1/650 scale Enterprise-C scratchbuild

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Shizman, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Amongst the many projects I have on the go, I am trying to get each version of the Enterprise in 1/650 scale. I have REL's Enterprise-D and E and (AMT's?) TOS Enterprise, but there's a gap there for the refit, A, B and C.

    So why not start at the end and scratchbuild the C!

    This build is possible because of the fine folks here in the forum that have graciously posted their techniques and answered questions. After following Steve Neill's threads and IEDBOUNTYHUNTER's threads, I think I have the information I need to begin. These guys are super awesome in answering questions and are generally just great guys to have here on the forums.

    In addition to the techniques, I needed some accurate reference. For this, I reached out to Charles Casimiro, who has made an excellent 3D model of this ship. We've been working together to get the shots I need to be able to make formers for the masters. He's another great guy to work with.

    Anyways, there's not a heck of a lot to show so far, but I believe that you need to have a solid and accurate foundation to build off of or you risk making a lot of work for yourself later on.

    I am starting with the saucer sections and have broken them up into the top and bottom to make molding easier when I get to that point. I created formers in scale using Charles' images of his model from the front view. I cut the top saucer formers out of thin acrylic, which I regret now as it's not very sturdy. It'll gain strength from foam filler and fiberglassing though. I also lathed a center cylinder to make sure it's true and lathed a hole in the middle of it to use as an anchor for a contour tool I've made to ensure the saucer's profile is right.

    All the formers and contour tools were cut on my CNC. It does a great job of getting the basic shape of what I need then I putty and sand any imperfections until they're right.

    Here you can see where I've put foam in between the formers and secured it with Gorilla Glue.
    View attachment 88822

    Once it was dry, I shaped the foam to the height of the formers. Later I reduced the foam's height to allow for a layer of fiberglass. I want the master to be strong.
    View attachment 88823

    Here's where I put a layer of fiberglass and shortened the cylinder to be close to the top of the formers. It still has to be adjusted a bit more.
    View attachment 88824

    Last night, I started putting a layer of Bondo over the glass. It'll get a 2nd layer, which I'll smooth out using the contour tool I've made. This should reduce the sanding needed to get the desired shape.

    For the bottom saucer, I used MDF as the former material, which worked out much better. I also made the middle cylinder the same height as the formers right away. This cylinder also has a brass tube in the middle for the contour tool, which will have a slightly smaller diameter brass tube attached to it.
    View attachment 88825

    I still have to shape the foam here, then it'll get a layer of fiberglass like the top saucer.
    View attachment 88826

    I have enough info to go on to create the formers for the secondary hull, so I've begun that. I'll do it in halves to ease mold making later. I haven't thought of a good strong way to make the pylons and their "wing" which attaches to the secondary hull. I want to run some sort of reinforcing tube that's embedded in resin for my eventual cast. The master won't be difficult but I want to think ahead to the mold making and casting process.

    I tend to bounce around on projects, but I want to try out new techniques so I'm pretty committed to getting this one done. At the same time I'm working on REL's reissued Enterprise-E which has all sorts of casting, fiberglassing, decal and mask problems (not by REL though). I must like pain because it's pretty bad but it's also an opportunity to try out new techniques, tools and materials.

    Stay tuned!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  2. Angelus Lupus

    Angelus Lupus Sr Member

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    Okay, love the Ambassador class so I'll def. be watching this thread closely!
  3. Griffworks

    Griffworks Well-Known Member

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    Nice! Looking forward to watching this one progress! :thumbsup


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    Cool. Nice to see big scratch build.


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    Looking forward to this. Nothing more interesting to me than a good old fashioned scratchbuild!
  6. Ruddigger

    Ruddigger Sr Member

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    Massive undertaking, but it looks like your off to a good start!
  7. yt

    yt Sr Member

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  8. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    Thanks for the support everyone. I'm hoping to update more often but life gets in the way sometimes, especially when you have two little ones.

    So I spent the weekend designing the secondary hull formers and then cut them out. I started to assemble them to their respective base and quickly discovered they were all about 13% too small. A quick check in my design program confirmed this. Somewhere along the way, the former base and the formers themselves got out of sync scale-wise. Anyways, I should have printed them out to verify before cutting, but I didn't.

    My first cut attempt of the formers (13% too small!):

    View attachment 89710

    Here's the base that they attach to (at the correct scale!):

    View attachment 89711

    And after cutting the new formers, trimming and sanding them a bit and attaching them to the bases resulted in this:

    View attachment 89712 View attachment 89713

    I used epoxy to attach the foam in between the formers and then clamped the ends to a flat surface to keep everything flat while it cures:
    View attachment 89714 View attachment 89715

    Here's the bottom saucer master trimmed up and fiberglassed:
    View attachment 89716

    A layer of bondo resulted in this:
    View attachment 89717

    Here's the contour tool for each saucer just about ready to use. I need to sand it to make it smoother. I'll then likely add a layer of Apoxie Sculpt so that I have more time to ensure the contour is right before it cures.
    View attachment 89718 View attachment 89719

    So next up will be trimming the foam on the secondary hull and likely a layer of fiberglass, bondo and Apoxie Sculpt, just like the saucer masters. I think the epoxy putty will allow me to scribe the grid lines and other details easier.

