I thought I would start off by including a photo of me with one the first models I ever built. This is actually my 2nd model still in existence after 30 + yrs. I had built Enterprise first and wanted to build another so I built the Yorktown. I am older and well the model looks a little aged as well. I am sure the dish was glued on straight and got bent at some point. Thanks to my brother for keeping the old gal.
I had been amassing information for the last few years and trying to find some time to work on a mission. A mission I had even at the age of 10 when I made that first model to make an accurate Enterprise. I want to build the 1st Pilot, 2nd Pilot and Series Enterprise as accurately as possible and have fun. This even involved a recent trip to the Smithsonian in D.C. Sure, ostensibly I was taking my kids to D.C. and sure we had to go to the Air & Space Museum but I am still quite sure the trip to the gift shop was the best part. I had gone in the 70′s when I was a kid and still remember glimpsing the Enterprise hanging up at that time in the gallery. The Holy Grail!
I started by amassing some kits and parts. I bought 22 inch Enterprises and some kits to accurize them and slowly bought some tools needed and an airbrush etc. I read up on techniques.
When the Polar Lights model came out I was disappointed at the size. Please could they have just made it 7″ longer. But I was thinking it was pretty set up for my goal and an easier first time run at this. I also purchased your light kit for the nacelles and fell in love with them. Way too fun. I have been caught playing with them while they await installation on the last models.
I wanted to build two of each. One for my brother and me. I had emailed William McCullars (The IDIC page) a couple of years ago to get the scoop on the main color of the hull. I refined that with the new article you had from Paul Newitt and even following up with Mr. McCullars to double check. It was interesting as per what he said the actual color would seem dark on a small model. I tried it and sure enough it was. So I tried a stepped down lighter version of the same color and it really seemed to pull it off. I had painted mine the darker color and the lighter one for my brother. I like both. I have not finished mine yet but look forward to seeing how it looks darker.
Basically color and scale are integral and the dark color that was used on the 11′ model does not play out on a 11″ model. It is amazing how the same color looks quite different. Also integral are if you are looking at the model with the naked eye or with a photo etc. William McCullars warned me of this and he was right. I am still torn but made one each way. The photos of the finished 1st pilot in this article are of the lighter one for my brother. It will be interesting to see how mine looks. Attached is one photo of my unfinished 1st pilot painted the darker accurate color. It is interesting how it looks better in the photo. In person it looks very dark.
The other issue I wanted cleared up was the sensor arrays under the saucer and the aft and port lights that protruded on the polar lights model. I checked the wonderful diagrams from Agatha Chamberlain and other sources like the photos of the 1st pilot enterprise on the IDIC page. I actually also ended up resorting to putting on my DVD of “The Cage” and freeze framing the shots that helped resolve details.
I made a decision to putty fill and sand the sensor arrays underneath the saucer and not to install the clear plastic parts for the aft and port upper and lower lights on the saucer and fill the holes. If anyone has info that refutes that decision I would love to see it.
I had some trouble with the model. Trying to get the main saucer to have a smooth seam took repeated putty and sandings. Also while the construction of the joint for the two armatures for the warp engines resolves all the famous issues with the original model of odd angled warp engines (making any steering of the original model by any supposed navigator a probable nightmare) it had its own issues. (See photo of the old gal attached to remember.) The joint to the main hull was a bit of a nightmare to get flush and seamless. A number of putty attempts and sanding attempts by this amateur were needed. I was never quite happy.
I also of course painted the bussard domes on the warp engines first on the inside with the deep red color before assembly. It got just the right effect. Unfortunately I later ruined that effect by trying to get smart and spray a dull coat on the model after it was done. I should have covered them first. It lost the shiny surface you can see so well on some of the photos of the original. Dang. I had it just right and lost it.
I had some trouble with airbrushing for the first time. It seemed hard to get it to mix just right. I am sure that comes with practice. Oh well.
Anyway in general I had a great time and proudly presented this model to my brother on my last trip to see him. I made some errors like one I sadly noticed after I had given it to him. I had found that it was really hard to cut out the different font numbers for the NCC-1701 and easier to put the whole thing on and paint out the differences with a very small brush. I forgot to tend to one of those. Darn it.
Also the stand with the model is flimsy and I will definitely make a different post for the next ones. All that work and then your model is flopping around.
So here are some photos of the finished product including a cool matte shot my brother did of the finished model. Dude!!!
I mounted it on an oak base and had a brass metal plate engraved with U.S.S. Enterprise 1st pilot “The Cage”. My brother loved it and I really appreciate all the resources from your site. Can’t wait to finish mine and to do the others.