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Author Topic: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build  (Read 7214 times)

Offline Lestatdelc

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Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« on: September 25, 2016, 01:12:56 pm »
Well I began working on getting my 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Polar Lights build going again.

I began standing up a website/blog to document my build (along with some other stuff) at Third Wave Design . As some of you may have noticed I have been doing a lot of research (and asking a few questions here on these boards) and getting back up to speed on the state of modeling in the 9 years since I first bought the kit, but put it into storage a few months later after buying a house and it going into storage.

Anyway, I am doing a lot of experimenting and sort of fabrication deep-dive on scratching-building and hyper-detailing this build. To that end, I have spent the last few weeks starting to work on scratch building some workbees that will have clear (though tinted) windows, an interior pilot, and be light from inside (running lights, headlight, navigation strobe) all in the accurate shape and at 1:350 scale.

Which as those of you who have worked on the Polar Lights 1:350 builds know, is insanely small scale micro stuff. The workbee is only 2.7 meters in "real life" which works out to 7.714mm, which is incredible small piece to cram all that into.

Anyway, here is my most recent blog entry on my website about the past week or two working out the methodology of scratch-building these workbees. I will be using the website to chronicle the build and will be sharing a good portion of those entries here as well.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 05:47:41 pm by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

Offline CrowTRobot

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 03:13:30 pm »
That's just insane! If you can keep up this attention to detail then your build should be outstanding.

(or words to that effect while trying recreate and undue my damaging the original comment when I accidentally modified it - Lestatdelc)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 04:24:28 pm by Lestatdelc »

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 04:05:37 pm »
Thanks CrowT. I have a ways to go in perfecting this approach but it looks very promising. When I do the actual "production run" (so-to-speak) of these workbees they will be a lot cleaner and more crisp. I have already printed up tests of the "bee" pattern black striping, panel details, etc. and they look good even under a magnifying glass in in macrophotography. Better then this rather sloppy test photos I took this morning do.

Because these were some test prints on acetate, there was a lot of extraneous "fold" line guides, some micro numbering and lettering I had in place to help me sort out cut lines, window mask placements, etc. which all "dirty up" the look. Almost all of that will not be in the final versions I run off to actually build.

A lot of this technique, if I can get it to truly be workable and refined I will hen apply to the travel pods (obviously, the hanger bay, officers lounger, botanical garden and rec. dec.

This method can also potential yield being utilized for all the windows as well. Because the acetate gives the outside high-gloss "glassy" sheen when light is raked across the surface really gives it a glass look. And because it is so thin (0.12mm) it is pretty much the same thickness as a sheet of high quality glossy laser printer paper (0.09mm) and so uniform across the sheet, there is zero distortion when looking through them even at the size of the 1:350 scale portholes. In fact the only way you can tell there is something there is when you get the reflections right off the surface of things in the room.

So that opens up the possibility of even more room "diorama" and/or photo corridor or room backdrops for the porthole windows.

If this method of layered or laminating and building up acetate sheets in basically what amounts to a microscope folded "paper model" approach pans out, I am toying with spending the money to have the final acetates run up as 35mm slides. This would be produced by taking the vector line art I am creating in Adobe Illustrator and rasterizing it into the super-higher resolution image files (with colors filled in place) and having them professionally run off on 35mm slide film, and cutting, folding an assembling those. That may yield even cleaner lines, smoother finishes and more exacting details such as the very small labeling and faux "gribbles" on the workable panels which even a laser printer can't hold onto.

If that in turn works out (utilizing them being transferred onto 35mm slid film) then using those for detailing the observation and flight control deck control panels and back walls, backlighting them with either EL tape or side-firing fiber optics can potentially yield some stunning results.

That's one of the things I am planning on going beyond even the filming model for some details and areas. Such as the flight control room and windows above the hanger doors in the aft fantail area. In the filming model (and on screen int he movie) these we just bright red backlight viewport/windows. Since these were supposed to be the flight control or "air boss" station for landing and launching craft from the hanger bay, it always seems to me these should be detailed out and the "red" lighting is just that red lighting of an interiors space. In the real world the low-level red lighting that the "air boss" on aircraft carriers have in their high perched placement in the vessels "island" is fairly well established. The red lighting is standard in night time flight ops to help keep the crews night-vision working with their standard Mark I eyeballs. And it is almost always "night" n space so it only follows along logically.

