This Old Starship Kit



    Re-re-working gave me the opportunity to further improve the accuracy of the model.  Before re-painting, more detail was added to the secondary hull using Evergreen scribed sheet styrene rather than a striped decal used the first time around.
   Another change was bigger domes for the Rear Engine Caps. The new domes were from leftover parts from the warp dome vacuforms. The inset above shows the very anemic-looking kit engine caps. While the domes on the studio model were actually painted opaque white, I liked the way the translucent plastic looked and left them un-painted.

    Repainting the Enterprise turned out to be a bigger challenge than anticipated. The evil concoction of acrylic paints with incompatible overcoat had a lasting effect on the plastic beneath. Every coat of automotive primer sprayed on cracked as it dried. Spraying several light mist coats and allowing each coat a few days to dry didn't help. When the third or fourth coat was misted on, the primer coat would crack again. This happened even when spraying onto what appeared to be bare plastic. I needed a primer with a milder solvent.
    What worked was Tamiya paint mixed with their Flat Base, a paste used to "flatten" the color. Rather than using straight up denatured alcohol to thin the paint, the alcohol was mixed with an equal amount of tap water. There was enough alcohol in the mix for the paint to adhere to the plastic and not enough to react with it. I used the color "Light Sea Gray" (XF25) which would also be used for the darker colored details on the model.

    When it was once again time to match the color of the Enterprise, I was a little more experienced and prepared than I was the first time around. I went with a 4:1 mix of Tamiya White (X2) and Light Sea Grey which closely matched the color in the photos from my last DC trip. Being a simple mix, it was easy to consistently mix enough for a single painting session instead of mixing up a huge batch.

    I thinned the main color with the mix of alcohol and water and added a little Flat Base, like I did the primer coat. The model was given several very light coats of the color with a Badger 250 spray gun. All of the darker grey details, the illuminated domes and the main sensor were masked off prior to re-spraying.

    It was then time to decide if I wanted to give the model deflector grid lines. Those grid lines look very interesting on the big model but is that the Enterprise I remember seeing on TV? They're just not visible when viewing the original episodes. If they existed at all, they were probably fainter than the heavy markings on Ed Miarecki's restoration. I decided to include the grid lines but make them much less prominent than those that, at the time, adorned the big model.

    Once the final base coat was fully dry, grid lines were drawn using a #2H drafting pencil. On the saucer top and bottom they were drawn radially at 15 degree intervals and concentrically at half-inch intervals. Lines were also drawn on the secondary hull, engines and pylons. A compass was used for the circles and Post-it tape made a steady straight-edge for the straight lines.

Yeah, but were they really there?
    The base color was lightly airbrushed on over the lines to tone them down and to protect them from smudging. Clear Blue and Clear Green were mixed 2:1 and airbrushed on to highlight the saucer. 100% Light Sea Gray highlighted the dorsal connector and the warp engines. Post-it tape was used again, this time as a secure, low-tack mask. After applying the final coat, the grid lines are very faint and barely show up in photographs (not unlike the way the lines appear in the black & white image of the big model in the previous chapter).
    The model was then weathered with shades of blue, gray and reddish brown to simulate the effects of warp speed on a spaceship hull. (No, really.) The grids on the inboard engine slots were covered with Bare Metal Foil. Tamiya clear was then sprayed on, also thinned with alcohol and water to provide a glossy surface for decals.

on to chapter 10:

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