1:350 TOS Enterprise
I had promised this document to Kenny some time ago. In fact far too long that I didn’t see the forest through the trees. This article took place over months, and various posts, mostly to myself to keep me sane, and with the help of modellers, just like you, I got his astounding kit to the standards posted here on Scifiantasy.com, so grab your choice refreshment and be prepared for bad English, badly cut, phone photographed, split over many days weeks and months to give you my personal experience building the 1/350 scale TOS Enterprise. Enjoy J
Let me say, this kit is basically unavailable in Europe and any that are here are insanely expensive! I got my kit from the US so it was a little cheaper (looking), add in postage and then on top of it all good old Customs charges and I probably would have gotten the kit from the UK at about the same price. Ah well, I have it now.
Okay First decision I made was to go with the Tenacontrols lighting kit, Which Ralph sent seriously promptly and arrived before the kit did, Thanks a million Ralph, can’t wait to power it up 😀
Second was that I didn’t want to do the Shuttle bay, I love the detail etc. but I like my ship to look like its flying, plus I didn’t want to have to deal with Lighting problems and the notorious fit issues most folks have been having with the fantail.
Third, I wanted a clear bridge and the leading lights on the bottom of the shuttle bay doors. I wasn’t going to fork out for the lighting kit for that alone so a solution is forthcoming.
Fourth, I have both sets of Paragrafix photoetch to really make this puppy pop.
Getting the parts ready for light blocking, I used white-tac around the edges and masking tape so I wouldn’t be placing harmful Enamel over the joints and the surface that I intend to paint with Acrylics.
I made up the shuttle bay interior as a guide to scratch build this little panel to fill the gap behind the doors. I used 2mm Styrene, laid the hanger on it, traced around and cut out this nifty shape.
Will be using Perfect Plastic from Deluxe Materials in the next round and see if it works better than the white squadron.
The last one for the night is All that I have primed, Using Halfords (A Motor factor Chain here in Ireland and the UK) Brand Plastic Primer and I have to say it is wonderful so far, sands perfectly, dries in no time next I have to check how well it holds up with Vallejo Model Air paints!
A note for the end of this section. I have decided that I just cannot use Enamels, from now on I am sticking with Acrylics. Basically, I used Enamels for my light blocking and bouncing. It didn’t adhere very well at first with where I wanted it, it caked as it dried (which I don’t really mind as it’s on the inside) and it managed to get around and gloop in ANY of my masking, so I spent the evening rubbing Ethanol on nearly every part! so Enamels… not for me 🙂
I had a look again last night and yup those seams on the Nacelles are pretty deep, it seems like squadron fills the gap, but in surrounding it sinks to create what appears to be a channel, I may not be putting enough layers on before sanding but I am going to try that as I checked and my perfect plastic putty has hardened in the tube! I must get on eBay to grab some more asap.
I also ran out of Primer last night which makes me worry about the hull colour and how many of the little Vallejo tubs I will need for full coverage! But I can hopefully take a trip to Halfords tomorrow morning and grab a couple of cans of it.
In terms of hull colour, I could go with semi-accuracy and use the Vallejo model air colour US Light Grey, which to my eye is a little lighter then XF-12 which needs to be lightened anyhow. Or I will go more with what I see when I look at the enterprise and paint it, Vallejo White Grey.
For clarity, here are links to the colour swatches for the Vallejo Model Air colours I was thinking for the primary hull colour:
US Light Grey:
Well, I have been working through puttying and sanding and Priming these Nacelles, thankfully I didn’t have a warp like Scott but these seams seem to become more and more problematic. I am trying to get the best way of removing them before I get to the main construction of sub-assemblies that will require painting first, then some wiring before putting them together.
First off I am trying some Vallejo model putty which I have found is brilliant at removing seams in WWII aircraft. will see this evening how it sands out. I also have a tube of 3M Red Acryl Glazing putty on the way so will be giving that a whirl also.
