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Author Topic: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build  (Read 5685 times)

Offline ghostrider

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2016, 02:16:39 pm »
That is truly some amazing work!

Offline Epyonkiller

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2016, 03:12:13 pm »
That is truly some amazing work!

Agreed! 

You must have a never ending bottle of patience 😄  Can't wait to see how the rest of the build turns out!


Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2016, 05:11:28 pm »
That is truly some amazing work!

Thanks. I am on the cusp of getting it to the next level (where I want). I am close, but not yet there.

You must have a never ending bottle of patience 😄

Or a serious mental disorder. There's a reason why I don't think others have tried level of micro detailing, because at this scale, I am on the outer edge of the physics when working by hand and without macrophotography or looking with a 7x magnifying lens or higher... you can't hardly make it out with the naked eye.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 05:22:37 pm by Lestatdelc »
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Offline Lestatdelc

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A Week or Two of Working the Problems
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2016, 03:49:09 am »
It has been nearly 2 weeks since posting on my Enterprise-refit project blog about my recent pilgrimage to Seattle for the Star Trek 50th Anniversary exhibit. While I have not posted to my website since then, I have actually been working a lot in trying to solve many of the various build issues with the workbees.

I can't claim full success yet in the detail finishes of paint or assembly, I have made progress even while trying to problem-solve the issues I have run into. I still have not fully  committed to using an airbrush to paint in the hull yellow. I have also tentatively explored printing on and using colored vinyl in lieu of paint.

This may be a way to get the razor sharp (and straight) edges for the window as well as having a 90%+ opaque and even color finish. I first thought of trying this approach while cutting masks with clean and sharp enough edges (as well as thickness) to overcome the problems I was having using traditional masking tapes. Between paint bleed under the tape, and the lack of perfectly straight edges this prompted me to try using vinyl masking. Thus I did using PVC tape, or more specifically 0.18mm thick electrical tape.

I had gone to the nearby Ace Hardware store to pick up various fine grit sand paper. I need some for both the obvious and intended purpose, sanding, but also as a somewhat out-of-the-box detailing for another part of the build down-the-road; a micro scale textured surface to simulate dirt (and painted with green washes, turf and grass) for the arboretum/botanical garden part of the ship.

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



Gator brand 220 grit sandpaper used for microscope turf surface.



Test of some "decorative" grass clumps and some chalk-dust "flowers" on various grass, turf and earth wash colors.

While there, I happened down the aisle with electrical tape. What caught my eye was that electrical tape, or more precisely PVC tape, actually comes in a variety of colors, including a dead-on "safety yellow" that the workbees are painted in. The particular yellow this Westape brand electrical tape came in was exactly the right yellow I had been aiming for.

This got me to thinking of not only using it for cleaner masking for painting purposes (for a variety of reasons, some mentioned above) but also experimenting to see if one of the solid-ink printers we have at work would be able to print on them. Sure enough they could. But I went a step further to see if I could run it through one of our WorkCentre 7800 color laser printers with a setting for heavy card stock. To the credit of Xerox engineers, it could. Not only that, but the higher resolution (2400 dpi vs 600 dpi) gave much finer detail and lines, but also fused the printed toner onto it better than the solid ink did, when stressed by flexing, and cutting with an X-Acto knife. The solid ink, while giving a more vibrant and rich line color, would flake off with too much abuse.

So I began reworking the underlying artwork I had drawn up in Adobe Illustrator to account of the 0.18mm thickness it would add on the outside surfaces to the workbee silhouette and various shape faces of the hull.

Forgetting to bring the Westape yellow tape with me one of the days during the week to run of a print after work, I picked up a different brand Tape It, from the local Fry's during lunch for use after work. Unfortunately that brand yellow electrical tape had several problems. While it also was printable on the laser printer, it did not yield as durable a print as the Westape brand did. It was also a little darker in color than the Westape. The tape I had picked up from Ace when put side-by-side, has a slightly more matte finish which is better for the surface of the workbee hull as well as being more dead-on to the target yellow. The Tape-It brand was a tinge too warm in color (i.e. orange). To make matters worse, the adhesive with the Tape-It brand was a bit thicker, gummier, and with less adhesion and grip strength than the Westape brand. Tape-It brand may be perfectly good electrical tape for its original intended purpose but not usable for my needs for the workbees. I will use it when I can when I get to the electrical side of wiring up the lighting, etc.

So needless to say I wasted a couple of evenings fighting with the Tape-It brand print runs, uncovering the aforementioned issues. I had hoped that using the electrical tape as a printed outer skin, or micro scale vehicle wrap, would also solve the assembly issue I was having in trying to close up the aft area. Using various glues was posing a serous challenge, in that getting the sides in the rear part of the workbee to marry up evenly with the folded down after face was a real challenge. The size and space is just so damn small.

Enter the idea of re-working the artwork once again to make the entire aft upper-hull a piece that would be attached on the rear face, and wrap around the sides to tape the aft panel down and attach it (and pulling the roof down flush with the two side edges).

But the gumminess of the adhesive was not going to hold at all. Even the Westape brand, which was less gummy and had better grip, was not going to get the job done.

