Greetings! And a Polar Lights NX-01 1:350 build

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by kevr, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Hi all,
    I found this forum while doing research for my NX-01 build, and I thought I would join in.

    First off, I want to say hat's off to all the INCREDIBLE talent and skill on this board! I've been looking around through some of the model building threads and I've had my mind absolutely blown by the level of skill that exists here. I'm greatly humbled by it and hope to be able to do this board justice.

    I was into model building and model railroading when I was younger, but I haven't built a model in almost 30 years, wow time flies. I have been wanting to get back into it and the NX-01 seemed to be a good entry point for what I think I can achieve. I'm hoping that I can pick up some tips and tricks and learn something from some of you guys through this build.

    So this is my 1:350 Polar Lights Enterprise NX-01. I've been working on this about 3 days now, so I'll summarize the progress. After getting into it a bit, I am realizing that this kit is not for the feint at heart! It's pretty raw. I've had to open up all of the windows on the hull with a round file and shape the windows for the captain's dining and the hatch on the opposite side of the bridge. They could still use a little more cleanup but I'm going to do all that when I work on filling gaps.

    2015-09-15 22.07.20.jpg 2015-09-15 22.06.35.jpg

    This seam ended short of the hull, but my references showed it wrapping around the edge, so I had to continue it.

    2015-09-15 22.05.14.jpg

    It took some heavy filing on the lower hull to rough in the cannons. Not too bad considering the openings started out looking like the one on the right! I'll have to do some seam filling and sanding to flush them into the hull.

    2015-09-15 22.02.16.jpg

    Oh my, this overhang is going to be a real challenge, I think I'll leave that until last. Hopefully I've learned some tricks from doing the rest of the hull.

    2015-09-15 22.13.02.jpg 2015-09-15 22.11.24.jpg 2015-09-15 22.11.38.jpg 2015-09-15 22.12.16.jpg

    So that's the first 2 days. I got the side bulkheads assembled on the lower hull last night and tonight, and started working on the rear shuttle bays. I'll post that progress with my next post, I'm too tired tonight. So far I'm in about 15 hours.

    I'm thinking about the windows, any advice would be appreciated - the clear plastic hull windows that came with the kit are just not going to work, they don't come up flush with the hull, the tops are rounded, ick. So I'll probably be making my own with Krystal Klear at some point. Looking around, it seems like the best way is to cover the outside with scotch tape and fill from the inside, but what about the windows in the outside bulkheads (that run around the perimeter of the saucer section) where the tops of the windows are not flush with the hull - there's raised detail around them. Any suggestions? Also, I'm not sure if I should do the windows after paint, or before and then mask them? I remember using some sort of rubbery paint-on mask, and I wonder ... if there's enough thickness and surface tension in the masking liquid if I could place a drop on each window and expect to get a nice round circle? What have you guys found to work best, paint then windows - or - windows, mask then paint? If it's the latter, good god, how do you mask those tiny little things?

    Also if anyone can point me to some good reference material for this ship, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks all, looking forward to this build!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
    Randy13 likes this.
  2. Pedro

    Pedro Well-Known Member

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    A fun kit to get back into the hobby with! Man, that's a lot of flash, that most must have really worn. Micro Crystal Clear is typically applied from the outside, I wouldn't use tape and fill from the inside since it is air drying, your surface would be the last part to dry (if ever). It's typically applied from the outside and held in place by surface tension. I haven't used it much, it might work well for you though as it can be applied after painting which would solve some of your problems. I generally prefer to fill with an epoxy from the inside with tape on the outside, I like Envirotex (you can get it at Michael's and the like). A third choice for the round windows would be to find some acrylic rod the correct diameter and glue in slices which you sand flush with the outer hull. Labor intensive but looks good.

    If you do need to mask the windows, maybe you could find a small leather punch to cut little circles of tape? Or you could use a sharpened brass rod to cut them, which would work but be tedious. Someone might make pre-cut masks for this kit too. I wouldn't attempt dots of liquid mask just because it would be hard to get them uniform, but it's not impossible I'm sure.

    Hope this helps, good luck! I'll be watching with interest. :)
  3. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    I actually have the 1:1000 scale kit in front of me and it's pretty rough too. For being a snap together it's fragile so it's not just yours that seems to have had a bad time at the factory. Those windows are a ton of work, i wouldn't be surprised if someone has masks for the windows out there though.
  4. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Thanks guys, yeah it was more than just removing flash to make those cannons fit, I had to take a sanding drum on a dremel and remove a lot of material from the inside of the hull because they were fitting at the wrong angle! A lot of the kit is like this, very poor casting. It's taken a lot of removing plastic to make pieces fit together and look like the real thing. Oh well, I'm enjoying the challenge. :) It makes me more dedicated to and invested in the build! What would be the fun in having it be too easy?

    It never even occurred to me to fill the windows from the outside, or that there may be masking kits out there. Also good suggestions for how to make masks. I'll have to experiment with filling "windows" in some scrap plastic and see how these materials behave and what's going to end up working the best for me.

    Off to more sanding and fitting, I might get an update in tonight, depending on how late I work.
  5. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Wes, how detailed is that 1/1000 NS? Are you planning on going all out on it?

    About 20 hours into it now. I have a simple little punch clock that accumulates project time, so I've been tracking time spent...seems like it might be a novel thing to know once I'm all done.

    Last night I got all (I think) of the perimeter bulkheads cleaned up and in place.

    2015-09-19 00.08.10.jpg

    They weren't too bad, but I'll have to do some seam work where they meet the lower saucer. seaming the top under the overhang is going to be a bear once the top and bottom are glued together.

    2015-09-17 21.48.01.jpg

    These end caps at the front on either side of the deflector dish really need some help. I had to trim about a millimeter off of the back of the bulkhead piece, behind the greeblie, to get it to sit flush and blend in with the end of the bulkhead


    2015-09-17 21.47.09.jpg

    Not too bad. It looks much cleaner in person than in the photo for some reason. It'll need almost no seaming.

    2015-09-19 00.08.30.jpg

    I glued in the landing deck (?) last night and it was horrible - I forgot to get a photo of it, but it recessed in around a raw edge with a big gap all the way around it, and the center was wavy and sunk in. This is supposed to be a flat smooth seamless surface, so it got a good coat of filler, some rough shaping, and another filler coat. Tomorrow I'll block sand it and see if I've filled enough to flatten it out.

    And speaking of shuttle bays...

    2015-09-19 00.32.50.jpg

    Does anyone know if these are windows? (circled in red on the reference)


    If so, I'll have to find a way to open them up. The plastic behind them is about the thickest I've seen yet. It's going to take some heavy drilling.
    And the round blue dots I've circled in blue - they're all over the ship in what appears to be sensor arrays or something. By the reference photo, it looks like they're glowing blue, not very bright. Does anyone know if this is the case, or if they're just opaque blue in color? I'm planning to do fiber optics, so I want to take this into consideration while I'm planning the lighting. I'm already planning on running different lights at different brightness levels, so I can make these just glow if they need to.

    Then there's this little sensor array that wants to stick up from the hull:

    2015-09-18 23.24.03.jpg

    The reference shows it actually sunk into the hull. To sink it, I took my dremel to the lip it sits on in the hull and removed it. I had to sink it in a long way and the hull plastic is pretty thick here, so that seemed to be the best way. Then some fine filing to make it sit where it looked right:

    2015-09-18 23.48.43.jpg

    I also filled out the rest of the details on the aft engineering section. Anything that will be silver is going on now. The gold bits will go on after paint.

    I had a similar problem with this one, it didn't want to sit level left-to-right and it sat parallel to the hull, it's supposed to be at an upward angle matching the steps of the hull in front of it. It wasn't much, so I got away with just sanding the back of it to compensate. It's level and the angle it's sitting at now matches the reference:

    2015-09-19 00.33.23.jpg

    Glued the nacelle struts on the top half. Not much to see here. There will definitely be some seam filling and shaping where the struts meet the hull once the top and bottom halves are together. Not too bad though, didn't think it was worth a close-up.

    2015-09-18 23.49.08.jpg

    And a few more greeblies around the rest of the hull like the hatches below:

    2015-09-19 00.33.33.jpg

    Pretty straightforward and no problems with them, so I'll spare you the details.

    I probably won't get any work done tomorrow, too much to do and a thing to go to in the evening, but I hope to have my workspace put together. I'm getting a proper workbench and setting up my space finally. I found an antique door for a workbench top on craigslist that I can cut down to fit my space and a piece of glass to go over the top of it. I've been working with all my stuff in little piles on a tiny bench because I haven't had time to organize and put my space together. I'm definitely feeling the crunch, so tomorrow oughta be a relief!
    Mike J. likes this.
  6. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Another update

    Hi All,
    took a couple days off so I could get my studio space put together. It's a suitably large work surface now, with a bit of organization, and I think it looks fantastic. I'll snap a couple photos of it tomorrow evening while it's still light out.

