One-Sixth Studio Scale TOS Enterprise

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I'm building a one-sixth studio scale (or about 1/500th scale) model of the 11 foot Enterprise. This model will be similar to my Phase II Enterprise model in that it will be a study model for a set of plans of the 11 foot studio model as a model. Also, this model will be similar to my Phase II Enterprise model in that it will include (at a slightly smaller scale) techniques I'll be planning on using when building my one-to-one scale replica of the 33 inch Enterprise (which I'll most likely rent a garage to build that one in next spring).

So what will be different about this model (and the plans) from other models (and plans) of the Enterprise?
This model will be intended to show what the studio model looked like from the blue screen side while it was being filmed for TOS. I'm planning on documenting (and replicating) what was (and wasn't) there on the side we didn't see in TOS (and was painted over by the first Smithsonian restoration).

What will be used for plans?
Back in 2009 I started working on a set of plans for the 11 foot model (primarily in it's first pilot configuration). Even after I put that project on hiatus, I continued to make notes and refine the contours. I plan on using those elements as a starting point and using the building of the model to help bring together a set of plans. What I'll most likely do is a generalized set of plans to start with and then address the specifics of the first pilot, second pilot and series configurations... though maybe not as a single set of plans when released (most likely a set of plans for each configuration). These plans may not be good for those wanting drawings of the idealized fictional starship Enterprise, but for those interested in the actual physical artifact, these plans should at least be entertaining.

And lets get started...

Right off the bat I started collecting together the things I would need to do this build...


The primary hull is to be based on my contour studies of the 11 foot studio model, so it'll be fully scratch built. To do this I'll be turning the shapes out of hydrocal, getting the surface to the state I want, including engraving some elements, and then using that as a master. To do the turning I built two scree boxes and started adding foamcore board approximations of the shapes to them. I also started in on the bridge/B/C deck structure.


Put a little more time into the scree boxes and sculpting the bridge/B/C deck structure.


Below are images of the first two steps in turning the lower primary hull. Also, because the bridge/B/C deck structure hangs over the slope of the top of the primary hull, I built the master about a third taller than it needed to be. The final part will get trimmed down to the correct height and shape. Still, I lowered the master in a sheet of foamcore board to show the approximate look of the final part.


Started in on the upper primary hull and continued to work on the surface of the lower primary hull.


And that is about where I'm at so far. I'm moving quickly on this because I'm wanting to make a bunch of silicon molds of key parts all at the same time... including some parts I need for my Phase II Enterprise.

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Spent a little more time on getting the surfaces to about 99% of where I wanted them, then brushed over both masters with Elmer's Glue (watered down by about 50%) to help seal them. Applied two coats and let that dry, then gave them their first primer pass to see how things were standing (about where I wanted, so no surprises so far).

Here is a few shots of the parts after I hit them with primer.



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So, Scree box. Could you be a little more specific? How are you turning these? Are you spinning them around the pivot point? Are you using a fixed router? I have been trying to accomplish something similar with a 36 inch diameter saucer (mothership from classic V), but I was going to build it in pie pieces, mold them, and assemble it. Wasn't working like I had hoped.


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I'll break down the process a little more (I just wasn't sure if anyone was really interested in that much detail).

So the starting point was the contour of the primary hull, which I divided into a top and bottom curve. From those I printed out copies and used them to cut pieces of styrene with those shapes (I used a safety pin to trace the contours and then broke the plastic along the etched curve). Because I wanted to get the edges as clean as possible, I used pretty thin styrene (0.02") but re-enforced it so it would be rigid enough for my needs.

I attached the pattern piece to thin styrene tube to pivot the pattern around when making the shapes.

The boxes in this case are made of foamcore board. Ideally you'd use wood or thick plastic... something firm to make sure the base surface stays perfectly flat. I live in an apartment so I improvised. To keep the main surface flat (because foamcore board can warp) I built it up on a 1 inch base wall with additional supports underneath to keep it flat. I also added support for the styrene tube to make sure that it was sticking up straight out of the top surface at 90 degrees.

Because I was planning on turning the surfaces out of hydrocal and wanted them to cure in a reasonable time period, I built up an approximation of the final shape out of additional pieces of foamcore board. So in this case I'd only need enough hydrocal to fill in the stair steps and complete the surface.

Before I used the hydrocal, I sprayed on a number of coats of Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss over the boxes and the foamcore approximations so that they would be protected from the water in the hydrocal (otherwise, I'd have had problems pretty quickly after applying it).

As I started to apply the hydrocal, I turned the styrene shapes to help form the surface contours. after a couple passes I got to within about 80% of the shapes I wanted, so I set them aside to cure for about 24 hours. After that I went back and used HobbyLite Filler to address the additional surface imperfections (again using the shapes to help reach the contours I wanted).

