On The Bench 117 Don Matthys’ Stargazer part 2

This week we have part 2 of Don Matthy’s Stargazer article. Don’t miss part 1

One of the first parts modified from the Sci-Fi Stargazer kit is the Impulse Engines. The vac-formed part is trimmed to size and a shape of .060 plastic sheet is cut froms its outline pattern as its backing piece. The Sci-fi impulse crystal was replaced with DLM parts from TMP Enterprise’s Impulse Crystal  was inserted instead. Cast in clear blue resin this detail part will glow blue when lit by the T1 White LED. This LED will also illuminate the Impulse Engine when clear acetate is trimmed to size to fit the vents. Color and detail of the vents will be done with a red and black decal.

Parts are now slightly modified for lighting of the Bridge and Planetary Sensor Array. (pattern crafted by Andy Henshaw) (Opaque gray resin parts is shown nearby.) To put light into these parts cast in a clear resin an area was hollowed out to allow a T1 size white LED. The LED is oriented to the front of the ship. Five minute epoxy is trowel in to hold the white LED. When the light openings are masked, then opaqued in black and covered with finishing exterior colors the result is an illuminated part that allows light to shine through the unmasked openings. A white LED used as a strobe effect flasher is tunneled into the Bridge clear casting with a fiber optic. The fiber optic is run through tubes of strips wire insulation and heat shrink tube and blocks the light flash except to where is really counts; the top of the bridge

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The parts were installed onto the model. An area of the kit was cut out to the shape and size of the lower ridge of the cast part. One picture shows the gray resin and the other the clear lighting part.

The Warp Engines received a lot of attention to light them up. This is done with DLM Clear Blue Engine Warp Grills and LightSheet along with red and white LEDs to have the Bussards glow red and Navigation Strobes Flash white. My photo research on the original USS Stargazer studio filming miniature shows that the Flux Chiller Grills on the Warp Engines are of the inboard type on both sides of all engines. This type of Grill are featured on the Enterprise “A” and Reliant inboard portion of the Warp Engines. This type of grill is now provided in the DLM Constellation Class lighting parts to fit to the Sci- Fi Miniatures vacuum- formed kit. .

This build up project does not use the Sci-fi Miniature Warp Engine parts but rather scrap spare Warp Engines from the AMT USS Reliant kit. This was chosen over the vacuum parts for its strength and its smooth surface without engraved panel details. Whatever Warp Engine type used like any of the TMP Enterprises from AMT and Federation Models and the Reliant Warp Engines the installation of the clear blue Grills and red dyed Bussards are the same. The procedure outlined below is applicable to any Warp Engine lighting method used on the Kirk movie era Reliant and Enterprises

First take the clear cast DLM Warp Grill parts and trace its outline onto the Warp Engine part with a thin pencil or marker.



With a .030 diameter drill bit mounted in a Dremel tool a series of holes are drilled all along the inside of the trace line of the clear grill.



The major portion of the kit grill detail is cut away with a sharp #11 Exacto Knife.

Then it is smoothed down further within the trace lines with a Dremel side cutter tool.

Further fitting of the clear grills was accomplished with hand files files, sanding blocks and elbow grease up to the trace line. Test fit the grils often. Latter if you find that you have gone to far and have a gap, fill it with red putty and sand it smooth.



The ends of the Reliant Warp Engines have been chopped and an end plate is glued on the end of the engine from .040 plastic. Also the fins have been removed.

The Engine Mount from the Sci- Fi Miniature kit is cut form the vac-formed plastic sheet and glued into place.

Just before gluing the Warp Grills in, I wet sanded the inside back of them tohelp diffuse the light from the LighSheet.

The clear cast Warp Grills were glued into place with gap filing super glue. A strip of Evergreen .80 x .80 plastic is also glued in as a support ledge for the plastic strip that the LightSheet will be mounted to.

The LightSheet (4ea .5 x 6) strips are prepared by making them waterproof. I used clear shipping tape wrapping around them with only the leads exposed. This is done to protect the material from water, should for example; during wet sanding the seams or cleaning the finished model with water. Though I would not recommend total immersion under water the LightSheet is affected by water on the very edges of the material. It’s just a precaution to preclude water damage

A plastic sheet (.040) that has been glued onto the support ledge. One strip of LightSheet will emit enough light to go out both sides of the Warp Nacelle. Double stick tape will hold the LightSheet in place.

On to part 3

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