Practice Round 2 18" Enterprise Model

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Shaw, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Background

    A little over a year ago I set out on a project to document and build an original 1966 AMT Enterprise model (mainly because that version of the kit made it into the original series as both the Constellation and Enterprise in the second season). The project has three main elements; reverse engineering plans of the original model, recreating the original decals (including replacements for the model's surface windows), and building the model as authentically as possible to the era it is from.

    From a series of photos, scans and rubbings of the original models parts, I've made pretty good progress on reverse engineering some plans...


    ... and I don't plan on starting the building of the model until I finish them (as data collection is easier from the bare, unassembled parts). And even though the decals were in pretty bad shape (the colors weren't even lined up correctly on the original sheet), I was able to recreate the original decals, plus decals for the Constellation and window decals based on rubbings of all the window details on the surface of the model...

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    original decals

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    click to enlarge

    The decal graphics turned out well enough that at least two models of the Constellation (that I know of) have been made using them (this studio scale replica by Jay Chladek and this 1/1000 scale replica by Gregatron).

    Because the kit set me back almost a hundred dollars (and is quite rare), I didn't want to go into the building of it cold... so I also bought a Round 2 reissue kit to practice on. Plus there were a number of things I've wanted to try out since the last time I built one of these models (which was back in 1992 as I recall).


    Round 2 Build

    I've seen a large number of builds of this model kit over the years. In fact, I'd say that it is one of my favorite models to watch being built by modelers because what they decide to do with it says a lot about how they see the Enterprise and often shows a number of interesting techniques that I can learn from. I'm actually more likely to click on a thread of a build of this model than the Polar Lights 1/1000 scale kit because of this.

    Over time I had put together a laundry list of things that (at a minimum) I would think could be changed to make it feel more accurate (without completely replacing any of the major elements of the kit). And this gave me the opportunity to try out some of those ideas.

    The first of these was repositioning the bridge/B/C deck structure. A lot of people replace this whole element, but I had gotten the feeling (from playing with images of other people's models in Photoshop) that lowering the structure a small amount changed the character to something I liked more. So the first alterations were to lower the structure on the top, and shorten/flatten the cone of the bottom of the primary hull (so it would accept a lower sensor dome mount better).

    This is a before and after view of that alteration...

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    The second alteration I felt the model needed was a repositioning of where the nacelle supports attach to the nacelles. I found from my experiences building models using elements from the 22 inch cutaway kit that changing this brought the nacelles closer together and better replicated the over all feel of the original studio models. So I cut the supports from the nacelles before beginning the building of them.

    Another element that I felt would help the feel was repositioning the rings behind the deflector dish (which is a change I did make on the last couple builds I did back in the late 80's and early 90's). This required cutting out the rings from the housing. Interestingly, this element was done quite nicely on the original long box version of the kit.

    This is those parts after surgery...

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    I also felt that the addition of marker light elements (even on a model that wouldn't be lit) would be nice so I decided to add spots where raised elements could be positioned later on the model. And because I wasn't going for a model that would match the Enterprise, I decided to do the Republic and mix-n-match some of my favorite elements from the series and pilot versions of the studio models (including a marker light on the front of the primary hull).

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    I also decided to move the attachment point of the dorsal to the primary hull back slightly so the back of the dorsal would meet the edge of the primary hull. I removed a small notch from the back of the alignment element at the top of the dorsal, and then filled the gaps at the top of the dorsal so when I glued the dorsal to the primary hull later I would get a nice fit.

    And while putting together the nacelles I started in a few detail changes I had wanted to try. First was removing the rear box features (which are misshapen so the parts are easier to remove from the molds) so they can be replaced. I also filled the openings left from cutting off the supports.

    Two changes I had wanted to try were shortening the ring behind the domes and shortening the length (and removing the small dome) of the rear nacelle caps. For the rear nacelle caps I decided on using the first pilot features rather than the series features because I wanted the model to stand out a little from my two-thirds replica of the 33 inch Enterprise, and I always liked the pilot version.

    Here is how most of those elements turned out during the modifications (and a progress shot of the deflector rings)...

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    The third party elements I ended up buying for this model were replacements for the box features on the rear of the nacelles, the deflector dish (I decided to get the larger pilot version) and the lower sensor dome assembly.

    As the major elements started to come together I started wanting to make sure they were working how I had planned, so I started test assemblies of them. What I had found from previous experience was that the nacelles could be aligned on the supports with the addition of wire from a paper clip and that the nacelle domes could be held in place by rolling up a small piece of paper in the nacelle body.

    Here is some progress shots which include some of the additional marker light positions...

