Star Trek toy customisations: Playmates Enterprise-D & JJprise, Wesco Enterprise-E

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Destructor1701

New Member
Hi there!

I'm a new member here. I joined up because I've seen some incredibly impressive projects going on here.

I've started a handful of projects, mostly involving Star Trek toys and models.

I'm not at all experienced in this realm. I've tried to build AMT kits of the Enterprise-D and the Defiant in the past, but I never got to the finished article. I'm older and wiser now, but I lack experience.

With that in mind, I've seen some incredibly helpful and in-depth advice extended to those who ask for it here. I am going to show you a few of the projects I'm working on at the moment. I would appreciate any and all advice that occurs to you fine people. I do ask that you explain things to me as you would to a child, I'm a total beginner.

I've been working on these, on and off, for almost a year. I have months of downtime, and then spurts of activity, so I hope you don't mind if this thread gets bumped once or twice for an update!

SO! Without further ado, let's get started:
1. Re-lighting and repainting the Playmates Enterprise-D
Status: WIP.

2. Aztecking and possibly further detailing the Playmates JJprise
Status: Early WIP.

3. Re-purposing, re-lighting, accurising, and repainting the Wesco Enterprise-E clock (based on a cast of the AMT model).
Status: WIP.

Project 1: Playmates Enterprise-D
I've been adding lights (and replacing existing lights with better ones) to the Playmates Enterprise-D from 1992.

I was always disappointed with how many parts of the ship stayed dark when one pressed the buttons, so I did this:
OWkwXh.jpg

zPVS4h.jpg


Specifically, I re-lit the nacelles (the original starboard nacelle light died, which sparked off this project), with 2 LEDs each, one red (whites with red tape around it) and one blue.
I lit the main impulse engine and port saucer impulse engine, and the deflector dish.

All it took was some unscrewing, a WHOLE lot of prying (that ship is held together in a hilarious number of redundant ways - the screws do more than enough), some experimentation, money spent on LEDs, and some soldering.

It's still very much a WIP. I have to light the remaining saucer impulse engine, as well as come up with an aztec pattern to suit this particular rendition of the Enterprise-D.

Here it is in (I think) a fairly favourable comparison with the DST Enterprise-D toy.
AhQdCh.jpg


You can read a more in-depth chronicle of this project over at Trektoy.com. Part One & Part Two.

I'll be making further progress updates here, as well as there.
Project 2: Playmates JJprise Aztec

In an astounding display of procrastination, instead of mowing the lawn, I started spontaneously aztecing the Playmates JJprise. I felt it was lacking... well... any detail at all, and set out to fix that.

First, I masked off forward saucer with masking tape, and then I set out slicing it up for hours on end.

MP5OKh.jpg


Something which I thought would drive me demented actually proved relaxing and somewhat meditative. I made up the pattern as I went, so it's not totally canon. Ah well.

Meanwhile, the grass continued to grow :p

I sprayed sealant over the quarter of the saucer I had done after 2 days, and peeled most of the azteced part off the next day (leaving one sector taped as a guide to the pattern when I continue).

3FTlMh.jpg


Project 3: Wesco Enterprise-E

Not too many people are familiar with this product, but it was produced in 1998, to tie in with Insurrection.
It's a cast of a fully assembled AMT Enterprise-E model kit, with a simple paint job, a cheap clock stuck in the saucer, and some ambitious, darkness-triggered (and battery-eating) lighting.

Here's how it looked out of the box(not my photo):


I first added black electrical tape to the areas flanking the command decks, and used a silver pen to add the line details there. That rubbed off fairly quickly, but I plan to do all that with paint later in the project anyway. I also added black tape to the corresponding area on the bottom of the saucer, either side of the engineering hull, and to the divide between the bussard collector openings on the front of the nacelle.


Then I removed the clock from it, which was easy to pull the hands off, and inside, it's just a generic clock motor wired to the slightly over-complicated lighting circuit. I also added some mottled plastic inside the port bussard collector, to better simulate the cloudy effect seen in the films.