Once I felt like I was really close (about 99% of what I wanted) that was when I coated the model with Elmer's Glue to seal and even out the surface. After I was sure that had dried fully, I started in with the first primer coat (I use light gray Rust-oleum Automobile Primer). I'm now going back and working on the surface with 3M Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty to get the surface to 100% of what I want.

From there I'll add some surface details (not much though) and then build up a wall around the final surfaces to pour the silicon rubber into. Once that sets I'll build up a jacket shell (most likely using AMACO Sculptamold, a cellulose-based paper maché, because it sets very strong but is not very expensive). I should be able to pull the whole thing (silicon rubber molds and jacket) away from the box and I can make my final model parts from them (using Alumilite White similar to how I made my warp nacelles for my Phase II Enterprise).

So this is how the setup looks with the turning shapes in place (even though I'm currently working on the putty/sanding aspect right now).


The thing is, the technique for getting this type of shape isn't a new one. In fact it is basically the same one used to build the original 11 foot Enterprise model back in 1964 (check the bottom set of images on the linked page). And in their case the primary hull is almost 60" across compared to 10" for my model.

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I know I brought up the fact that I compromised in using foamcore board to build the foundation boxes for the primary hull halves, but I realized that it might be interesting to see what I did in constructing them to avoid having the top warp.


Even though it worked fine for me, there are better ways of doing this that are less risky.

I've been putting work in on a number of areas. One of which was the dorsal.

The dorsal for my 33 inch TOS Enterprise was pretty straight forward, and the one for my Phase II Enterprise was also pretty easy, but this one had a couple of challenges. In this case I needed to match the front and rear widths but the styrene tubing that I use wasn't close enough to the right size. To solve this issue I cut both the front and back tubes along one edge and inserted a couple pieces of styrene to widen them.

This is how the dorsal looked shortly after putting the pieces together (and setting it on the lower primary hull master)…


I also started work on the nacelle rear end cap. And like the primary hull, this will be a master so I can make two identical parts from it. Here is the first test to see how the parts I needed compared size wise with my references…


Then came the problem of getting the corrugated styrene to bend into the correct shape. The front part (which attaches to the rest of the nacelle) was easy enough because it closed and I could wrap it around a circular piece of styrene I had cut out. But that wasn't an option going towards the end. What I decided on was to take another circular piece and slice it to add in, plus I added a few more pieces to create a stair step structure.

Below is a couple of shots during the building with the DLM part as a sizing comparison (which shows why I'm needing to build the nacelles completely from scratch)…


Moving onto the secondary hull, I originally thought that I'd just be mainly lengthening this part and most of the work would be in re-sculpting the fantail/undercut. I knew that I was going to be building the deflector assembly from scratch, which was important as it was an area of the 11 foot model I hadn't studied that closely before. Fortunately the x-ray images provided by the Smithsonian (here) helped with that research.

Here is a shot of the secondary hull with a number of the parts in place (though not glued together yet, mainly just sitting in place with gravity holding them together).


At that point I realized that I'd need to totally re-sculpt the front of the secondary hull to get the right contours. This is how that progressed…


And at the same time I started in on re-sculpting the aft section. I then hit the parts with primer to get a feel of how I was progressing…


For the most part, everything is moving along nicely. I've done some additional work on the secondary hull (sharpening up edges and working the contours a bit) and I also put some more time in on the primary hull parts, but nothing very photogenic.
I was thinking...

have you noticed how the 11 foot Enterprise model have a small problem with the lower side of the saucer section. The concentric circular line, the famous 3 deep engraved lines, are not even. In some photographs we noticed they are a bit warped.

Some people want to built a accurate replica of the 1 foot, full scale. Have they imagine if can replicatre this small deffect. too?
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I was thinking...

have you noticed how the 11 foot Enterprise model have a small problem with the lower side of the saucer section. The concentric circular line, the famous 3 deep engraved lines, are not even. In some photographs we noticed they are a bit warped.

Some people want to built a accurate replica of the 1 foot, full scale. Have they imagine if can replicatre this small deffect. too?

If we are thinking of the same spot (front, slightly off center) I've debated using one of the defects (that often pop up in making things by hand) as a stand-in for that on my lower primary hull. On the 11 foot model that defect changed over time and seemed to be associated with one of the structural elements in the primary hull. It seemed like it was worse after the model was originally built, but relaxed a bit after windows were cut and lighting was added. I know that the original lighting for the model was an issue in the primary hull because the heat from the lights would cause the surface to warp if left on too long.

