1/600 Revell USS Enterprise – Star Trek the Original Series – Build Log

21st December 2013

This week so far has been mainly working on the paint and secondary hull wiring so I can get her to the point of assembly prior to the final lighting tweaks.

The engine nacelle pylons masked and painted with Tamiya light grey XF-66.


After this I gave them a dry brushing with Tamiya copper to give them a bit of depth.

And under the nacelles touched in again with light grey.


Here’s the sides of the nacelles masked up and sprayed with the ubiquitous XF-66 light grey…


And again after unmasking:


Once dry I re-masked the moulded grills within the grey area…


And then dry brushed it with Mr Metal buffable stainless steel…


For the intercooler loops I hand brushed these with Mr metal buffable stainless steel…


And then masked them with a combination of Tamiya tape and Maskol (I found it really easy to hand paint a big blob of maskol to fit the curved area required rather than hand cut 16 curves from tape).


A quick spray of XF-12 and an unmasking (being careful not to rip the Maskol off) and the intercooler loops are ready to go…


And here we are with the engine nacelle assembly painted and ready for Klear…


In the above photo you can see that I’ve painted the clear end caps (Bussard Collectors I believe they are also known as) with clear orange. There is still a set of outer clear end caps to fit which are also painted in orange but I’m going to fit these a bit later. You can just about make out the LED arrays that I fabricated earlier behind the orange lenses…

Another view of the (nearly) finished engine assembly…


I actually had a change of mind on the colour of the nacelle end caps (far right of photo). I originally painted these with Tamiya Royal Light Gray (XF-80) but found that they looked too light and almost like unpainted plastic. So after this photo was taken I went back over them with light gray.

The hardest part of this kit so far has been researching what colours to use and where. You’d think that the original Enterprise from Star Trek would be one of the most filmed and photographed objects on TV, but despite that it is really difficult to arrive at a definitive colour scheme.

Part of the problem is that the first model they used was a 3 foot long model, which was quickly replaced by an 11 foot model. The styling changed a bit between the models, and it seems that a lot of artistic license was used by modellers that worked on the originals, radically changing colours of parts of the ship as time went on. The 11 foot model still exists on display at the Smithsonian, however it has been “restored” a number of times, which has resulted in it looking absolutely nothing like the original – the last restoration seeing some really naff panel line shading being added that wasn’t part of the original.

At one point I thought I’d found some really good footage of the Enterprise in action, but that turned out to be ‘Remastered’ footage where they re-created here using CGI (and another shed full of artistic license) 😉

Bottom line – my Enterprise is not going to provide a colour reference for how one of the originals looked, rather I’ve opted for the artistic license approach and as long as this one looks something like the 3 foot model in the original I will be happy with that!


Onto some more wiring…

Continuing from the previous update, I needed to get the secondary hull lit.

The easy bit was to fit a strip of warm white LED in the bottom of the hull…


A quick dry fit and power up and things are looking good:


Nice natural even lighting for the windows in the main hull, however the windows in the top part of the hull that joins the saucer will need separate lighting. This is a bit more tricky as there is limited space in there for LED strip.

For this I decided to cut up a 3 LED section of LED strip so that I could position the LEDs exactly where I wanted them.

With LED strip lighting, you can cut the strips into sections of 3 LEDs.

The reason for this (and the reason why you can’t cut them into single LEDs) is that they are wired so that you have 3 LEDs in series with a current limiting resistor. In the picture below I’ve shown a section of 3 LEDs and have highlighted the tracks (connections) in red…


All you seasoned electrical types can look away now unless you fancy an egg to suck on, but with any electrical circuit electricity doesn’t care (for our purposes) what shape or size an electrical conductor is. A conductor can be a short flat copper track as in the LED strip shown above, or it can be a long round copper wire. This means that you can easily cut a conductor such as a copper track and join it back together with a length of copper wire in between. The only important thing is that when you re-join things together you always make sure to rejoin them the same way around so that you don’t actually change the original circuit (other than making conductors (tracks) longer or shorter).