    So where were we? I'm about 26 hours in now. I got the flight deck flattened out. That took a buildup of about 3 putty layers with a light primer coat so I could see the low spots as I was sanding in between each one. I was beginning to think I'd be on this for a week!

    2015-09-20 00.37.26.jpeg

    Finally got it leveled out:

    2015-09-21 22.42.30.jpeg

    2015-09-21 22.42.41.jpeg

    Apparently I forgot to snap a pic of it finished, I'll grab one tomorrow.

    While I was sanding I had to support the mid section (engineering? Aft engineering?) with a block of wood because it wanted to flex so I couldn't get a flat surface for my sanding block. In the process I wasn't paying attention to the block scratching up the underside of the hull. The flight deck sanding got a little aggressive at times! I'll have to be more careful next time. I had to give it a skim coat of putty to fill all the scratches.

    2015-09-23 23.46.56.jpeg

    Got all the clear parts painted.

    2015-09-23 23.49.03.jpeg

    Yesterday I hit them with some dullcoat to give them a diffused look. I decided to do the front side thinking it would look good toned down, but once I saw the blue on it I realized they gotta be gloss or maybe semi-gloss. It just looks too .....industrial? Star Wars? I don't know, it just doesn't look "Star Trek". Same with the impulse engines and deflector. The effect doesn't really come through in the photos, but yeah I'll be giving them a gloss coat tomorrow.

    2015-09-24 00.28.06.jpg

    I think the bussard collectors will stay flat though.

    2015-09-23 23.49.13.jpeg

    The red is actually a mix of the red and yellow. Straight red would have looked to "candy". I mixed up some to about 50/50 and chickened out when I sprayed it on paper to check the color. I thought it was too orange. So for the first coat, I sprayed a mix of about 80/20 red/yellow. Once I saw it on the part it was too red. So I gave it another coat of the original 50/50 mixture before it set up, and the coats blended together into a pleasant (and I think fairly accurate) color. The photo give a pretty good rendition of the color - although they're a little lighter in person, but not by much.

    The blue parts with some light through them. The airbrush spray didn't get into the little recessed squares as much which left them a much lighter blue. I tried brushing one in but the paint just pooled in the corners and looked bad with light behind it so I'll just leave them as is. It'll be interesting to see what it looks like with blue or white LED's behind them.

    2015-09-23 23.50.11.jpeg

    I gotta kick myself a bit, I wanted to do the inboard grilles with a much lighter coat, because the reference material shows them as a considerably lighter color than the deep blue of the outboard grilles. I had the perfect shade and I decided it should be just a little bit darker, and man, that paint builds up fast! They ended up the almost the same color depth as the outboard ones. I might try white LEDs on the inboard and blue on the outboard, maybe that'll do the trick, we'll see.

    2015-09-23 23.50.42.jpeg

    So, there's a dilemma here I'd like to solve it it's solvable. The impulse engine castings are sunk in in the center. The dip can be seen pretty well in these photos. I'm wondering if I can flatten these out. How versatile is that krystal klear? Could I fill these? I'm thinking if I just lay them on their backs and flow some into the depression, that it might level out. If necessary, I could do a light sanding up to high grits and then a clear coat, but I'm afraid of being able to see the edges around those raised details. Any ideas?

    2015-09-23 23.51.50.jpeg
    2015-09-23 23.52.12.jpeg

    If anyone's interested, these are the transparent paints I used.

    2015-09-23 23.52.jpeg

    More tomorrow
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
    Randy13 likes this.
  7. d_jedi1

    d_jedi1 Sr Member

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    If I recall, those windows you mentioned ARE windows.
    That said, it's been a while since I worked on my NX-01
  8. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Jedi, I agree with you. I found some more images for reference and they are clearly windows. So I'll have to open them up. There's a ton of plastic behind them, it's going to be a bear.

    That said, I'm discouraged. This kit is so rough! I think I just need a night or two off. I took a closer look at the impulse engines tonight:

    2015-09-24 21.55.47.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.56.18.jpeg

    They're a pretty poor fit. I'm going to have to put some thought into how I'm going to make these look good.

    Also I'm going to have to cut away these big ribs and that rear peg on the nacelle strut support to make room for the lights that will go behind them.

    2015-09-24 21.50.52.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.50.21.jpeg

    I'm planning to use two small blue (or maybe white, well see what looks better) SMD LEDs, one behind each window to simulate the real thing. I'll rough in a housing behind to keep out light from the model's interior. The goal is to simulate this glow from behind.


    I think I'm also going to try scribing some lines in the back of the blue windows to try and achieve that awesome lined pattern back there. If I'm thinking correctly, it'll remove some of the transparent blue paint to give me the effect of the lines.

    The more I look at this, the more I see that I'll need to be knocking back the brightness of a lot of the batches of LEDs to get the look I'm after. The sensor arrays are a dull glow, the model interior is a warm white, the hull spotlights are bright and white, then there's differences in the lighting of the impulse engines, warp nacelles inboard and outboard, and I'm now noticing ambient lighting near many of the docking hatches:


    I don't know if I'll get to that level of detail with the lighting, I guess I'll find out when I get there.

    Anyway, more rough in work of the lower windows/sensor assembly in front of the docking bays:

    2015-09-24 21.39.13.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.39.44.jpeg

    I'll have to open up those windows and run fiber optics to the sensor arrays, so it made sense to open up the flat area in the hull. I'll probably be mounting the model in the center of the docking bays. I really like the way Steve Neill did it in his build:
    He used a mini LNB connector mounted on a pole. I like the idea because it makes the model removable. I may put a small rechargeable li-ion battery pack in there so the model can remain lit once removed from the pole.

    Anyway, did some more work on the docking hatch on deck A but I'm really not happy with it. The plastic on the hull was so thick it recessed the docking hatch too much and looked pretty bad. I thinned out the hull plastic in an attempt to bring the hatch up closer to flush and clean up its look, but in doing so I opened up the hole too far. I'm thinking about cutting it out and filling in sheet styrene and starting over from scratch. I think I'm better off making my own opening than trying to work with the one they gave me.

    2015-09-24 21.15.47.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.16.45.jpeg

    Got the torpedo tubes filled and one of them flushed in.

    2015-09-24 21.37.23.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.37.43.jpeg

    And that's about where I ran out of steam. :)

    Heres some pics of the flight deck finished up. Still a lot of rough in work to do around the back end of the sides where they meet the hull, and some detail work up near the front. The back wall of the flight deck, where the doors are, was too narrow to fit against the side walls, so they ended up out too far and the vertical ribs protrude from the hull above them - they should be flush. I'm going to blend them in at a shallow angle to get them looking right.

    2015-09-24 21.53.19.jpeg 2015-09-24 21.54.14.jpeg

    And as promised, a couple pics of the workspace I put together. Not bad, eh?

    2015-09-24 17.43.30.jpg
    2015-09-24 17.35.02.jpg
  9. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    So question for you guys - I've been thinking about how rough this kit is, are they all this rough? I'm referring to the poor fitting of all the parts. This model is going to be half putty by the time I'm done with it! Since I haven't built a model in quite some time, and this is my first spaceship model, I really don't have much to compare it to. The model railroading and car models I used to build were never this bad. Did I just get a bum kit? I wonder how old this kit is - it was kind of collecting dust on the back of the shelves at the hobby store.
  10. DJSLY

    DJSLY Active Member

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  11. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Thanks DJSLY, I ran across your thread earlier, I'll give it a more detailed read. Were the fitment problems on your as severe as they are on mine? I think I'm going to be filling and sanding for weeks before I can even put the two halves together, and it looks like a lot more after that before I can even touch it with paint. Well, I wanted a challenge I guess....
  12. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Not much progress this evening. I got the lines scribed into the back of the impulse engines. I first sanded the back smooth because it was dipped in like the front, and I was having a really tough time getting a true straight line. So I went to 1000 grit which gave the desired level of diffusion. Then some careful careful work with a steel rule and a scribe, and the back now has that corrugated look of the original.

    2015-09-25 20.59.34.jpeg 2015-09-25 21.00.17.jpeg NX_impulse_engines.jpg

    In the 2nd photo, the dip in the center of each window is making the lines look slightly warped, but they are 100% straight.

    The plan is to re-shoot the transparent blue onto the back and see what it looks like. The goal is to get that light/dark striping. I'm thinking the paint won't settle into the grooves as much as the flats, giving the grooves a slightly lighter shade. If they end up the same color, a light pull down each groove with the scribe oughta give me the effect I'm after.

    I tried some experiments with kristal klear to get a feel for how the stuff worked. It didn't. It was too thick, so I tried thinning it with water, which helped, but in the end I wasn't happy with the results on my test pieces. I also tried gloss coat, which looked way better and flowed in and leveled itself out nicely, so I went with that.

    It flattened out the sunk in center pretty well but it also wicked up along the raised details. It's not that noticeable to the eye and I could probably live with it, but optically, it's really distorting the lines I spent so much time on to get perfect!