This also will afford me the excuse to correct the inaccurate upper window shapes in the Polar Lights kit at the same time.

One other thing about this approach, since I have already "gone to to the zoo". That being that I have already been toying with and have looked into, the micro size watch batteries that (which happen to be round shape and would nicely fit the inside of th around docking port doors) for the travel pods. This would allow me to make the travel pods sells illuminating and be able to be placed on super thin display roads an/or even hung with small monofilament thread and be internally self-lit.

Crazy land here I come!

;)

-----------

What the?

I thought I was responding to and editing my reply to CrowT, and it seems I somehow clicked through and modified your comment instead.

Ugh!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 01:56:20 am by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 05:00:25 pm »
Here's another photo for a few minutes ago after I cleaned up a little but of the residual adhesive and put the test piece on my forefinger. Not too bad, but can improve it with a more controlled, even (i.e. airbrushed) backside paint job. I also nicked the aft compartment area with my pointed tweezers. Though that sort of thing, since this is all painted form the back on the printed acetate, should afford me to do some spot touch-ups without marring the surface sheen or paint appearance much if at all.

rd me to do some spot touch-ups without marring the surface sheen or paint appearance much if at all.



Workbee upper shell on my finger.

Anyway, time to grab a late lunch and do some more cut testing on another of the upper hull pieces form the same print run.

(BTW, is there a method to get the display size of an externally linked image to post smaller here?)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 01:15:08 am by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 07:26:37 pm »
Looking good, Lestatdelc! Is that a worker bee for the drydock?

As far as the picture size - it may have something to do with the picture size your camera takes and, possibly, the type of picture it is. i.e pixel size = dsiplay size and raw, native (which are extremely large picture size) vs jpeg or png.

I'll look into it and see what I can find out.

Keep going on the build!

Steve

"To be honest with you, Picard, a significant number of my crew members have expressed a desire to return even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight."

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 08:31:06 pm »
Looking good, Lestatdelc! Is that a worker bee for the dry dock?

Thanks Steve.

Well this is probably a long-winded answer, but here goes.

The Workbees are (were) certainly present around the dry dock in ST:TMP and part of the dry dock facilities and Starlet Yards in Earth orbit, but one is also seen towing its cargo train inside the Enterprise while in dry dock, hovering over the cargo bay area as Kirk and Scotty departs from the travel pod after being carried over to the Enterprise for the dry-docks office complex (due to the transporters being repaired/not working yet). It was seen in two shots.








And while not explicitly shown in the matt painting, it was intended and designed that there are 6 Workbee docking stations within the hanger bay section. These docking ports are molded into the Polar Lights kit and the assumption is that 6+ Workbees are carried craft onboard the Enterprise. This was the intention at least according to Andrew Probert when he worked out the hanger bay interior configuration and rendering upon which the matt painting by Matthew Yurrich was made for the movie was based on.



Andrew Probert matte painting sketch.

Two can also be seen "parked" on the hanger deck itself just inside the open hanger clamshell doors in the aft fantail area as Kirk and Scotty fly past it on their "around the Big-E" flyby in the dry dock.



Enterprise fantail images.

So my intention with my build is to fully build three of them (possibly four).

One will be suspended and towing the cargo train back (from the hanger opening) in the car bay area, as shown in the film (though I intend to cheat it) and have it turned around and flying aft back towards the hanger doors a few minutes "after" the shot shown in the movie. This will be fully lit and piloted which will be the easier of the two I will light since I have the cargo train containers to help. One in the aft fantail landing deck area which will also be lit and piloted, and "hovering" a meter or two off the flight deck. That one will be the hardest to build. The third not lit and sans plot "parked" directly on the deck a meter to two below and next to the one hovering.

I will have just the aft section of three of the workbees sticking out of their docking ports in the hanger with the docking port recharge arms attached to their top aft recharge connection port panels. Though I am toying with having one of those be a full build (the fourth one I mentioned as a possibility), lit and piloted sitting in its docking cradle going in/out of its docking port. That might mean much more work on my part if I choose to do that. But that will help show a very wide range of the workbees interacting with their mothership.

As far as the picture size - it may have something to do with the picture size your camera takes and, possibly, the type of picture it is. i.e pixel size = dsiplay size and raw, native (which are extremely large picture size) vs jpeg or png.

