Kitbashing the I.S.S. Sato, NCC-16472

While on my way home from work, my mental gears began to turn. My very first thought was that I might adapt my TMP-Era design of the U.S.S. Hopper (NCC-3587) and port it over to TOS era. But then the juices REALLY started to flow! I went WAY out of the box.

By the time I got home, I'd fleshed out a vessel that's gonna knock your socks off. I wouldn't want to meet one in the dark corner of the galaxy, if you get my meaning. I finished the design within half an hour.

I knew right away that this dreadnought design HAD to be a mirror ship, rather than a Starfleet vessel; it was simply too warlike. The name just came naturally - the I.S.S. Sato, named for Empress Hoshi Sato. I figured this ship would be her vanguard, based on the stolen Constitution-class technology they got in the Tholian Expanse, but modified for conquest.
I received the kits today. This is better than I thought; I now have the materials to make TWO ships, if I choose to. I started right away with cutting the saucer in half. After sanding it smooth, I then attacked the nacelles, using frisket to mask out the areas I didn't want dark gray.

Next, I glued a left half secondary hull to a right half - but opposite what you'd think. Unfortunately, these secondary hull pieces don't fit together well; I'm going to have to work them to get them into shape, especially since I can't use any putty.

The last thing I did today was to make the box that forms the center of the saucer section. It's drying overnight. I'm probably going to have to glue some sprues in place to cover the seams, but if I do have to do that, it'll make nice greeblies.
Well, the painting's done. What a pain in the butt! I still haven't figured out why I can't airbrush properly. Hopefully I'll have it figured out by the time I need to do the Cavalier, or it's going to be tough.

Primary assembly begins today. I have the lower deuterium tanks assembled, just waiting for the texturing. If I really can accomplish this section, it'll make for a nice addition - period accurate, and it adds to the "menacing" look of the ship.

While I'm not entirely satisfied with the cardboard construction (too many gaps), it's good enough to pass muster. Painting details will help. I also plan to add other greeblies to the section, as well as elsewhere on the secondary hull and / or saucer.
The texturing is done on the deuterium tanks, and the first set of greeblies added. I've also glued together the other halves of the secondary hull and made the support strut for the upper nacelles.

Using existing parts as greeblies is easy; cutting apart pieces and using two or three (or more) to create a believable greeblie is a LOT harder. But the only way I could fill in (or cover) the gaps in the deuterium tanks was to either put straight rods (of which I had precious few) or greeblies.

On the sides you'll find a greeblie which is made out of part of a warp nacelle in the middle, capped by the inside cap of the bussard collector. It makes a very nice shape, sort of a power coupling or other similar structure. The clamshell shutllebay, turned on its side, becomes a cannon when you insert the prongs which would normally be in the ends of the pilot-episode version Enterprise's bussard collectors.

Overall, this piece - which has taken just over four hours to complete - gives a really menacing appearance to the ship. It's not "neat," but it's period accurate; similar structures exist on ships such as the robot ore freighters seen in "More Tribbles, More Troubles" (Anim.) or on the S.S. Botany Bay (TOS) or on several other ships seen briefly, especially in the remastered version of the Original Series.

The I.S.S. Sato is gradually taking shape.
I've filled in most of the gaps with glue, then painted over them. This way, it's not so obvious. There's a few things I would have done differently, given the chance, but I had to work within the rules of the Kontest.

I wasn't sure at first if the green globes with copper trim would work, but it does; these power collector modules (or whatever) have a distinctly alien look to them; I figure Hoshi captured them in one of her first raids with the Defiant before this ship was commissioned.

The stand gave me a LOT of trouble. I had to embed it inside the deuterium tanks, rather than just having it stuck to the outside of them. The contact point was just too wobbly otherwise. It's not perfectly centered, nor is it straight, but at least it holds the ship up off the floor, which is all I needed.

I decided to forego making a Terran Empire logo base, mostly because of the time and effort involved. You won't see the base in the pictures, so it's really not worth the effort.
The final assembly is done, and all the decals are in place. I have a problem with the starboard nacelle being out of line, and the saucer section dips down a bit. I'm going to have to dissasemble these parts and fix them. Taking pictures is harder than I thought; the lighting isn't right, and the big flash is too much. I finally found a balance by doing a half flash.
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