Second is another Major sub-assembly I have since gotten Primed but will need to put the main hull colour on it before sealing up as I don’t want to hit those black windows. I do have the Orbital Drydocks Masking set (Thanks, Brett) for this and the Refit 350 but as much as possible I want to use the kits own windows and not have to mask out everything. With the main hull colour on the sub assemblies I will be able to stick them together and de-seam as necessary (hopefully with a streamlined method with the 3m and Vallejo putties)
Note I have rough masks in the areas for the vents, so long as I have some bare plastic touching bare plastic I should be happy enough.
This evening I will be breaking out the airbrush and blasting on some of the Vallejo Model Air US Light Grey to the pylons putting through the wiring for the Bussard collectors and sealing them up… Big ask I know 😀
Quick update as I have had hardly any time really to work on the big E, Apart of course from the constant sanding and refilling of the Nacelles, I don’t think that’s EVER going to end. Every time I think I am getting there the seam appears to open up again!
Plus I haven’t received the Paint I chose for the main hull colour so that is putting a dampener on any progress with the lighting.
Still, things to do mind you 🙂
I tried to add the photo etch console displays but I just couldn’t get them to fit, after bending , cursing, twisting, cursing, placing, cursing I decided to just scrap them. the fit is terrible. I did, however, add the wall screens and main viewer, but I don’t have that pictured.
I then went about slicing these through. Had two mishaps where parts just flew off. So I rummaged around on the floor looking for them then got out the Tamiya extra thin cement and plonked them back on, thankfully they were clean breaks so could just refit them (hee hee refit).
Next, on this, I am going to add some clear styrene to the back and colour with Tamiya clear colours. Then I will fill the little ports with Canopy glue and presto no need for clear parts.
Still waiting on my 3M putty to arrive, hopefully, this will speed up the de-seaming issues. Otherwise, I hope to get on to doing some of the REAL work on this beasty.
I put on a coat of Vallejo Model Air US Light Grey to the Pylons and Neck support with the hope to get them constructed before the end of the week.
On to paint, I have finally decided on the colour for the hull, its standard Vallejo grey 103 it’s light enough that the model won’t look too dark but catches shade well, plus it has the slight green tinge. Below is a picture of the neck with the blacked out windows installed, I clipped these off the black frame and added them in.
The scuff marks are pretty visible, and some pooling happened with the flat coat so I will be sanding them some more probably with even finer sandpaper.
I got the blacked out windows installed and as an added precaution I light blocked them from the inside, I have since added a layer of white to the back of these and glued in the clear windows. I found that clipping the windows was lots of fun, they kept splitting through the actual windows at some points. I will be doing a round of Canopy glue from the front side once I get the neck sealed up.
Have a thin coat of Vallejo filler over the everlasting seam and will be light sanding that this evening, hoping beyond hope those seams are finally gone!
I decided it was high time to get some lights in there, so I dusted off the soldering Iron and went to town on getting some of the double density warm white LED’s wired up and installed. Went with a friend’s set up with the two strips of three bulbs one on the top starboard side and one on the bottom Port. Here they are with the relevant wires for the Board and secondary hull strobes prior to the full light test and seal up.
I think it’s looking good and even in there and the blacked out lenses are working a treat! Also, the little addition of the red colouring stands out nicely 🙂 The shuttle bay doors have been assembled. I am not using the kit supplied shuttle bay so I scratch built a little blocker to close up the hull.
Don’t you just hate that photos really show up the imperfections, the windows in the shot above look quite rough, but in person, they look fine. Ah well onwards and upwards.
It appears I forgot to take photos of my shuttle bay modifications and strobe installation, apologies. What I did was assemble the bay doors onto the supplied bay floor then broke out a coping saw and chopped just past the tab that is supposed to hold the walls to the floor. I also added the colours to the fantail lights by putting in a small piece of clear styrene and using the Tamiya clear colours.
So on with what I got done yesterday. I started adding the main lighting to the secondary hull and, as I wasn’t using the shuttle bay, weights in the form of coins to add balance, both to the back and to the area of the mounting pole, Bringing the cost of this already expensive kit up by a whopping 48 cent!