With that in mind, I cut up the LED strip and threw away the tracks that would not be needed.


In the above photo you can see that I’ve scratched the white coating off the tracks in a few places, this is where I will be soldering on copper wires in order to re-connect them again. I’ve drawn where the wires will go in red to illustrate the circuit. In reality the wires will be longer than this and the individual LEDs will be positioned where they best illuminate the windows.

If you imagine that the red wires are actually connected for a moment, you could connect a positive supply to the left most contact marked with a “+” and connect the far right connector marked “-” to the negative supply and the LEDs would light.


The LEDs were tacked in place with blu-tack and I tweaked their positions to give me the most even lighting of the windows. As it turned out the positions of the LEDs made a massive difference to the lighting – this game is all about dry fitting and test, test, test!

Also, you may have noticed that the lightblocking paint is no longer black in the top part of the hull. I actually found that the black paint caused dark spots in the lighting so I ended up going over it with flat white to even out the reflected light.

Once I got the positions just right, the LEDs were hot glued in place, and then wired up as can be seen. As I mentioned, electrically the modified version is exactly the same as the original strip of 3 LEDs, just that we’ve extended some of the tracks with wire.

The end result I’m really happy with:


More updates to follow in the next couple of days as I try to get this ready as a Christmas present for my wife…

Speaking of colours, due to the huge numbers of variations in paint schemes the original Enterprise had over the years I decided to work roughly towards the only two photos that I can be pretty confident are authentic.



Saying that my colours will be a bit different to above, but this is the “look’n’feel” ‘m trying to achieve – very little or no weathering, and a uniform application of colour. The original enterprise needs to look a bit like a model as it was well before the days of hyper-realistic space modelling with all it’s weathering, streaking, smoking and staining ( – the streaking, smoking and staining was just the actors).

Gotta say it’s been hard to resist the urge to weather it – chip it back to aluminium, cover it in Flory Models dark dirt and flick mud all over the front of it

Thanks for visiting!

I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

59 comments on “1/600 Revell USS Enterprise – Star Trek the Original Series – Build Log
  1. Keith says:

    Hi Richard!
    My name is Keith & I live in Louisiana, USA. I have been studying your awesome build of the Original Series Revell Enterprise. Know you have heard this many times, but….WOW! You did such an amazing job on the building AND the documentation of this model project. My hat is off to you, sir!!! I have purchased the same kit & have rounded up most of what I will need to put her together. I am planning on having the engine nacelle fans rotate via some small DC motors. Also will have LEDs in them of course, though I’m probably only going to have about 8 or so in each. Anyway, I’ll get to the point, (if there is one!😁). Do you think I can drive all the LEDs & the motors with a single Arduino Nano or such? Or would it require two? Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks so much for your time!

    • Richard says:

      Hi Keith, thanks for posting here – much appreciated 🙂

      A single Arduino could handle 8 LEDs no problem at all. Regarding the motors it would depend on what current the motors will draw.

      If I were you I wouldn’t drive the motors from the Arduino because AFAIK the motors will just need to run at a constant speed and will either be on or off (it’s the LEDs that will flash on and off). So probably best to just wire the motors onto the main power supply and not through the Arduino.

      If you do decide to connect the motors to the Arduino, I’d recommend not directly connecting them to the Arduino outputs but instead connect them via a driver transistor. 2 reasons for this: 1) The driver transistor will be what provides the current to the motor, so you won’t be limited to the maximum output current of an Arduino pin. 2) Since motors are inductive loads they can induce a reverse current into their source (back EMF) – this might damage a micro controller so better to have the motor isolated from the chip via a driver transistor.

      HTH – Rich

  2. Goran says:

    Hi, Richard. I have a favor to ask if you could help me. I am trying to buy a plastic box for the stand of my Enterprise, but I don’t know what are dimension of this included stand ? I won’t be able to get to my model few more days, and I need that info like yesterday 🙂 If you have your model somewhere around you, could you post dimensions of the stand (only vertical part that has shape on star trek logo) thanks 🙂

    • Richard says:

      Hi Goran, the height of the vertical part of the stand is 100mm from the top of the base plate to the top of the highest part of the vertical part of the stand. Does that help?