The main reason for not employing one of the errors on my model to fill this role is that it would force me to rotate everything to match that one feature that is hardly visible. Right now I have a nice square box which helps me identify my 90 and 45 degree angles, which I'd have to give up by shifted the orientation.

Now, model aside, I do plan on adding things like that to the plans I make from all this. So flaws and unique features that any of you guys have noticed, please point them out. And it would be specially helpful to make note of whether or not they existed prior to the first Smithsonian restoration of 1974 (I really want to document the studio model while it was still serving as a studio model).

I know I've posted this series of images a long time ago, and it is dated compared to what I've done recently, but it shows the type of information I want to include in the final plans…


So not just an accounting of the exterior physical features, but also document how it was constructed, and how it was modified between being built in late 1964 to the final time it went before the cameras during the filming of the second season of TOS. Who knows, maybe if this information is easily available before the next time the 11 foot model is restored, it can be used to bring her back to a more original form and give those doing the restoration time to do real work on her rather than split that time between fixing things and doing research (which I think was the main problem the 1991 restoration faced).

Anyways, my model is (like my Phase II Enterprise study model) mainly a research tool to test my data and see if I'm on the right track. I'd rather have flaws pop up in this model than in the final plans.

And back to the model...

I know I brought up the fact that I compromised in using foamcore board to build the foundation boxes for the primary hull halves, but I realized that it might be interesting to see what I did in constructing them to avoid having the top warp.


Oh, and on the subject of the scribed rings… I don't think I brought this up in the Phase II Enterprise thread, but I was so happy that I only needed to scribe a single ring on the underside of that model's primary hull. Three is a real pain (which I should have remembered from the last time I did it and the time before that).

Spent a little more time on the secondary hull last week. Most of it was on the rear section. I'm pretty happy with where it is going.

Generally, when sculpting this type of stuff I aim at hitting key features and then go back and work on overall finish (while trying not to undo what I've achieved to that point). I've been doing essentially the same thing with both the top and bottom primary hull masters, working out small imperfections while not losing the larger scale contours I worked hard to get.

Here is some shots of the secondary hull with a few parts in place so I could do comparisons with reference images…


I still need to start the front nacelle master and finish off the rear nacelle master (which needs the ring part before where the main nacelle body starts). At this point I'm planning on making molds of those, the primary hull halves, the bridge/B/C deck structure and the intercooler loops. And I'm close enough on all those that I'll have my wife order the silicon rubber (which will mean I'll also be starting back up on the Phase II Enterprise again).

So two questions that often come up, and both are asked quite a bit and both have answers that are related to each other…
  • Are you going to be making parts for other modelers from these masters/molds?
  • Why are certain areas of the parts left rough?

Part of the reason for leaving things rough (or raw) on the ends (specially where pieces come together) is that it gives me some margin for error.

A good example would be the top and bottom of each of the nacelle support pylons for my Phase II Enterprise. Even though I had a good idea how all those parts are to come together, I'm still hand building these parts. If they were machined or 3D printed, then I'd be more sure of how they would all come together, but when doing this by hand I'm not sure how far off the mark I might end up. In the case of the supports, it is better to get the primary hull, dorsal and secondary hull into the position they need to be in, put the nacelles in the positions they need to be in, and then finesse the ends of the supports to get them to connect everything the way I want.

Along similar lines, I don't expect the parts from my molds to fit together nicely. The nacelle halves I made for the Phase II Enterprise model didn't have nice straight edges that fit together for a nice seam. Those were messy and had to be worked to get them to come together, but I got hollow nacelles that didn't weigh much, so it was worth it. Still, it isn't like those are parts I think anyone would be willing to pay money for. They were still missing many elements and would require a lot of work to get them to a nice looking final product... work that I had planned for while I was building the master, so it wasn't something I was surprised to have to deal with.

Even now with my primary hull, I'm working to get the larger surface areas nice, but I'm fully expecting the joining of the top and bottom halves to require some work. Because of that, I'm not adding in any details close to the area where they will join because it would be a wasted effort.

A good example from this weekend's work is the pendent channel on the secondary hull. I spent a lot of time on the secondary hull sharpening up many details, but not around where the channel parts will go. I had to cut out those areas of the original plastic before I knew how the over all secondary hull was going to turn out, and the side channel was off slightly. Once I had an idea of how off, I was able to remove what I needed to and determine what would need to be added in to get everything to align the way I wanted.

Here is the secondary hull after those additional cuts with spacers in where needed...