Lighting went as follows. For the shuttle bay area, I added one strip going down the hull and on the other side a strip going across, hopefully, this will give me an even lighting there. As I blacked out the set of windows in the middle section there was little point in concentrating light there but I did add two strips of nine bulbs along the bottom in each half. Another two sets of nine bulbs went in the centre front to try and get the windows that would be covered by the Neck mounting. Another two sets of three bulbs up in that cubby that Boyd has pointed out in most of his videos of these builds and finally two strips of six bulbs along the top centre. Lots of strips going on and coins sitting pretty.
I then Tied together the strobes plus and minus as these will be going to the board mounted in the Primary hull, it’s the TenaControls board so no separation and a nice clean secondary hull, as any of the blinkers will be mostly in the Primary hull.
After a friend said he was worried about the neck separating the secondary hull with that nasty gap I got worried and tested. Hats off to him he was completely right, it left a very nasty seam along the strongback. So I got out a file and just thinned either side slightly, it fit pretty much perfectly after that, so I got it and installed on one side of the secondary hull, soldered in the strobes and boom, lovely two halves ready to be put together.
It was at this point I realised that my solder was running low, as in it came right out of the tube and was no longer than a centimetre. So that stopped any soldering or finishing.
Well, I got some Solder and was finally able to move ahead with this build. I soldered in the main window lighting and insulated the bare wires, I then tacked the wires down on either side and then wired everything that was to go into the main hull and the warp engines carefully, testing each wire with a little test LED. Here are the spaghetti before closing up.
You can see I had the neck installed on one side so I could wire up everything and not have to worry about sliding it in and possibly causing problems, I also attached the Warp pylons for the same reason.
Just a note on Solder. Up until now, I have been using the cheapest of the cheap from Maplins to solder, on running out I got a reel of Loctite and my god you can tell the difference instantly, where before I was fighting with it to even tin wires this stuff just flows right in! I implore you to go and get decent solder if you are doing stuff like this, it saves a lot of time and I’m sure effects mental health also!
Apologies for the blurry image, it is difficult to hold the model, the camera, and have the battery held to the wires!
I think I will need to add another LED or two shining down the neck to even out some of those windows, I should have added more tape then the two 3 bulbs that are in there at the moment, but we will see.
Now on to the bane of any modellers… the seams! The fixes on the neck seem to have caused a domino effect and the seam along the strong back was something, while not actually as bad as I was expecting, it was pretty bad. So out with the styrene and plugging in those gaps. (More apologies, this time for a messy desk, the white fins are styrene jutting out of the model.)
Didn’t get any on the model I wasn’t intending to but I’m going to have to rely on 3M and squadron now for my gap filling, which is epoxy considering the applicator on the Vallejo and the simple clean up, it was perfect for the pylons and neck gaps where you kind of want a distinction between the hull but don’t want a full-on gap. Also, I don’t know anywhere in Ireland that supplies this and I am not eBaying anything else for now! grr.
Another small update, baby steps on this for the moment but should get a lot done this week. What I did was attack the secondary hull with a file to eliminate step then added some 3M Red putty to the seam line, I am hoping I don’t have the same epic journey I did on the nacelles with this seam!
Otherwise, I got the first coats of hull colour onto the primary hull, a few more coats to go then I can install the windows and get to the lighting! Got to love the dappled effect on the first coats, doesn’t suit this particular build but I have a Messerschmitt that may be getting this treatment 🙂
Okay, so I hit a snag on the TOS build. I needed to reprime and paint my secondary hull after it was assembled! So I had to break out the Orbital Drydocks window masks and spend a whole evening just masking off the windows, I actually quite enjoyed doing it, the masks are great and here is a pic of the sheet after I had made my pass.
There are absolutely TONS of spares so if (and I hopefully won’t) I need to do it all again, I have tons to keep me going.
Here is the beast with the masks applied, here you can see just how much sanding I needed to do to clean her up, note to others, ALWAYS have a clean workspace free from any enamels, and ALWAYS have clean hands when handling a model!