    2015-09-26 00.08.06.jpg

    So in the end, I think what I'll do it remove the raised details and sand the surface flat with progressively finer sandpaper until they're clear again. I think I can put those details back in later with rod styrene. If not, I feel the loss of that detail is a worthy trade-off to be able to mimic that corrugated look.

    Also noticed that Polar Lights omitted one small detail - the opening for the lower observation deck thingy! I wish I had seen this before finishing in the flight deck! I think what I'll do is drill a small hole in the center of where it goes, try to fish a fiber optic through there to light it up and remove the part of the deck that recesses into the hole so I can just glue it on flush.

    2015-09-23 23.46.56 cicled.jpg

    Well, that's all for tonight. I got all weekend to myself, so I might try to put in some more work on the remaining torpedo tubes and the walls around the flight deck. I just needed a break from filling and sanding!
  13. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Oh, also a side-question: Anyone have a preferred source for fiber optics? I asked around a couple of the local hobby shops and they all shrugged. I'm thinking I'll need 0.25mm, 0.5mm and 1.0mm, and maybe 0.75mm and a couple larger sizes.
  14. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Depends on the manufacturer, when the molds were made and the age of the molds when your kit was molded. For example, the recent Bandai & Fine Molds (Star Wars) kits are excellent, and the things they can do with mold technologies nowadays (multiple colors on the same sprue, slide molded openings, etc) will make your head spin. Sadly, Trek for some reason only appeals to the US and European manufacturers, but Star Wars seem to be popular with the Japanese as well. The NX-01 you have seems to have been first made in 2003.
  15. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Almost forgot what few ref pics I have.

    Attached Files:

  16. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    Sorry this is late. It's not super super detailed since it's pretty small, i'll try and get some pics up of it. It's actually sitting in my parts box right now with me deciding if i want to build it or use it for something else. The problem is a lot of the parts are tiny even for tweezers and fit poorly into the holes. This thing is supposed to be a snap tight but there's no way it'd stay together without glue. I've lots a few parts to just not being able to grip them. I agree with you though that the molds on this thing seem really worn out, and it's not just this one as i bought one as a gift and it's pretty rough too. Makes me miss the 80s/90s trek kits lol
  17. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Maybe if Round2 gets enough complaints they'll refresh their molds.... *holding breath*

    So I'm just shy of 36 hours now.

    Got to the deflector dish and support assembly. The castings on this are really bad. They look nothing like the reference, so I'm throwing that center part of it out and building my own.

    2015-09-26 23.40.43.jpeg 2015-09-26 23.41.12.jpeg 2015-09-26 23.41.26.jpeg 2015-09-26 23.40.57.jpeg 2015-09-26 23.43.43.jpeg

    First I bent the support pieces at an angle to match the references:

    2015-09-27 00.34.05.jpeg 2015-09-27 00.34.15.jpeg

    Then drilled a hole in each end of the deflector dish to accommodate some .030" rod styrene:

    2015-09-27 00.32.37.jpeg

    Inserted the rod through the supports and into the dish. Once I had the measurements equal on each side and everything leveled out, I tacked the rod into the supports:

    2015-09-27 00.39.52.jpeg 2015-09-27 00.40.32.jpeg

    Then I cut some of the rod at an angle to make the diagonal support beams:

    2015-09-27 00.51.57.jpeg

    Got them all squared up and looking like I wanted:

    2015-09-27 00.56.53.jpeg

    And repeat 3 more times:

    2015-09-27 00.55.35.jpeg

    Cleaned it up and that looks much better:

    2015-09-27 02.32.34.jpeg 2015-09-27 02.31.24.jpeg 2015-09-27 02.33.17.jpeg

    I'm pleased with the way the deflector turned out. Tomorrow once everything is set up, I'll paint them and yay I'll have one assembly completed!

    Then probably back to filing and sanding some more on the hull.

    I got the blue sprayed on the back of the impulse engines - those scribes look pretty good. I need a bit more diffusion in back - I think the paint removed some of it, so I'll hit it with some dullcoat and then start sanding the fronts smooth. I'll throw up some pics of the finished pieces - I didn't think it was worth photographing, they only turned blue...

    Also - I just discovered today that the bridge dome is MISSING! :( I don't know if it was ever there, The part was unfamiliar to me when I went looking for it. I've looked high and low and it's just nowhere to be found. I emailed Round2 to see if I can somehow get a replacement, but I'll probably have to scratch build it. Anyone got any good hints for cutting true circles out of sheet styrene?

    Enough for tonight, I'm tired!
  18. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Get a compass. Replace the pen / pencil with an X-Acto knife.

    Additionally, this kit's pretty old, I'm not sure if they'd have spare sprues still sitting around, if they ever did. Minor point of interest: Bandai (and other Japanese mfrs. IIRC) will sell you individual sprues, and they provide a price list of them with each full kit.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
  19. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Mike, thanks for the tip, I kind of figured it would be something like that. And I forgot to thank you for the reference photos - those close-ups of the nacelles will help a lot once I get that far. Do you really know Adam Savage? :)
  20. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    I forgot to mention that my little nx01 is the refit one so that could be why the quality is lacking, they just retooled what they had and thru together the lower hull lol
  21. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    I was at my LHS today looking at model railroad stuff, passenger cars to be exact - man, I'd forgotten how fine the details were! I really had a new appreciation for the casting quality after working with this kit for awhile!

    43 hours - I got a lot done in the last day or so. or at least it feels like it :)

    Got the little bits for the deflector dish parts painted. I went with graphite metal for the supports, copper for the dish (as the instructions suggested, it seemed to match the reference) and a light gold for the center part. Here's a couple pics of the test fit before I painted the blue part:

    2015-09-27 18.50.48.jpeg 2015-09-27 18.50.07.jpeg

    Masked off the window part of the clear piece and hit it with primer for light blocking:

    2015-09-27 19.46.33.jpeg

    Once the primer set up I sprayed it with the metal paint which I'll be spraying the hull with. I don't remember exactly which metal I went with, some thing specific based on Steve Niell's build. Tomorrow I'll buff and seal it and then assemble the deflector, and that will be D.O.N.E. It'll feel good to get one part under my belt.

    Went after the impulse engines some more. I removed those little details. I picked up some tiny rod styrene the other day so I think putting them back in later will be a breeze.

    2015-09-27 20.05.36.jpeg

    Then sanded them to a polish once they were flat.

    2015-09-27 20.03.08.jpeg 2015-09-27 20.03.49.jpeg

    I must say I'm impressed by how they came out. The front of them looks like glass! They look so much better now.

    2015-09-27 20.04.12.jpeg

    And then onto this - I've been putting this one off, I'm sure you can see why. Ugh.

    2015-09-27 14.51.02.jpeg

    I gave them a rough fill with Milliput. That stuff is great, I was able to sculpt for nearly an hour before it even thought about setting up. From what I could tell from my references, they look something like this:

    2015-09-27 15.34.56.jpeg

    Finish sanded:

    2015-09-27 22.10.22.jpeg 2015-09-27 22.10.49.jpeg

    Now onto the area between the hangar doors. There's a rough lip around the top section, and the hull needs to be seamed in. I filed the outside ends of the top down to match the bottom, then filed the front nearly flush with the bottom and applied some filler. I'll let it set up overnight and try to get this finished off tomorrow.

    2015-09-27 20.48.42.jpeg

    That's all for tonight. So I'm curious, what do you guys think? Am I being too * about this kit? It just kills me to think about letting some of this stuff go, but I could be on this for weeks getting things to fit right and look good. I think the end result will be worth it....
    EvanW likes this.
  22. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    As long as you're having fun doing it keep going, it's when the tinkering starts to stop being fun you know it's time to move on and finish the kit. I'm jealous you have a local hobby shop, the never last around here and the 2 that were thriving are 45 minutes away. Kinda wishing i'd bought out the paint inventory at the one up north that was closing down when we visited. They actually had an NX01 on the shelf there that day, it wasn't the polar lights one either I don't think as this was around 2009/2010.
  23. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Quick update....

    So I've really lost steam on this model, almost entirely because of the severe fitment issues. The more I looked ahead and test-fit pieces together, the worse it got. Almost every piece of the hull, nacelles and nacelle struts was going to have to be heavily modified - much like the flight deck area. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid to take on a challenge and do what it takes to get it looking good, but this was way more than I had in mind when I bought this kit, and it sure felt like things shouldn't be this bad.

    I contacted Round2 intending to inquire about the casting issues and ask about ordering that missing piece but was only able to leave a voicemail - I'm still waiting to hear back, and I'm not holding my breath. In talking with a couple of the employees at my LHS, who have also built this kit, they were surprised to hear about the issues - the kits they had built were not that bad. After seeing the pictures they agreed I got a bum kit. Call me crazy but I took a chance and purchased another kit hoping that it would be better....

    And it is. Sooooo much better. Not perfect, but not nearly as bad as the first kit. The details and lines are noticeably crisper, the edges are sharper, there's not nearly as much flash, and the fitment issues aren't as severe. It won't take 2 pounds of filler to make this one go together! I'm basically starting over, but I really don't mind - I get a 2nd chance to do things better, having learned from my mistakes so far.

