Enterprise NX-01 Refit 1:500 scale - 3D printed <UPDATE: Completed - pics on 2nd page>

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Lt Washburn

Well-Known Member
Looks great and cool idea with the White-Out. I don't know if it might cause problems or not, but it is supposed to take ink on its surface, so hopefully it will do so with paint as well.
 

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32buds

Well-Known Member
That is an awesome job you've done there. I know how it goes with fdm. Sand, fill, sand, fill etc. That starship is looking great. I can't wait to see the finished result. Something to be proud off, I'm sure!
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
That is an awesome job you've done there. I know how it goes with fdm. Sand, fill, sand, fill etc. That starship is looking great. I can't wait to see the finished result. Something to be proud off, I'm sure!
Thank you! I'm still feeling like it's not as good as it could be, but I keep reminding myself this is also a learning experience, developing new skills. I definitely tried to rush some things and it shows, but hopefully the end result will still be ok.
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
Added some more pieces; the supports for the saucer deflector dish are in place and painted, as is the surrounding "shroud" (for lack of a better term).

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I painted the shroud a darker gray to start giving the ship a little color variation (using acrylic paints). There's not much consensus online about the refit's color scheme, so I'm going with what I like. I'm still tending toward a more TOS Enterprise coloring. I "painted" the saucer deflector and the area behind the main deflector with a bronze Sharpie. The Sharpie looks good, but it tends to rub off a bit with excessive handling, so we'll see how it lasts. I may clear coat the whole thing when it's done, so I don't think it will be an issue.

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Even though it's hard to see those deflector support arms, I'm glad I spent some time redesigning them.
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
Bussards are going on! I decided I wanted them to be more orange, in keeping with the TOS inspired colors, as well as what I read from the NX-01's designer, Doug Drexler, about some of his preferences. I did some tests and used (my favorite) Sharpies to color the parts. I used orange on the exterior, but yellow for the inside, so the pinkish/red lights would look closer to what I wanted (I realized after that they look like sliced cherry tomatoes).

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Here's a couple shots of the front, showing the two deflector areas, in their bronze color.

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I thought I was done with the base coat of paint, but I'm seeing some more flaws that need to be fixed and painted, so I'll have to get another can of paint soon.
 

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Bloop

Well-Known Member
Got another can of Krylon, so I was able to continue! But since I already punched out the holes for the windows, I wanted to protect the lights inside from the spray paint. I didn't feel like trying to cover each hole with tape, as it would be time consuming, and I'd have to tape over the area around the windows, which could result in unsightly paint edges. I thought about using the white glue to fill the windows, but that would mean I'd have to pop those out and redo them after painting. So I decided to use some spare PLA filament from the 3D printer to fill the holes. It worked well, though some holes were slightly larger than the filament. But I added some masking tape to the filament to bolster it's circumference.

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I didn't fill all the windows holes, just the ones that had lights directly below them. The filament was easy to remove, as I'd hoped.

Moving on, it was time for more detail painting. I mixed up a lighter gray and repainted the saucer deflector shroud/hood. It needed repainting anyway, and I decided I wanted it to be a lighter shade.

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I used the same gray to paint the details on the nacelles. I like the subtle difference from the base coat color. The black lines by the bussards are just straight-from-the-tube black paint. I think it's starting to have a real TOS era feel now, with the orange bussards and the paint job!

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I also used the gray paint on the area around the blue nacelle lights, though it looks darker in the pics since it's in a recessed area, in shadow. I painted the "pipes" a darker gray and glued them in place.

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I'm still working on the decals, trying to figure out the aztecs. I wish I could just buy some decals or masks, but not only is my scale different than what's available for kits, the 3D printed model is also slightly different, so the aztecs for other kits wouldn't align properly, even if they were scaled to 1:500. I do think the ship looks more TOS without aztecs, so if I can't crack the aztecs on my own, I can always leave them off and still have something that fits my idea of a "tweener" era ship.
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
Another update after a long wait...I'm determined not to let this project die! I took a long time trying to figure out what to do regarding the Aztecs. I spent some time trying to adapt some for my model, since they don't quite match up. I got the top saucer section lined up pretty well, but I wasn't looking forward to doing the bottom half, not to mention that I'd have to try to find a solution for the rest of the ship. So after much pondering, I decided to forgo the Aztecs at this time. I also do like the cleaner look without the Aztecs, so I'm going for a subtle paint scheme and moving on. I also had printed some of the decals on paper to check for sizing (more on the decals later).

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Speaking of moving on, it's been one step forward, two steps back. I had some cracking occur in the saucer section, and my attempts to mask off the area led to an inconsistent looking paint job, so I decided to repaint the while upper saucer section. Since I was doing that, I figured there was no reason not to fix some panel lines and other little flaws before re-painting. First up was adding these line on the front of the deuterium tanks (?) or whatever they are. The lines were lost early on, so I drew them in pencil and scribed them back with files, adding some Wite-Out to help smooth things out and fix my mistakes.