After another coat of Primer and back in with the base colour, I have her back to how she should look, plus I went ahead and attached the base, so I wouldn’t have as many wires dangling all over the place.
As from the previous post I am still applying layers to the saucer, this is the largest area I have ever airbrushed and getting a smooth consistency is proving to be difficult enough, but I am keeping my coats light and taking my time with it, I am hoping to get the windows installed in the saucer and the major assembly done soon so watch this space 🙂
More progress on this but I’m afraid a little late, I had some photos taken but made no progress in weeks, last night I hit a pretty big benchmark though so hopefully things will speed up on this build. So onward and upward. I repainted the secondary hull (as something got on it that just ruined the job so far) and I painted the blue leading edge on the neck. I did this with some simple masking and mixing Vallejo Blue with Vallejo grey. The grey being the main hull colour, it was about a 50/50 mix for the leading edge.
After masking off all the windows in the secondary hull (you can see that in previous images) I also used masking fluid on the Ion pods and the shuttle bay landing lights, I kept the shuttle bay control room window open and will fill that with canopy glue at the end.
… I attached the lower saucer 🙂 even from the above shot the enterprise is starting to really look like a ship now.
So moving on from that I decided to go ahead and attach the warp engines. I didn’t leave enough slack on the wires from the warp pylons so I had to solder on additional lengths of wire and thread them through the already assembled engine parts, that I have to say was a lesson in patience, magnet wire is not very forgiving with threading and my damned shaky hands. So I threaded them through and went on to the next step.
With the saucer placed and the engines threaded, I got out a bunch of books and measures out 1 3/4 inch in two piles and 5 1/8 in one pile. Added some cement to the pylon holder, attached the engines and flipped the ship over to rest on my measured piles of books (and a Blu-ray)
And that is where she is sitting now, I won’t get any work done on her today but tomorrow evening I plan on moving on with the primary hull lighting and attaching the board. The last thing I did last night (and it was coming to 2 in the morning at this stage) was to test the wires for the Bussard collectors individually with my resistor test LED (for anyone without a testing kit this is an absolute must) Once they fired I can tell you I had a (quiet) little celebration to myself and then slunk off to bed.
And under the hood, I have the main lights all placed in, what I haven’t got a photo of is how she looks right now. The bottom saucer nav lights are in place, the impulse engines and the little Tenacontrols board is also in there, a lot of my time was spent tidying up the wire placement and tacking things down.
Now the eye bending bridge! I installed the Paragrafix photo etch rails after light blocking the areas on the bridge I didn’t want the light to leak from. In this case, we do want light leaks to fire up the screens and panels on the bridge.
I broke out some tiny paint brushes and had at the bridge. This area is just so small and it’s all in a recess so painting it is a pain! I admit the job looks rather grubby in full light but I reckon it’s such a small area and it will be in relative darkness so hopefully the grubbiness won’t be so apparent!
Now, more blinding little things! I splashed out and got my hands on the d’arsnel 1/350 figures. After cutting them off the sprue and cleaning them as best I could (these things are TINY) I super glued them to some cocktail sticks and brushed them with primer.
Leaving everything to dry for a couple of hours I came back and put a blob of canopy glue on my pallet and carefully dipped each crew member in (just their feet, or in Kirks case his back) and positioned them on the bridge. My Cast on the bridge are: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Scotty and Yeoman Rand. I initially had another security guard but on cutting him off the cocktail stick he flew off, never to be seen again!
The quality of the last photo isn’t great but trying to get focus on such a tiny part with multiple figures with an iPhone is difficult, to say the least.
So I now need to install the bridge, add a styrene harness for lights to the bridge, install the upper saucer nav lights, tie it all together and then I should be able to close up the saucer and move on.
