The Interior continued…
SUGGESTION #20 — deck floor
When you get to the point of actually painting the upper deck floor, it should be represented as two colors, with a lighter center circular area of about 5 3/16″ surrounded by a dark brown perimeter. Since there is no line of separation provided on the floor section itself, you will have to mark this area manually for proper masking. Instead of effecting a simple mask-and-paint job, however, consider cutting out the entire center section altogether, which will yield additional potential benefits. Assuming that you have eliminated the plastic guides, or “stops” which are molded into the lower deck section, you may now back the entire assembly with a full 11 3/8″ diameter circular section cut from plastic sheet. The result will be two discrete sections which may be painted separately for a very clean look, as well as provide additional support flooring for the possible definition of storage compartments behind the walls. A definite “step” effect will now be evident with which some may not agree, but recall that the original pilot version of the interior set actually displayed this characteristic in a much more pronounced manner. The loss of the placement ring for the central astrogator must now be compensated for by adding a base ring to the astrogator section itself, as it is actually an integral part of the overall structure. The additional overall floor height will also now aid the completion of suggestion #19, involving the beam extension attachments directly to the inner ceiling.
SUGGESTION #21 — astrogator detail
I have encountered several opinions that the supplied central astrogator is too small for this model. This is actually not the case if you consider the rescaling which was necessary as I have already described. Position it momentarily next to one of the internal hatches and you’ll immediately see what I mean. That does not mean, however, that this part is without issue. The fact is that it was tooled with only six instead of eight fin-like protrusions. Since this discrepancy is not immediately obvious, consider leaving it alone. If you must accurize this section, you will be able to save only two of the supplied six fins. Eliminate the rest by clipping them off with a small “nippy” cutter (as Radio Shack calls it) and fine-sanding. You will then employ the same technique that I suggested for detailing the missing ribbing of the landing gear footpads. Simply mark off the remaining six locations, and proceed to make vertical cuts into the part to accept the new fins, which you will have prepared from plastic sheet. Secure from the inside, and fine-shape as necessary.
Supplemental tip A: — hull’s “edge”
The edge sharpness of the individual hull sections has been raised as a valid issue. I will begin by describing how I achieved the edges on my prototype. You must remember that my hulls were fiberglass-cast into RTV rubber molds, which is an entirely different story than dealing with precut styrene parts. When the castings were extracted from the molds, the first order of business was to trim the excess fiberglass as close as possible to what is known as the “parting line” (in this case, the seam line between the two primary hulls). Since the type of fiberglass that I used is extremely rigid and tough, I would up going through several X-acto-type saw blades before this was accomplished. The next step was to combine four 8 1/2″ X 11″ sandpaper sheets together into one large sheet, and attach it to a suitable flat surface (in my case, a drawing board). Each roughly cut hull section then had to be sanded smooth on this surface, which automatically created the sharp edges. Since I was building from scratch, I could afford to interrupt this process as often as I needed in order to compare to my primary blueprint profile, which by the way, is now featured on the CultTVman site.
Upon getting to this point, I soon realized that I was not finished. The edges were so sharp and brittle (particularly the lower hull), that I had to find a way to reinforce them to avoid ongoing “chipping.” My solution was to super-glue each hull section to a paper-thin .01″ styrene sheet, then trim away the excess material and sand yet another time.
The production model is a little different story. There is a small angeled “lip” on each of the hull halves, and I’m sure this was incorporated with a safety consideration in mind. On my model, for example, one could easily get cut on the edge of the lower hull if it were not handled carefully. The main reason I considered bringing this up before is that the inclusion of the 2 lips actually throws the model slightly out of proportion compared with my blueprint, and getting rid of them would put everything back on track. To be absolutely accurate to my plan, you should actually eliminate 1/32″ of additional stock beyond the edge of each lip.
For the upper hull, the same sanding technique can be used that I described for my prototype. The lower hull is a little more difficult, as this procedure will result in the loss of the molded rail that is used to line up the two halves. I suspect there will be some who will perform this modification anyway, and come up with a substitute pin arrangement to do the same thing. Fellow modeler and artist Shane Johnson told me over the phone one evening, however, that he chose to trim only the upper hull, and the results were very convincing without the excess work.
Many of the general techniques which I have described are applicable to the remaining areas of the model. Please remember that a good number of the suggestions that I have put forth are intended for semi-advanced modelers, and nit-picky perfectionists (like me). I am still amazed at how quickly and easily this model can be dry-fitted together for a very satisfying overall look. For another view of a completed build-up of the model’s interior exactly as it comes out of the box, please take a look at Polar Light’s own web site. (www.PolarLights.com) Production manager Dave Metzner is also a master modeler who has been doing this sort of thing for probably longer than I have been around. His work is truly of museum quality, with the only obvious issues in this case being a reversal of the floor colors, and the upside-down positioning of the primary hatch. The fact is that the hatch part was molded the wrong way, and it has been corrected beyond the first production run.
I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming acceptance of this product, and for your many gracious E-mail messages. Of the hundreds that I have received (since well before the model was even announced), I can recall only two that were less than complimentary, and I have made an honest effort to answer every one of them. I remember a conversation that I had with Dack (owner of the Priplanus web site) about a year ago, during which he suggested the wild possibility that I could become involved with a project like this in some sort of advisory capacity. I considered it to be a long shot, but look where we are today. To say that I have been fortunate and privileged to have been involved in any capacity would be an understatement.
I feel a great sense of loyalty to Dack and I want to express to him a very special “thank you.” It was the early exposure on his site that I’m sure ultimately contributed to my involvement with Polar Lights. It has also been a pleasure to share samples and other elements of my work with a variety of other web sites. In the one case where guidelines were imposed that did not permit the casual acceptance of my material as a free and unconditional contribution, we simply parted company.
A few have expressed surprise that I just seem to “give everything away,” right down to some of the actual blueprints that I created for my prototype (now available on CultTVman’s site). My answer is simple: what fun is this stuff if you can’t share it with those who have the same passion?