Decals and Details, Part Deux

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.

Here are a few tips which will allow for a more accurate second pilot model, since the stock decals have a few problems, particularly in terms of the window patterns.

* The kit’s instruction sheet essentially says to apply a mix of first pilot and production-style window decals in order to depict the second pilot version, but this isn’t quite right. To accurately depict the second pilot model’s unique window pattern (which was a mix of illuminated windows and painted, faux windows), one must mix and match decals elements–this can be very tedious and difficult work, but the results are very worthwhile!

* Decal # 36 can still be used for the windows on the saucer bow, but you might want to trim them apart so that you don’t have to worry about fitting decal film over the protruding navigation light.

* For the rear saucer edge, trim off the lower rows of round windows from decal # 35A and 34A.

* For the front saucer edge, trim off the round windows (as well as the lower rectangular windows) from decal # 33C and 33B, leaving two sets of four rectangular windows on each.

* For the B/C deck structure on the upper saucer, trim the round windows from decal # 25A and 26A, leaving two sets of four rectangular windows on each.

* On the saucer underside, trim the black rectangular window from decal # 29A and replace it with a spare white one. Also, trim off all of the round windows, and remove the TINY black text that’s directly underneath the gray rectangular marking.

* If you’re using decal # 28A instead of # 28, trim off all of the round windows.

* Trim the round windows and the rectangular black window on the far left side from decal # 30B. Also remove the TINY black text that’s directly underneath the gray rectangular marking.

* Next to each of the lower navigation lights (at 4:00 and 7:00), add two round, white windows. The easiest way to do this is to use a few spare # 36A decals, trimming out the individual windows. The kit’s stock decals (# 32) feature windows that are too small/inaccurate.

Here’s a photo of my completed model which you can use as reference for matching up the proper window elements:

On the starboard dorsal, create the following pattern from mixing and matching decal elements, then do the same for the starboard side (if you want symmetrical patterns)…

(From top to bottom, row by row, left-to-right):

Top row: Five black rectangular windows.

Row 2: Round/black, rectangular/black, round/black.

Row 3:  Five white rectangular.

Row 4: Round/white, rectangle/white, rectangle/white, round/white.

Row 5 (bottom): Rectangle/black, rectangle/white.

Here’s more photo reference, with each row of windows separated by a green line:

For the starboard side secondary hull,  create the following pattern from mixing and matching decal elements, then do the same for the starboard side (if you want symmetrical patterns)…

Top row: Rectangular/black.

Row 2: Round/black, rectangle/white, rectangle/white, rectangle/white, rectangle/white, round/white.

Row 3: Rectangle/white, rectangle/white, round/white, LONG rectangle/black, round/white, rectangle/white.

Row 4: Rectangle/black, rectangle/black, round/black, rectangle/black, rectangle/black, rectangle/white.

And here’s the appropriate photo reference:

Of course, since the port side 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 essentially symmetrical and slightly idealized for my model.

However, if you wish to depict the 11-foot model as it was in reality (although some creative license will still be needed for the portside dorsal and secondary hull’s window patterns), then do the following:

* On decal # 33B, trim away all but the two innermost rectangular windows (upper row).

* On decal # 25B, trim away all but the two forwardmost rectangular windows (upper row) .

* Use decal # 28 instead of # 28A on the lower saucer.

So, now that we’re done with the windows, here are some tips for the rest of the decals and details…

* 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.

* The stock kit decals (# 5) depict two rectangular yellow boxes with red outlines on either side of the bridge dome. This is incorrect–the second pilot model appears to have had illuminated panels/windows cut into the dome, as opposed to the kit’s markings. These can be simulated by trimming two spare # 4 decals to the same size and shape as the incorrect decal # 5.

REVISION–The jury’s still out on this one. The 1/350 kit’s decals depict these areas as pale yellow rectangles, without the red borders, but I still think they may have been illuminated cutouts. Do what you feel is best!

REVISION–The red pinstripe around the Bridge dome as seen in the first pilot appears to have been changed to a gray one (rather than being eliminated) for the second pilot.

* For those who choose to discard the stock rear nacelle endcaps and their molded-in grilles, the best way to represent the painted detailing is with custom decals. I created artwork from scratch based on careful study of second pilot-era reference materials, then scaled the art down and printed it on clear decal paper. I present that art here for anyone who wishes to do the same:

The faux red/green lights on the upper saucer (at 3:00 and 9:00) survived from the first pilot to the production version, and the larger, blinking white lights were added right next to them for the second pilot. The faux lights on the lower saucer (3:00 and 9:00) were removed, and the white blinker lights installed at 4:00 and 7:00.

To simulate the tiny faux lights, I applied two small drops of Micro Krystal Kleer with a toothpick to the appropriate spots on the upper saucer. When they dried, I then painted them with red (portside) 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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