Building the Enterprise


Well-Known Member
Hey everybody!
My name is Venkman71 and I usually spend most of my time doing Ghostbusters props but in the interest of switching things up a bit, I am now trying to apply my more tempered building techniques to old models I could never do justice to.
I'm not sure if this interests anyone here but I have been on a huge Star Trek model building jones lately.
I must've built the AMT/ERTL kits about a dozen or so times when I was a kid. Now that I am an adult I have the patience and the skill to build the ships the way they should be built. My ultimate goal is to completely scratch build the 1701 refit from TMP but until then, I am cutting my teeth and practicing on the old AMT/ERTL kits. Thanks to Ebay and a friend who was getting rid of an obscene amount of models, I now have a ton of source material to draw from. Anyone who knows these kits knows they've been out of production for a long time and are really hard to get.
In case anyone wants to follow the progress, including the stenciling of the "Aztec" pattern, I will post the link here...
I didn't want to clutter up your board with a huge post with pics. I hope you enjoy!


Sr Member
Hey man! Great job so far.

If you havent heard, polar lights is the process of making the "ultimate" refit model, almost 3 feet long and very well done. Only 59.99 is the project price. There is a large thread about it here somewhere, as well as starship modeler etc etc.

Im impressed with your aztec pattern, i have been doing lots of research into this aspect. It seems from what i have gathered is on the TMP filming minature there is multiple pearlescence color (blue/green/bronze) laquer paints used on a white base with a clear coat sealant. I know this is hard to do on the scale your working on. But some food for though if your going to tackle the BIG E coming out soon. I definately plan to.

Also, there is speculation there are multiple aztec patterns WITHIN the know aztec patterns we use already. Such as one aztec shape is broken down into 5-6 diffrent squares of diffrent pearlescent paints.

Im doing research into the best paints, I know the original painter for TMP used metalic laquer paints. Maybe ALCAD will do the trick...

Im wondering what colors/brands (aztec) you have used on your current project?


Well-Known Member
I dunno if you've ever heard of Ken Huegel a.k.a. Volguus. He sort of spent most of his time over on the ASAP Ghostbusters forum before he moved to Romania of all places. He was a real good friend of mine and before he got to be the king of Ghostbuster props building, he was the most meticulous Trek starship researcher on the planet. I mean, like piles and PILES of research and reference. In fact, you can still view his article on the "ultimate Nacelle" over on cultTVman's hobby building site.
Ken swears up and down that, at least for the saucer, there is no color variation. It's simply a gloss coat versus flat coat to create the difference in light reflectivity.
I have extensive photo reference of the filming miniature and there DOES seem to be some extensive sporadic color variations on the nacelles, secondary hull and saucer neck but it's a LOT harder to tell on the saucer. I've actually been going back and forth between the new Bandai model,(which employs this technique), and the photo reference for a painting guide.
As for my saucer section, all I did was paint it a flat white, polish it up with a bit of fine grade steel wool, and then apply the Aztec pattern by laying down the stencil and spraying it with a testors clear coat.
I was very pleased with the results. I've picked up three other AMT/ERTL kits I want to experiment with. Ken initially said to spray the saucer section GLOSS WHITE and apply the pattern with a DULL COAT over it but I reversed it for my first try.
I'm just playing around and practicing for the long awaited Polar lights refit. I wanna be up to speed so I can hit the ground running. Eventually I'd like to scratch build a five footer of the refit. It's my favorite ship.
BTW, for paints, I am using a combonation of Tamiya acrylic and Model Master acrylic. I'm sort of experimanting as I go.
Thanks for the kind words. I'll have more update pics of the top saucer up tonight.


Sr Member
Ditto on the favorite ship

I prefer the refit enterprise to ANY ship from any movie/series. Its got the freshness that i just cant get enough of.

Thats very intresting about the one color variation on the saucer. I havent heard of your friend, but ill take his word on it for now, i really have no information to protest it.

Once i get setup with paints etc im going to start some experimenting with paints colors.

This screencap from TMP directors cut, does seem to have more than one color going on though... hmmm..

HMMMMM.. here is a nice B/W of the E right after TMP filming.
This is the underside, looks suspicious of more complexity than though and more than two shades/colors.. ARRRRrrggg.


Take a read threw the original painters site, hes got a intresting story with a bit of info on the paint process. (sorry if this is old news) I love that article though.. makes me feel like close to the "master" hehe. His email is kicking around on the site. I have been contimplaiting emailing him with "DAMIT MAN.. I-MUST-KNOW-THE-TRUTH!" (spoken kirk dramatic pause style)

On another forum some person wrote this method which is on the right track, intresting.

I am currently in the process of testing the same effect with some pigments I found, in all places... A stamping crafts store my wife frequently visits. I saw them on the shelf and asked... "Please tell me these are acrylic".
They are from a company called Golden Artist Colors. They are acrylic based satin pearlecent metal colors ie. Silver, Bronze, Gold, and Copper. I've made some test shots on scrap styreen sheets for the best mix and the results look awesome. The acrylic pigment will be added to Future floor wax as a carrier. The base coat will be the new Tamiya Pearl White with the clear gold and silver paneling added over the top in sparatic patterns. A Flat White aztec will go over the top with yet another silver paneling over the top of the aztec to subtly break up that pattern. The acrylics will not completly cover underlying paint. They are kind of a clear coat with the intention of changing the hugh of the underlying hull color SUBTLY. No Partrege Family Bus effect. You'll be able to see the end result of this at Wonderfest this year. I'm testing it on the new Belknap conversion kit build-up I'm doing for Federation Models.

Intresting, i like what hes doing.. sounds good in theory. I especially like the referance to the partrege family
I have seen this on so many ships, a big gripe of mine is when the shapes/colors stick out WAY to much. They are *jussst* suppose to be noticed. Bandai i think waaay over did the engineering hull paints/patterns

Im intrested also in the final finish. Here is a screen cap from the directors cut of TMP. I have changed only the brightness and contrast. I really like how the ship has the pearlesence look to it. Look right around where the federation logo starts on the side. peeeeertty.

Notice how the engineering sections are green, not blue.


Well-Known Member
yeah man, I see what you mean. It's the black and white photo that is the most telling. The problem is, every shot is different from the next because of lighting, lighting color, exposure etc. I guess it's all just artisitc preference and trial and error. I'm glad I have a few of the kits so I can experiment till the cows come home. I'd love to see pics of some of your stuff if you have em!
It's always good for inspiration.
I'll check out that article too man. Thanks for the info. You can never have too much of that!
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