So yeah, I'm totally use to a messy process where I don't expect anywhere close to ideal fits, but I can't imagine pawning that type of stuff off to others. Even now (with most of the model finished) I wouldn't expect someone else to be able to assemble my Phase II Enterprise because if you just glued everything together the parts wouldn't line up right as they are.

Well, that is about where I'm at currently. I have some time tonight, so I might start in on the master for the front of the nacelles. I think I have a pretty good idea of how I'm going to do it, but (as with most of this stuff) I'll need to play around with it to see how it works out.


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Not a lot new to report, most of what I've been working on isn't worth taking shots of. But I thought it might be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison with my lower primary hull and that of the AMT Cutaway...


Obviously the scale of the two is different, but I think it is also clear why I decided to scratch build this rather than attempt a modification.

The silicon rubber came today and the transparent amber coloring yesterday, so I'll most likely be putting more time into the Phase II Enterprise than this model in the short term. I'm getting pretty close to having the upper and lower primary hulls of this model ready so I might kick them out soon, the nacelle parts will require more effort and might have to wait on the Phase II Enterprise.


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I was playing around with the sensor domes for the primary hull recently. I know I don't need them right away, but I was still trying to mock-up some pieces that would help me establish the size/shape I need. The domes are an issue because the original domes on the 11' model were lost and replaced during the first restoration in 1974. So I'm cross checking against both screenshots and photos of the model during filming to try to nail down how I need them. The lower dome still needs more work.

Anyways, I did a quick series of shots of the parts collected together…


Nothing that new, mostly images I can use to cross reference my parts against shots of the original model.

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So progress slowed a bit this week because I was sick. I really thought I'd be further along (and also back working on the Phase II Enterprise), but I did get a few things accomplished... including building the containment box for the silicon rubber around the lower primary hull and started in on some of the main pieces that will make up the front nacelle master.


So yeah, I'm still plugging away at this stuff.


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I've been working on the front nacelle master and started getting some wooden spheres ready to have silicon molds made of them (I want them slightly more than hemispheres because it'll be easier to reduce the final clear acrylic part than to build it back up). Sorry about the blurry shot, I didn't realize it was out of focus until I had already started back to work on the parts, so I couldn't try again right away.


Here are a few more shots of the secondary hull, mainly to double (or triple) check the alignment/placement of things before I move forward. Included are shots of the nacelle end cap masters as I make progress on them.


And some more progress shots of the nacelle end cap masters. The stand-in sphere isn't cut down to size because that part isn't really part of the master (and it takes a long time to cut one of these wood spheres down). The sphere for the rear end caps has been glued into place, but everything else in these shots are just sitting together because I'm still working on sharpening up the parts shape.


Also it was asked what color I plan on using for this model, and actually it'll be the same color I plan to use on the Phase II Enterprise... Tamiya AS-5 Luftwaffe Light Blue.

When I read about Behr UL220-15 Frozen Pond being a good match for the TOS Enterprise, I ran out and grabbed a couple sample sheets. With one in hand I started looking at the Testors and Tamiya paint selections to see if any matched. When I spotted Tamiya AS-5 Luftwaffe Light Blue I bought a can and decided to run a test (both to see how the color worked and if the white grid lines would turn out the way I wanted). Sure enough, the actual paint matched up nicely with the sample, it looked good and the grid lines (and weathering) turned out the way I wanted.

Here is that test on a spare primary hull I have with the Behr UL220-15 Frozen Pond color sample included for reference.


Part of the reason I wanted this color for the Phase II Enterprise is that it's color is based on the 33 inch TOS Enterprise (which was painted with the same paint as the 11 foot TOS Enterprise). Some people thought this looked a lot darker than photos we've seen of the 33 inch model, but the thing is I don't generally use bright lights or flashes to photograph my work, I use low defused light. But I did a test using the flash on my camera and this is how it compared to a photo of the 33 inch TOS Enterprise (under studio lighting with Shatner)...


And I included part of the Behr UL220-15 Frozen Pond color sample in that shot as a reference.

So that is about where I'm at. This has been a pretty quiet thread... any comments or questions? :unsure


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So originally I thought I would cut the fronts off the nacelles of the AMT Cutaway model and make one complete front end without the box features and use it as a master. That would have given me a (reasonably) nice pre-sculpted part that worked with existing nacelle domes.

Well, as with the front end of the secondary hull, I soon realized that I couldn't put all this work into other aspects of this model and then compromise the quality/accuracy of the model as a whole by settling for something just because it would be easier.

