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Author Topic: 1/1400 AMT Enterprise D - Done as TNG series production studio model  (Read 183 times)

Offline Valiant

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After being an admirer of this forum for quite a while, I thought it was time to share one of my builds.

I'm building the 1/1400 clear molded Enterprise D. We've seen some excellent builds over the last few years, but those have all been as the movie Generations build since there's an abudance of reference material now available. I don't want to post a build that we've all seen done before by even better modelers than myself, and so being a fan and growing up as a kid with the NCC-1701-D on TV, I wanted to do and share a build as the studio model appeared during production of TNG.

This is essentially the second attempt at this same kit because of some critical errors (explained ahead). My original build concept was to build it as the season 1, saucer connected, studio model; basically its what we saw during the TNG intro. Since my errors have left me to start over, I've decided to take the lighting a bit further with an option to have season 2 and beyond lighting as an option. The model will be painted and weathered as the studio model was first build; the skyb blue/duckegg blue aztec pattern, and a drawn in gride-line. Like the legends Often Wrong and Yoda that have done this before me, this will be a smoothie version just like the studio model.

(version/research difference: skip if not interested. From what I've found is during season 1, when the saucer is connected the aft nacelle strobe lights and the neck/saucer connection area lights are not illuminated. They only seemed to come on during saucer seperation. This was changed in newer shots brought in during season 2 onward. 

My critical errors and warning to those wanting to tackle this.

1.I over did the lighting. I was using 24 gauge, NOT insulated, copper wiring I picked up at a local hobby/arts store. Since the wiring felt rather thick, and I didn't want any shadows cast, my solution was to illiminate shadows but more  lighting. It worked, but in the end my window lighting was as bright as my nacelle lighting. It was simply to bright. Yes I could have wired in a bunch of resisters but because of error 2 leading to a rebuild anyway, I decided that layout had to go; plus the thing was a short circuit and fire hazard waiting to happen.

2. Light blocking. so you've light blocked your model you say, great! Now, go do it again! My problem was that my interior light block wasn't thorough enough. I had specs of light coming through windows that weren't intended to be lit. Paint them? Not really an option. If I painted them I would lose the glossy glass like look; that would lead down a path of either painting them all, or only the select few leaving a very uneven look. This lead to a tear down of the model, removal of all electronics to make sure the light blocking was done correctly the next time.

So, onward to the current build.

I'm starting with the warp nacelles. First thing done was a complete sanding down of the aztec grid lines. This was done with 300 grit, 600 grit, up to 1000. There are imprections, but those will be fixed during the sanding/putty stage.

Next I light blocked. I used black primer overall then a coat of white primer to give a better reflectivity.

I then began work on the bussard collectors. Like many lighted and even unlighted builds before me, I frosted the caps nice and good. I used 300 and 600, and a slight bit of 1000 just to smooth out any deep grooves.Using thicker clear plastic (just about anything would work, I used some from an old 24 pack of bottled water) I stuffed the caps. You definitely don't want to over do it as it could just dull out your lights and end up being a light blocker. All you really want is enough to elliminate the headlight look, diffuse the light, and give a bit of a cloudy swrill to it. Using black styrene I cut and then sanded into shape a  backing to the caps; this is to provide a mounting surface and light block for the LEDs in the cap. I mounted 2 5mm red LEDs to it, wired in sequence, with a good resistor (sorry I can't remember how much) to lower the brightness; remember the TNG model seemed to have 2 dominate light sources in the caps.

Next the necelle grills. I'm jumping on the latest craze, and doing the blue on, copper off look. This I had to trouble shoot a little. The reason being, while it does ultimately achieve the goal, dry brushing or a very light and thinned paint coat over the nacelles seem to leave a blotchy look to me. I didn't much care for that. Another option I tried was copper wiring. Yeah, great in theory, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone; I tried that on my USS Voyager build, thats now on hold, and now I have to clear off all that CA glue. My solution, while not 100% accurate to the studio model (but hey this is an AMT model, what are my odds of achieving that anyway?) was to light block the whole part with black primer. After good and thoroughly light blocked, using testors copper from a spray can I went over the whole part. Carefully, and I do mean carefully, I went over it with some 600 to 1000 grit sandpaper. What this did was removed the copper/black from the raised grills and left the painted area inside the grooves. At this scale, its nearly impossible to tell (as you can see in the pictures) that it's actually a 'negative'. If you do this method, I cannot stress enough being careful. You only get so many attempts to get it right before you've sanded the grills down to a point where any additional sanding will take the grooved area out too.