You can see in that first picture, the hole where the clock hands were. The winder for the clock stuck out underneath, near the deflector trench.


It's incredibly cheaply made - Just a cast of a completed AMT model kit, a strangely complex wiring job, and a generic clock motor with a dummy battery wired to the main batteries, and a poor, inaccurate paint job.

While I had the nacelle apart, I messed around a little :p


I got bored of looking at the bridge hole, so I fashioned a bridge out of Blu-tak.


And detailed it with silver pen and marker.



There is some lighting in the saucer, and a few windows are cut-through, but the bulbs aren't terribly bright, and there is some heinous light bleed, so to kill two birds with one stone, I coated the inside of the ship with a chrome spray paint.
WMkRxh.jpg

tOX2fh.jpg


It didn't have the amazing effect I was hoping for, but I do intend to replace the lights with brighter LEDs. I think I may end up rewiring the ship entirely. The circuitry that's in her at the moment is needlessly complex, and drains the batteries.

The ship's warp nacelles do not feature transparent field coils, they are molded out of the same stinky granular plastic as the hull, and are just as thick. I sanded some of the dark blue paint off the nacelle, and wired a blue LED in place of the Bussard collector's original Rice Bulb.
LEyxlh.jpg

nfDb2h.jpg


But the effect was underwhelming, due to the thickness of the field coil plastic. So I took a dremel(ish) tool rounded sanding head to the inside and thinned the coil out to about a quarter of it's original thickness.

I pinched in a white LED to light the Bussard for a test, and in low-light, it looks pretty good!
pIL5Ah.jpg

E8Gwsh.jpg


But in bright light, not so great. I may have to give the feild grill a blue-wash. The plastic colour tends towards yellow, which looks wrong in bright light.
4P3tyh.jpg


I may have to put a second blue LED into the back of the nacelle, to balance the light a little, but I'm currently experimenting with reflectors inside the nacelle, to bounce light around a little more, so I'll see how that goes when I have it refined a little more.

I've been leaving the starboard nacelle mint for the moment, for comparison's sake.

I sanded off the chrome paint in a couple of places to test some ideas I had for strategic light-bleed, to light the deflector and the registry lighting.

It's rather underwhelming at the moment, and the camera only barely picks up the deflector in the darkest of conditions, but the plastic is still very thick there, and it's still just a Rice Bulb, so there's a ways to go yet. The registry spot is only barely visible, even to human eyes.
FeykUh.jpg


That's all for the moment! Here's one of my favourite photos from this project so far...
l6G29h.jpg


EDIT: corrected the over-sized pictures that were screwing with the text formatting, sorry about that.
 
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Vader2378

Active Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

Seen your clock post over at BCC, fantastic mod so far :D I also like your other projects too! There isn't alot of difference in both the Ent-D models so far, though I prefer yours :D
 

ZOMBIEREPELLENT

Sr Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

That's really cool! If you want to just sand off the nacelle grills, I can send you some replacement parts. I lost a bunch of parts to the amt kit during a move, but I still have the clear parts if you want them.
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

Whoa, ZR! That's mighty generous of you!

I'm not sure if I want to do that just yet, but if I can't make this work the way I want it to, I'll certainly take you up on that! Thank you for the offer, regardless!

What part of the world are you in? P&P may get prohibitive. I'm in Ireland.

Thanks for the kind words, Tremas.

Vader, always nice to see a familiar avatar! BCCers unite!

Do you guys think I should take my sander to the deflector trench, and make it more angular, more accurate? I think I'd need to use putty to refine the shape if I did that. I have no experience in that area, even in choosing a brand/type of putty.
 
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ZOMBIEREPELLENT

Sr Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

I'm in the US, I'm not too worried about it, if you want them I'll send them your way.
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

ZR, Do you have a deflector dish among your transparencies?

Project 2 (JJprise Aztec) UPDATE

I've finally come back to this and given it a little attention.