So another rework of the artwork and a new piece added to the design of the workbee acetate model. A top-down (plan) silhouette of the "waterline" at the waist of the workbee with a fold-up flap at the rear that the rear face from the upper-hull piece could then be glued onto. Thus making a sort of mid-waterline "bottom".

That bring us to this evening when I ran off new acetates, to try out this new piece with the more recent reworked upper hull part. I then quickly cut out one of the new parts and upper hull test runs, and used Lazer Bond UV cured plastic adhesive.

Success!



Successful upper-hull gluing test. Note the penny it is resting on for a sense of scale.



The rather roughly applied UV cured glue in the inside makes it look messy, but the faces are smooth and clean on the outside

I finally have a good and accurately shaped aft section, that will hold together. Now the challenge is to try it a few more times to validate that I can replicate the process with enough control to make it practical for fabricating the full compliment of upper-hulls (and spares) that will be needed for the actual build.

Tomorrow evening I will test cutting out and affixing onto this formed upper-hull shell, the already printed up vinyl "wraps" and see if I can get the desired results (and not a hot mess).

Not forgetting about the lighting needs for all this, I also test punched some micro holes in the electrical tape to allow me to thread through 0.25mm thick fiber optic filaments for the running lights. That went off without a hitch and was successful.

In addition to all the above, I also spent a day this past weekend, running down to a locally owned auto-tinting shop on Lombard St. here in St. Johns (my neighborhood in Portland). I talked to some of the guys there about what they did with the scrap left over from when they cut window tinting film. They told me they toss it all into the garbage.



Rough test application of car window tinting film and PVC tape for the hull "paint".

I asked them if they would be ok with me taking some of the uncrumpled up scraps? After explaining why I wanted it, and how I could use it for tinting the windows of models (the workbees have seriously dark window tinting in the actual filming model and look almost black) they were fine with me taking a variety of pieces.

The guys at Mel's Auto Tint were great and more than accommodating to my off-the-wall request. They even walked me through exactly how they apply the window tinting film to car windows.

So while doing some initial rough test gluing of the electrical tape to some inked acetate prints, I also experimented with applying some small sections of car window tinting film as well. I had some success with that as well.

The desired tint color worked out good, and the sheen of the window-tinting film, when you apply it correctly, is like a black mirror. Perfect. Even when viewed with extreme magnification. It was smoother and cleaner than even buffed and polished transparency film. Though I will need to refine how I tackle cutting and applying it depending on whether I go with the vinyl outer "wrap" approach, or sticking with painting it from the inside.



Note the smooth reflective sheen when the lighting angle is just right.

So, with all the challenges and working through them, I am hopeful I have some avenues forward that might get me to where I want these workbees to be (heh). It was definitely a couple of weeks of two steps forward, one step back, then another step back
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 01:30:11 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 Garbaron

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2016, 07:53:37 am »
Looks great. Just one note. Dont get too obsessed with detailing the Arboretum.
You wont see much of that through the secondary hull windows.

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2016, 11:18:27 am »
Looks great. Just one note. Dont get too obsessed with detailing the Arboretum.
You wont see much of that through the secondary hull windows.

While you are correct in that the viewing angle and smal aperture of the windows restricts the view a lot, the amount and scale of the detailing used is also a factor. Bushes and decorative grasses should not go more than 2mm or so in height and should be nearly as narrow at the bottom as the top since most small shrubbery is roughly spherical (even in more flattened horizontally) and floated above the ground by the small trunk or stems.

So obscuring with to much ground clutter is a factor. In addition I plan on building a custom deck floor that will sit slightly lower in relation to the window openings. The assumption has been that the arboretum should only be a single deck tall. I am breaking with that assumption. The justification from a "in realty" rationale of Starfleet engineering, is that there would need to be an accounting for accommodating even small decorative trees and bushes and their depth of rootball and typical growth height. This will afford not only a more open viewing area past the window openings, but also in combination with slightly raising the ceiling piece aid the viewing area, but also be more "logical" than the retcon "blueprints" and the single Andrew Probert deck plan sketch.

The other is the window material used and how it is installed. I plan on using the super thin, buffed and polished acetate transparency film in lieu of the kit piece. This yields a distirtion free super clear "glass" the you can only tell is there by the reflective glare of ambient room lighting.

Edit: Wanted to add that I do agree to your point and not have unrealistic expectations for being able to see all the detailing as much as I would hope. But squeezing every little percentage of detailing and clarity of scale helps. A percentage improvement here, and percentage there add up.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 12:40:49 pm by Lestatdelc »
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Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2016, 12:36:41 pm »
Dude, you are seriously on about your detailing!!

The build is looking good! I can only shake my head at the level of detail you're working to achieve and the scale would make my eyes pop!

Keep 'er going, Scotty! Keep 'er going!

Steve
"As long as there is injustice, whenever a Targathian baby cries out, wherever a distress signal sounds among the stars, we'll be there. This fine ship, this fine crew. Never give up... and never surrender."

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2016, 12:43:41 pm »
Dude, you are seriously on about your detailing!!

