron_3000! :)

Btw, I came across this youtube video this evening, showing a Andrew Probert discussing the work on the real studio model, and without having seen/heard the whole video yet, I am intrigued by their discussion on what the fans think makes the Enterprise Refit model as great as it is:

So for the fun of it, here is my spontaneous reaction, in case anyone finds this interesting:
1) The classical Star Wars models made for the first trilogy is obviously taking advantage of geometrical shapes, and for newer computer games I am sad to see that ship designs seem to be these generic looking objects having very little charm.

2) I think the work that went into designing the Enterprise Refit model seem to have made use of interesting geometry to create such a charming model.


* The horizontal saucer shape is not only very distinct, but also contrasting nicely with the vertical center main pylon that connects the saucer to the eh deflector dish part of the ship.

* There is a sense of tension in the saucer section, with the top and bottom center "pulled" up and down, and the specific detailing for the top and bottom makes for a very compelling design, as if it all made good sense this way, in no way being formalistic, as if using generic shapes as mere gimmicks. The design is in the details, and by making good sense of detailing, one ends up with what looks like 'design' as such.

* The choice of colors, with white and black, seem to complement each other, being overall white, with specks of black for contrast, and then, additional colors has been added to make each part of the ship seem unique, making it look like 'design' as such.

* There is with the overall shape, a sense of something being weightless, as if the ship simply hangs in space, which is fitting in outer space, which has no inherent direction or alignment, or gravity,  for a ship like object to try react with, and not even to pretend as such, other than going forward.

* The cylinder like structure of the main body, is akin to how fighter jets were designed in the "cold war" era, to get to achieve maximum speed, going past Mach 1, with a bulging shape reducing the drag at those speeds for jets in real life. The bulding saucer also mimic this general of producing less drag in a fighter jet like object for higher speeds.

* There are angles around the ship body, which also lends itself to an object at speed, with diagonal surfaces around the side of the saucer, and the rear end of the two long nacelles. The curved excavation below the hangar opening, also seem fitting for an object at speed.

* The entire ship seem designed to allude to being a speedy thing imo.

* The choice of changing coloring, with red color for impulse speed, and blue for warp, offer a helpful clue, and gives the ship an identity in how it functions.

* My impression of the Enterprise refit in the movie Star Trek The Motion Picture, is that the hull is something hard and solid, with the very flush surface effect, sea shell like, and sort of washed smooth by water, and having this metallic sheen in addition to the glossy surface effect, and it helps with the ship being mostly white'ish.

* A silly thing with older sci-fi props, seem to be an overall lack of design, as if an attitude towards a given formalism was the only hint at design choice, which is half assed, compared to what was seen later with the Star Wars asset design. I think a modern spaceship today, has to be made like the fun movies are made, a layered approach to things. If it isn't that one thing you like at any moment, you also fancy looking at something else the next moment. A more compelling viewing experience, and also creating this overwhelming mysterious charms that most people are only happy to enjoy without analysing it to death, like when analyzing movie in every which way.

* There is probably more things to be said about the design of the Enterprise Refit model, but I'll stop right here. :)

* With the relatively large deflector dish at the front, pulsing with energy or whatnot, it sort of looks like a big menacing eye, of a one eyed monster. A mysterious aspect of the ship. :) (Ok, I thought I had to add one more point to my list here)

* The two nacelle pylons look like bird arms I think, but yet they look so solid, and the long nacelle shape is contrasting the pylon, abruptly ending the directionality of the "bird wing like" pylons, avoiding a blatant shape that could be attributed to a choice of formalism. A simple allusion to something else, without overstating it. Oh, I should stop here.

In part 1 of the video I linked at the top here, Andrew Probert explains that the amber color of the deflector dish is amber because the deflector dish is working in a low power mode, for impluse speed, and going blue, when the ship is a warp (more powerful when blue). :)
Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Polar Lights 949 - Enterprise Refit, 1:350 scale
« Last post by rmpitzer on November 22, 2017, 12:32:08 pm »
I have a small set of reference photos from the time of The Motion Picture production.  You can view them here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ar3rabUfjjIrhn0YzfnJCDo2DmN9.

I hadn't seen some of these before.  Great stuff!  Thanks for sharing!  :)

Q1: The Paragrafix 111 photo etch fret, has impulse grills for two different clear parts.  The manual show the clear part that comes with the kit, but also some "DLM" clear part (after market part?).  I can see that the photo etch grills are differently sized, but which one has the correct proportions?