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Before repainting, here's some shots of the second round of decal fitting, in color this time. I had found a scan online of the Polar Lights/Round 2 1/1000 refit kit's decals, so I used that as the main basis for my decals. I didn't simply resize them to 1/500, I completely redid them in photoshop, adding more detail that I could figure out from other pics.

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Here's the final draft (I hope), printed on water slide decal paper.

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I thought about scribing more panel lines, specifically on the nacelles, but for now I just have the lines penciled in. If I scribe them, I'm afraid they'll turn out badly. I think I like the less-pronounced look of just the pencil lines. I drew them on fairly heavy, them I erased and rubbed the excess off. I'll be clear coating everything when I'm done, so they wouldn't be in danger of being rubbed off (actually, it's even pretty durable as-is).

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Ready for (more) paint! I started punching out the white glue windows, but I realized I could've left them all in and removed them after painting. I wasn't too worried about paint getting in the open holes and getting on the lights inside, so it didn't matter much when I poked out the windows.

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Post paint - I redid the white glue windows, but decided to do redo the front spotlight with some clear PLA filament, like I did with the red and green saucer lights. The light won't illuminate the ship name like it's supposed to, but at least it looks different than the windows.

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Next up (I hope) - decals!
 

NakedMoleRat

Master Member
My goodness! You took one of the most bland and boring ships ever produced in Star Trek lore, and turned it into one of the prettiest things I have ever seen!
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
My goodness! You took one of the most bland and boring ships ever produced in Star Trek lore, and turned it into one of the prettiest things I have ever seen!
Thank you! Though I shouldn't take too much credit, Doug Drexler still deserves that for his design. But I'm glad you like what I've been able to do with it so far! I will agree with you about the original NX-01, I didn't care much for it either, too dark and flat for my tastes.
 

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Jedi Dade

Sr Member
Hmm - So any chance you could print corrected nacelle struts for the 1:350 kit that'll let the nacelles get mounted straight?
You do know you can fix that with a little shimming, clamping and glueing right? The issue is you gotta know to do it as you build as it really sucks afterwards...

Jedi Dade
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
Update: Decals are on!
This is my first time using inkjet printed water slide decals, but the process went pretty well. I followed the instructions - adjusted my print settings, sprayed the sheet three times with clear spray paint to seal it - and it worked, with just a few issues. I definitely messed up some of the decals, but it was mainly due to my own inability to lay them on properly. The decals would bleed or chip a bit if I moved them around too much. Whn I printed a second sheet, I used more clear coat, which helped a lot. I think my first sheet wasn't sealed as well (though it still worked). But any time I messed up, I knew I could just print more, so I wasn't as worried as I would be with a store-bought kit, with only one set of decals.

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I realized I couldn't lay some of the decals in one piece, so I had to reprint a few and cut them up into pieces. The red stripes on the top of the saucer were somewhat problematic. I had originally tried to cut out a lot of the empty space, but that made it impossible to place (the first pic below shows the first decal, but I didn't include any pics of my failed attempt to apply it). On my second attempt, I also separated it into three parts and didn't cut away as much, which made it a lot easier to work with..

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I also created a couple new decals that weren't a part of the decals from the 1/1000 kit, to give some additional small details that were either too small to 3D print properly, or were lost during the sanding and painting process (as I stated in the previous post, I used a scan of those decals as a guide for my own). I may make a few more, I haven't decided yet.

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I still have more painting to do. I have some touch-ups, but I'm also figuring out how much more I want to add to this. I'm not entirely happy with the overall look of it right now. I'm really tempted to redo some of the decals. I like the basic ones - the designs on the sides of the nacelles and secondary hull, and all the lettering - but some of the others stick out, look too busy. I'm really thinking of removing the red stripes on top of the saucer, either re-doing them with thinner lines, or just getting rid of them altogether. Again, since this never appeared on-screen, I'm don't really have to stick to any design scheme. I'm not sure if adding some detail through paint might help, like enhancing the panel lines.

In addition to all that, I'm working on a proper stand for this. I have a design I cobbled together from various 3D models, so I'll have more on that soon. Oh, and I haven't glued the primary deflector dish on yet - I'm waiting until I'm completely done painting and everything. I tried to glue it on before, but it got knocked off when I was handling it. The whole thing will get a clear coat when I'm satisfied too.
 
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Bloop

Well-Known Member
If I didn't know better, I'd have thought it was a commercial model. Great job!
Thanks so much! My goal was to try to see if I could make it look as close to a pre-made kit as possible. There's still issues that keep it from looking indistinguishable, but for my first attempt, first time working with 3D printing and inkjet decals, I'm fairly pleased.
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
BIG UPDATE: It's done! I may do some small tweaks, but I'm calling this finished!

But before the finished product, I have a lot of past progress to catch you up on, starting with the stand.

