On The Bench 69: Enterprise B/Excelsior Project part 8 by Don Matthys

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Essential to the necessity of lighted ports and window is a Waldron Punch and Die set. Though kind of spendy this tool is the best way to mask the round ports of the model for lighting purposes. In the past I have used a Tandy Leather punch set. But that is more suited to the larger 1/650 scale starships of a 1/16in diameter for its round view ports. This models scale is much smaller and requires a smaller hole (.030 in dia). The use of the Waldron punch is a good investment for this project and my future model projects and is far better than the methods of drops of white glue or paint scraping the openings over the fiber optic ports.

To use the Waldron Punch Set as a mask maker I placed some blue masking tape on .010 sheet plastic. Next I place some double sided sticky tape on a piece of scrap plastic card. Then I proceeded to punch out holes on the blued taped card stock. (The number of holes required are in the hundreds and don’t ask me, I lost count) the punch out (called “blunts”) are then placed plastic side down onto the double sided tape. After a quantity of .030 diameter blunts are made and stuck down onto the sticky tape the very sharp end of a #11 blade was able to pick up the blue masking tape from the blunt plastic disc which stay to the sticky tape and transferred to the fiber optic openings on the model.

For the long horizontal windows, thin strips of .030 x 1/16 over the clear resin filled windows. Also masked over for the light to shine through is the clear Bridge resin pieces which will feature spot light slots and rec observation room windows similar to the refit Enterprise used in ST:TMP and the Enterprise “A”. The Aft Control Room and spotlights for the Planetary sensor Array and the clear blue Impulse crystals.

After all the places that are to be lit are masked over, black paint is sprayed to opaque the model for light leaks. Once again a test of lighting in a dark room is done to inspect for light leaks and resprayed black again as necessary.

After the black has dried the model is sprayed flat white over the black as a primer coat.

Next the finished colors are applied in spots that can be masked over:

  • Light Blue: Leading and trailing edges of the Warp Pylons and pylon support hump.
  • Metallic Gray: Aft Shuttle Bay fantail, Excelsior’s Main Deflector housing.
  • Dark Gray: (Model Master Euro 1) on the Warp Engine Grill details and Enterprise “B” Deflector Housing and the connecting neck of the Primary-Engineering Hulls.

As a mater of routine on Federation Star Ships I paint the small areas first and mask them over. Then I proceed on with the main hull colors.

Note: Color references comes from the Generations, First Contact Sketchbooks, William McCullers ICIC Web Page and Pete Savin’s Pedros Shiporama web sites.

The main hull colors I chose for painting the hulls and warp nacelles is shades of white using Testers Model Master enamel paints. My first coat is with a off white shaded with some French Blue. (MM Classic White, MM French Blue) This is my darker color. A good coating is applied and set aside to dry for several days. After the paint has had sufficient time to cure I looked the surface over carefully and wet sanded away any imperfections with 600 and 1000 grit sand paper. I checked it again and double check that all the port and window masks are still in place. The affected ares that required sanding is sprayed once again with the off white color. The model is then again set aside to dry for a few more days.

Panel painting took place on the Primary Hull first. In the process prior to the Aztec pattern I placed small pieces of masking tape on the edges of the hull at about 30% coverage


The Walker Enterprises Photo Etched painting template saved a lot of time in the application of the Aztec pattern painting around the Primary Hull.

Following the provided instructions the template is cut off the brass fret and taped to the bottom of the Primary Hull panel section. Then it is sprayed with MM Gloss White.

The template pattern is then removed and applied to the alternate panel around the hull.

After the first phase of panels has a time to dry the alternate pattern is then applied and painted. The same procedure is done on the top of the Primary Hull using the Walker Template instructions.

As to what to do about the outer edge of the Primary Hull I found that the outer radius for the templates used topside will suffice for the outer edge bottom pattern. So this was applied in a similar manor as before.

To cut back on the contrast the painted surface is wet sanded with 1000 grit sand paper. Then a light thinned coating is misted on the entire painted surface of the model

On the Engineering hull patterns of masking tape is applied at about a 30% coverage to make panel details.

Once the paint is dry to touch the panel masks are removed. Wet sanded with 1000 grit wiped clean and gloss coat mist sprayed.

Similar steps with masking tape is done to the upper parts of the Warp Engines and the Warp Engines themselves.

After a paint cure of several days the masks are removed from the ports, windows, spotlights, Pylon trim, Impulse domes etc. Then small detail were painted on with a small brush, like around the bridge, control island etc.

Onto Part 9

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