SciFiantasy TOS Enterprise

The original USS Enterprise is one of the most famous ships in sci-fi, as such I’m not going to devote any of this write up to the design and construction of the original model. However, for anyone interested here’s a wonderful link to a page devoted to that subject:

This article is about my build up of the USS Enterprise as seen in the 1st & 2nd pilot episodes as well as how it appeared while the show was in production. It was a unique project to take on because there were so many changes between versions and it was fun researching and then implementing them.

For the builds, I used the 1/1000 USS Enterprise kit produced by Polar Lights. Of course, this kit is ideal because it comes with parts for all versions. Size and cost were also factors.

I did plenty of research (I had done my 1/350 USS Enterprise in the 1st pilot configuration), but for those looking for a single source that covers almost every detail follow this link to‘The Enterprise Project’:


I would’ve expected to have trouble finding information on the studio model for the first pilot, given that it appeared in only a couple of shots, in‘The Cage’. In fact, I found less information on the 2nd Pilot version. Though, there were many more pictures available of it.

As it turns out the 1st pilot model had no internal lighting and very little detail. In no particular order here’s a list of the differences between the 1st pilot version and the production version:

The tallboy Bridge dome VS. the low profile Bridge dome.

The ‘bolt cover’at the rear of the saucer, above the impulse engine is less detailed. It’s also the same blue as the neck.

The impulse engine assembly was smooth on the 1st pilot version.

The ring around the lower sensor dome is bare AND the raised ‘bars’at the base of the triangular hatches are only on the production version. *A note on the model, the triangles are etched and should be filled for accuracy. I couldn’t find a supplier that makes a decal for this, so I left the etching there on my 2nd pilot and production version.*

There were no raised running lights on the 1st pilot version. I installed the kit supplied lights to fill the holes. I had planned to sand them smooth before I finished, but forgot to do it.

The neck is a light blue with a semi-gloss finish.

The raised detail on either side of the secondary hull (where the pennant is located) was bare.

The big VS small Deflector dish.

The Shuttle Baydoor was without detail.

No vents on the Nacelle pylons.

The 6 conduits on the nacelles (center and back) were without detail. I also forgot to remove this detail.

The rear nacelle caps may have been bare on the 11-foot studio model, but the 3 foot may have had the raised rectangle. I opted to leave iton this one, but I had removed itfrom my 1/350 build.

The Bussard collectors were a deep red, with a semi-gloss finish. For the hull color, I used Tamiya AS-20 Insignia White. I wanted to match the look of the ship onscreen rather than try to match what the studio model may have looked like.

The 2nd pilot USS Enterprise isn’t that much different from the 1st pilot version. The model may have been repainted as it was less weathered than the previous version. Some of the hull markings were changed and lighting was added. I took a few liberties with this one. I painted the hull Model Master Flat Gull Gray. I’m fairly certain this is not an accurate color, but I wanted to match the onscreen look. In my case, the ship tended to look dark and grainy. The neck may, or may not, have been blue. I fit was it was much less contrasty than the blue I went with. I did try to mix a more subdued blue but wasn’t able to get a result I was happy with. Due to that, I opted to go darker and maintain the contrast ratio of my 1st pilot build.

The Bussards were still a deep red, but I felt that they didn’t have a gloss or semi-gloss finish, so I opted for a dull coat. I also painted the spikes gold, rather than copper used on the previous version. The Nacelle pylons also have lightly colored vents.

I’m not certain if this is correct, but I left the Impulse Engine assembly the same color as the hull. I did, however, remove the molded detail.

As far as the engines go, the 2nd pilot had the vented rear nacelle ports.

The underside of the saucer is the same as the 1st pilot (the windows are different, but the decals take care of that). However, I forgot to remove one set of running lights on the underside.

The lower running lights on the second pilot were set further aft than the upper ones (not lined up with the registry decal).


I’m not going to go into too much detail, as this is the version of the ship most people are (intimately) familiar with. Though, I will detail how I did the Bussard Collectors.

I’m not a fan of how the part is molded. I’d have preferred that the dome be separate from the ‘collar’. Sadly it’s not, so my approach was to paint the entire part Tamiya Clear Orange and once it was dry (I waited 24 hours) masked the Bussard Dome and painted the ‘collar’ the hull color.

While the Bussards were drying I painted the inner dome white and used a black sharpie on the raised ribs. On a side note, I forgot to fill the hole in the center of the inner dome. D’oh!

Lastly, I frosted the Bussard Collectors with Tamiya Flat Clear. I’m very happy with the effect as it gives the part a bit of depth. Check out Part 2 where I discuss the various problem areas on the model (and in some cases how to correct them!).


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