Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Enterprise Project: Learning Curve


The first "trial by fire" moment of the project has arrived.

Painting large areas in a solid colour is not a precision task and while it can get monotonous after a while, it's not an exacting art. The time has come however where I must apply a degree of skill and accuracy and just the prep took a while.

Masking up the curve on the bottom of the Enterprise saucer section was a difficult and fiddly one. You can't simply whack a strip of tape around and be done. Straight pieces of tape don't bend well so it was a gradual process to mark out the grey stripe for painting.

It was a two-coat job to complete the painting but it did come out well in the end using the basic light grey silky matt 371 to cover. The only challenge being that there's been some edge feathering from the masking off which I now have to remove before I can proceed to the next detailing job on the primary hull. Inside the lower section I've now also installed the clear (and painted matt white) porthole sections - make sure you clip and file the edges on these as they are quite a squeeze to fit and need to be flush with the hull or they won't look right from the outside.

In keeping with the plan I've now also painted and masked up some of the sections which are attached to the top of the saucer as well as test fit and glue the upper and lower saucer modules in place as these are now finished aside from minor detailing. I've used a slightly darker grey matt 76 for these areas. 

One thing I left off the last Enterprise Project update was an interior shot of these two pieces just to give you a better idea of how they stack together so the edges of each are concealed (left). Again, before gluing anything always make sure it fits as movement corrections could get a bit tricky and sticky.

With my current supply of white matt 301 running a bit low and not a lot of work to do on the primary hull I've applied a first coat to the secondary hull. This will get a chance to dry overnight and be reviewed in the morning. Should be fine but with physical construction on the saucer coming to a close, it made sense to start making some headway on Phase Two so to speak. Also, due to work commitments I'll have to take an enforced model-making break for a week which should give the paint time to arrive!

But before I disappeared off for a while, I managed to get a few extra bits completed. Firstly that grey curve on the lower saucer was painted up. The only problem that's arisen from that is the edges have feathered so I'll need to just touch them up to get that razor-sharp circle. As a first attempt at some extreme masking it came out a lot better than I had expected. 

Next up the two sections pictured above were fitted into the saucer sections, test fit and glued. They are both very snug when in place so there doesn't seem to be any need to fill any gaps (upper section pictured top). That image does suggest a bit of a gap at the back but I'm blaming the angle I took the snap. I've also masked off the two "T" markings on the upper saucer as you will also see there in preparation for painting as I will be doing on the lower section once the circle of grey is finished correctly.

Nicely the lower section (above left) has three guiding pins which mean it can only sit in one position. I also fitted the window panels into the lower section and here I would recommend that each of these has its edges filed before gluing into the sides of the dish. Why? Because if you don't they sit slightly proud of the surface and this will look a bit odd from the outside. For note, I painted these white while on the clear plastic frame before fitting (left).As you can see the flash from the sprue is still present and is raising the right end of the panel (more shadow visible).

It seems like this is one big trawl on painting doesn't it? True because I also had a couple of sections for the upper saucer which needed painting firstly in white matt and then required sections masking off for a darker shade of grey (Revell 76) than was required for the lower saucer circle. While the masking is not simple squares or rectangles they aren't curves. These will need some touching up and also some additional masking for smaller areas on each that require either a different shade or further painting. Both pieces will sit behind the bridge module on the upper saucer section pictured at the top of this piece. You can see the gap where the segment on the right of this image (right) will be placed when painted up.The longer piece came away from the sprue during painting as it was only held at two points but given that I had managed to complete painting the outer edges matt white it wasn't an issue.

To finish off I managed to get a coat of white matt onto the port side of the secondary hull (pictured left) just to see how it would cover. It's gone on very similar to the first coat on the upper saucer section so this shouldn't need more than a good second covering to plug all the gaps and streaking. It has a lot more nooks and bends than anything else so far but the result is looking favourable. I should be able to get started on the next step this weekend and complete the structures on the top of the saucer. This might mean that we can fix the two larger dishes together and tick off one third of the construction process.

To follow the progress of The Enterprise Project just click on the label below and you'll be able to catch up on this week's updates!