Saturday, 10 May 2014

SKoST Modelling 101: If You Build It...

A little later than usual, but here's +Christopher Whitford with his third installment of Modelling 101 and it's taking shape...


Well we have talked about choosing the model you want, and the tools you will need to build the model now it is time to actually dive in and build a model. 

The model I chose is the 18 inch USS Enterprise repop from Round 2/AMT. It's a model most people have built as their first Star Trek ship and should get your feet wet with gluing, sanding puttying and painting. 

This month’s article will consist of building the saucer section as well as filling seams and priming so let’s get started. Since the saucer section on this kit consists of three pieces it should not be hard to build and it’s not, so the main thing you have to worry about is the attached sprue to the upper saucer as it's thick and difficult to remove.  Use a hobby knife for this so you must be careful. You can use a pair of wire cutters to remove the sprue but be careful and don't cut into the saucer as that will leave a spot that will have to be filled later on!

After removing the sprue from the upper and lower saucer the next thing you want to do is dry fit the two halves together.  You are going to see a seam and that seam is what you will be filling later with putty. Dry fitting makes sure everything lines up and after checking it’s time to bring out your glue (I use a liquid glue) I  can mate the two halves together and brush on the liquid glue along the seam line. I'd recommend doing this twice for added reinforcement before setting it aside to dry.

After drying I then take a sanding sponge and sand around that same seam. From there I can use my sandable bondo to fill the seam. You will have to do this multiple times to completely fill the seam as bondo does shrink as it dries. After it dries, wet your sanding sponge and sand down the bondo until you get a nice thin red line where the seam is. 

From there you'll have more filling to do on the underside of the saucer where there are three indents.They represent the phaser banks but they are not present on the studio model so fill those in and sand flush but be careful as there is raised detail that you will lose some of because of sanding smooth those indents. 

After that's finished we move on to the final piece which is the impulse engine housing. Again, dry fit and then glue after which - that’s right - more filling with putty, allow to dry and sand once more. After all that is done it’s priming time which basically means all you are doing is laying a coat of paint to see if any of your seams need to be refilled and sanded. Most likely they will so putty, sand, repeat until there no seams present on your saucer - and that is!

Now we can set aside the saucer section and end for this month. Next time we'll be building the nacelles and pylon supports as well as sanding and puttying those.  

Until next time always remember Get Out There and Build Something. 
You can look back over any of Chris' monthly articles by clicking here


Want to learn more about modelmaking from some Sci-Fi experts? Drop over to the Google+ Sci-Fi Fans and Modellers United Community for tips, chat, advice and some AMAZING photos!