  3. Manuele says:

    Thank you Rich, very helpful
    we completed the same model with arduino and leds, we just added a pulsating led light on the tail

  4. Diego says:


    I found your build log amazing! Please can you share your paint chart for this build? I don’t want to use Revell paint so I want to follow your lead by using Tamiya paint instead.

    Please can you share info?

    Thank you very much

  5. Gordon Duquette says:

    I love the work you did on this build. I know you’re not crazy about the tamiya xf12 with 10% white, but I think it looks great. I was wondering though, you never mentioned whether you added thinner or not. Did you? And how much? And what airbrush did you use? Thanks. Keep up the great work.

    • Richard says:

      Hi Gordon,

      I must admit I’m really happy with the end result but would aim to reduce the green tint if I did one again.

      When I spray Tamiya acrylics I always thin it very heavily probably 30% paint to 70% thinners (X-20a). This way I can build up many coats of paint gradually, and the end result is very smooth and free from orange peel effect.

      My airbrush of choice is the Harder & Steenbeck Evo 2 in 1 with a 0.2mm needle. It’s a great all rounder for modelling and very easy to clean.

      Cheers – Rich

  6. Gordon Duquette says:

    Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it.

  7. Diego says:

    Hi Rich,

    Thank you for your explanation about the paint. Much appreciated.

    I have one more question about the painting. What painting did you use for Engine nachelle’s back end/”exhaust cover” (for want of a better word). It looks like you use same paint on it as intercooler interior (stainless steel paint?). If it is not the case, please can you tell us which grey paint (of Tamiya) did you use on Exhaust cover/back end of nachelle.

    Finally, I was reading Page 7 of Build log and I was a bit unclear on 2nd last paragraph on that page. Shouldn’t it be 32 LEDs and 10 wires running into the microprocessor?

    Thank you again

    • Richard says:

      Hi Diego,

      The round domed bit at the back of the nacelles was done in a very light grey, could have been XF-80 Royal Light Grey with a bit of added white. The bit that the round domed bit attaches onto was painted with XF-66 Light grey.

      In the photo on Page 7, there are 16 LEDs per side which is 32 pins. The outer ring has 4 groups of 3 LEDs (4 wires since I connect all 3 of a similar colour using the same wire) and there are 4 separate inner LEDs (4 wires) plus 1 wire for common which equals 9 wires in total per side.

      • Diego says:

        Hi Rich,

        Thank you for the reply and clarifications as those are much appreciated.

        I thought for once that it was stainless steel on the bit that the round domed bit attached onto. I looked again at the photo and I could see that it just got shiny because of your camera’s flashing. Thank you again for correcting me.

        As for wiring. I admit that I don’t have great experience in electronics myself so I am learning here and there.

        1.) I assume that your reference to common wire as for that Red wire/negative wire?

        2.) After looking at photos and explanations, I realised that it could be possible to extend the daisy chain wiring of outer rings of LEDs to include inner rings of LEDS. So that way, you would use 7 wires (6 “positive” wires and 1 “negative” wire). Does that make sense?

        I haven’t reached this stage yet but I wonder though. Hence, in your frank opinion, is it feasible or workable? Or not possible?

        Thank you for your feedback and sharing your thoughts.


        • Diego says:

          Apolgoises, I made a small mistake in my comment.

          Correction: You would use 6 wires (5 “positive” wires and 1 “negative” wire) per side, at the end.

        • Richard says:

          Hi Diego,

          You’re welcome.

          1) Common wire is also known as ground, negative, earth etc…

          2) The inner ring of LEDs – all LEDs in the inner ring have a separate wire so that they can be flickered on and off individually.

          Any more questions just fire away 🙂


  8. Diego says:

    Hi Rich,

    I wonder if you have used any Tamiya primer for this model kit or not? Especially when you used Tamiya XF-66 paint?