Lighting the grills was another task. Blue strip lighting was to blue in my opinion, so I needed a work around. As suggested here, I could paint white strip lighting, but I found that wasn't blue enough. My solution, use a strip of white led strip lighting that was painted with thinned transparent blue on the bottom half of the nacelle, and on the upper half use blue led strip lighting. With the white light blocking coat, the light nicely blends into a good mix.

For the strobes, I used a 1.8mm LED put into some shrink tubing with 1mm fiber optics on the other end. Shrink tubing makes a great holder. With two full strips of colored LED's in the nacelles bleed through on the fiber optics was a problem. Using suggestions from here, I used tulip paint. That stuff is great guys! Thanks for the advice!

Next up is just some fine tuning, more light tests, and then sealing it up.

Hope you all enjoy this build! 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 12:51:43 am by Valiant »

Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: 1/1400 AMT Enterprise D - Done as TNG series production studio model
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 06:24:20 am »
Those nacelles are looking pretty sweet!

I'm not a huge TNG fan, but what are the real differences between the "movie Generations build" and the TV model?

If you have time, Valient. That and any progress?

"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 Valiant

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Re: 1/1400 AMT Enterprise D - Done as TNG series production studio model
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 11:15:03 am »
Definitely have time! Thank you and thank you for the interest. The TV productions varried in a number of details. Overall "minor" to most casual watchers, but hey we are modelers and everything is huge! Haha. Im s7re others will probably catch something I missed too which is all the better.

1. Most obvious was paint scheme. Movie had a 4 color pattern in blues and grey. The tv version was 2 tone blue and green. While mostly unnoticeable in the movie the deflector housing went a few shades more towards yellow. Ill be sharing my paint matches here when i get to that stage. On the two tone paint scheme "weathering" was added - I need to look more closely, but it seems the terrible (for some who want the smooth look but great for ithers) raised grid lines and aztec details shown on the original amt release instructions were actually good at showing what that weathering lines were.

2. Aft warp necelles. The movie version added a vent/light holder detail part.

3. Phaser strips. From the best shots Ive been able to find, the 6ft tv model had smooth rounded phaser strips.

4. Impulse engine. Appears the grill details within the housing were added for Generations

5. Lighting. While the lights generally all stayed the same. What was lighted and when varies. Most notably tv and movie difference is the light under the neck by the connecting point of the saucer.

Those are what I can think of right now between the 6ft tv and movie. Is anyone can think if something I missed just added it in.


Offline Valiant

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Re: 1/1400 AMT Enterprise D - Done as TNG series production studio model
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 07:10:49 pm »
Very minor update; I'm a slow builder since I have a wife and 2 kids. Here's a shot of my secondary hull, and some of the wip I have in addition to my first attempt. This time I'm adding a larger trench area (as you can see on the starboard side). I figure a larger trench may be easier to fill for me, and will also allow me to better lay the wiring and fit even more wiring since I'll be having the strobes on the nacelles this time.

20180530_225159 by Joseph

Another picture here you can see the sanding work I've done to the upper hull.

20171114_200346 by Joseph, on Flickr

I've also done a extensive rebuild of the secondary hull neck.

I reshaped the shuttle bay doors to a more accurate angle. All detail lower than the phaser strips was off on the model by a deck; this forced the impulse engine to rest against the engineering hull. The studio model has it about a deck higher acting more like an exhaust pipe rather than a box build into/onto the hull. This has been fixed, all detail lower than the phaser strips, in particular the windows were moved up a deck, and a correct more rounded shape to the impulse engine was made.

20180615_195145 by Joseph, on Flickr

20180615_195157 by Joseph, on Flickr


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