Well I was mainly asking about having it not display here at full size, but rather a resized thumbnail and clickable to the larger size. The images on my website are already resized in resolution down for the raw image my Sony digital SLR takes. I drop them in size down to 1920 pixels in width (and with a varying height depending on the crop).

If I upload the image as an attachment, the BBC software this forum does handles the thumbnailing. But I am looking to avoid re-sizing and uploading the file just to post here, and to save this forums bandwidth and storage by keeping my fuller sized images hosted on my website and simply linking to them, as some others do here with Photobucket

I'll look into it and see what I can find out.

That would be greatly appreciated. Would save me from making additional image files just to resizing and re-uploading them to post as attachments here. This also affords me to be able to put a mid-size (or small size) thumbnail within a comment an have commentary before and after the inset images.

Keep going on the build!

Thanks. I realize this level (and more importantly the level of quality and detail I am aiming for) means I am in this build for the long haul and will likely take the better part of a year at a min. But part of my geekdom OCD is enjoying the journey as I defend down this particular series of rabbit holes. ;)
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 01:12:34 am by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

Offline MattA

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 10:10:58 am »
Good luck with the build!  The 1/350 Refit is a project that seems impossible right up until you see it sitting there in front of you.  Just take one step at a time, and eventually she'll be sitting there!
Builder of all things StarShip...

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 11:00:42 am »
Just a quick post before work.

Did another test build of the acetate workbee detailing last night and this morning. Here's a quick snap. Still a down and dirty paint job with a brush (these are simply test runs). The final ones will be airbrushed, so the paint coverage will be smoother, more consistent, etc.

But each test run is getting substantially better and more detailed as I work through what things hold ups, what things don't, and what to do/not do as I develop this technique.

Also came up with a new idea for the window masking which should work better, which I will try after my weekend trip to Seattle (going to the Sci-Fi museum for their Star Trek 50th Anniversary exhibit, among other things) this weekend.
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Offline dannyk

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 09:59:23 pm »
Hi Lestatdelc,
You certainly have some ambitious plans!  Best of luck! 

Have you seen the 3D renders of Fesarius? Take a look at: http://fesarius.web.fc2.com/1701refit.html 
Pretty good reference, especially if you can read Japanese!  :)

Near the bottom of that page, you will see his red lit control room, which may relate well with what you are describing
overlooking the rear shuttle deck.

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2016, 01:28:46 am »
You certainly have some ambitious plans!  Best of luck!

Thanks.

I am sure I'll need it. (weak smile)

Have you seen the 3D renders of Fesarius? Take a look at: http://fesarius.web.fc2.com/1701refit.html 
Pretty good reference, especially if you can read Japanese!  :)

Near the bottom of that page, you will see his red lit control room, which may relate well with what you are describing
overlooking the rear shuttle deck.


Yes I have. I pulled a webarchive of that site. It is top notch. When I happened upon his website and saw his flight control room in the fantail, my better half must have thought I was nuts. I was screaming at my monitor with glee, yelling "this guy gets it! He nailed it!". That she didn't have me committed is proof of love in my book.

;)

I also intend on using his renders of the officer's lounge as my target for my scratchbuild of it. From not only the better realized arrangement of the area, but also the lighting and even the wall decorations. Already downloaded high-resolution version of Van Gogh's "Starry Nights" painting, as well as the paintings of Robert McCall from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. which Fesarus used and are correct to what is shown in the lounge seating area right below the windows in the movie itself (left and right of the table on the short wall space below the windows) as well as the scenes from the TOS along the table facia.

I also intend to put in fiber optic colored VLS approach and landing lights in the raised deck area right at the clamshell door ledge as well which Fesarius added, which is brilliant in my opinion.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 05:10:03 pm by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 01:35:55 pm »
Anything new to report, Les?!

Keep going!

Never give up! Never Surrender!

Steve
"To be honest with you, Picard, a significant number of my crew members have expressed a desire to return even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight."

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2016, 01:52:36 pm »
Anything new to report, Les?!

Sort of. I did some late experimenting last night after work (way too late) in trying to address some issues I had with the paint lifting off the acetates when removing the window masks. The thinness of the yellow B columns in the hull are just so razor thin at this scale, there is almost no surface area for enough adhesion for the paint to "grab" and it keeps liking the tape (and even acetate0 mask edges better.