Anywho on with the build, I got the top saucer wired up and the harness for the bridge installed, I should have taken a picture of the other side of the harness to show you how I placed everything but I was on a roll. The idea for this was dually robbed from Boyd on his TOS builds. Also, you will see the blurred, painted over notes I had to remind me to do things on this (most notably was not to forget my Fiancée)
See how nice it lights the bridge and the B/C deck? Following is a shot of the bridge screen, I wasn’t too happy with the Decals from Paragrafix, I have the screen used here and it just washes everything out. I tried using both the console photoetch and the decals but they seem to be made for a 1/260 ship or something, they don’t fit in there at all. Otherwise, I LOVE how this looks overall!
Close to the end stages of this baby but have had hardly any time to work on her, and time is against me this next week or so, so updates will be small and spread out, it is unfortunate considering how close this is to completion.
So After removing the masking, giving it another sand and using Orbital drydocks window masks and some liquid mask for the rim windows I airbrushed around the saucer, there is still a slight seam but nothing some Deluxe perfect plastic won’t be able to manage, still need to do this and photograph.
I also airbrushed the accent parts with Vallejo Medium Sea Grey and have left them aside until I finish off the saucer seam. What I did get done were the Bussard assemblies. I painstakingly mashed off the little Modules around the circumference and painted them accordingly.
Now this would have worked if I had used my Airbrush. However, I went and used a paint brush, lesson learned, masking works better with Airbrush!
After removing the masks most of the paint came with it, so I had to sit back down and paint each of the modules with detail brushes. I then added the rings to the board housing and popped in the end cap.
There is some uncured glue in the photo above that looks like a scuff on the inside but she looks great in person.
Now I don’t have photos (as all I got was bloom) and I am not taking any videos just yet. But MY GOOD GOD, those Tenacontrols spinning Bussard boards, inside the frosted domes, looks absolutely STUNNING, you get a real sense of fan blades moving behind the dome. I had a little tear of joy at the light test let me tell you 🙂
Well here we are in the home stretch, I got yesterday day and night to work on the Enterprise model and…. She is one more session from being totally complete! After giving her a goodly sanding and repainting she was ready for some rough treatment, aka some more wiring.
Oh, before I did that I added the logical extra bits, like the nacelle inserts, as I was going for the production version I didn’t want these lit, so some Vallejo model air steel was dry brushed into the necessary areas and installed.
I then flipped her over, using books for a stand on the saucer and the engineering hull, to make sure I didn’t go and snap off a nacelle in the process. I drilled out the holes for and wired in the socket for my 9Vpower supply and the switches. Also while she was so orientated I popped on the Decals for the ventral hull (I can never remember if the bottom is ventral or dorsal so I will probably hop between the two) She was really starting to look complete once the decals started going on!
So what’s left to do? Well the base needs to be painted, but I will need to seal in the decals and paintwork first, The Nacelle exhausts need to be added but I will be adding a pearl effect to them before sticking them on, Some touch ups are out the Impulse deck and hanger lights where the paint just stripped off where I was demasking. and that’s about it, won’t get to that until next weekend, though.
The Tenacontrols board for the Bussard caps looks beyond amazing, seriously, it is stunning! For next week I will be touching up the parts mentioned previously.
Looks great to me! So onward and I found I had left out, and subsequently destroyed, the Decals of the two red stripes aft of the bridge leading to the impulse deck, no worries out with the masking tape.
I have cleaned it up even more since so it doesn’t look as grubby, haven’t photographed that yet though as I was planning on presenting the finished model.
On with the disasters. First off, I went to tidy up some of the paint brush marks from some clean ups. So I went to switch her on and have a look. Nothing wiggled my wire and got it working again but a tap cut everything out again. A little look in the base showed I had somehow managed to wrap the positive wire all around my inlet causing a short there. So I got out some scrap wire and resoldered, having a hell of a time as I had to prop the model itself on its side to access the wiring.
The end results of the model after all my pandering and photographed finally with a decent camera, and Photographer (Matthew Gerber) Here is one shot of the ship Fully lighted and Finished, the gallery of the finished ship is available here on Scifiantasy here.
Morgan Deane – Author/Modeler