With the model fully assembled, it was time to paint. I was really pleased with how the build and lighting worked out and wanted to give the Enterprise a paint and marking job that was worthy. A little pre-paint-prep was needed.

    AMT-Ertl's kit is covered with a series of raised outlines for the windows which are oversize as well as in the wrong positions. They were all sanded off. Correct windows would be applied as decals after painting.

   All illuminated domes and pre-painted areas like the copper sensor dish and platform were masked off with masking tape and Parafilm "M" laboratory film (Fine Scale Modeler, Feb. 1993).

   The model was primed with Bond-Tite gray primer. Some parts like the impulse engines and the rear warp engine caps would remain that color and were masked off.

    One specific thing I can confidently tell you about the actual color of the paint originally used on the studio model, is that it was some kind of color of paint. Information about the exact paint and color used varies from source to source. I read an article by "someone who knew someone" who said that it was GM auto primer. I also heard from a "foremost authority" that it could only have been Chrysler truck primer. Another foremost authority disclosed that it was, without question Ford auto primer.

   To match the studio model's color from the photographs I took at the Smithsonian, I chose to use colors from Tamiya's line of acrylic hobby paints with a full half-ounce jar of gloss white as a starting point. By the time I finished mixing, this is what I'd used:
 

White (X-2)........................2 jars
Chrome Silver (X-11).......1/2 jar
Metallic Grey (XF-56).....4 drops
Smoke (X-19)...................1/2 jar
Black (X-1).......................1/4 jar
Clear Blue (X-23).............1/2 jar

    The above list clearly shows that the process of matching the color had gotten away from me. By the time I had finished mixing, I had enough paint to cover the 11-foot studio model. And, yes, I was serious about those 4 drops of Metallic Grey. Still, I thought it was a good match for the big model's color in the photos I had and I decided to go with it. 

   Being experienced enough to know better but thinking I could get away with it, I thinned the entire batch of the color for airbrushing, greatly shortening the mix's shelf life. If it became necessary to re-mix the identical color some time after completion of the model, I would be in big trouble. But what are the chances that I'd have to repaint the model?
 

    Using a Badger 350 mini spray gun, the model was given several fast, heavy coats of my special blend of colors. I laid down three coats over the entire model in two hours. This Enterprise remained un-weathered, just as I'd seen it in the Smithsonian. The model was then sprayed with Tamiya Clear to prep for decals. 

   I was pretty satisfied that I got the color right, or at least very close to the color in my photos. The only disappointment was that I had hoped the metallic colors in the mix would show even a tiny bit and give the surface a just barely perceptable sparkle. Instead, the metallics don't show at all. I would eventually find out why and it wouldn't be pretty.


 
    For most of the kit's run, AMT-Ertl provided a decal sheet with letters and numbers in the typeface commonly known to Windows users as "MachineBT." I decided to use decals from Estes Rockets' flying Enterprise kit  instead. That decal sheet used the correct font, a very slight variation on the "Amarillo USAF" typeface which is commonly used on US military vessels, aircraft and even NASA spacecraft.

   The differences are illustrated at left. Also included is the font "Microgramma," shown here because it was used in Franz Joseph's STAR TREK BLUEPRINTS and many other drawings. This font does appear on some spacecraft in the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast and in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot.
 

   Early runs of the AMT kit included a decal sheet with the markings in straight-up Amarillo USAF. For a good look at both the original decal sheet and the later one, see page 3 of Jay Chladek's article.
    Some markings, such as the triangles on the saucer bottom and the mysterious, not-seen-on-TV shapes on the secondary hull bottom were airbrushed onto clear decal film before being applied to the model to help avoid positioning problems. Little numbers on the side of the hull were made from 1/4" dry transfers reduced to 1/32" on a copy machine (this was 1991; computers and printers had not hit the mainstream yet) directly onto decal film. New engine pylon grids were made by making an oversize master with Letraset diamond grid screen, reducing it down and copying that onto decal film.


    I made window decals by burnishing sections of Woodland Scenics white and black dry-transfer striping (1/32") onto decal film and applied that to the model for windows with sharp edges and corners. I used photos of the TV model and drawings in SHIPS of the STAR FLEET as a placement guide for the windows and markings on the starboard (passenger) side of the model. Since the TV model was filmed from that side only, the port (driver's) side was devoid of any windows or markings. I used my imagination (gasp!) for the window placement on that side of my model. The grooves that were filled in on the engines and hangar deck were replaced with 1/64" dry-transfer stripes on decal film.

   By the time I started painting and marking the model, it was already the 21st of March, 1991. A local model show was approaching on March 23rd and I wanted to get the model finished in time.

    Big mistake.

    To save time and effort, I decided to overcoat the model and decals with Krylon Crystal Clear and finally Krylon Matte Finish out of spray cans rather than use Tamiya's Clear coat. That I was spraying them over some heavy and possibly incompatible coats of Tamaya acrylic paint while the color coat wasn't completely dry may have entered my mind but I was determined to finish the model. 

on to chapter 5:
FIRST LOOK


intro
chapter 1
chapter 2
chapter 3
chapter 4
chapter 5
chapter 6
chapter 7
chapter 8
chapter 9
chapter 10

TUTORIALS AND KIT REVIEWS