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Old December 15 2009, 04:15 AM   #79
Shaw's Avatar
Location: Twin Cities
Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Words to live by (specially if you make a lot of mistakes like me).

I've cut out six of the eight pieces of foam core board that will be used for my second attempt at a two-thirds scale replica of the 33 inch Enterprise's primary hull. And I've started gluing them of those together.

As I stated earlier in this thread, on my first attempt I wasn't sure how to proceed towards making the primary hull and dorsal, so I got started on modifying the rest of the pieces and built foam core board stand-ins so I could judge how the model was working during test assemblies. I eventually experimented with the stand-in pieces which became the final pieces of my first attempt. But because they started as stand-ins and because I wasn't sure of what I was doing, my primary hull was less than perfect (which is why I didn't even venture an attempt at making a casting of it).

This time, armed with experience and some better ideas, I hope to end up with a primary hull and dorsal that are worthy of using as masters.

I'm hoping to finish far quicker than before (like within a month and a half) as I won't be worrying as much about how to proceed at each step of the way. Plus it isn't like I don't already have a nice model, so there is significantly less pressure over screwing up.

I had considered attempting a one-to-one build rather than another two-thirds attempt, but when I rolled out the larger plans I realized just how much bigger a model it would be (specially when I couldn't find a place where I could completely roll out the plans flat). So I'll have to figure out a solution to that issue at some later date.

Here are some of the steps I've taken so far...

Gluing some of the pieces together (the lower primary hull pieces).

I took more care in the cutting of these than before and I'm taking extra care in keeping everything as flat as possible,

Start of sculpting the curves of the lower primary hull. I'm reducing the amount of sculpting (by taking many more steps in the build up) so to take greater care on symmetry this time.

I did some sanding and used a compass to draw a number of rings on the surface. These ring should look like straight lines when viewed from the sides and should help in identifying errors.

I started filling in the undercut. One of the issues of the stuff that I'm using to build this part (AMACO Sculptamold, which is a cellulose-based paper maché) is that it tends to stick to any porous/non-smooth surface... like fingers. Additionally, fingers aren't the best tool for creating uniform curves. My solution was to cut the top off a 2 litre Coke bottle and use that rounded surface as a sculpting tool. The stuff doesn't stick to the surface of the plastic and seems to be giving me a much nicer shape.

Another issue with the first attempt was that the primary hull started warping... and not in the Star Trek sense. The original was totally assembled from all the foam core board pieces before I had started sculpting the surface. So the water in the paper maché effected the flatness, and because both sides were raised, there wasn't really a surface to flatten it against. Plus I only noticed the warping quite a ways into the process.

Because the underside require so much more work, I haven't even attempted to add the pieces to the top and have it set on a small board which helps keep it flat. Currently I have a plastic bowl with holes in it that has the same diameter of the outer flat area (around 9 inches) set on top while drying... plus a 5 lb. weight on top of that. I figure that should keep it flat while it dries and cures.

Couple more progress pics... more surfacing and sanding (and checking the curves).

And on a similar topic... I didn't want to over look this date. 45 years ago today (December 14th) the 33 inch model was delivered to Roddenberry while The Cage was being filmed in Culver City.

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