    So tonight I'm doing ....nothing. Watching a movie, to be exact. I'll dive into it tomorrow, it's been a long day. Just thought you guys would be interested to hear this. :)

    I may not keep this thread going, there didn't seem to be much interest in the build. I'm guessing this kit has been built here a hundred times by now. If you all want me to keep going, let me know?
    Mike J. likes this.
  24. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Glad you got a better one. :) Salvage whatever modded parts you can and throw the rest into the parts box.

    Even though the molds are machined from steel, they do take wear from popping out thousands of kits, and over time the later models will have problems like increased flash, etc. It's also possible that your previous purchase was stored in a hot area and warped over time.

  25. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Another update

    Since I started over, I also started the clock over. 9 hours.

    I've been hacking away at the stuff I'd done before, cleaning up the windows, casting lines, etc etc. I'm pretty much doing the same thing, with some exceptions, so I'll spare you all the details.

    New stuff: I opened up the windows on the upper flight deck observation thingy and behind it in the hull to let light through. I drilled small holes and then opened them up with an exacto knife and then some needle files.

    2015-10-03 23.22.27.jpeg 2015-10-03 23.05.55.jpeg 2015-10-03 23.30.07.jpeg 2015-10-03 23.30.45.jpeg

    While I was at it, I also opened up the windows on the lower observation deck and the spotlights below them, which will receive fiber optics or maybe even a tiny 1mm SMD LED in each later on.

    2015-10-03 23.32.32.jpeg 2015-10-03 23.54.29.jpeg 2015-10-03 23.54.04.jpeg

    And I couldn't help but notice that the windows are pretty thin and large, and I could easily see inside. God help me, I couldn't pass it up:


    I must be crazy, but here goes. You only live once, right?

    2015-10-04 01.34.23.jpeg 2015-10-04 01.37.35.jpeg

    The one in the above photos was a quick mock-up to get it right. Then I built it for reals and added some details to the inside walls with sheet and rod styrene: For the little protruding circles I drilled holes in the side walls and stuck rod styrene through from the outside. I forgot to grab pics of the detail-adding in process, but it looked like a porcupine for a minute there until I trimmed them all down.

    2015-10-04 22.06.07.jpeg

    Airbrushed some aluminum on the inside and hand painted the details:

    2015-10-05 00.22.15.jpeg 2015-10-05 00.23.21.jpeg 2015-10-05 00.22.43.jpeg

    I don't know what that stuff is in there, I was making it up as I went along. That reference photo above is the ONLY shot i could find on the whole wide interwebs showing the interior of that observation bay. The floor of the bay can't be seen from outside the model, so I'm not worried about detailing out the rest of the room - I can imagine that there's a control console and stuff below the halfway point on the back wall, but since you can't see it, I'm not gonna bother. But I like how the room is lit up red inside, so for that I salvaged a piece of the clear from behind the deflector on the "spare parts" kit, sanded it back to clear, dull coated it to diffuse and painted it transparent red. This will be the ceiling.

    2015-10-04 23.56.51.jpeg

    You might have noticed that the back wall is still white. I masked it off when painting, there's a reason. I made up a back wall graphic in Photoshop and will print it on a high resolution photo inkjet printer and affix it to the back wall. I made most of this up too, using what I could see from that reference pic as a general guideline. The two sides of the back wall look identical in the reference pic, (lord knows why - redundancy maybe?) so I ran with it, mostly because lazy won out. I know the details will get completely lost printed that small (it's only 12mm x 5mm!) but it's the idea that there's something back there that counts. The idea here is that light from the interior of the model will shine through the thin white styrene back wall and hopefully make those displays glow where they're not black, and also come through the red ceiling to give the room that red glow. We'll see if it works once I get the interior lighting installed - down the road a bit.


    More another day. It's late.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  26. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Well, tonight I caught up on a lot of busy work to get me closer to where I was on the last model - gluing in the cannons, finishing de-flashing the windows and removing seam lines around the hull, yada yada...

    With everything fitting better, things are going much, much faster. It took me maybe 3 hours to get the cannons to fit right on the last model because I had to grind away major material on the inside of the hull to get the angle right and then completely re-shape the holes! This time it took only about a half hour to do all 6 - it was only minor flash removal and they dropped right in. What a difference!

    So not a lot of new progress, but I'll share what I've done. I glued in the upper observation deck. Got some filling to do there.

    2015-10-05 23.49.52.jpg

    The front overhang. This is one of my favorite parts of the ship, it just gives it a cool, mean look, so I want to get it right. It fits better than the other model, but not by much. The entire thing is sticking up too far, and these sensor thingies are what's holding it up too high on the ends, so I sanded the bottoms of the sensors down until the curve came more in line with the rest of the hull. I did this on both ends. The left side looks pretty good but the right side is about as good as it's going to get, I'll have to rely on filler to make it right.

    2015-10-05 23.49.23.jpg 2015-10-05 23.47.36.jpg 2015-10-05 23.48.20.jpg

    Here's where the biggest problem is - the middle of it. It sticks up too high and there's a gap between the overhang and the hull behind it where the two should be seamless.

    2015-10-05 23.47.42.jpg 2015-10-05 23.48.46.jpg

    there's a little locating pin with a spacer at the top of it up against the bottom of the overhang, to space it the correct distance away from the hull. You can kind of see it in there under the center of the overhang. The vertical spacing from the hull looks right to me when comparing it to the reference photos, so I want to leave it there.

    2015-10-06 00.04.57.jpg

    That means the overhang is too thick causing it to stick up from the rest of the hull (and thicker than the reference photos IMO) and the locating pin is spaced about 0.5 mm too far forward causing the gap between the overhang and the hull. So the plan here is to cut off the locating pin (leaving the spacer), and use it to fill the hole in the hull. That will allow me to move the overhang back and seam it into the hull. Then I'll have to fill the seam and sand the top of the overhang down until it's flush with the top of the hull. That will also thin it out. I think it's going to cut the thickness of the overhang about in half. I cut the registration light housing off the top of the overhang so that I could get a smooth sand across its length. I'll put it back on later, probably using the fiber optic strand itself as the housing. That's the plan anyway. Wish me luck, it's going to be delicate work while doing a lot of rough sanding and shaping. Delicate rough sanding?

    That's all folks!
  27. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    So, some more progress:

    Got the lower observation deck finished, ready to go in the hull later after I light block, paint, etc. I don't think it turned out too bad.

    2015-10-06 21.10.21.jpg 2015-10-06 21.08.38.jpg 2015-10-06 21.12.22.jpg

    I might try to thin out those windows a bot more, we'll see how stable my nerves are when I get to looking at it again. If I think I can get them thin eough, I may use clear sheet for the windows instead of krystal klear.

    Speaking of that, I have a question: How clear does that krystal clear dry? I also picked up some Modge Podge figuring I'll experiment with both. Any input on your experience or if there's a preference would be helpful.

    Anyway, after having done this I might take a crack at the captain's ready room on deck A - that has a pretty big window too.

    So here's something I'm doing different this time - I glued the sides of the flight deck into the hull first, getting those ribs flush with the top beam.

    2015-10-07 23.06.50.jpg 2015-10-07 23.06.08.jpg

    I'll try to seam them in a bit further along. I'll still have to finish this edge off with filler like the last time, but it's soon much cleaner to start with this time.

    2015-10-07 23.06.41.jpg

    The sides and the hull don't quite match up at the bottom...

    2015-10-07 23.05.51.jpg

    And the rear wall is too tall...

    2015-10-07 23.16.10.jpg

    So a bit of persuasion (sandpaper) and things are looking better now.

    2015-10-07 23.29.30.jpg

    The back wall is not wide enough to go all the way across:

    2015-10-07 23.16.17.jpg

    Leaving a gap on both ends. But I have a plan for that...

    2015-10-07 23.46.09.jpg 2015-10-08 20.41.34.jpg 2015-10-08 20.41.53.jpg 2015-10-08 21.18.01.jpg

    The dry fit looks pretty good, I oughta be able to get a pretty clean seam when I glue it in.

    But I can't do that until I seam up the sides, finish off that round-y rear part, and seam in the upper observation deck. The reason being that I have more working room with the back wall out, and I want to hit this area with a light primer coat first to make sure all my filler looks good and there's nowhere else I need to clean up.

    Meanwhile, at the front of the ship, I figured I would start on that overhang. I cut that pin off, stuck it in the hull and did some light sanding on the overhang to make it fit a bit more snug, I'll get pics when I get back to that part. I wanted to get it ready for fiber optics so I could drill the holes in the back wall. But to locate them I had to get these drilled out first:

    2015-10-06 22.48.40.jpg 2015-10-06 22.48.20.jpg

    Those holes are 0.75mm diameter, drilled dead center of a 1.0mm target! It took considerable effort to make myself remain calm enough to have a steady hand at this - I still can't believe I pulled it off. It took me 4 practice holes on the spare part to sort out the best way to get this done. (kinda glad I bought a second kit now!) I figured out it worked best to 'center punch' with a #80 bit by starting a small hole first. I found that by angling the pilot bit I could correct the position of the starter hole in the first few turns in, so it was exactly center. Then I followed that with the larger bit.

