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Starship Enterprise -- AMT 1:650

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tragedy struck when our cat knocked the model down off the table. Normally we don't let the cats in that room, but someone left the door open.  All the seams are split, some across the decals. I have no idea how to get it glued together and get the seams looking right without a lot of sanding and that will ruin the decals. Plus I will need to paint the seams and try to match the rest of the body. I suppose I could get another kit, but I didn't really enjoy building this one much.


Right now, I think this is just a candidate for the trash can.

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:40 PM, Anthony Kesterton said:

Only just seen this thread - the model looks great (pre-cat attack).  So sorry to read the last post. Put it aside and have another go later.  There are so many good things you have done with this kit!

Yes, that's probably the best option. I am at a loss how to get it back to where it was, but It can be repaired. It's especially aggravating since it was (is?) a gift. :(


Thanks for the encouragement!

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  • 3 weeks later...

So sorry to hear of the accident. That must be very frustrating for you.

You have done a fantastic job, and the painting especially is stunning.

I first built the Enterprise around 1967 or 68, through the old Aurora kit.... it had working lights at the top of the bridge and the bottom of the saucer. I never painted it but it sure was beautiful.... :)

That... is how old I am.... :)

Thanks for sharing your fantastic build.

I am looking forward to watching more of your builds in the future also.


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On 2/22/2019 at 5:31 PM, Bendinggrass said:

So sorry to hear of the accident. That must be very frustrating for you.

You have done a fantastic job, and the painting especially is stunning.

I first built the Enterprise around 1967 or 68, through the old Aurora kit.... it had working lights at the top of the bridge and the bottom of the saucer. I never painted it but it sure was beautiful.... :)

That... is how old I am.... :)

Thanks for sharing your fantastic build.

I am looking forward to watching more of your builds in the future also.


Thanks for the kind words.  By a strange coincidence, my wife started quizzing me out of the blue about ideas I had for fixing this model on the same day you posted. Maybe the universe is telling me that I need to get back on the horse and finish it! :D


I want to wrap up my current MiG-15 build and then I plan to experiment with ways to glue the split seams from the inside (on the nacelles), since I won't be able to sand excess glue off the outside. I'm still pondering how to glue the engineering hull, since the seam was covered by a decal and they both split. But, I have several ideas and I'm much closer to a solution than I was a couple weeks ago!!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 7 months later...

@Anthony Kesterton, @Bendinggrass, @DalekCheese -- your wish is my command!  


I decided to have a go at fixing this up.  Mainly because I can finish it before Christmas and give it to my friend then (a year late).  Besides I'm sick of the box taking up room.  And it mocks me every time I sit down at the bench!


So, the port nacelle is totally hosed.  The seams are completely split all along the nacelle, but the pylon is still together, which is they only thing keeping the assembly together.




It doesn't look so bad in the picture, but if I turn it to the side and let gravity pull on it, the split seam gets very wide.  When the seam split, it broke off paint in places, which will be a challenge to fix.  Here's the back of the port nacelle.  I won't need to fix it because the intercooler will cover it up.




More paint chips on the bottom.  Not sure if I can touch these up well or not.




Then neck and the spine of the secondary hull were completely split, but the split in the neck is much wider.






Because of the decal, I won't be able to fix the split in the spine (by "fix" I mean: fill, sand and repaint).  Unless I could get another set of decals.  It turns out that It will probably be OK to leave it unfixed (more on this later)


I thought I took a picture of the starboard side of the secondary hull, but I guess I didn't.  Right in front of the banner some of the putty chipped out.  This will present quite a challenge because I will have to fill, sand and paint a spot that is very close to the banner decal.


The first step in fixing this mess is to get the parts back together. I had to get the parts positioned so that the seams were the least visible, hold it in place and use the glue looper with liquid CA to fill the seams.  On the nacelles, it was very easy because I could glue it from the inside.  On the hull, I had to do it from the outside, which means sanding and painting.  Here are the glued pieces:








I glued the port nacelle, but it still looks bad, and frankly I'm not sure if it's fixable with out redoing the entire paint job.  Touching up the paint would be nearly impossible because of the pre-shading i did and the decal is very close to the seam.  Here it is re-glued:




Still thinking about what, if anything, I can do with it.