The build is looking good! I can only shake my head at the level of detail you're working to achieve and the scale would make my eyes pop!

Keep 'er going, Scotty! Keep 'er going!

Steve

Thanks Steve.

Garbaron's advice above is well taken and from someone who has built a refit or two it does carry some weight. But every little bit (pun noted) of upping of the bar here and there adds up and helps improve the detail, scale, and "realism".
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 01:16:09 pm by Lestatdelc »
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Offline Lestatdelc

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Successful workbee PVC tape test
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2016, 01:34:03 am »
A quick update on this evenings progress with the work bees (a more detailed post about it is on my blog). I cut out some of the yellow PVC tape print runs I did yesterday after work, and applied them to the quick glue assembly of the upper-hull from last night. It worked pretty well.



Yesterday's PVC tape print run.



Detail of the upper-hull panel faces before cutting out and weeding off the transparency carrier.



Cutting out the top face.



Port side 3/4 front view upper-hull sitting on a penny (for scale).



Port side 3/4 aft view.

I need to make some further adjustments to the underlying artwork for the acetate layer to the top/front face, as well and shortening the aft face edge fold line point to account for and accommodate the outside radius of the acetate folds and the vinyl panels in order to close the gaps you can see around some of the seam edges. But I am extremely happy with were these are at the moment. With a new set of prints (hopefully tomorrow), and some more focused and precise cuts and assembly, I think I am there with the upper half.



Side 1/4 view detail.



Aft 3/4 view close-up.

I rushed a little last night cutting out the acetate layers and can get them cleaner and more precise if I take my time. And the refined artwork and new set of print runs should fix the gap issues on these. I also noticed that the red port side running light got inadvertently deleted from the side panel artwork, as well as the five rectangular vents with 50% black color fills on the aft hatch lower edge don't really work. I had hoped that the half-toning the printer would use as a default would produce a nice and even "grid" but it really just muddied up the shapes instead. I think I will make them black outlines with no fill, and instead see if I can mange a solid dark grey paint fill on them instead.

After these fixes, on to the lower hull part. Then the power-coupling "spine" assembly artwork and builds, which attach to the roof/upper aft panel.

But I am excited that I can actually get this to the level I want.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 01:35:39 am by Lestatdelc »
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Offline karve

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2016, 05:25:28 am »
That's some serious detail work! Gonna be fun to watch your build!  :)
Kevin

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Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2016, 09:08:28 pm »
A quick break while I wait for some underpainting to dry, here is a snapshot of a test piece of interior cabin with pilot. Not 100% sold on the pilot figure yet, and it isn't illustrated to the "pose" I want, but this is just a test to see how assembly with it in lace goes when marrying it into the upper hull shell piece. I will re-work the artwork to have the pilot's arms out a bit so they can fold up and reach down to where the joysticks are on the left and right cockpit panels. A few other refinements may be added as well to the cabin artwork and peices.



--- Test interior cabin with FPO pilot cut-out.[/size][/i]

Here's a shot of the test upper hull piece with the new artwork I updated yesterday (to help close the fit gaps in the aft section), which has the roof navigation strobe light fiber optic filament threaded through it.



--- Upper shell with threaded fiber optic filament.[/size][/i]



--- Filament with light source on.[/size][/i]

Again, these are still test pieces to see what fit and assembly issues crop up. I still have a bit more refining to do. I hope to marry these up in the next hour and apply the new side panel vinyl warps and see how they fit.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 01:48:13 am by Lestatdelc »
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Offline Tiburon

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2016, 09:44:47 pm »
Those work bees are seriously amazing dude!

Where did you get the patterns from?
Phil

Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2016, 10:08:04 pm »
Where did you get the patterns from?

I created them from scratch in Adobe Illustrator, based off the ST:TMP official blueprint artwork. With some refinements/corrections by looking at the few photos of the filming model that are on the web. I also simplified some of the line art to make them able to be cut with an X-Acto knife, and that can hold up on a 2400 dpi color laser printer.

Here's a screenshot of the artwork I print on the clear transparency film (acetate):



Here's a screenshot of the artwork I print on the yellow PVC tape (electrical tape):



I then cut these out by hand (a real challenge) then fold and "assemble" them (an even bigger challenge).
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Offline Lestatdelc

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2016, 10:49:03 pm »
Here's a shot of the cockpit and seat subassembly, sans pilot:



This gets attached to the horizontal "frame" which is dividing line between the upper half and lower hull pieces. The frame has a flap at the back that is where the aft face of the upper hull clear piece glues. This "pulls" the roof down at the curve line where the side faces meet the windshield portion of the top face.

As mentioned in the previous post, I am not using the pilot figure I cut out as a test, and need to come up with new artwork or, possibly, using one of the "seated" L'Arsnal 1:350 scale figures:



Still trying to work that part out (how to handle the pilot) while I continue to make these test pieces and continue to refine the artwork, assembly process, etc.
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 Tiburon

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Re: Restarting my ST:TMP - 1:350 Enterprise-Refit Build
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2016, 10:54:02 pm »
Very nice! I can't wait to see a finished one!
Phil

 




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