Warp Engine Connecting Dorsal Details:
It was at this point of the Stargazer Project that even more resin enhancements were designed on a spur of a moment inspiration. One of the major discrepancies between the studio model and the Sci-Fi Miniature vacumm formed kit was the soft detail of many of the formed parts and the inaccuracy of some of the small details on the Connecting Dorsals of the Warp Engines. Since one dorsal is a mirror image, one set was made and place in a RTV mold and cast in resin as a duplicate. After that even more small parts where details were added to the existing Sci-Fi kit parts and cast in resin Thus a new DLM product is conceived, created and copied for other Trek minded modelers.
For the connecting dorsal detail parts the kit detail was sanded flat and smooth. Depressions were filled in and puttied and smoothed once again.
The details were glued into place with slow setting super glues. A strip of Evergreen plastic channel strip was cut to size and run along both sides of the dorsal.
Masking and painting continues. I like to paint small on model details first with an airbrush then mask them over. In this instance Testers Sky Blue was sprayed into the Hanger Bay Doors and leading edge of, Duck Egg Blue on some of the grill work and details constructed of “greebles” in the engineering areas. Cool blue grays on the CnC deck levels. Tamiya Clear Blue was sprayed over the clear blue warp grills to darken them. Over spray was expected but then with all these details accomplished they were
masked over and sprayed over with flat white paint as a primer. With all the small details painted first you need not go back and risk over sprays and bleeds and excessive handling on your Federation Space Dock factory fresh white Aztec paneled paint job.
The first coat of the models finish is sprayed on. The type of white shading I like to use is a mixture of mostly gloss white from Testers Model Master paints with a few drops of French Blue to darken the color. This is sprayed over everything and set aside to dry and cure for a few days.
Masking tape is lade out on a flat surface and randomly cut with a straight edge as rectangles. These are then place at random intervals on the model. Each facet of detail is covered at one time and mirrored image on the other side with a similar pattern orientation.
Patterns for the Primary Hull sides are seen here.
Note that 3M makes this blue tape. I find it handy for its contrast to my painting system methods plus it picks up contrast better for the camera pictures used in this article. Most any masking tape will do, the best being low tack drafting tape.
Here you see the panel pattern laid out for the Warp Engine sub assemblies.
The “Aztec” pattern template in use is Walker Enterprises set of photo etched templates made for the ST:TMP and Enterprise “A” painting templates. As shown the template is taped down and shot with the brighter gloss white pant. Do one section at a time allowing the paint to set and dry before removing and going to the next section.
Aztec patterns in use on the bottom of the primary hull.
A final gloss white coat is then sprayed all over the remainder of the model with the masked panel details. I let this dry for a few days before removing the masking tape.
Once I removed all the masking tape involved with pattern painting I smoothed out the paint job with fine wet sanding sponges and sandpaper with grits ranging from 600 to 1000. This knocks down the ridges left from the masks. The model is clean up from the sanding dust debris and then sprayed with a thinned coat of gloss white. This final finish coat tones down the contrasts of the panels and creates a uniform sheen. I let the model dry some more.
While the main painting effort cures I painted all the add on parts. Shown here are the large pods located on the bottom of the hull. All the other small add on parts were painted and detailed as well.
The Warp Engine subassembly was hooked up at the Gold Connectors and wires cable was pushed into the model. This is the last chance for a lighting check so after the successful test the pylons were glued in permanent.
Final assembly light test. The model is on its display stand with DC power supply powered up. All systems are running within normal parameters!