Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Enterprise Project: We've Not Given up!

It might seem like an age since our last project update but I can assure you work has certainly not ground to a halt.

There was a minor delay as I ran out of white satin matt (Revell colour 301) but a recent trip out to a hobbyist store (slightly unplanned) meant my stock was replenished and we've slipped from impulse to at least warp one. Maybe even warp two.

First thing's first. I gained a rather useful modelling apprentice in the form of my partner, Mel. While she'd be the first to admit that Star Trek is far from her first love, her efforts on The Enterprise Project have been greatly appreciated. If you want to get up to date, check back through the label at the bottom.

The saucer ring in grey was not a great success and that might have been down to either a bad painting job on my part or a less than perfect masking job. Mel's more steady painting touch came in useful as she managed to get a much cleaner line around the saucer section (right). Coupled with that I painted up the raised sections in a darker grey (76) on both the upper and lower sections meaning that it might get assembled in the next couple of days. 

The two additional pieces in grey and white that sit atop the saucer are also now fully painted and touched up where necessary. These can now be set in place and glued. They were very fiddly to paint and in the end the edges were easier to colour freehand than using masking tape. I've had mixed success with masking in this project and it's even been varied within the same area. Some have come out really well and other bits have appeared frayed or the paint has bled. I know for the future it'll be an area of caution and I might need to invest in some more sticky or more model-orientated tape. Anyway, I've included the two sections alongside the saucer here for reference size. There's a clear section at the back of the longer of the two additional parts which you can barely see. It might've been a better idea just to have moulded it as a single piece.

One thing I also said I would do was build the ship in sections however I've reconsidered that process. Armed with a fresh tub of white matt, everything that needed to be white is now, well, white. This means I can effectively run three mini-project sections side by side as parts dry or set. In that respect there's been some good progress with the secondary hull. Having painted both sections with two coats over two days, I then set the clear window sections into place in both halves and fixed the two inner structural supports in place.

As you will notice from the sprue to the left here, there are several silver items which have also been painted including parts of the nacelle structures and the rear piece of the main deflector dish. This is all Mel's handiwork so I can't take the credit and it's come out very well. Again, two coats was essential to get a proper covering.

As with the window sections in the saucer, make sure that all the sprue flash and cut off is sanded so they will fit in place. Cleaning and painting the internal supports isn't essential but for peace of mind I'd still recommend removing excess sprue just to get the best fit possible. I've included a couple of images here of the supports in place in the starboard half of the hull and a close up of the painted window section in place within the neck of the secondary hull (pic below). All of them were good fits so I've not had one issue with fitting together any of the ship so far.

Just a reminder that when I painted the clear sections I used the white matt on the back of them which has added an angle of depth to the windows so it's not just a slab of Revell 301. Hopefully you get the impression of this from the image below left where the white is recessed against the hull.

All the sections had been painted on the sprues before assembly so they were all cut (good sharp knife required) and sanded the attachment points smooth to the bodywork. These will all need a quick paint later in the process. The silver section for the deflector dish as noted above was also cut, trimmed and sanded for assembly. The main blue piece for the dish however needed a slight retouching as some of the blue had come off since it was painted a while ago. Interestingly only the main saucer has needed a third coat. Everything else has been covered nicely with only two layers of paint.

The final piece for painting was the stand itself. In metallic silver and black I think it will look pretty awesome when finished. Mel was keen to get painting this so I left her to it and the result has been excellent. Using Revell silver 99 and black 302 (as we're using only the basic colours recommended on the box to build this and therefore give the amateur modeller/enthusiastic Trekker a chance) I'm more than happy with the result. Mel chose to mask one side and not the other for contrast on how that would affect the finish on the silver and hands down the edge was better without the tape. Bit of a surprise but it just showed patience and skill are a winner over three hours of taping stuff up! The image here is of the main stand base. There are also two vertical pieces which form the stand post to attach to the underside of the Enterprise. As with the centre of the base these have been coated in metallic silver.

OK. Quite a big update there. Biggest challenge so far is still the masking challenge of the grey strip on the saucer which we're only now close to being happy with. Going forward this week we'll be sticking that secondary hull together and maybe getting the saucer together. Glancing over the instructions it also looks like we might be seeing some decal action before we mate the two hulls. In fact I'm considering labelling the two hulls separately to make that process a lot easier. Oh - and we'll be looking at the engines as well if that all happens!

Top featured image courtesy of Revell
All other images courtesy of SKoST

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