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Old September 9 2010, 12:49 AM   #1
BolianAuthor
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Physical Modeling Questions

Okay... I have dug out my big AMT/ERTL 1701 from way back when, and it looks right horrible... more like a toy that has been through a lot than a model. So... I am going to strip the old paint and glue, and rebuild her right and proper. But... I have a few questions...

Number one, and I KNOW this has been asked before, but I never remember... what is the actual true exact color I should use for the Enterprise's hull? I would like to match it as close as I possibly can. And I would like to match it to the filming model, not the way the ship looked on the TV screen, under lower lighting and all that... just the color of the actual filming model.

Second... hull panel lines. I want to sand down the raised hull panel lines on the kit, and just pencil in my own, but I have two concerns with this...

First, I am worried that I won't get the spacing of the straight panels right. Second, I am afraid that the circle panel lines won't be perfect circles. So, I would like to ask those who have used this technique how they did it, and got "perfect" results? In terms of panel lines, I am going for an effect similar to this picture:



Thanks in advance, for any help!
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Old September 9 2010, 01:39 AM   #2
Ziz
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

The 11 footer was gray with a hint of green to it. It's hard to narrow it down to a specific color name because different paint brands call the same color different names.

As far as doing panel lines, start with the straight ones (the radials). Get your basic fore/aft/port/stbd lines in since those are the easiest to locate. Then get a flexible ruler - look in the drafting tools section of Staples/Office Max/Office Depot - to do the others.

Bend the ruler around the saucer edge to measure the curve from, say, the front radial panel line to the port one. To make the math easy, let's say it comes out to 8 inches. Now, that reference pic shows 6 panel lines in between the front (0 degree) and side (90 degree) panel lines. Including those two lines, you've got 8 radial lines. 8 lines in 8 inches is one inch increments. Mark that on the saucer and then draw lines from those points towards the center.

Once you've got the radial ones in place, it's a simple matter of measuring increments along them to locate where the concentric (circular) lines go. Then just connect the dots.
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Old September 9 2010, 01:46 AM   #3
BolianAuthor
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Thanks, Ziz... the panel line hint really helps... I hadn't thought of just using simple math, lol.
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Old September 9 2010, 02:09 AM   #4
judexavier
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

There was a thread by Shaw where he compared paint chips from various sources...I seem to remember "concrete" as being close...? (Don't remember the brand...WalMart paint? Krylon?)

You know, one thing you might try is producing images of your
circle/radial-marking templates/guides, then printing them out 1:1 onto thicker card stock, cut out and trace.
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Old September 9 2010, 03:25 AM   #5
Shaw
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

judexavier wrote: View Post
There was a thread by Shaw where he compared paint chips from various sources...I seem to remember "concrete" as being close...? (Don't remember the brand...WalMart paint? Krylon?)
I think WalMart was the place that had nearly a perfect match... and it's color sample (number 632) is what a lot of people use as a reference.

But yeah, the leading ideas on the original base color of the Enterprise is that it was Concrete (and as not all Concretes are alike, the specific numbers of it are 162, 171, 163 for RGB). People have come up with endless formulas for mixing this color, but I wanted to stay with pre-mixed model paint options when I started looking into this.

Here are some grays compared to the Concrete described above. Because computer monitors can often not give true colors, it is best to look at the HSB numbers when comparing them. And I show the desaturated versions of the colors so that their relative darkness can be seen.


One of the first things to take into consideration is the brightness of the gray. A lot of people are often surprised at how dark the Enterprise actually was. A good example of the real color of the Enterprise can be seen in this image of Matt Jefferies (with one of the nacelles in the background).

How dark is that?

In the comparison I gave above, Concrete came in at 67% and Light Sea Gray at 71%, so they are pretty close to each other in brightness. I used Light Sea Gray as the undercoat on my model, and this is how it looked once painted (here). I also saw someone else paint their model Light Sea Gray, and you can see the finished model here.

I've been using Gull Gray since the 1980s, and at about 13% lighter than Concrete, I'm pretty happy with it as a choice. I used Light Sea Gray for the darker areas on my model.