    The reason I asked this is because when I used XF-66 paint on this model as per your build log, the 1st coat was a bit too runny (as if there is too much thinner in the paint which I never used thinner at all as I used brush-painting for this model (I can’t afford air-brushing kit at the moment)). I left it to be dried for a week (I’m poor time-wise) before I applied 2nd coat of XF-66 which something odd happened – 2nd coat painting was basically removing 1st coat of painting! O_O It seems that the painting was too thinning or too running all along.

    I wonder if I apply primer to the parts of this model where XF-66 paint is on, it may stop this problem happening? But then I don’t see anywhere on this build log that you used primer which made me wondering otherwise.

    Thank you again for your insight and helps.


    • Richard says:

      Hi Diego, the problem is that Tamiya paint is not good for hand brushing.

      Tamiya is alcohol based acrylic, and when you brush on a second coat, the alcohol in the paint will eat into the first coat and will turn it back into wet paint.

      For hand brushing you should use a water based acrylic such as Vallejo Model Color. This is excellent paint for hand brushing because once a coat is dry, subsequent coats will not affect the dried coats. Also where it is water based it won’t dry as fast as Tamiya paint so you’ll get a smoother finish.

  9. Gordon Duquette says:

    Hi Richard. Well I’m halfway through my model and I love the color. The green tint doesn’t bother me at all. But I made the mistake of painting the model first before putting it together and puttying and sanding the lines out. It was a nightmare to say the least. I ended up with a less perfect paint job because of it. The reason I went this route was because I was worried about messing the windows up. Did you mask your windows before painting? And if so, what did you use? I’ve watched dozens of videos of people building this model and the 1:350 scale from round 2, but none of them explained how they painted it. I still have the saucer to build, and I’ve heard about this stuff called liquid mask. Is that something I could use to cover up the windows before I paint? I’m sorry this is my first model. I’m still learning. lol

    • Richard says:

      Hi Gordon, I opted for painting the kit first, then fitting the glass, and then gluing it together and sorting out the seams last.

      The reason for this is that to fit it all together and then mask the windows before painting would be a huge job, and it would be difficult to get it looking neat.

      There are several approaches you can take with the windows…

      1. Build the whole kit and paint it at the end. Problem is masking the windows. You can use a masking fluid (Humbrol Maskol) but this will tend to flow right into the seams around the windows and be difficult to remove. Also masking fluid tends to crack the paint around it when removed so you’d end up with a poor finish around the windows. Masking using tape would be very fiddly and time consuming.

      2. Build the whole kit without the glass and paint it at the end. Then use PVA glue to create the windows. With this technique you leave out the glass, paint the model and then put a dab of PVA glue in each window hole to create a window. It will dry clear and look like glass. See page 2 of the build where I tried this but wasn’t satisfied with the result – http://www.makingmodels.co.uk/builds-in-progress/1600-revell-uss-enterprise-star-trek-the-original-series-build-log/3/ good thing is this technique doesn’t require masking.

      3. Paint the kit first, then fit the windows and assemble, taking care of the seams afterwards. This is the approach I chose and it worked for me, though sorting out and re-touching the seams is challenging.

      HTH – Rich

  10. Diego says:

    Hello Richard,

    I was reading this build log – particularly page 4 – concerning the petal lense (the one behind the orange/outer nacelle lense.

    I can’t tell from the pictures on this page 4 – whether you actually painted petal lense or not. If you did paint the petal lense, please could you tell us what paint did you use? It looks like silver paint?

    Although the official revell instruction says that the petal lense to be painted as clear orange and those sticking out bits of lense to be painted as silver, your picture suggested the otherwise.

    Thank you very much for letting us know whether you painted petal lense or not.


    • Richard says:

      The outer petal lens was sanded on the inside to make it opaque, and then sprayed on the inside with Tamiya Clear Orange. This is so that you can’t see through it to see the LEDs.

      The inner clear lens was left clear.

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