Then, it was time to sand things flush:










Here's a picture of the back of the secondary hull.  I filled the seam up to the white dot and sanded it. The white dot will be covered with an aftermarket dome, so I don't need to worry about damaging the decal.  I glued the spine of the secondary hull together with liquid CA and the glue looper.  I was able to touch the seam on the underside of the part that hangs over the shuttle bay doors.  Once it was glued, the split is not easily visible to the naked eye unless you get very close.  So I can get away with not filling, sanding and painting it. I dodged a bullet there! :D 




Next step is to mask the decals, then spray the sanded spots with a black base-coat, then marble with gull gray and finish with a gull gray overcoat. I hope I can get this back to where it was by the end of the weekend, but no promises!


Edited by opus999
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Wow! I was not able to sit at the bench at all for the last week.  This is such a busy time of year for us with 3 active boys.  Ugh....


Well, today I was able to complete my repairs. First off was masking which was a royal pain because I had to be really careful not to tape over any decals.  The decals were so bad I completely expected them to pull up with tape.  It was very difficult but I managed it.












In order to match the color, I had to start with a black base. 






In this next photo I got paint on the decal.  I wasn't too concerned because it will be covered up with a dome -- more on that later:










I then painted on the gull gray.  I pulled off all the masking and then had to carefully feather the edges in.  It looked a little light-colored, but I knew from experience that it would darken when I put the clear coat over it.  I was mostly right, but even after the clear coat it is still a little light.  Unless you know about it, you won't see it.  Of course, I know about it... ;) 












I'm generally happy with the repair, but I'm not crazy about the repair in front of the banner on the starboard side. Despite filling the chips in, it still looks a little funny to me.


Now that the repairs are done I can plow ahead.  I painted the base of the stand, which I will need to complete before final assembly since I'll need a place to put it when it's all together!


I also have a couple after market sets I bought, one is the "Planetary Sensor" which will replace the absolutely crappy one that came with the kit.  I forgot to take a picture of it before I primered it, but here it is after:




I also got a set of lights.  There is a bucket load of them! Some are really tiny which will be a real challenge to put on.




The big one is the one that goes over the painted over decal on the top of the shuttle bay.


Before I stopped working on this, I had fabricated some pieces that go around the bottom of the warp engines, just behind the Bussard collectors.  The parts that came with the kit didn't look anything like the ones on the TV show model, so I made some up.  They're passable.  It was really hard to shape them right. I gloss coated them today and will attach them to the warp engines tomorrow.  Here they are with the painted planetary sensor.




The center of the planetary sensor will need to be painted white and I plan to put pearl coat over that.  Hopefully my circle cutter will make masking that easier.


Whew!  That was a fair amount of work today, but I am starting to feel like I'm almost done! 



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Slow day yesterday -- didn't get a lot done.  I focused mainly on the stand because I'll need it before final assembly.  I sprayed a pre-cut, ornamental piece of wood black.  I also sprayed a rod with the same paint.  My wife suggested using pourable resin to create a smooth, glossy surface on the wood, so I went and braved the holiday crowds to find the stuff.


The other thing that tripped me up a bit yesterday was finding a very informative article detailing the colors that were discovered in the Smithsonian's restoration of the original filming model and an attempt to translate those to colors for modelers to use.  If you haven't seen it it is here:  https://culttvman.com/main/a-modelers-guide-to-painting-the-starship-enterprise-by-gary-kerr/


It includes high resolution computer model based orthographic views pointing out where each color goes. it made me realize that there were a few parts I need to re-paint to get the color right.  The most glaring error on my part is the dark ghost gray on the bottom of the warp nacelles just behind the Bussard collectors.  That color should actually be a slightly darker Gull gray.  That's one I can't fix because of the decals in the way.  The other things that aren't right are the engine details, which, luckily, I haven't put on yet.  On the bright side, the other colors I am using are pretty darn close to the real thing, which makes me happy.  I followed the color guide in the polar lights 1:1000 Enterprise kit, so I guess they did their homework.


I touched up the bridge, because there was a big scratch in the white paint.  That went reasonably well.  Then I tried to cut a mask with my circle cutter to paint the planetary sensor.  That didn't go well at all.  First, because of the dome shape, it didn't want to stay circular and second, one of the times I pulled the tape off, it pulled a big wad of paint off.  Grrr..... :angry:


Which leads me to a slightly off topic rant -- :angrysoapbox.sml: How on earth can I get paint to stick to resin??  I had a bad problem with my USS Courageous model and found that if I sanded it, the paint stuck much better.  Except... this planetary sensor is impossible to sand because of all the little details.  I'll need to figure it out at some point because I have a bucket-load of resin aftermarket parts for my own 1:650 classic Enterprise model I plan to do sometime soon.  OK... end rant :angrysoapbox.sml:


So anyway, I used my fingernail to clean the planetary sensor off. 