    In the 2nd pic, the hole on the right is drilled at a slightly different angle than the rest, which is why it looks off center, but on the face of this detail, it is not. I just hope it doesn't affect the angle of the light coming out the fiber optics later. If it does, I may try to correct it by angling the back of the hole up a bit. If not, I'm not going to worry about it.

    And that was enough nerves for me this evening,

    G'night all!
  28. OzJames

    OzJames New Member

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    Looking good so far. Looking forward to watching this come together. Great work
  29. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Thanks, Oz, I appreciate the words of encouragement! I can't wait either - all this boring sanding and filing will pay off in the end. I think I'll be getting to some preliminary painting this next week - at least of some of the smaller bits. I can't wait to see some color on it.

    Sorry no real update tonight, but I ordered the fiber optics and control board. I'm about to that stage where I need to be drilling holes for fiber optics and figuring out how I'm going to do the nacelles and deflector dish.

    I looked at the available control boards out there and decided on this one:

    I got the first board listed on the page. It runs on 12v, which is easier to work with for the other circuits I'm going to be building, and the buzzard effect is the most accurate (I think) of all of them.

    So here's the lighting plan:

    There will be different groups of lights around the ship. The groups are:
    control board stuff - nav lights, strobes, bussard collectors
    interior lighting, warm white
    inboard nacelle chillers and deflector dish
    outboard nacelle chillers (they're a different color and intensity from the above)
    impulse engines
    spotlights (registration, shuttle bay, flight deck)
    sensor arrays
    red and blue forward sensor array (under the overhang)
    Maybe, if I'm crazy, docking port lighting

    Each of these groups will probably be a different brightness, so I'm going to pick up a bunch of potentiometers so that I can dial in the permanent resistor values for each group.

    The model will be mounted via a mini XLR connector or something of the sort on the end of the pole, with power coming up through the base. I'm thinking of doing a Li-on battery and charging circuit along with a latching circuit inside the model to turn the power on and off. To activate the latching circuit, there will be a momentary pushbutton or (if I can pull it off) a touch sensitive switch in the base which will latch the power "on" so the model can be removed from the base while remaining lit. To turn it off, it will be reattached to the base and the switch triggered again. I have a friend who might be able to help me with the circuitry, I'm hoping it's doable because that would be really cool.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  30. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    I didn't have a lot of time to spend on the model today, but I knocked out a few important things. Most of it was catch-up work, but the big thing is the impulse engines.

    This is something I thought I could do better. I sanded the lenses flat and polished them again just like last time, then cut out some corrugated siding styrene I picked up at the hobby shop today. I cut it to size, glued it on the back of the lenses and trimmed and sanded them up. Gluing was tricky, I used CA because it's thicker and less likely to run into the little groves on the siding and in between the two pieces, ruining the look. It still wanted to run in. I messed the first one up slightly when I put too much glue on and it ran into the grooves too far. I had to peel them apart, clean it up, re-sand the back of the lens and cut a new piece of styrene. I used a very minimal amount of glue around the edge until the ends of the grooves got a seal between them and the lens. I did not apply glue to the short ends, it would have just wicked right into those grooves. Once I had the grooves sealed, I put on a thicker coat of CA to bond them.

    2015-10-10 15.59.59.jpg 2015-10-10 16.35.59.jpg 2015-10-10 16.36.24.jpg

    The LHS only had this styrene in .040" thickness, which didn't let the light through as much as I wanted, so I thinned the styrene out by sanding the back down until it got thin enough to give me the amount of light transmittance and diffusion that I was looking for.

    2015-10-10 20.05.38.jpg 2015-10-10 20.05.02.jpg 2015-10-10 20.07.48.jpg

    I'm really, really happy with the way they turned out and glad I decided to try something very different here.

    Tomorrow is some more catch up work, same as before, so I won't bore you with that. I'll be drilling holes for the fiber optics in the next day or two, and once the control board is here (tuesday) I can start messing with some of the lighting and start working on the nacelles.

    My friend is already spinning up his brain for the electronics - he suggested a capacitive touch switch inside the hull to turn the lighting on and off. Apparently it'll operate through the plastic, so I can affix it somewhere and then touching that spot on the finished model would turn the lights on and off. Pretty cool! I'm thinking I'll stick it under the bridge dome. That's the only place I can really think of...... If anyone has any suggestions for where else I could put it, I'm all ears.
    brandomack likes this.
  31. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Well, you could stick the switch in the base.
  32. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Mike, thanks, that was the original plan but I want to be able to remove the model from its base while keeping it lit (hence the rechargeable battery) which involves either building a latching circuit so the lights stay on when removed from the base (momentary contact switch in the base) or putting the switch in the model (capacitive touch switch that works through the plastic). We'll see what's going to work better once we start building the circuitry.
  33. brandomack

    brandomack Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  34. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Brandon, thanks for the encouraging words. Your build is impressive, I have a lot of respect for people like you who can scratchbuild this stuff. I wouldn't know where to start! If you don't mind sharing how you did the warp pylon spotlights on your model, it would help me out, I've been looking for ideas - most of the fiber optic stuff I've seen doesn't really throw light on the hull the way the movie CG's do (or at least it isn't coming through in photos) and that's something I want to achieve for both the nacelle pylons and the registration lights. Someone mentioned stealing yours and Ian Lawrence's ideas for the lights, but I poked through your thread and around Ian's website but didn't see what the idea was....
  35. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Brandon, can you point me in the direction of an armature? The only one I could find on a cursory search was the one by SIP, but it seems to be out of stock at the couple places I could find it. Any suggestions?
  36. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    So I picked up a paragraphix photoetch detail set. It includes a bunch of stuff, a cargo bay and shuttle bay interior, docking ports, and some windows.

    2015-10-14 23.01.12.jpg

    I'll probably use that enterprise graphic and the maybe the logo on my base. Neat. I had to see what these hatches look like.

    2015-10-14 23.01.40.jpg 2015-10-14 23.20.17.jpg

    And I couldn't stop there, I had to do the docking port too. Not too shabby! I like the level of detail this set adds.

    2015-10-14 23.48.08.jpg 2015-10-14 23.49.10.jpg

    All my lighting and fiber optics finally got here, so I had to play. I'm still working out how best to light the chiller grills. Once I sort that out, I'll post an update with the results but for now, I decided to try a couple things on a docking bay.

    Here's the hatch from the flight deck lit up with 0.75mm fiber optics::

    2015-10-15 23.56.09.jpg

    I grabbed one of the docking ports from the perimeter of the hull because I wanted to try out an idea for side lighting them:

    2015-10-15 23.51.36.jpg 2015-10-15 23.49.11.jpg

    That's 0.75mm fiber optics on the ones on either side of the port, and 0.25mm for the spotlights shining on the port. Man, that 0.25mm fiber optic is some fragile stuff! I'll have to be extra delicate when I'm stringing it. I drilled in from behind and up at about a 45 degree angle from * near the bottom of the piece using a #80 bit. I could have gone #81 but 80 is the smallest my set contains. I'll have to pick up an 81 this weekend.

    As an after thought, I could probably drill these straight in from the sides because I cut the fiber optics flush with the wall, resulting in an angled cut of the fiber optics. When I was messing around I noticed that an angled cut didn't change the angle at which the light emits and only hurt the light distribution. Next time I'll try drilling the hole straight in. I may have to lay down a thin coat of black on the outside of the hull because I'm noticing how the fiber optics leak light into the hull as they pass through. Is this necessary, or will the primer and topcoat be enough to block that light?

    Anyway, the .75mm and the .25mm optics are on different LEDs. The .75 is on a standard cool white LED turned down pretty dim, while I had to put the .25mm optics on one of the cool white super bright LEDs (40,000 mcd and 9000k) that I bought for the registration and hull spotlights. This balanced the light between the two spots so one wasn't overwhelming the other and to give a pleasant ambient glow. Sorry my camera kinda sucks, especially in low light, but they look awesome in person!

    2015-10-15 23.50.13.jpg 2015-10-16 00.08.45.jpg

    I don't even know how or if these are lighted on the "real" ship - I couldn't discern any lighting on the drex renders I have - but accurate or not, I really like the effect and I think it's going to add a spot of depth to the finished model. I think it's ok to wing some of these details a bit and make it up as I go, especially when I can't find good reference and what I'm making up will add to the finished product.

    Well, it's starting to get interesting! I can't wait until it all starts to come together.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  37. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Man, this prep work is starting to get tedious but at the same time it's getting interesting, figuring out how to integrate the lighting.Most of the filling and sanding on the saucer section is just about done. I'll be getting back to cleaning it up and finalizing it soon, but I have to do all the docking ports first because the 0.25mm fiber optic for those needs to be run before I can attach the sides to the lower section. Also the rear of the flight deck is just about ready to go together too. Now that the bigger pieces are getting finished up, I'm beginning to make a painting plan - I'm seeing areas where I'll have to pre-paint before assembly. Light blocking and white will go on once the sides are glued up.

