26th November 2013
For the last week I’ve been mainly researching and ordering parts (electronics) and working out how to proceed with the build. At last I feel that I’ve done enough thinking to overcome my intertia and crack on with it 🙂
My first dilemma was how to handle the windows in the kit. Whether to go with the original clear parts and mask before painting, to paint first then fit clear parts and assemble (and touch up), or to assemble paint and use PVA windows squirted in at the end. I must admit I was tending towards PVA so thought I’d better test out how it’d look with lighting.
To test the original clear parts I sanded the back of one of them with 180 grit to diffuse the light through it.
The clear part was dry fitted, and a 3 LED strip of warm white LEDs were blu-tacked in place below the window.
BTW I decided to go over the black light blocking paint with matt white in order to increase the light reflected around inside the ship. It should even out the light a bit.
I put the lid on (does the Enterprise have a lid? I bet there’s a special name for that part), and here’s how it looks with the standard clear parts…
The lighting is a nice colour and is very even – looks a lot like the original.
I squirted in some PVA windows and let them dry, then lit them the same way and the results were as below:
Where the PVA windows are very clear and don’t diffuse the light they give a very uneven light. Also because they dry in a lense shape they tend to distort the light as seen above creating light and dark areas.
Both the above photos were taken with my Lumia 1020 with the flash on, and are pretty representative of how they look in real life. Must say it took a lot of naff photos before I worked on the best way to photograph lights is with the flash on!
So based on the above I definitely prefer the look of the original clear parts with sanded backs to diffuse the light.
And on that basis I’ve decided to paint the ship first, then fit the clear parts and lighting, then button it up and just do local filling/sanding/touching up of the seams.
The first coat of paint has also gone on. For this (after much research) I decided to use Tamiya XF12 J.N Grey with 10% Flat White.
When mixing the paint I just used a pipette to squirt 1ml of white straight into the new XF12 pot – I don’t intend to have any spare paint left over and this way it ensures that the colour will be consistent between sessions.
You can’t really see in the photos but the XF12 gives quite a greeny grey under certain lighting conditions but it’s alleged to be very close to the original. Some people hate the colour but I think it looks pretty cool.
I’m still making the transition from enamels and made a right Frank Spencer of the first coat of paint. It went on more like Sandtex than Acrylic but a bit of a light going-over with 600 grit and a re-spray with (what felt like) gallons of thinners sorted it out.
Once she’s had another coat of XF12 it’ll be time to start installing the lights and sorting out those glowing engines.
For the engines I’m not going to be motorising but will be flashing the engine LEDs with the Arduino controller. Just waiting for a breadboard to arrive before I start coding that.