I sanded it as best I could and repainted it. This time I decided to spray the white and pearl coat first, and the planned to hand paint the gull gray around the outside. It turned out reasonably well.




It's not perfect where the white and gull gray meet, but I think it's only noticeable when someone wears magnifying lenses.


Next up was trying to get the warp nacelles assembled.  I put on the parts I fabricated.  I wasn't crazy about them, but figured they were passable.  Well, I glued them on and they look huge. So, now I need to decide what to do about that.  






I figured it was best to let that cool off and look at it with fresh eyes later. :rage:


I decided I would paint the engine detail parts that needed new color.  I have to say that the orthographic views in the article I posted above seemed to have the color correct when I look at their recommended mixtures and compare them to the views.  So, the engine parts on top, toward the back are a light gray, almost exactly a Light Gray (FS36495).  It had a complicated, 4 paint mixture, but I followed it and painted my parts. And... they didn't look right.  They look too blue and too dark when compared to the orthographic view.




What's more, they don't look all that different from the Dark Ghost Gray parts of the Enterprise.




So, I guess I will be repainting those with Light Gray FS36495.  Maybe with a touch of something blue-ish, since that's how they appear in the article.  *Sigh*. 


And on top of it, the 2nd coat of paint on the stand got borked up somehow so it is all wrinkly.  I'm just not sure if it will be noticeable or not with the pourable resin, but I think I may sand it anyway, just in case.


So I am way behind where I thought I would be at this point in the weekend.  I need to sit and do some thinking about how to resolve some of the problems that have cropped up, but I'm sure there's a solution.


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Alright!  Got some things fixed and made some progress! 


First off, to prep for painting the impulse engines the correct color, I wanted to remove the decal, just in case it gave me trouble later.  So after a few rounds of burnishing tape on the surface and ripping it off, I had this:




Repainting those should be fairly easy.


Next I set about to fix my fabricated parts.  Originally I had glued two layers of my thickest sheet styrine together.  This time I decided to use just one.  As with last time, I was going to put 0.5mm half rounds on the sides to account for the curvature of the engine.  So with these:




I was going to make these:




The first one went together OK, but after that it went all down hill.  Not only is it hard to sand something rectangular without rounding the edges, but I just didn't like how it looked still. Aggravated, I marched upstairs and loaded the dishwasher and thought about it. I was trying to think of something I could use that would have the right curvature to fit over that engine.


Funny how things work out -- yesterday I took a break and looked at the other Star Trek models in my stash.  Including my 1:650 AMT Enterprise that I plan to make as accurate as possible someday.  I bought it on ebay  7 or 8 years ago, but never looked at it too closely until yesterday.  That's when I noticed that the parts for both engines had been heated (looks like it was over a candle or something) and were very warped.  Bad enough that I can't fix it.  Well, it occurred to me today that those engine parts could be cut to size and have the right curvature to replace my fabricated pieces!


So out came the razor saw and after some careful measuring, cutting and a little sanding I had some very nice looking pieces!




Which after black basing and painting ended up like this (By the way, the beveling on one end is about 45 degrees and on the other end is more like 30 degrees, that's why they don't all look the same):




I am very happy with these!!  I couldn't have given this to my friend with the other ones.  They were just too terrible.  See how much better the new ones are?




After that I set out to correct the "Light Gray" issue.  In the end, I used 5 parts light gray (FS35495), 4 parts duck egg blue and 1 part white. That matched what was on my monitor. I started spraying and realized that I had forgotten to fabricate some other pieces that AMT forgot.  Out came my thickest sheet styrene again, and a little cutting sanding and gluing and these doo-dads looked more correct than before:




I finished painting all of the light-colored pieces:




The ones on the left will need two more colors added to them, but the ones on the right are done.  I plan to gloss coat them and put a wash on them to bring out some of the details.