    I also have cross sections for the nacelle so I'll be creating formers for this too. I have to determine how I want this piece broken up first to allow easier casting of the parts. I'll likely do it in a similar fashion to my 1/650 Enterprise-D nacelle parts.

    Stay tuned!
    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER likes this.


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    Excellent, looking like some fine scratch building going on here. keep it coming.

  10. renaissance_man

    renaissance_man Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice to see a Starship being Scratchbuilt!
  11. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    OK here we go. I haven't had too much time to work on this, but I think I've made some good progress.

    The bottom saucer has one coat of primer on it to find imperfections. Once this is all good, I'll start the grid lines. There's also an edge bevel that I have yet to do to it.
    View attachment 90609

    Lots of work left for the top. I still have to fill in major pits and then I can spray some primer to find small ones. I broke the contour tool once while doing this so I reinforced it after gluing it back together.
    View attachment 90610

    Here are the 2 halves of the secondary hull before I have started any major contour work. I will attach them together temporarily so that when I shape them they'll remain symmetrical.
    View attachment 90611

    I just got the wing/pylon area glued together last night. The pylons still need some material added to their front and rear and need to be swept back, but this is my base. The lines you see are where I removed material and put in epoxy putty in an attempt to keep them flat and straight through this creation process.
    View attachment 90612

    Next up is more saucer work and hull work. I'll also flatten out the wing and add details to it. I have to start the nacelles as well. Lots left, but this is decent progress I think. I never thought I could do something like this so it's very exciting.
    Atlanthia likes this.
  12. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    Love the C and it's a real treat watching the creative process in action. I really admire you scratchbuilders.


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    Looking good, its alot of work building these things. Not like kit. That just gets glued together.
  14. Cadeus

    Cadeus Sr Member

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    Got any updates on that bad-boy?!? It is looking great, so far! Don't give up.
  15. Atlanthia

    Atlanthia Sr Member

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    I couldn't agree more!

    Again, I couldn't agree more!

    Great build so far!
  16. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    Yep, I'm still on this just about every day. I am just about ready to get the grid lines and windows on the saucer sections. I'll get some pics up once I have something more to show.

    I kind of screwed up the secondary hull and redid it. It's much better this time. Once again, I'll have to get some pics up to show you all. I'm pretty bad with that. I guess I always try to wait until I can show something significant.
  17. Cadeus

    Cadeus Sr Member

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    Could I ask you about references for your build? I am starting a build of the Enterprise-C and I have a good hand-full of refs, but there really isn't as much on the net for the C as some of the other vessels.
  18. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    I am primarily using screenshots of Charles Casimiro's 3D model. From these, I have been able to make formers for most of the ship.

    I am also cross-checking his renders against the limited pictures I have of the C and, in some cases, the Yamaguchi. You have to be careful though as some of the ship's features were altered to make the Yamaguchi.

    I'm about to put micro tape on the saucer sections in order to make the gridlines via a layer of primer and then removing the tape. I have constructed a motorized lazy susan in order to slowly spin the saucer while I lay down tape. I'll go over this in more detail when I do it and take pics. You could just use a compass-like jig from the center of the saucer, but I prefer for the saucer to move while I lay tape as opposed to moving the jig.

    To each their own though. I have made the lazy susan flexible enough to use all sorts of different sized (round) saucers for this task in the future.

    I'd love to apply the technique to bigger saucers and I'll most likely do the B next. That's jumping way ahead of myself as this isn't as easy as the experts here make it look! Lots of things can and will go wrong as I've discovered while doing this scratchbuild. However, this leaves you with some great new skills to apply to future projects.
  19. Cadeus

    Cadeus Sr Member

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    I hadn't seen Charles Casimiro's 3D model of the C. Thank-you for the lead. I copied all the pics and saved them in my reference folder... I will definitely be sure to give the man props on my build thread; they are absolutely amazing! :)
  20. Cadeus

    Cadeus Sr Member

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    Hi, Shizman. :) I hope you had a happy holiday... just giving this thread a little bump to see where you are at with her. With the excellent progress you were making, I'd imagine you are making molds by now?
  21. Shizman

    Shizman Active Member

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    Molds, I wish!

    I haven't touched this project in months. Still lots left to do and hopefully I'll get to it within a month. I'm finishing a diorama for my grandfather right now which is priority 1.

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