Decals and Details

After your model has been glosscoated, you can apply the kit’s waterslide decals. It’s helpful to have a spare decal sheet or two handy, and they can be purchased directly from Round 2.

The stock decals and the instructions for applying them to make a first pilot model are essentially correct out-of-box.

However, here are a few tips which will allow for a more accurate first pilot model.

* The first pilot Enterprise had no electronics or internal illumination of any kind. As a result, all of the windows were painted dark gray (depicted as black in the kit decals, which is fine for the scale). Thus, the kit decals for the first pilot model are very accurate. Only the following minor modifications are needed to accurize the window patterns for this version:

On decal # 30, trim off and discard the windows marked in the photo with red “x”es before applying to your model:

On decals # 37 and 38, trim off and discard the windows marked in the photo with red “x”es before applying to your model:

* Decal # 36A is incorrect for the first pilot version, since it depicts three white/”illuminated” portholes on the saucer bow edge. These should be black. There are aftermarket decals from PNT Models and other vendors online which provide the correct black windows. Or, if you have a spare decal sheet, trim an extra window from decal # 36, and add it to the center of another decal # 36 so you have three black portholes.

Of course, since the portside of the real model was unfinished and never shown on-camera, one must decide how to handle the weathering and window patterns for that side. I chose to make the window patterns symmetrical for both sides of my model.

* The impulse engine decal (# 18) features the two black vents and the black “dot”/window between them, as on the production version. Reference material for this area on the 11-footer at the time of the first pilot is, to date, not available. The three-footer did not have the dot, but it did have the vents. And, the “Pilot 1.5” version–which we’ll soon discuss–appears to have had it.

I left the dot on my first pilot build, but I may have to paint over it if better reference material ever comes out and reveals that it wasn’t there during the first pilot. Use your best judgment when it comes to this question area!

* The triangular markings on the underside of the saucer in the first pilot were dark gray pinstriped outlines, with no fill color and no raised rib at the base of each triangle. I used PNT’s aftermarket triangle decals for my models, carefully trimming out the medium gray fill color. One could also create custom decals for this detail, as well.

* In the first pilot, the bridge dome on the upper saucer had a decorative red pinstripe running horizontally around the base of the dome. I used part of a spare # 13 decal–trimmed to size–for this detail.

*Finally, there’s one detail of the first pilot model that has been pretty much unknown until recently–the saucer did indeed have tiny faux navigation lights–red and green, at 3:00 and 9:00, on both upper and lower saucer. The three-foot model definitely had these lights in its original, first pilot-configuration, and reference materials indicate that the 11-footer did, too.

The upper saucer’s “lights” survived to the production version, and the larger, blinking lights were added right next to them for the second pilot.

There were similar red and green faux lights on top of each engine nacelle, right in front of the louvered rings.

To add this detail, I applied four small drops of Micro Krystal Kleer with a toothpick to the appropriate spots. When they dried, I then painted them with red (port side) and green (starboard side).

When all is said and done, you’ll probably want to seal your decals on the model with dullcote, which will also give the model the correct flat finish. Again, be sure to mask off the front nacelle domes and leave them glossy (something I forgot to do for my first pilot model). Also, be sure to use a good decal setting agent and kill those air bubbles under the decals–my models’ decals have suffered from some “silvering”, although I’m getting better at applying the decals each time, and thus minimizing this problem.


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