    I'm still mulling over the best way to light the chiller grills on the sides of the nacelles.

    I turned my attention to the impulse engines. Here's the plan:

    2015-10-18 00.37.39.jpg

    One section of an LED strip will be mounted on a backing about 10mm back from the engine grills. The two LEDs on the right are for the engines while the one on the left will wrap around and light the inside of that center section, what's it called, the warp field generator? You'll see what I'm talking about in a minute. These LEDs are cool white.

    On that note...I noticed that the outboard chiller grills are a deep blue, while the inboard ones are a shade or two lighter. The impulse engines and deflector are an even lighter blue, almost a cyan. I figured out that a light blue tinting on the transparent parts and lighting with white LEDs gave me the shade I was after. The chiller grills will get blue LEDs to get that deep blue.

    Anyway, the raised stop in the hull is too tall, it's going to block the light to the engines, so I had to cut it down.

    2015-10-17 23.38.34.jpg 2015-10-17 23.40.55.jpg

    My experimenting told me that I needed to get the LEDs at the correct angle and distance from the back of the grills so they would throw their light pattern in the correct spot and with the right intensity to mimic the reference:


    To do that I had to get the end piece fitting properly and glued in place.

    2015-10-17 23.48.44.jpg 2015-10-17 23.49.55.jpg 2015-10-17 23.49.06.jpg

    Getting the backing fitting into the hull...

    2015-10-18 00.38.23.jpg

    ...and then I built a structure off the back of it to hold that 3rd LED pointing into the center section. After a whole bunch of test fitting and checking the light pattern on the grills to figure out and mark the structure's exact position to get the lighting effect I wanted, I glued the whole thing in place.

    2015-10-18 01.59.05.jpg 2015-10-18 01.59.19.jpg

    Hopefully these single LEDs on each side pointing in are enough to give that blue glow to the transparent top of the center section. If not, I can add another LED in the middle. We'll see.

    So here's the finished result.

    2015-10-18 02.18.04.jpg 2015-10-18 02.18.31.jpg 2015-10-18 02.19.51.jpg

    As usual, they look better in person than through the camera. The camera is exaggerating an almost imperceptible difference in brightness between the two grills and also darkening up the color. In person, they look perfect.
    I'm very pleased with the way this turned out. I hope things keep going this smoothly. :)

    I removed the transparent grills (the were temporarily held in place with scotch tape) and masked off the LEDs in preparation for light blocking and white. In hindsight, I should have at least light blocked before this went in, but that's the great thing about hindsight. I'll light block before I do the other side.

    2015-10-18 02.30.39.jpg

    Question: Does anyone know if these lights are strobes, or just static ambient hull lighting? (That's what it looks like to me.) They don't look like windows, and the parts for these holes are clear raised pieces like the strobes. There's also one of these behind each clearance light on the saucer section.

    Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 3.06.55 AM.jpg

    I promise there will be gluing and painting going on soon! :)
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  38. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Well, it's been a busy week. Sorry it took so long for an update, but things are still moving along. I got all of my lighting in, including the EL strips I ordered, so the focus has been figuring out how all of my lighting and fiber optics are going to integrate into the model. Now that I've gotten into this a bit and my friend is working on the electronics, the whole battery idea has gone out the window. The EL strips and the warm white interior lighting strips require 12v, and it turns out that's not a "normal" voltage for small rechargeable batteries.

    Anyway, these EL strips are perfect for the nacelle chiller grills. The color is dead on and it's a nice even glow across the entire surface. It's even the correct brightness, right out of the box.

    2015-10-21 19.14.57.jpg

    These need to be mounted right up against the grills, so I cut some flat sheet to affix it to. I'll need one strip each side, so I got that all sorted.

    2015-10-21 21.24.14.jpg

    A quick mock-up:

    2015-10-21 21.39.48.jpg 2015-10-21 19.38.54.jpg 2015-10-21 19.39.21.jpg 2015-10-21 19.38.37.jpg

    I also light blocked and finished off the fit of the impulse engines and engineering section, and then sprayed white in the center section for the interior lights that will be there.

    2015-10-23 00.01.22.jpg 2015-10-23 00.07.39.jpg 2015-10-21 23.13.40.jpg

    And cut slots out of the ends of the nacelle struts to allow for wiring to be routed:

    2015-10-23 00.15.08.jpg

    And that's enough on the engineering section for now, I wanted to get back to the saucer section. I cut grooves in the top to run 1mm fiber optics for lighting the landing deck above the bay doors. The fiber optics will be run through those channels, heated and bent at a sharp downward angle and the ends mushroomed to put the light where I want it. Then I glued the back wall in place. So that's pretty much done now.

    2015-10-24 02.36.13.jpg 2015-10-24 03.06.03.jpg

    I went after the docking port and ready room window on A deck. I thinned out the plastic here and shaped the openings. The port side got the hatch from the Paragraphix detail set, and I'm thinking of building a little ready room inside because that window is really big. :) Theres some minor mud work and cleanup to do yet. I also drilled out the holes in this sensor array to add 0.75mm fiber optics later. The fiber optics will go in the bottom three raised holes - I'm not sure if these are sensors or thrusters, I've found mixed information, but whatever they are they glow blue in the reference pictures. When I was playing with LEDs, I had a UV colored LED and I just couldn't resist using that cool futuristic color. So all of these sensors - thrusters - whatever they are will be lit with the UV LED. They're all over the ship, so it oughta look pretty cool.

    2015-10-24 02.20.09.jpg 2015-10-24 02.36.52.jpg 2015-10-24 02.21.01.jpg

    Aaaaand finally, the overhang on the front of the hull.

    2015-10-24 02.26.01.jpg 2015-10-24 02.25.23.jpg 2015-10-24 02.25.02.jpg 2015-10-24 02.24.52.jpg

    I have quite a bit more work to do up here. The overhang blended into the hull behind it rather well, but I still need to seam it in. And the sanding process pretty much wiped out the front of the raised plates behind it. As much as I tried to avoid them, there was still damage due to the heavy sanding. I have some 0.015" styrene strips that will fit the bill nicely. I'll just remove the sanded down sections, replace them with the strips and blend it together.

    So that's all for now. I bought my next kit, the polar lights 1701-A - that thing is HUGE! I can't wait to get this one finished and start on it!
  39. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Hi All, quick update, thought I would share the finished overhang. It's not perfect, but I'm still proud of the way it turned out - I think I'm getting better at this mudwork.

    2015-10-27 00.33.25.jpg 2015-10-27 00.33.09.jpg 2015-10-27 00.31.21.jpg 2015-10-27 00.30.50.jpg 2015-10-27 00.30.12.jpg

    I'm working on running fiber optics and finishing up the upper saucer section. Hopefully I have both saucer sections done by the weekend so I can move on to the rear section and nacelles.

    More later!
    Wes R likes this.
  40. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    Looking good. Wiring kits makes me nervous though it shouldn't since there's enough tutorials and i have Electronics for Dummies lol.
  41. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Don't be, it's only 12v (or usually 5), it won't kill you. I specialize in automotive electrical diagnostics, so it's second nature to me. It's pretty easy stuff - learn ohm's law, remember that electricity is nothing more than flowing water, and get a breadboard - you'll learn as you tinker.
  42. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    It's been a busy week, and I've been jumping around a lot polishing off last minute details on the saucer sections.

    Let's see, where to start...

    Flight deck: I got the fiber optics in place for above the doors. Before gluing the back in place, I cut slits in the upper hull to route fiber optics above the doors. I thought I had taken pictures but I can't find them. You can see them in the shot of the registration lights optics on the inside of the hull further down in this post.

    Anyway, I shaved the end of some 1.0mm fiber optics at a steep angle so they'd lay in that groove flush and throw light downward.

    2015-10-28 18.37.28.jpg 2015-10-28 18.40.11.jpg 2015-10-28 18.51.01.jpg 2015-10-28 18.51.16.jpg

    I like the end effect:

    2015-10-28 18.51.33.jpg 2015-10-28 19.57.08.jpg 2015-10-28 20.00.21.jpg

    I drilled the missing hole for the light under the flight deck for the observation room. While I was there, I added the missing lights down the center rib of the hangar bay doors. These will be 0.50mm fiber optics and I think I'll put them on the strobe circuit - I think I'll like the added effect.

    2015-10-27 23.45.25.jpg

    Then I glued a 'micro' LED in place to light the room and routed the wires through some reliefs I had cut in the under-structure for the flight deck. Now I can get that glued on. I'll spray a coat of black primer under the flight deck for light blocking before it goes in place.

    2015-10-30 00.33.09.jpg 2015-10-30 00.33.17.jpg

    I decided to open up these windows and use the frame from the paragraphix kit.