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    I had also added a tube to the secondary hull for a mounting rod and started in on filling the interior with a cellulose-based paper maché pulp to re-enforce the part. These elements are visible in these test assembly shots which don't include the deflector assembly elements.

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    And here are a few more test assembly shots with the deflector assembly elements in place...

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    With most of the major aspects of the primary and secondary hulls finished, I glued those elements together (the deflector rings, impulse engines and sensor dome assembly aren't glued in place yet).

    Here are a few more test assembly shots (this time in front of a black background) to see how the piece are working when in place...

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    Once I was sure I had gotten the length of the supports correct and the tops the right shape to meet the new attachment points on the nacelles, I set in on gluing them to the nacelles. This required getting all of the major elements in their correct positions so that there wouldn't be any alignment issues later on.

    This is the rigging I use to glue the supports back onto the nacelles (the photos are flipped so I could make sure everything was aligning the way I wanted).

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    And after letting the glue cure for a few days, here is a couple test assembly shots with the nacelles and supports holding their own weight.

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    Unfortunately I was forced to let the model sit like this for a few months while I worked on other projects. But recently I started back in on this model and started applying a primer coat to check for surface defects.

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    I found a few spots that I'd like to clean up, but I'm pretty happy with how the model is turning out so far. It may not be as interesting a build as my last model of the Enterprise, but it is giving me a chance to practice building models, which I figure is the most important aspect of this build.
     
    robn1 likes this.
  2. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    Nice work. It's amazing how much difference just a few adjustments can make.
     
  3. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    Yeah, it is one thing to think that some of these ideas might work, but it is nice to see that they worked in practice. I was always hesitant to suggest any of these without having actually tried them out on a model first.
     
  4. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    How did you manage to lower the B-C deck teardrop? I like it. I also recently found out that the pylon attachment to the nacelles is not quite right on the AMT kit as well when I was building my Constellation (the Round 2 sheet being a scale up of the 1/1000 PL markings illustrated the problem with those red rectangles on the bottom of the engines). Your fix for that bit is very nicely done.
     
  5. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    SWEET! :cry
     
  6. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    I taped around the B/C deck on the top surface of the primary hull, sawed off the structure, then used the taped outline as a guide for enlarging the hole. Once it was large enough, I could slide the structure back into place, adjust it to a height that look nice, then glue it.

    For me, I just didn't like the straight up-n-down walls, so I lowered it enough to remove that aspect. I really like the long box structure better (even if it isn't symmetrical) because it feels curved from top to bottom. I know that for most people once you take the trouble to cut the structure off, they'd take the next step of replacing it altogether... but I really wanted to keep as much of the original model as possible, and just re-arrange/alter things a bit.

    It is hard to explain, but I'm going for a feel rather than a perfect replica with this model. You've worked with this model enough (in all it's configurations) to get it, but I know some people have wondered why I stopped short on some aspects.
     
  7. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    I understand exactly the approach you are going for. A model project has to be fun to be worth while and when it stops losing its fun factor, it can lose something else. I fully understand the "feel" aspect myself. Do them out of the box or take them a bit further, eventually it no longer becomes a replica of the Enterprise and it becomes YOUR own Enterprise (or Republic), your ship to build. If we all built our models to the exact same specs, things would get boring pretty quick as theoretically they would all look the same.
     
  8. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Last week I started addressing some of the spots that needed attention and this week I re-scribed the rings on the underside of the primary hull and added the triangle features. I also started gluing into place marker lights (though quite a few in the following images are just set in place) and applying primer again.

    Here is where I'm at currently...

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    I'm hoping to get started painting by the first week in July, but after that the next open block of time I'll have isn't until August.
     
  9. division 6

    division 6 Master Member

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    Looks good.

    What are you using for the marker lights?
     
  10. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Sewing pins for the small ones, sewing pins with the colored balls on the ends for the large ones, and the regular sewing pins with the heads dipped in glue to make medium size ones. I'd used them on other models and it turned out nice.

    And I bought a pack of "google eyes" (assorted sizes) for the dome above the hangar deck and the lower sensor dome. The bridge dome is actually from the 22" kit.
     
  11. division 6

    division 6 Master Member

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    Thanks.

    I've been looking at the pins at Michael's since they have some small colored clear ones.
    I even thought about using small brass nails.

    Forgot all about google eyes for the rear dome.:facepalm
     
  12. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    Oh man, those tweeks done to the bottom of the saucer improved the thing in spades! This is like watching a medical program on plastic surgery. It is amazing what all these subtle tweeks are accomplishing, even though not every little bit is being altered. If the paintjob on this ends up looking as good as it does on your 2/3rds 33" replicas, this could easily be one of the best starship models built from the 18" kit ever done!
     
