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Old April 6 2009, 03:34 PM   #1
Shaw
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A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

And now for something completely different.


I've shared a number of my illustration and Photoshop projects, but I realized that I hadn't really shared any of my other (Trek related) works.

One project I've been working on for a while now is a replica of the 33 inch Enterprise model used in the pilots and the series. The start of this was in a thread from nearly two years ago (which has been lost in time) in which I reverse engineered plans of this model (the 1.0 version of which can be found here). I'm sure that a lot of people thought that the plans themselves were the project, but those were actually just the plans of the real project.

The real project was to build that model.

I have been building Enterprise models since the early 1970s and no matter how good they turned out, they never matched my ideal for an Enterprise model, the model as seen on the table in Requiem for Methuselah. The reason for this is clear now, the shapes are significantly different than any of the kits put out (which was all aiming towards being more like the 11 foot model).

My plans (when printed out at full size) gave me a good impression of the dimensions of the original. And also gave me reason to reconsider making a one-to-one replica. I live in a small apartment dominated by computers, I really don't have the room for a major project, and scratch building this model would qualify as such a project.

So it seemed to me that I needed to make compromises. And the easiest would be to reduce the size to something where I would have access to more resources. The best option seemed to me to be to build it at two-thirds scale because there was already a ton of stuff design for the 22 inch Enterprise cutaway model (including nice decals).

Having decided on a size, I printed out a new set of plans at two-thirds scale to the originals, and bought a couple 22 inch Enterprise kits. Why a couple? Always have spare parts when you aren't totally sure of what you are doing.

Taking inventory of the parts, I then had to decide what would work and what would need replacing. The warp nacelles are pretty generic and could be used with modifications (extending the inner trench further back), the supports were okay (but not where they attached to the nacelles), and the secondary hull was okay (but was a bit short). The primary hull wouldn't work and the dorsal was also unworkable, both areas would need to be scratch built.

So how does one scratch build the primary hull?

I was rather limited because of space and resources, so to get started I built a mock-up out of foam core board so that I could get some sizing estimates with the rest of the model. I then started in on modifying the kit pieces... which turned out better than I had thought.

Because I was stuck on the primary hull, and I had an almost full unused kit of the cutaway, I started in on putting those pieces together while I contemplated my next step. And because I didn't want this to be another Enterprise, I decided to name this model the Constellation. Here are some of the images of her under construction...




And as she stands currently...


That is about as far as I've gone on that model, it hasn't changed much in about a year.

Recently I got sick of waiting for an ideal solution to my primary hull problem and decided to try a technique I had used for smaller models in the past... paper mache pulp. I started filling in the stair step parts of the foam core board mock-up to see just how far I could get. This is what those pieces looked like when I started that process...


After I got the basic shape I wanted I started using paper to help create a smooth surface...


And this is what that looked like when I was nearly done with that aspect...


Fortunately the bridge and B/C deck structure from Don's Light & Magic matched up with my plans pretty nicely. But at about this point I noticed a number of flaws in the primary hull... including a warping that meant that the edge wasn't flat.




Because of this I've decided that this primary hull is most likely going to be a test article to try out additional ideas. And as such I created a new B/C deck structure from scratch.


But actually I was able to fix the deformation by putting the whole primary hull in the microwave for 20 seconds and then applying pressure to flatten it out.

The next major hurdle was attaching the warp nacelles. The original connection points were completely covered up as they were too high compared to the original model (and consequently were also too far apart). I had cut the tops of the supports to an angle that would help them meet the nacelles flush at the right spot, but creating the joining point was always going to be an issue.

The solution was to have two pieces of wire (made from paper clips) coming out of the nacelles at the correct points to act as guides for the eventual connection. Of course for this to prove that it would work it would need to hold the nacelles on at about the right angles without being glued together (currently none of the major parts are glued together other than the dorsal to the primary hull... the model pretty much stands on it's own). This is a test fitting using a rubber band to hold the nacelles in place.


It is hard to tell in that image, but the rubber band has the unfortunate effect of pulling the tops of the nacelles inwards a little (but that wasn't unexpected). Here is a shadow test to see how it is coming together...


And a comparison with the original model I'm attempting to replicate.


And some images of the model being hung...


Again, other than that rubber band around the warp nacelles, the model is holding itself together based on how the pieces are fitting. In some of those images you can see the Constellation sitting below waiting to be finished.

So that is where I'm at right now with this project. Though I'm also building a hand laser from The Cage which I might display with this model in the same case, so I might write a bit about it and show how it is coming along in this thread.
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Old April 6 2009, 05:00 PM   #2
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Awwwwwwwwwesome.
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Old April 6 2009, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Amazing work as always Shaw.
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Old April 6 2009, 11:00 PM   #4
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Wow. That's all I can say.
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Old April 7 2009, 04:48 AM   #5
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Holy. Crap. Awesome!
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Old April 9 2009, 12:59 AM   #6
Shaw
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

I wish I had a better camera for this because the fit of the pieces is turning out to be amazing (specially compared to the nightmare I thought I was stepping into ).

I can disassemble and reassemble the parts quite easily now. I took a few minutes to work on the secondary hull, which required removing the primary hull, dorsal, nacelles and supports to have free access to that piece. When I finished up, moments later it was reassembled with the rubber band around the nacelles being the only support beyond how the pieces fit together.