Then there is the Hue to consider. The Concrete given for the original model is green, Testors (Floquil) Concrete is a pretty close match, For me what I wanted was the warmth from the green color, so both Gull Gray and Light Sea Gray have a warm feeling even though they pull towards tan in color. Some people swear by Light Ghost Gray, but it is (to my eyes) a colder color and is further away from the green than either Gull Gray or Light Sea Gray.

In the end, you should go with what works best for you. Remember that an 11 foot model under studio lights appears lighter than an 18 inch model under the same conditions. And it's going to be even darker in normal lighting conditions.

I also found that Tamiya makes a Green Gray that is pretty nice which I used on my Klingon model. It seems pretty close to Concrete in darkness and greenness.

Best of luck with your model BolianAuthor!
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Old September 9 2010, 04:06 AM   #6
BolianAuthor
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Wow, Shaw, thanks for that! Yeah, I need to try and get my hands on some of that Walmart paint... but that brings a couple questions I have...

One, which version of the concrete sample on the top is correct? Because one looks lighter than the other. Also, with the Walmart paint... I assume it's like house paint, that comes in a can, right? I can't get it in spray form... or can I?

The Jefferies pic does indeed make the ship look dark, but I think after what you said... I'll go with concrete, or the closest model paint to it I can find.
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Old September 9 2010, 04:11 AM   #7
BolianAuthor
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Okay, Shaw... I made the color up in Photoshop using your RGB numbers, and this is what I came up with... did I get it right?

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Old September 9 2010, 04:31 AM   #8
TOS Purist
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Damn, that looks right to me!! Nice job!
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Old September 9 2010, 04:46 AM   #9
Shaw
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

BolianAuthor wrote: View Post
Okay, Shaw... I made the color up in Photoshop using your RGB numbers, and this is what I came up with... did I get it right?

That is perfect. Those are the exact numbers.

Yeah, I believe it is a type of wall paint, but if applied over a primer and then covered by a clear lacquer, I wouldn't think it would be a problem on a plastic model.

I haven't had a chance to test the Testors (Floquil) Concrete, which was intended for model trains. Testors only recently acquired Floquil, but I was planning on using that paint on a future test model.

As my next version of the 33 inch Enterprise will be made of wood, I was considering the WalMart paint. Also, a 33 inch model is actually significantly larger than a 22 inch one, so I don't think the darkness will be as noticeable.


I know that the people at the Smithsonian aren't all that interested in this, but a study of the primary hull's top surface (and the craquelure pattern on it) might reveal what the original color was better than just looking at the color. Hopefully someone with future access to the model will consider this.

This is what I'm talking about...


Last edited by Shaw; September 9 2010 at 04:52 AM. Reason: added image
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Old September 9 2010, 11:33 AM   #10
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

With the AMT kit, there was also the matter of the deflector dish stem being too long (if I remember correctly). And if it's old enough, being molded in blue plastic.

For the radii on the saucer, I wonder if you could use a compass. I had a high quality one rigged up to accept a permanent drafting marker. You'd just have to find the exact center point and get a marker in the right color.
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Old September 9 2010, 02:48 PM   #11
B.J.
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Interesting info, Shaw! That also explains to me why my older models, which were painted with some form of Gull Gray, look kinda yellowish today.
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Old September 9 2010, 05:52 PM   #12
BolianAuthor
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

Interesting point about using the compass... I was going to suggest that, but I wasn't sure how well it might work
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Old September 10 2010, 01:11 AM   #13
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

^ As long as you're sure of the center point and have a good point on the compass, it should work fine.
You could even use a lead point if you plan to dull coat it afterwards. Lead might make a soft enough line.

I might try it if I ever get to building one of the 3 or 4 AMT E's I have sitting around.
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Old September 10 2010, 01:21 AM   #14
Albertese
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

I've done it with a compass. It's easy enough to locate the center of the bridge area. I'd go as far as drilling a very small hole in the center and use it for the compass point so it won't slip out while tracing the circles. For the radial lines I would actually use a knife to put a negligible mark on the outer perimeter at the locations of the lines. Once they're sanded off, use the little cuts to mark the lines. Way easier then stupid math! Not that there's anything wrong with math...

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Old September 10 2010, 01:32 AM   #15
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Physical Modeling Questions

^ Did you put the clear dome in after you did the circles ? I'd think that would be the best way .
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