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