I pieced together a couple different models I found on Thingiverse, and came up with a stand that I felt complemented the NX-01, without distracting away from it too much (I wanted it to look good, but not better than the starship). I also needed a base large enough to accommodate the two battery packs, and allow me to change out the batteries when needed.

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The initial print was mostly ok, but I found I needed to increase the size of the post that goes between the Enterprise and the base. Unfortunately, my revised version bit the dust because the model was too heavy and wobbled on the base, which lead to me forcing things and snapping the upper part of the stand. So, back to the 3D printer:

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This time, I also separated the model to make painting it easier. I opted for a metallic silver and black scheme, though the above pics just show the initial gray primer coat.

A shot of the post I made to glue to the bottom of the NX-01 to attach to the stand. I had planned to make this removable, but it wasn't stable enough, so I tried to epoxy glue it into the stand, which helped, but it still was unstable. I grabbed (what I thought was) JB Steelstick epoxy putty, and filled in the gaps. Unfortunately, I grabbed the wrong tube out of my tool box - it was JB High heat, and it takes much loger to cure. In fact, even past 24 hours, it never fully set, so I was forced to rip it out, and replaced it with some Locktite epoxy putty instead.

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Added some legs to keep the upper part in line in the lower box part of the base. I also glued in the battery boxes. I had previously de-soldered the lighting wires so I could eventually run the wires through the stand.

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Bloop

Well-Known Member
NEXT UP: I removed and redid some of the decals. I had to reprint some of them anway, due to some problems laying them, or me causing damage to them while handling the mode (note to self for the future: clear coat the model after putting on decals as soon as possible!)

I decided to just remove the red stripes on the top of the saucer completely. After seeing them on the model, I didn't like how they looked. I tried redoing them with thinner stripes, but I still thought they looked out of place and too busy. I can't hink of any other Federation starship having that kind of paint scheme, and it didn't really look how I wanted it to look (more TOS era), so I scrapped them. Luckily, I hadn't clear coated yet, so they were easy to remove.

I found (by accident) that it was sometimes very easy to remove decals with masking tape.

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I also redesigned the decals for the cargo loading hatches on the saucer section, as well as the black stripes on the top and bottom of the saucer, making them look more detailed and less chunky. I slightly redid the reaction control thruster assemblies (the clampy things on the edges of the saucer), and adjusted the color of the decals on the bottom, forward section of the saucer (by the saucer deflector), as they were a little too green. I also created brand new decals to use for the various sensor arrays, and a couple for the aft cargo assembly area.

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*EDIT* - I forgot I wanted to mention that I did a lot of cleanup on the aft cargo area since taking this pic, so it looks considerably less ugly now.
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Compare the old decals on the left side, to the new ones on the right:

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That pic also shows the cleaner look, without the red lines. I like it better than before, but I can understand if others liked the lines.

I also removed the decals for the panels on the aft section of the top of the saucer. I just cut up some spare PLA from a failed print ( I never through that stuff out!), painted them, and glued them into place. I left them "rough," no sanding, because I liked the ribbed detail that was left by the print process. I figured some extra detail would be nice, and it differentiated the panels from the rest of the model even more.

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Next up: the final look!
 
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Bloop

Well-Known Member
And it's done! It feels good to finally say that. I used the same clear gloss coat I used for the decals, since I figured it would help blend the decals in a bit. I hadn't thought about that when I bought the clear coat to use with the ink jet water slide decals.
I had added some baubles that were missing to the red & green lights on around the ship (3D printed in clear PLA). I wasn't sure if I was going to add them, since I thought they might cut down on the brightness and ability to see the lights (since they're all recessed), but they did a great job of making the lights look as if the were above the surface.

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Side note: I was worried that either my wiring/rewiring was failing or that the clear coat was diminishing the lighting, but replacing the batteries did the trick! I forgot how bright they were!


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I'll take some more pics in the light of day, with and without the model lights on, so they'll be at least one more update. And I may do some tweaks, like possibly dulling the clear coat with a light sanding. But it's pretty much a wrap!
I'll say this model is far from perfect, and it took much longer than I anticipated - partly due to extended periods of hemming and hawing over what course to take during the build - but I achieved my goal of having an original, one-of-a-kind, fully lighted model, and being able to learn from it for future projects. I'm not sure what I'll tackle next, but I know I'll build on the things I learned creating this.
Thanks for everyone that took the time to look at this, I probably wouldn't have completed it if I hadn't posted my progress here. Your encouragement helped!
 

Bloop

Well-Known Member
Here's some more pics in different lighting, with the internal lights both off and on. I took some closeups of a few details as well.

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Here's a quarter and a Coke bottle for scale:
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I took this last shot to show how the metallic silver of the base actually looks different than the gray of the Enterprise, based on the light. I like that it can really minimize the stand, almost looks like it's floating if you catch it at the right angle.

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stevielewis

Well-Known Member
You did a really nice job printing, building, painting, and finishing. It's just the right size as well. Be proud of what you accomplished. (y)(y)(y)
 

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