  13. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Wow... thanks for that complement!

    With all the starting and stopping on this model it may not be evident, but I really am having a lot of fun with building it. It is hard to believe that I let nearly 20 years go by since my last build, specially seeing how much I enjoy watching others build this kit (and I'm enjoying watching cylon75's current build).
     
  14. psion

    psion New Member

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    That looks marvellous, Shaw. And I like the understated effect of the pins; when it's so easy to use LEDs and fiber optics these days, your technique seems kind of classy.
     
  15. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 Master Member

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    Jeez, just getting all of the components to line up properly can be a chore on this kit without cutting them all apart. Your deceptively subtle modifications and attention to repositioning the parts properly have really gone a long way towards making it look like one of the filming models. I'm looking forward to seeing your continued progress when time permits!
     
  16. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    I modified the control reactor loops and impulse engines. On the control reactor loops I've widened the front plate and I'm going to shorten the front attachment point so that it rests on the surface of the nacelles (the parts originally stuck out too far). For the impulse engines, I removed the raised features on the end (I'll be using the decals for those details) and added a fabric pattern to the sides of the housing to replicate the impulse engine part from the '66 model (which I liked).

    Here are the modified parts as they look right now (the impulse engine housing is not actually glued on yet)...

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    I've also started mapping out how I plan on painting the overall model. The overall color will be gull gray (as usual for me). The leading edge of the dorsal, underside of the front of the nacelles, walls of the nacelles trenches, the turbo lift and most of the impulse engine housing will be light sea gray. And the bottom of the trenches, the flux chillers, the rear end caps, spine on the top of the primary hull and sides of the impulse engine housing will be aggressor gray. All these colors have about the same hue (which is why they work well together, along with camouflage gray), and they're spaced about 10% apart in brightness (aggressor gray is about 60%, light sea gray is about 70%, gull gray is about 80% and camouflage gray is about 90%).

    Here is a modified version of an earlier image testing the areas to be painted (of those parts that are on the model so far) and a colored version of my 1966 nacelle plans...

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    The only other thing of note is that I'd decided to use the Round 2 dome stand that they sell at my local hobby store. Oddly enough, it looks like it is about the same size (proportionally) to the model as the stand that will be included in the up coming 1/350 kit.

    I'm hoping to get a little further in finishing up some clean up on the nacelles tonight and then give them a final primer coat. That will leave just the deflector rings to finish up before I can start in on painting the model itself. Of course part of the problem with finishing up the primer is that I really like how the models look at that stage... so I have to make sure to move past it quickly.
     
  17. trekman1017

    trekman1017 Well-Known Member

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    How are the plans coming?
     
  18. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    I'm hoping to get back to that stuff soon.



    Another update (sorta)... Basically another round of baby pictures.

    This is mainly a few small touch-ups and another coat of primer (on the nacelles), so it most likely doesn't look all that different.

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    I really need to get around to finishing the deflector rings, but they are going to be painted separately and will be just about the last thing glued to the model.
     
  19. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    I realized that I forgot to include images of the model on it's stand... which is the generic Round 2 stand base with a slightly longer rod.

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    It is simple but nice looking, and I didn't want to go through the same amount of effort as I had on my last Enterprise build. I'll most likely do the same thing for my Klingon Battlecruiser when I get around to finishing it up.
     
  20. trekriffic

    trekriffic Sr Member

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    Looks good on the base. Sometimes simpler is better.
     
  21. Mauiman

    Mauiman Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful. You should get Steve Neill's model kit and do that when you are done with this one.
     
  22. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    Yeah, the thought had crossed my mind to take a stab at one of Steve's kits, but then I remembered that my next two major projects (oddly enough, already wife approved) are going to be quite large (a one-to-one scale replica of the original 33 inch TOS Enterprise and a one-to-one scale replica of the original Phase II Enterprise... which is about the same size as Steve's model) and I realized I don't have the space for it.

    Plus, I've been looking forward to doing more scratch building after my last test build of the Enterprise (a two-thirds scale version of the 33 inch TOS Enterprise). I've just been held at bay because that model showed me flaws I needed to address in my 33 inch TOS Enterprise plans, and I've realized I needed to do a little more research on the Phase II Enterprise studio model (and how it differed from Matt Jefferies plans) before I can finish up my plans of that model. Having well thought out plans to work from should make life easier with those builds.

    But I really appreciate all the insight into construction techniques I've gotten from watching Steve's builds and Jason Ware's beautiful 1701-A build. If I'm able to produce something a fraction as good as they did, I'd consider that a success!
     
  23. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Update on my progress...