I actually screwed up the pattern in a couple of ways, but if I mirror the screwed up version on the starboard side, I'll just have a different pattern on the back of the saucer than on the front. I can live with that. I can live with it.

Firstly, the battery ran out on my netbook, which had the pattern on the screen, and I ended up just repeating the "saucer rim" panel design all the way to the centre. Then, on one of the panels, I just messed up the pattern, took the wrong bits of tape off. It blends well enough, and I'm happy to have a little variation.

As you can see, I'm using new blue tape. It's thinner, and much easier to work with. You can see how the curve of the saucer is better translated to the design than on the forward port quadrant.

The tape is very blue, though, and I had a little fun with that fact when initially masking it off. :)
 

Tremas

Sr Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

ZR, Do you have a deflector dish among your transparencies?

Project 2 (JJprise Aztec) UPDATE

I've finally come back to this and given it a little attention.



I actually screwed up the pattern in a couple of ways, but if I mirror the screwed up version on the starboard side, I'll just have a different pattern on the back of the saucer than on the front. I can live with that. I can live with it.

Firstly, the battery ran out on my netbook, which had the pattern on the screen, and I ended up just repeating the "saucer rim" panel design all the way to the centre. Then, on one of the panels, I just messed up the pattern, took the wrong bits of tape off. It blends well enough, and I'm happy to have a little variation.

As you can see, I'm using new blue tape. It's thinner, and much easier to work with. You can see how the curve of the saucer is better translated to the design than on the forward port quadrant.

The tape is very blue, though, and I had a little fun with that fact when initially masking it off. :)

(y)thumbsup:thumbsup
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

I just bought a nice metal Airbrish, which shouldn't fall apart as my old plastic one did. I'm in the middle of doing a few test-runs on an old AMT Enterprise-D Saucer.
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

Not sure what the double-posting policy is on this forum, I can't find a rule about it, so apologies if I'm out of line, but I have an update.

Project 3 - Wesco Enterprise-E refurb

I have bitten the bullet and sanded the deflector trench to a more canon shape.

In progress shot:


Cleaned up:


I stopped sanding at that point, because the corners in the trench were starting to wear through. I'll get myself some Bondo to sure up the inside, but it's close to the correct shape now.

I've yet to go over it with sand paper to finish it off, hence the rough look. Any tips for this type of work?
 

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Ganthorion

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

Wow, I love the refitted Playmates Enterprise-D. I've got the same toy and was always a bit p'ed off that the deflector never lit up, although it never occurred to me to do that to it.
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

It's surprisingly easy, the only difficulty is prying the damn thing apart!

It's held together in at least 3 different ways, if not 4.
There are sprues that snap into one another, which were glued in the factory,
there are screws here there and everywhere,
The contact points between most parts were glued,
there are probably a few snap-latches here and there that I broke when opening it,
And there's enough sellotape in there to wrap a christmas present.

It took me hours (spread over nerve-wracking months) to get her open. Many blood-curdling SNAP!s rang out, and I thought I'd destroyed her so many times. In the end, though, she was built so sturdily in the first place - the screws are more than enough to keep her solid - that I'd probably be able to tear down another one in a matter of minutes, given what I've learned.

Once she's open, it's just a matter of replacing rice bulbs with LEDs. I didn't know enough about LEDs, until Steve Neil's latest BIG-E Story, to put resistors on them, so I may do that the next time I open her up.

The great thing is that you can get upwards of 5 LEDs in parallel for every one rice-bulb, using the same wiring, with no voltage hit. I have the Deflector and main impulse engine wired to the base of the nacelles, and the two saucer impulse engines will join them the next time I work on her.

At the moment, the one saucer impulse engine that's working is actually wired to the speaker system, which is kinda cool because it brightens and darkens with the intensity of the sound. It's only a temporary wire-twist test, to make sure it was worthwhile lighting the saucer impulse engines.

I have to replace some of my wiring with narrower gauge wire anyway - the engineering hull is a little strained.
 
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Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Destructor's Star Trek toy customisations and modelling fiascos!