I came up with a possible solution which is even more "down-the-rabbit-hole" in painting a section of acetate the yellow, the cutting them as strips (similar Plastruct or Evergreen styrene strips) and then affixing them form the inside onto the hull surface. I did a test of just a strip (painted) and it was razor sharp and clean. This would lead to "framing" the windows with these pre-painted strips, then "filling in" the rest of the hull parts with yellow paint (airbrushed).

When I get out of work this evening I plan on trying this approach in-depth, all weekend, and hopefully have something I can photograph and share the results of, over the next day or two.

Thanks for asking though.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 03:53:04 pm by Lestatdelc »
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Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2016, 02:26:42 am »
Well, did some more acetate workbee paint/build test over the weekend. I was using the airbrush this time to lay down an even yellow color and white undercoat (which because of am working form the backside of the clear acetate film, means it is a topcoat in the painting order).

However because of the micro scale and the smoothness of the acetate, the tape masking won out in some spots vs. the paint staying adhered to the acetate surface. So I ran into paint lifting on more than a few occasions. I think it was also due to me putting on several fairly heavy coats.

Because of the razor thin aspect of the window struts, the paint was nearly as thick as the column was wide.Once of the new I laid down with a slightly thinner set of coats held up a bit better.

I am still toying with the idea of cutting strips, pre-painting them and attaching them. Did some preliminary tests in that vein, but  getting them to adhere smoothly and with a decent amount of positioning control, without scratching the window surfaces was a challenge. I will be continuing tottery different paint thicknesses, masking techniques, and possible strip "framing" until I find something that works.

So while the weekend didn't yield any home runs, I am making small progress, as well as finding out which things don't work, and improving consistency and workability.
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Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2016, 10:10:52 am »
Some progress is better than no progress!

Hang in there! Its the small stuff that sets you up fir the major victories!

Steady as she goes!

Steve
"To be honest with you, Picard, a significant number of my crew members have expressed a desire to return even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight."

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2016, 02:09:35 pm »
Hang in there! Its the small stuff that sets you up fir the major victories!

Thanks Steve.

Went back to some older test run pieces of the workbees which were not glued together to start to work out a more precise and clean joining process for the acetate faces. I have been experimenting with filling the painted acetate faces with Lazerbond (same sort of UV cured clear adhesive/resin as Bondic). This makes the workbees rock hard as well as sandable but without marring the paint which is on the inside surfaces of the acetate faces. It really seems to be the direction to go. I also experimented with making a aft-section folding/form jig to more precisely align the edge/corner seams. This in essence makes the upper half a "cup" which will then be filled with the UV clear resign (after fiber optics and the painted pilot) would be run and placed in position) then filled with the UV cured clear plastic liquid, then "zapped" with the supplied UV emitting LED.

I will be making this aft section 3D form/jig out of Sculpey polymer clay and baking it rock hard. This should afford me the ability to simply slip the main upper hull folded acetate down into the "wedge" shaped form, and it will bend the faces together and bringing them into alignment at the corner edges. I then run some UV cured plastic liquid up the corner and roofline seams. Then "zap" cure it to make it bond the faces together and make it rock hard. Then I will place the fiber optic runs, the pilot figure, then fill up the "tub" the rest of the way with the UV liquid, than "zap" cure it in place (think the mosquito trapped in amber in Jurassic Park).

The Lazerbond UV plastic, cures 100% clear, won't yellow, is paintable and sandable as well. But best of all, when you hit it with the UV light, it cures and hardens in about 4-8 seconds. I will test out the jig/sculpting idea this evening.

I also did some more test using Scotch magic tape to form mask/firskets, and going lighter with the airbrush made the paint adhere better to the acetate surface and yield the cleanest line/edges so far. I don't have pictures of those paint shots as I only did a few line tests on some scrap acetate. Will try and do some more full upper hull paint jobs tonight and tomorrow night as well. I intend to work on the sculpted jig forming while I wait for paint to dry and cure. I ran up some better acetate faces as well, with easier to use cut guidelines around the faces that will make cutting them out more controlled and precise (and easier) as well as some guide construction lines around the faces to help align the tape masking for paint-prep.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 05:17:00 pm by Lestatdelc »
Follow along with my Star Trek: The Motion Picture Polar Lights 1:350 scale U.S.S. Enterprise build on my website, Third Wave Design

 




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