    While waiting for an opportunity to paint I added a few other last minute details and started in on painting some of the smaller parts...

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    The overall painting went pretty well...

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    And this is a test fitting (basically just with the nacelles in place) after it had dried enough...


    So it is still moving forward, but it'll be a little while before I start in on any weathering and decals.
     
  24. TheManthradon

    TheManthradon New Member

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    WOW, I really like how its looking so far. Im excited to see it weatherd, keep it up man!
     
  25. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    So earlier in the week I added weathering and grid/panel lines. The idea was that they should be very subtle, and they are (to the point that most of what I did hardly shows up in photos.

    [​IMG]

    This is another test assembly, with a few of the panel lines visible.


    And I've started in on adding decals. And no, the nacelles aren't glued in place in these images, they are just sitting in place for now. The impulse housing is glued on though.

    [​IMG]
     
  26. Studio B

    Studio B New Member

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    With every update it looks better and better! :thumbsup
     
  27. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    You always manage to give us some great eye candy there Shaw! The USS Republic is looking great!
     
  28. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys! As always, I really appreciate the encouragement.

    A little more progress. I've been tied up on other (work) projects and have to split my spare time between my Trek pursuits and training (and training is a little more important right now).

    I attached the lower sensor platform and tried to get some shots that would pick up the green weathering. Unfortunately I think my camera isn't differentiating the green in the paint from the green weathering. It is pretty clear in person, but seems to nearly vanish in photos.

    Here are a few shots (I put the deflector assembly in place for the first image, but won't glue it in place until the rest of the model is finish to protect the copper paint)...

    [​IMG]

    I started in on the upper primary hull decals. As I had trimmed each of the registry numbers down to their edges and the numbers/letters represent the same size characters as NCC-1701, I tried to use the placement from the 11 foot model (within reason, as with a lot of this model, I actually sorta eyeballed the placement once I had the end characters where I wanted them).

    Here is where I'm at so far...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  29. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    I had a little time overnight so I applied a few more decals...

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    It is slowly getting finished up.
     
  30. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Okay, more images of a model that isn't even finished! But I did make a little progress, though not as much as I should have in three days. I had some previous commitments (wife) that took precedence.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Remember, it is this stage of the model (painting, weathering and applying decals) that I needed practice on and is why I'm doing this model. Hopefully I'll learn from my mistakes here and do a much better job on my 1966 AMT Enterprise (which is too expensive and rare to mess up on).
     
  31. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Before looking at these images... please note that the model isn't done yet, these are just some test shots. I still need to apply some decals, a number of gloss coats, and a number of flat coats... plus it isn't even glued together yet.

    I was just curious to see how it would look under these conditions and thought I'd share the results.

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  32. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 Master Member

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    Stunning! When I look at your photos I find it difficult to recognize this as the AMT kit.
     
  33. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    I was thinking the same thing, hard to believe it's the AMT.
     
  34. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys!

    I'm just glad that most of my tweaks worked the way I had envisioned them.
     
  35. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    It practically looks done now. What's left? Do you plan to keep the bussards a glossy white, or are you going to take a stab at either doing them the copper color or with a swirl pattern?
     
  36. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to leave them white-ish... I did paint them yesterday. Basically, the translucent white plastic that was such a pain while building the model makes for nice domes, but I added fan blades to them by masking them off and hitting them with a pearl essence clear coat. It only shows up at certain angles, so it makes for a very subtle effect (similar to some images I have of the 11 foot model sitting unpowered at the Smithsonian).

    These are better shots of the effect...

    [​IMG]

    I still need to glue the deflector assembly in place. It is only taped in place in the test photos, and because I had to recharge the batteries for my camera it started pulling away from the model in some of the later shots (which was why I had used rubber bands to hold it in place for my earlier test fittings). I'll glue it in place when I finish with the gloss and flat coats I still need to apply.

    The nacelles are held in place using the basic technique you described in your YouTube video on AMT/Round 2 building advice. They seem to be staying where they are supposed to, so I'm most likely going to avoid gluing them (which is the way I like it).

    Oh... and I accidentally left off one photo from the series above.

    [​IMG]
     
  37. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    Nice to see one of my ideas is helping out with at least one model. Glad to hear it.

    At least the pylons are one thing AMT improved and got right on the small box kit compared to the long box version.
     
  38. clancampbell

    clancampbell Sr Member

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    Stunning build, it looks like a true studio filming miniature!

    Rich
     
  39. Shaw

    Shaw Well-Known Member

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    Wow... thanks!






    - BABY PICTURES WARNING -

    Just FYI... there has been no real change/progress to the model, these are just shots taken to get more familiar with my camera. Please feel free to skip this the rest of this post.

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