Don's Light and Magic (DLM) offers several parts that are more accurate than the kit supplied parts:

  • DLM-9.0 PL IMPULSE ENGINE EXAUST / Water Clear Resin (With Decal) $12.00
  • DLM-9.1 PL IMPULSE ENGINE EXHAUST Gray Opaque (With Decal) $8.00

NOTE: be aware that Don intends to end his long-time business by the end of this year.

Q2: Is painting the insides of the saucer black adequate for blocking light through the plastic from installed LED's, or should I instead use metallic paint, or metal foil instead of black paint?

There are many ways to go about light blocking.  Many people lay down coats of inexpensive black paint (for light blocking) followed by coats of inexpensive white paint (for light reflecting).  Other people use foil.

And then for little spots that need additional coverage, Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint (in black) is popularly used.  This can be purchased at the large chain hobby stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc.) to take advantage of those stores' 40% to 50% off single-item coupons.

Q3: Can there be too many LED's inside a kit for a 9 or 12V lighting setup? Either drawing too much power, or creating too much light?

A 9-volt or 12-volt setup of 2-amps or more should provide more than enough power to the model.  However, be aware that higher voltage lights usually means they are brighter, and then the issue of the lights being out of scale comes into play.

As an alternative, there are 5-volt LED strips out there, and the LEDs and SMDs that are rated for 9-volt and 12-volt power will also work with 5-volts.  This can help keep the overall lighting effects more in scale.

Q4: Would perhaps the provided decals in the box be of inadequate quality? Plastic kits sometimes have inferior decals, and buying aftermarket decals adds to the cost.

Regarding the decals, the need for aftermarket sets depends on which 1:350 Enterprise refit kit you have.

  • If you have the original Polar Lights 2005 release (kit number PL4204), then you have a basic set of decals that does not include an aztec set.
  • If you have the first Round 2 2009 re-release (kit number POL808), then you have the basic set of decals and a complete aztec set.
  • If you have the current Round 2 2017 re-release (kit number POL949), then you have the basic set of decals only.  Round 2 decided to remove the previously-included aztec set in order to sell it separately (product number MKA001).

Usually, the Round 2 basic and aztec sets are all most people use.

Q5: Are there any known "walkaround" photo galleries for the studio model? I expected to find at least one on the internet, but ended up short, finding none. I am curious about the detailing (e.g outside of the torpedo bay)

Sadly, there was not a lot of photographic documentation made of the Enterprise refit filming miniature during its use in the late-1970s and early-1980s.  However, when Paramount offered the miniature up for sale back in 2006, many detailed pictures of the filming miniature were taken.

They can be found here: http://www.mutara.net/Christies/EnterpriseA.html

NOTE: the pictures in that link are of the miniature in its -A paint scheme from when it was last filmed for The Undiscovered Country.  That paint job is very different than the one used for The Motion Picture.

I have a small set of reference photos from the time of The Motion Picture production.  You can view them here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ar3rabUfjjIrhn0YzfnJCDo2DmN9.

Q6: Mabye an idea to paint the insides of every window opening?  Won't be visible with lights on, but will be with lights off.

That may be an interesting look.  I haven't heard of anyone doing that yet.

Q7: Maybe add some thickness to the photo etched parts, when used for window openings?  Maybe not auhtentic, but maybe the studio model guys didn't go that far?

The photoetch parts are usually more than adequate for adding additional detailing for most people.  Of course, you can always go the extra mile and super-detail the kit with additional structural support pieces and / or greebles.

Q8: If LED's have limited lifetime, regardless of why it failed over time, is there a way to know which types of LED's have better longevity than other LED types?

All makers of LEDs provide retailers with various specifications for their products including estimate life spans.  You can always check with whoever you might purchase those LEDs from for that type of information.

Q9: What would the weight of a regular Refit model be without lighting installed, and what could a refit model weight with light rigging?

I don't know of modeler who has actually weighed that model both before and after lighting effects kit installations.

I hope this helps.


Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Polar Lights 949 - Enterprise Refit, 1:350 scale
« Last post by Decoman on November 22, 2017, 10:06:14 am »
I just had an idea! :D

So, I initially thought I would want to see the model base being colored black, but, given how the stand design I am toying with sort of look like clothing, I wonder if it could look great with coloring the stand, with a color of either of the uniforms seen in the The Motion Picture, with some gold/silver officer stripe or some such (I have to go check this, and see how that would translate to the stand).
Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Polar Lights 949 - Enterprise Refit, 1:350 scale
« Last post by Decoman on November 22, 2017, 04:51:34 am »
I have an idea for a stand. There is an appeal for me to try design an interesting stand, to try avoid the generic model-on-a-pole-look.

It would be very nice if there was a way to make use of magnets to have the entire model hover, just like with the Delorean Back To The Future model kit, which has that feature. :) However, the magnets would probably have to be placed in the saucer and nacelles for stability, and then, the distance to the bottom would be too great I think. Maybe the magnets could be placed at the bottom part of the model, but then the model would probably become inherently unstable. Or, maybe not, or, the model would be too heavy for the magnets to handle the weight, or not. :)

An alternative to using a stand, would be to hang the model, from strings, which would be nice. Maybe a stand + strings idea would work too, but I imagine it might look a little weird.

Below is a very generic idea I want to explore:

In order for such a setup to work, the balancing point would have to be moved backwards, which might be a challenge.

! What I have learned from a 1:48 scale seaplane project, where I made the mistake of adding weights in the floater parts of the model, is that adding weight makes the handling of a model become weird, and potentially adding instability. Adding weight also makes fragile and critical structures prone to breaking.

As for the shape of the stand, I sort of like the model appearing to balance off the edge, and the whole thing looks like a wave of sorts. The thin top edge would make it seem less bulky.

It would be necessary to have this type of stand allow for installing 2-3-4 buttons for any lighting setup inside the model.

Some other ideas to make this type of stand more beautiful:
* glossy/satin black coloring + subtle shiny metal detailing
* scribed details
* Starfleet logo
* Snip nametag (maybe photo etch letters, but I think the availability of such products is very limited)
* Using styrene to add detailing
* Shaping and rounding of the basic shape of the stand
* sharp and crisp edges for the styrene parts
* levels of reflectivity (gloss vs satin vs matte)
* having the stand become a reflective object, reflecting the model and its lighting (maybe undesirable)

Edit: Hm, instead of relying on a thicker circular metal rod, maybe a more flat metal part could be used to try conceal the connection between the stand and the model, which could make it seem the model balances perfectly right on the top of the edge of the stand.

I wonder what a piece of tungsten strip would cost, and where to get it. Size 5 x 2.5 x 150 mm (or something like that). Or maybe a steel alloy would be sufficiently strong to hold the model upright.
Members Current Projects (WIP) / Re: Practicing on the 1/537 Enterprise
« Last post by Decoman on November 22, 2017, 01:12:35 am »
One youtuber apparently claimed that using Tamiya's extra thin cement don't work with the plastic (presumably the 1:350 polar lights kit), but maybe he only meant that it would be too weak. I am curious to learn if the plastic is like any other scale model kit (I am guessing that it is).

For putty, I usually like using Vallejo's white putty (non toxic, or very much less toxic). Best used with a coarse sanding stick, or a fine metal file like Tamiya's diamond file (for photo etch parts). Like most putty probably, one can't just fill an area with this stuff and expect to fill a large cavity at once. A danger with using Tamiya's putty (toxic obnoxious stuff), is that the putty reacts with the plastic, and too much will have the plastic/styrene warping.

My 1:350 Enterprise Refit kit has not yet arrived, so I can't say much about the kit parts. Having gotten about a year's worth of airbrushing training, I think I've learned that the end result for a paint finish, greatly rely on the smoothness of the initial state of the painted surface. Although I suspect that the plastic is more smooth, would it turn out to be coarse, I would be tempted to go over the plastic with some fine sanding paper, but it would be crucial to remove ALL the dust, so that the dust don't clog the panel lines. A secondary concern with regard to working with a more smooth surface, would be to try correct any unevenness that ends up being there with each layer of paint.

I already knew that metallic paint would look worse additional coats over it (I am using Vallejo's acrylic paint), but maybe it doesn't have to look that much worse, if one is more careful with adding gloss coats and any varnishes. I think I've learned that if your metallic surface looses its shine, after adding a varnish, then adding a slight gloss coat over that again, can restore some of the shininess.
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