In looking at the plans and what I had available, I realized that I had these wooden spheres that were perfect size for the nacelle domes. The problem was that even though this is to be an unlit model, I'd like those domes to be transparent (or at least semitransparent). The other issue I noticed is that the spheres were somewhat ovoidal (longer along the axis they were turned on). The best solution to get the shapes I needed but in the material I wanted was to use them to make molds. I cut four small holes (just smaller than the diameter of the spheres at their equator) in a piece of foamcore board (that part was shown earlier) for the spheres to sit in. Saturday I glued them in place taking great care to make sure that they were sitting straight up out of the board (with their long axis perpendicular to the plane of the board) and then went back with additional glue to make sure that there was a good seal between the spheres and the board.

The next step will be to build up a box around the spheres, pour silicon rubber into it, remove the box, build a mother mold out of hydrocal, and remove the board with the spheres from the mold. I can then use something like EasyCast to make the molds (and if I feel like it, I have a transparent amber pigment dye that I could add to the resin).

Using four spheres means I'll have back-ups in case I do something wrong. And as the amber dye will be a tricky thing to replicate in different batches, it is better to make the replacement parts with the primary ones.

So once I have my transparent partial spheres, I can make them hemispheres. And odds are that most of the bubbles will move to the opening of the mold, so I'd be removing the area most likely to have problems anyway.

The reason for including one of those spheres in the test assembly of the front nacelle master even though it is too long as it is is that I can move down the top hemisphere in photoshop to see how the parts are working as a whole.

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Okay, a review of my progress to date...

This is a test of how the rear nacelle parts might look assembled with the nacelle body...


I need to close up the gaps a bit and the nacelle body is a stand in as I won't start those until I have the final front and rear elements. The main thing I'm going for is that the ring needs to be slightly narrower than both the rear end cap and the nacelle body. And at this scale it can be challenging to get that feel from the parts.

Here is a comparison I did between one of my early nacelle drawings and the test assemblies of my nacelle end masters...

Both the drawing and the masters need work, but I'm getting them closer to what I'm wanting.

I've also been working on reverse engineering the details of the top of the primary hull.

So I originally thought that my tracings of the original decal sheet would be helpful. After all, those decals proved very helpful in my work on the 33 inch TOS Enterprise as the graphics for both models are the same other than scale. I quickly realized that on the 11 foot model the letters for "U.S.S. ENTERPRISE" were not added to the model as a single piece, so the spacing of the letters was different from the actual decal sheet spacing.

Still, it gave me something to start with and I used the size of the decal letters to reverse engineer the grid pattern's concentric circles. That information let me reverse engineer the placement of the lettering and the lighting access ports. And then there is the fact that none of this is on a flat surface and was all hand placed by the artists.

After making a little more progress on the nacelle end masters, I took some more shots with the cutaway kit versions next to the masters for reference/comparison purposes.

I finished building the containment box for the top primary hull master and applied a second coat of Crystal Clear Krylon to both the top and bottom primary hull masters.


And I attached the containment boxes to the masters...


So today I poured the silicon rubber. The first master pulled from it's mold was the bridge/B/C deck. Here is a comparison shot of the mold and master with the Phase II mold and master...


And I got around to pulling the lower primary hull master too...


So that is about where I'm at currently.


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It'll be hollow. I'm using the same technique that I used to make the bridge/B/C deck and nacelles for my Phase II Enterprise based on how Steve Neill made some of his parts for his 66 inch Enterprise (demonstrated here at 13:10).

It really is a nice way of making parts that aren't heavy and doesn't use a lot of materials (I'm using Alumilite White for my parts). If I had wanted to I could have lit this model, but like my Phase II Enterprise study model, this model's main purpose is to help with researching plans.


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Here is the last of the molds, the top primary hull...


So what I have left to make molds of are the nacelle domes, the front and rear nacelle caps, the intercoolers and the front nacelles from my Phase II Enterprise.

Most of the remaining masters just need a little more time invested in them, but I've been stalled on the intercoolers for quite some time. The problem with them is that five out of the six I need to have with ridges. And to complicate things a little further, I wanted to use these on upgrading my two-thirds scale 33 inch Enterprise, which needs six without ridges. I'll most likely do a mold of the master without ridges and then modify the master to add them and make another mold later on.

I need to clean up my work area a little, but I'll most likely get started in on making the parts from the molds I currently have. Once I have them I'll come up with an attachment/anchoring setup for the dorsal and lower primary hull. When I'm happy with that I'll attach the top primary hull to the lower one and then attach the bridge/B/C deck. And I also need to add the turbo lift tube to the bridge, but I should be able to do a good test assembly with the primary hull, dorsal and secondary hull in the near future.


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Pulled my first part... the bridge/B/C deck. I did a rough cut to get it to the right size, but I'll wait for the final top primary hull before doing much more.

Still, here it is on the top primary hull master...


It still needs some work, but its a start.

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