Project 2 (JJprise Aztec) UPDATE

More progress!

I continued masking the aft half of the saucer. I think i was a little drunk or something when I did the starboard side, some of the lines are a little skewy and a-symetrical. It's not too noticeable, but I wish I had done it better.

Anyway, I hit it with a couple of coats of sealant:


Apologies for the poor quality photographs from here on out, my old phone decided to stop responding to button pushes, so I've switched to a better phone, with a crapper camera.

Anyway, when the first few coats of sealant had dried off, I came up with an idea, to hit it with a thin mist of chrome spray paint - to imbue the aztec with a little extra specular reflection, aside from the gloss of the sealant. I sprayed the starboard aft quadrant first, just a puff, and you know what? It looked pretty nice!

So I went ahead and puffed the port side. SPLAT. The can sneezed a big burst of solid chrome onto the ship! ARRRRGH!!!!

Note to self: shake can well before each application.

Well, I scrambled to grab a cloth or something, chanting "********************!" the whole time. Eventually, I found a tissue in my pocket and dabbed at the model. Luckily, the last coat of sealant was in fact not dry at this stage, and the chrome was merely floating on top. Most of it came away, but it's dry now, and you can see the difference. I stripped the tape off - a process that took longer than the masking took to create... almost.

There is only 3/4 of the forward starboard quadrant left to mask and seal. I'm so pleased with the chrome effect (starboard side, anyway) that I intend to re-mask the port forward quadrant and chrome-mist it too.

Check it out:



I made this Gif just now to illustrate the specular properties of the aztec. I took two photos, with the phone stationary, relative to the ship, but having twirled around between the two, so that the lighting is different. See how the hullplating reflects the light differently:


I realise this emphasises the over-painted port side, but that's only because those were the only photos that lined up this well. The light-dark dichotomy works just as well on the starboard side, which I think you'll agree, on the evidence of the flat-light pic up the page, is much more subtle and effective.

For a ship design that I'm really still a but iffy about - I can't put this toy down today!



The Aztec doesn't always jump out at you, it blends into the hull colour well enough.



Anyone got any ideas on how to bring the aft port quadrant in line? I was thinking a light airbrush coat of colour-matched paint, to bring it back to the hull colour?
 

Destructor1701

New Member
Re: Star Trek toy customisations: Playmates Enterprise-D & JJprise, Wesco Enterprise-

Project 3: Wesco Enteprise-E
Well, I got bored of trying to find the right filler, so I went ahead and bought a tub of multi-purpose filler. It's a little grainy, and the finish is more like grout than plastic, but I can remove it if it doesn't end up right.

I lined the interior of the deflector trench with filler:


And sanded it squarer:


I had made an abortive attempt to paint the top half of the ship, since my last post, and ended up removing the paint for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it didn't apply evenly, and it dried with a crazy-glossy finish that looked wrong. I've learned my lesson, and will be using primer, thinner coats, and multiple dry passes. I've spent much of the time since the last update (when I get time to work on this) sanding and soaping and white spiriting, and scraping to get the last irritating bits of paint off. A nice side-effect is that the windows now appear to be lit.

When I got the filler, I decided to make a start on a new Bridge module, before my next paint attempt. I have a very roughly-shaped slab in place of the bridge, and will be sculpting that with the grinder heads on my dremel-ish tool.


I continue to refine the deflector trench. I'm on sand-and-fill pass 3 now. Here's a pic from pass 2..


The actual deflector itself is getting a little battered by the sanding head, but I'm going to try to re-sculpt that by hand when I get the trench in shape. If that doesn't work, I may contact ZombieRepellent to see if he has an AMT kit deflector, sand out a hole, and install that instead. If not, I can always make a new one.
 

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ZOMBIEREPELLENT

Sr Member
Re: Star Trek toy customisations: Playmates Enterprise-D & JJprise, Wesco Enterprise-

Hey, I'm sorry I didn't see you ask before. I will look to see if I can find it.
 

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