    2015-10-30 00.33.44.jpg

    Ok, the registration spotlights - these were interesting. There were little knobs on the model for these. I removed the one for the forward light while doing the overhang. I started with the cargo hold lights to get practiced. I drilled a pilot hole through the center of the little nubby on the casting - I knew my drilling was going to wipe that out, to be replaced with the shaft of the fiber optic. I applied a little CA under the fiber optic and taped it down, then affixed them from the inside with Mod Podge.

    2015-10-27 23.46.25.jpg 2015-10-27 23.46.01.jpg

    Then the front light - this was trickier because of the thin plastic of the overhang.

    2015-10-27 23.46.39.jpg 2015-10-27 23.47.00.jpg

    I think the profile looks good. I shaped up the 'housings' on each light with putty. Apparently I didn't get finished photos of them, I'll get some tomorrow. They turned out pretty good.

    2015-10-28 22.01.38.jpg 2015-10-28 22.01.59.jpg

    There's three additional spotlight around the lower sensor (?) dome, so I added those and set 0.75mm fiber optics in there.

    2015-10-30 00.33.37.jpg 2015-10-30 01.08.04.jpg

    And then I played with lighting that dome. I've been kicking around a few ideas for how to do it, and I think I figured out a way to replicate the light pattern and color in the reference photos.

    2015-10-30 01.06.38.jpg Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.22.02 AM.png

    Of course the light doesn't come through in the photos the way it looks in person, but it's pretty dead on to the eye. I think I might also try to replicate that shaded pattern on the dome too. Tonight was just a quick light test, so I'll dive into this soon and let you all know how I'm doing it.

    This hole - it's not in the reference photos, and the model instructions show it in the illustrations but don't show anything going into it. I can't find any un-accounted for parts that could go there, so I'm assuming it's an error - or maybe it's the missing hole for the lower observation deck! That's it, I found it, it was lost! Anyway, unless someone can shed some light on this for me, I'm going to fill it.

    2015-10-29 23.33.56.jpg

    That's it for tonight
  43. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    So, as promised, the sensor dome. This is really cool.

    I got the light pattern I wanted by shining an LED about from about 6mm back through a thin piece of sheet styrene. I think the styrene is about 0.010" thick - I picked it up specifically for diffusion. So I had to make a light box for the sensor dome.

    First was cutting out a circle that would go right against the base of the dome. Then a top of 0.040" styrene for strength. I used a compass for this one so I would have the punch mark in the middle to locate the hole for the LED. Then I cut a wrap of the thin styrene at 12mm high so the LED could mount all the way up to its base leaving the end of it 6mm from the diffuser.

    2015-10-30 18.51.18.jpg 2015-10-30 18.55.46.jpg 2015-10-30 19.31.56.jpg 2015-10-30 19.38.08.jpg

    Then I closed it up, checked my diffusion pattern and glued the LED in the top and wired it up.

    2015-10-30 19.45.20.jpg 2015-10-30 19.45.31.jpg 2015-10-30 19.59.56.jpg 2015-10-30 19.58.40.jpg

    Looking good so far....

    2015-10-30 20.00.30.jpg

    Now to replicating that aztec-y pattern on the dome. I masked off the lightest area on the pattern and hit it with a light coat of transparent smoke for the medium layer. Then I added a mask on top of the medium layer to airbrush the darkest pattern. The darkest one got a hair too dark, but I'll live with it.

    2015-10-30 20.37.10.jpg 2015-10-30 20.47.42.jpg 2015-10-30 21.00.40.jpg 2015-10-30 21.13.39.jpg

    Then a thin coat of transparent yellow over the top of the pattern. The LED is a cool white, so the yellow combined with the color of the light will give that pale yellow-slightly greenish color in the reference photo.

    2015-10-30 22.03.39.jpg

    Of course it looks a little darker in the photo.

    The end result is a dead ringer though:

    Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.22.02 AM.png 2015-10-30 22.04.30.jpg

    .....except the dark part of the pattern is a touch too dark, but it can't all be perfect. As usual, the camera is exaggerating the difference, too. It seems to do that when photographing the lighted bits. Anyway, I sprayed a coat of black on the outside of the light box to block any bleed-through from the interior lighting and then a coat of white. Painted and polished the little nub on the bottom and glued the dome to the light box.
    The finished dome, ready to go in:

    2015-10-30 23.44.53.jpg

    Got a good start on the flight deck - this one is going to sand down really quickly, it doesn't have far to go. While I had the putty out, I hit that errant hole behind the sensor dome.

    2015-10-30 23.10.08.jpg 2015-10-30 23.10.19.jpg

    Got the lower observation room glued in place. I sanded the bottom down flush and masked off the windows, then glued the top on.

    2015-10-30 23.36.55.jpg 2015-10-30 23.37.53.jpg

    I primered up all the puttied spots on the lower hull, (except the hole I just filled). I'll get that flight deck done, get all the perimeter docking port lighting installed and glue up the saucer sides, Then it should be ready for a final sanding, primer, light blocking and a white coat on the inside and ready for paint.

    G'night all
  44. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Still making progress although it's been a little slow lately.

    I got the two side docking hatches done and lit.

    2015-11-02 22.23.22.jpg

    And drilled the holes for the maneuvering thrusters. These (and the rest of these thruster arrays around the hull) will receive 0.75mm fiber optics running off a dimly glowing UV LED. I know they're supposed to be blue, but I'm claiming artistic license here because I think the purple-y color of the UV looks futuristic and cool, and they'll make a nice accent they way they're spread out around the ship. :)

    2015-11-07 23.05.05.jpg

    Because of the angle of the arrays, I had to carve out some room on the back for the fiber optics to come out the rear instead of the bottom. These aren't as thin as they look in the photo, but they'll get light blocked before the fiber optics are installed.

    2015-11-07 23.05.23.jpg

    One of the mount points for the piece with the docking hatches ends up directly over the holes for the nav and strobe lights so I'll need to cut some of the attachment point away to make room for the LED (for the nav light) and the fiber optic (for the strobe) to come up through. I didn't test fit this before doing the docking port lighting - I wish I had, because removing material so close to that 0.25mm fiber optics is going to be tricky.

    2015-11-07 23.06.21.jpg 2015-11-02 22.24.15.jpg

    Speaking of nav lights....

    2015-11-02 22.26.47.jpg

    2015-11-07 23.15.43.jpg 2015-11-07 23.18.53-1.jpg

    And the red navs, waiting for my new airbrush to arrive on Monday. The Badger is officially dead - I barely got the green lights done before it died completely. Nothing I've done has been able to bring it back to life. It simply won't spray anymore. Sometimes it bubbles air up through the siphon cup, sometimes it does nothing at all.

    2015-11-07 23.07.43.jpg

    I'm waiting on the airbrush to finish up painting the nacelle chiller grills and begin assembling the nacelles. In the meantime I got a coat of primer and light blocking black on the grills. The aluminum buff will go on next, and then I'll have to paint all the recesses by hand.

    2015-11-07 23.07.20.jpg

    Once that's done I can paint and assemble the nacelles with the electronics and EL strips. In the meantime I'm working on cleaning up the casting seams and smoothing things over.

    2015-11-07 23.03.33.jpg 2015-11-07 23.03.41.jpg 2015-11-07 23.03.59.jpg

    These rear side pieces didn't want to fit quite right, there was a big angled gap at the rear between the back of these and the hull, and a large gap between them and the hull pieces behind them. I forgot to get pictures of the gap, but you can kind of see it from the back in this photo.

    2015-11-07 23.01.18.jpg

    Seems like the best way to fix this is with a styrene sheet to fill. I'll sand and shape the filler piece tomorrow.

    2015-11-07 23.01.42.jpg 2015-11-07 23.01.58.jpg 2015-11-07 23.02.38.jpg

    And the finished flight deck, because we like pictures :)

    2015-11-07 23.10.14.jpg

    That's all for tonight. G'night all.
  45. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    I'm more worried about melting the kit lol. You'd think i'd remember more from votech but it's been a very long 20 years. It's looking good, the tiny little version i have is being parted out for other things as i accidentally broke a warp nacelle that's only about as big as a sharpie marker. How many lights is this going to have?
  46. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    Wes, that sucks about your kit. Are you going to pick up another? Maybe a 1:350? It's been a lot of work so far, but worth it for the scale. If there's anything I can do to refresh your memory about electronics, feel free to PM me.

    As for how many lights, that's a good question and I'm not even sure of the answer yet. If you mean individual LEDs, it depends on how many fiber optics I can stuff onto one LED. If you're talking about lights viewed externally, the short answer is everything. I'd have to go count them all, which is something I'll do before its finished.
  47. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Hi All
    Thought I would give a quick update since it's been awhile.

    In looking over what needs to be done to get the nacelles sorted, I ran across this. It really shows up when I shine a light in the inside. It looks like I'm going to have to fabricate an entirely new bottom to the recess these lights sit in.

    2015-11-10 21.56.45.jpg 2015-11-10 21.58.07.jpg

    So I'm going to put this aside and think about how I want to fix this. I really wanted to get back to the main hull and get onto finishing it.