The light color looks about right against the hull color now:




I won't have time for anything else tonight, but I feel like I'm gettin' close! And solved a bunch of my problems too!  :D 




Edited by opus999
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The holiday schedule madness continues at our house, so I only had one night free since I last posted. On the nights I wasn't free, I had 5 or 10 minutes and used those to put a clear coat on the engine pieces and to finish painting a couple of the engine pieces:




The two on the bottom of the above picture were painted with my light gray mixture, with dark ghost gray in the center and the gull gray on the left.


The night I had free, I worked on the stand.  Last weekend, I painted the stand with gloss black Krylon; both the wood base, and the copper rod. On Wednesday night I drilled a hole in the base, press fit the rod in and then mixed up the 2 part pourable resin. Now, my friends, that stuff is a mess to work with.  Plus it is one of the worst smells I know of. But the result speaks for itself:




That's got me thinking about all my stands, past present and future. :D  If you go this route for stands, use gloves and put in a well ventilated area.  I didn't use gloves because I was going to be careful and not get it on my hands,,,, until I did... :(. The resin comes off easily with solvents, but the smell lingers on your fingers for 48 hours.  :P 


Yesterday I was able to put my fabricated pieces on the warp engines.  They look so much better than the other ones.  I'm glad I got that figured out.




Tonight is our big party with our circle of friends, which means a morning's worth of clean up tomorrow (at least). Even though I have 3 more days until I give this to my friend, I kind of feel like I'm running short on time.   

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Down to the wire!  Due date is tomorrow morning...  Luckily, I'm at the little details stage.  Yesterday I made some changes based on the article I posted previously.  I painted this impulse engine doo-dad Testors Gunship Gray by hand:




And painted the turbo lift darker.  I didn't follow the recommended color mix (because I was too lazy to dig it up again), but instead did a 50:50 mix of Testors Gull Gray (FS36440) and Testors Olive Drab (FS34087).  It came out a little lighter than the pictures of the Model in the Smithsonian look, but it will do.




I also airbrushed the impulse engines with Testors Gunship gray and then masked and painted black on the exhaust openings:




I used a wash of black watercolor and water, with a tiny drop of soap on the various warp engine pieces I'd gloss coated this week. I wanted to highlight all of the detail.  It didn't come out quite the way I wanted, but it's passable.


I then assembled the warp engines (except for the Bussard Collectors) using gel superglue. 


Once those were assembled, I went over all of the sub-assemblies with decanted Testors Semi-Gloss clear.  It put the perfect sheen on everything:




When I was done with that, I used MIcro Krystal Klear to attach the Bussard Collectors to the warp engines, and set those aside to dry.


I shifted to the stand at that point.  I hand painted flat black on the insignia.  The insignia was the stand to the 1:1000 polar lights enterprise, but I don't use the stand that came with that kit because it is so flimsy.  So I have some of these insignia left over.  I puttied the opening in the center that the upright part of the stand connects to, then airbrushed it with Testors Gold, cut with mr. leveling thinner.  I probably did this last January.  I didn't paint the corner because that's where I was holding it, and it should only take a second to touch that up today:




All that was left after that was to put all the sub assemblies together.  I started with the primary and secondary hull.  Because of the leverage the saucer has on that join, I figured Epoxy would be the best way to attach it.  It was very hard to get the saucer lined up at a right angle with the pylon as the tab and slot that join the two together have a lot of play in them.  I don't know how I did this as a kid! On top of that, there was really no way I could think of to secure it for drying (e.g., clamps or something), so I just held it with my hands.  For 45 minutes.  :( But at that point it was set up that I was reasonably comfortable that it wouldn't get out of alignment. I put together a jig of sorts with paint bottles and boxes that would keep it from moving (I should've taken a picture). Since the tabs on the warp engine pylons fit into deep pockets in the secondary hull, and the warp engines are not that heavy, there is not a lot of strain on the joins, so I used gel superglue to attach those.  


This morning I test fit it on the stand.  It looks really cool -- I'm quite jealous. :D 




All that's left to do is some touch-up with the semi gloss, attach the impulse engines, navigational deflector and planetary sensor, and then put on all the little lights. I'm a little apprehensive about the lights because they are so small and I'm not sure how to handle them.


The other challenge is figuring out how to take RFI pictures since it is too big for my usual back drop and desk lights. 

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Got the last details on!  Lots of navigation lights:












Planetary sensor:




...and the navigational deflector (notice the nav. light on the bottom of the secondary hull, too)




So I'm declaring this one done!  I'll have an RFI up just as soon as I figure out how to best take photos of it. :wonder:

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