Still, I'm coming up on an important point... the permanent attachment of the primary hull and dorsal to the secondary hull. Right now if the warp nacelles aren't even with the plane of the primary hull, I just adjust it within the fit of the parts. But once these are glued together, there won't be any adjusting.

So when I do this I'll be "eye-balling" the evenness of everything. But right now I feel pretty good about getting it right.

The interesting thing about having a second (basically stock) model is that I can compare them to each other. Because of the nacelles the overall height of the Enterprise is about half an inch taller than the Constellation, it's primary hull edge is about a quarter inch higher and it is about half an inch longer over all.


Even though aspects are turning out better than expected, I'm still debating what to do about the decals. I have a set of Enterprise decals that I got from JT Graphics, which look nice and match up with my plans (when printed at two-thirds scale) very nicely. But the thing is that the actual 33 inch model (in it's final configuration) had gold outlined numbers and letters.

As I recall someone was selling such decals at one point, but I can't seem to find them now. And I'm sure that I could get some specially made, but I'm not sure that this is the build I want to spend that type of money on.


At any rate, I mentioned earlier that I was also working on a hand laser that would most likely end up in the same display case, so here is my progress so far on that.

This first image is my first steps and screenshots of the prop I'm attempting to replicate.


I'm doing all this freehand rather than working from a set of plans (as it is more for enjoyment than anything else).

This is after I had finished the basic form.


And this is the start of detailing on the grip. When I finish both sides I'll do the base of the grip and finish up on the trigger.


I'm still working out how I plan on doing the barrel at this point.
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Old April 9 2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Shaw,

I think the dealer you're looking for is Absolute Models. He doesn't have a personal site, but he does have an eBay store (which is currently empty, but you might be able to contact him through it) Here's the link: http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/absolu...Q_fromZQQ_mdoZ
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Old April 9 2009, 06:51 PM   #8
Captain Robert April
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional. I say go with the standard decals.
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Old April 9 2009, 08:38 PM   #9
Shaw
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Rattrap wrote: View Post
I think the dealer you're looking for is Absolute Models...
Thanks for the information on that. I'll have to check that out.

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional. I say go with the standard decals.
I had originally dismissed the outline too (when I saw images of the decals by themselves), but when I started comparing them to what I originally thought were raised letters and numbers I changed my mind. And the fact that one of the dots on U.S.S. ENTERPRISE was missing the outline made me believe that it was added on purpose.


The question as to when it was added is an interesting one... it wasn't on the model when used for effects shots in the cage, it is hard to tell in the publicity photos (but I'm thinking not), but it might have been there by the end of the third season (when it made it's last on screen appearance.

Still, I can live without it (and most likely will for at least this model).
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Old April 9 2009, 11:22 PM   #10
CaptainHawk1
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional.
I don't believe so. I believe it's a case of "yellowing" which is common for all decals over time.

BTW: if you have decals that have yellowed (say from that 15 year old Ertl kit you bought off of eBay), put them out in the sun for a couple of days and the yellowing should go away.
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Old April 10 2009, 12:21 AM   #11
Albertese
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Yeah I remember a big hullabaloo about this very point over on the Hobbytalk boards some years ago. The final consensus was that it was indeed decal yellowing (or silvering being picked up in a weird way by the lights/camera)

Still though, I always liked the idea of gold trim. I'm incorporating it into my own sci-fi setting I'm writing for my buddies to play role playing games in. In my setting the gold trim is actually highly reflective to whatever they use for visual sensors so that registries can be seen even in no/low light situations. Sorta like the white lettering and striping on highway signs.

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Old April 10 2009, 03:21 AM   #12
Captain Robert April
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

CaptainHawk1 wrote: View Post
Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional.
I don't believe so. I believe it's a case of "yellowing" which is common for all decals over time.
For the purposes of this discussion, same difference.
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Old April 10 2009, 06:01 AM   #13
CaptainHawk1
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
CaptainHawk1 wrote: View Post
Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Further review indicates that the "gold outline" is a case of silvering of the decals, not anything intentional.
I don't believe so. I believe it's a case of "yellowing" which is common for all decals over time.
For the purposes of this discussion, same difference.
No offense, they aren't the same thing for the purpose of any discussion.

Yellowing is caused by chemical process similar to oxidation. If you seal your decals you can limit (and even eliminate) yellowing.

Silvering is what happens when decals are applied to a non-glossy surface and air bubbles get trapped in the uneven pits and peaks between the surface of the model and the carrier of the decal. Those tiny pockets of air and peaks cause the decal to appear to be silver when light is reflected off of them, hence the term "silvering."

Unlike yellowing, silvering is never uniform. That's why I say that there is no way in hell that this is silvering. The fact is that the black has yellowed as well, but because black, you can't see it.

So, to sum up silvering is an issue that results from a lack of preparation, yellowing is caused by a chemical reaction.

Carry on.
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Old April 10 2009, 06:07 AM   #14
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

BTW, Shaw, beautiful work so far. I'm an OOB kit builder and other than modification or correction parts here and there I've never scratch-built anything like this so I awed by your skill.
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Old April 10 2009, 07:17 AM   #15
Captain Robert April
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Re: A Two-Thirds 33 inch Enterprise

"Same difference" as in it's a problem with the decals themselves and not something that was intentionally put there by the model makers.
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