    It got a healthy light blocking coat with black primer, then a white coat and the interior lights - a warm white:

    2015-11-10 19.03.45.jpg 2015-11-20 22.50.51.jpg 2015-11-20 22.50.59.jpg

    Seeing this has me motivated now to get this thing done!

    2015-11-20 22.49.48.jpg 2015-11-20 23.00.06.jpg 2015-11-20 22.59.33.jpg

    With paint happening soon, I had to finish up the bottom hull. Since I'm doing the shuttle bay control room windows, I had to relocate the mounting pole. I made a really solid block out of stacked pieces of 0.040" styrene sheet for the support, then glued that to the inside of the lower hull. Then I took the hull to the drill press to drill the hole for the mounting pole.

    2015-11-14 23.16.47.jpg 2015-11-14 23.32.58.jpg 2015-11-20 23.33.53.jpg 2015-11-20 23.33.42.jpg

    With that finished up, it was ready for paint. I gave it a clean grey primer coat - it looked pretty cool in primer - I meant to snap a pic but apparently I forgot. One of the employees at my LHS gave me a tip that the metal paint I'm going to use goes much better over a gloss black, which works out fine because I wanted to do a light blocking coat on the outside anyway - the light from the fiber optics was shining through the hull wherever they passed through. So, this is what Enterprize NX-01 looks like in gloss black. (well, the lower hull anyway....)

    2015-11-22 02.21.24.jpg

    While that cures, I figured I'd knock out the deflector. Mostly the same as before, but this time a light blocking coat on the outside of the deflector, followed by a coat of silver. Then I fabricated those support rods like last time, only I used a smaller diameter styrene rod for the angled supports.

    2015-11-10 21.59.08.jpg 2015-11-22 00.00.17.jpg 2015-11-22 00.56.23.jpg

    ...aaand finished.

    2015-11-22 01.57.43.jpg

    It's going to start coming together pretty quickly soon. Hopefully the gloss black coat is cured by tomorrow and I can get the final hull color on, then move on to adding the clearance lights and hull lights and then gluing up the sides.

    More later
  48. kevr

    kevr New Member

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    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


    I got the lower hull and secondary hulls/symmetrical warp field generator section painted their final color. I had to get the final color applied before I could install the nav lights and glue up the sides, since the nav lights are under one of the mount points for the sides. Also so that I could get the shuttle bat lights installed as the fiber optics have mushroomed ends for lenses so had to be pulled through after painting.

    I was going to use Model Master Aluminum Plate Metallizer but: 1) enamel over acrylic just wasn't happening on the blue nacelle grills (the transparent blue is Tamyia acrylic) and 2) I thought the metallizer was way too silver and bright both in person and compared to what's seen on screen. So I went with a new brand - Vallejo Metal Color, "Duraluminum". It's much warmer and more toned down than the Model Master paint.

    2015-11-25 23.22.35.jpg

    I couldn't be happier with the results of this paint. It's airbrush ready, It sprayed on very, very smoothly and covered extremely well. The end result is an absolutely amazing shimmer of dark metal - it looks incredibly realistic - I couldn't stop looking at it for 2 days! ...and no buffing or special sealing is required. It's exactly the color this ship needed. The photos just don't do this paint justice. It looks stunning in person.I can't wait to get to the aztecing.

    2015-11-22 20.00.53.jpg 2015-11-22 20.01.01.jpg 2015-11-22 20.01.19.jpg

    The first coat of this metal over the gloss black blew me away - it blended in with the black and looked like something out of a terminator movie - it presented as a very industrial futuristic metal like nothing I'd seen before. I wish I had thought to take a photo of it after its first coat. I really can't rave enough. I'm definitely going to keep this brand in my back pocket for metal paints.

    So anyway, with that done, I got onto getting the lighting finished.

    I think the first thing I did was glue that sensor dome in there. I've been waiting to see it against the silver hull. It looks awesome. I didn't get a photo of that, but you can see it in the other photos.

    Then I went after the nav lights, then the hull perimeter lights (lit via fiber optic). There are 6 of these on the lower hull. I used the clear inserts that came with the model and glued fiber optic to the back of them to throw light into the clear piece. The result looks good.

    2015-11-24 00.10.41.jpg 2015-11-25 00.17.59.jpg

    I used some 1mm LEDs I picked up at my LHS for the floodlights below the launch bay control room. They fire directly out those openings and man, do they throw some light. They help add some ambient lighting to the outside of the hull.

    2015-11-24 00.10.48.jpg

    The openings on the outside will be filled with Micro Krystal Klear a bit later, encasing the LEDs in a lens. With that done I installed the control room I had made earlier.

    2015-11-25 00.18.35.jpg

    I wanted the windows to be very see through and since I used the paragraphics detail for the windows, I had very thin window frames to work with. Rather than krystal klear, I cut a window out of thin clear styrene and glued it in place with krystal klear before the control room went in. I'll get some pictures of this and the nav lights, and the other exterior stuff once I get the inside done and turn my attention to touching up the outside of the hull.

    It's getting messy in layers inside this hull. I also glued the control board in.

    2015-11-24 00.10.28.jpg 2015-11-24 00.10.14.jpg 2015-11-25 00.17.49.jpg

    The fiber optics for the shuttle bay lights:

    2015-11-24 00.10.08.jpg

    On a side-note, something I should have done differently - the black primer light blocking coat and white reflective coat before any fiber optics went in - spraying over the fiber optics, I think the primer etched into them a bit. It doesn't seem to affect light output at all, but it made them brittle in several spots where the paint got thick. I broke and had to repair one of the cargo bay lights just as it came out of the hull inside - I just cut it off flush with the hull and glued a new fiber optic to the cut end. I used CA so the ends would melt together slightly and not diffuse the light. It seems to have worked, I can't tell the difference between it and the unbroken one on the other side.

    A couple of the hull clearance lights:

    2015-11-25 00.18.04.jpg 2015-11-25 00.18.48.jpg

    And I got the LEDs drilled and fiber optics attached for all of the optics on this bottom layer of the hull. The second photo is the shuttle bay lights. I had to use 2 LEDs - there are a total of six 1mm fiber optics and four 0.5mm fiber optics.

    2015-11-25 23.00.08.jpg 2015-11-25 22.59.43.jpg

    Getting all this done allowed me to get the mess of fiber optics and wires sorted and tidy. Well, relatively tidy anyway...

    2015-11-25 22.59.31.jpg

    The next layer of fiber optics will be the sides. There are four optics each for the two docking ports and three optics each for the four little thruster/sensor panels. Then the deflector dish, small impulse engines and lights (I gotta do some cutting and fabricating here), paint the landing deck, do some touch-up, and the lower hull should be complete.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  49. kevr

    kevr New Member

    Trophy Points:
    I got the sides glued up and the second "layer" of fiber optics in:

    2015-11-26 20.44.34.jpg 2015-11-26 20.44.26.jpg 2015-11-26 20.44.48.jpg

    It's been difficult wrangling all the wires and fiber optics. Were I to do it again, I would put the fiber optics in last - I've broken a couple - I'll have to replace the shuttle bay spotlights. To connect the fiber optics to the LEDs, I was flattening the top of the LED and drilling out most of the center so there was something for the fiber optics to stick into. I found that the body of the LED worked as a lens, so drilling into it created a hotspot in the center, so not all the optics got equal light. It worked better to flatten the top and glue the optics directly onto the flat spot.

    Anyway, the sides got a coat of paint, and I think I'm going to do a black wash in the ridges that run all the way around the perimeter to add some dimension and realism.

    2015-12-02 23.15.30.jpg 2015-12-02 23.15.02.jpg 2015-12-02 23.15.10.jpg

    So, on to the blue strip behind the deflector. I trimmed down the EL strip so the height was the same as the deflector and glued it to a strip of styrene. This will be glued in directly behind the deflector when I glue it in, very soon.

    2015-12-01 22.10.21.jpg 2015-12-01 22.11.05-2.jpg 2015-12-01 22.24.20.jpg 2015-12-01 22.24.42-1.jpg 2015-12-01 22.26.17.jpg

    I tried, but I couldn't let it go - the small impulse engines in the back of the saucer section. They needed to be cut out and a piece of clear put behind them to be lit, just like the main impulse engines. They pretty much got the same treatment with the grooved styrene.

    2015-12-02 21.28.20.jpg 2015-12-02 21.28.52.jpg 2015-12-02 22.48.53.jpg

    I robbed a couple of the small SMD LEDs from the same cool white strip I used for the main impulse engines, because I wanted something small back there.

    2015-12-02 22.52.16.jpg

    Tomorrow I'll try to get these put together and finished. Then all that's left of the lower saucer section is to do some paint touch-up in a couple places where I accidentally gouged the paint, re-do the shuttle bay spotlights and glue in the deflector. Then it's on to the upper hull. There won't be much to do there.

    And then I did this because Attention Deficit Disorder:

    2015-11-10 21.59.00.jpg

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