Lessons Learned


Well, it’s been some time since I’ve posted an entry to this blog, and with good reason. I’ve been hard at work on my Production Enterprise model. Or, at least, I was.

During the final stages of assembly and painting, I decided that I could do better. So, I made the difficult decision to write this one off as a practice build, and begin anew.

As a result, I did rush it a bit during the final stages, although I’m very pleased with the final result. I decided to label the model as the Yorktown, as a nod to the original name of TREK’s starship, before it was changed to Enterprise.

This build allowed me to experiment with a number of techniques, as well as being only my second 1/1000 model that was painted with an airbrush instead of rattlecans. I also added those few details and markings that are absent from the stock kit, such as the triangular markings on the saucer underside and the windows/tiny red light on the upper rear secondary hull.

Areas that turned out well:

* Paint masking/finish.

* Minimal decal silvering.

* Use of Micro Krystal Kleer for the tiny saucer/nacelle marker lights and the lower saucer’s teensy, red-tipped “phaser nipple”.

* Front nacelle dome effect is very good. I used VA Minatures’ red-tinted resin inner domes, backed with reflective foil, and with dark metallic charcoal tape applied to the raised fan-blade ribs. The outer domes were painted with clear orange, then frosted with Testors’ Dullcote–perhaps a bit too heavily, since the ribs are hard to see inside the domes.

Areas that need improvement:

* Drawing on the saucer’s gridlines. I may end up using some of the aftermarket decals for this, as they’re very tricky to get right, especially at this scale.

* Weathering. The weathering on this model turned out well, but it needs to be more controllable in order to replicate the 11-footer’s specific look.

* Front nacelle dome look needs work. I used the red resin aftermarket domes because they catch the light well, but the original model didn’t have red inner domes. I may stick with the stock clear domes for my next attempt.

The completion of this build also has me reflecting on how far I’ve come. This is my third 1/1000 model which, due to my dissatisfaction with the results, ended up being labeled as a ship other than the Enterprise.

While I still fully intend to build my ultimate 1/1000 Production Enterprise, the news of Round 2’s forthcoming 1/350 Enterprise kit has whetted my appetite. In the end, all of this work may prove to have served as mere practice for taking on that giant kit and fully tricking it out with lights and spinning inner nacelle domes.

Anyway, this newest 1/1000 model is light-years improved from my initial attempt. I bought a 1/1000 Polar Lights Enterprise back in 2003, when it was first released. After I began to build it, the project stalled, and I didn’t resume it until 2006. That build was very experimental, since I hadn’t built a model since I was a kid, and had never done a good job of one to begin with. It was my first use of an airbrush, although I went back to rattlecans for more of my recent builds, until I’d gained the confidence to try the airbrush again.

Setting the trend, this model was labeled Lexington , since I felt it wasn’t successful enough to be my definitive Enterprise. I used J.T. Graphics’ excellent decals for the name and registry numbers, although the font and spacing is a little off when compared to the 11-foot Enterprise.  For my recent Yorktown, I went with PNT’s decals, which are a precise match for the 11-footer’s look.  And, of course, Thomas Sasser of PNT designed the Polar Lights kit’s decal sheet to begin with, so his aftermarket sets are a perfect compliment to the stock decals.

Here are some visuals which will illustrate how far I’ve come. This just goes to prove that practice makes perfect, so you aspiring modelers out there shouldn’t give up!!!!







And then there’s my Constitution, which began as my first attempt at a first pilot Enterprise. I decided to rename this model after a few painting and assembly problems (like my accidentally installing the nacelle spikes from the outside, with the result being that they stick out too far). On the other hand, I think the shade of blue on the dorsal is better than on my final first pilot Enterprise, as previously seen in this blog. Also, since I decided to label this one as the Constitution, I decided to leave it completely pristine and unweathered, thus depicting the first ship of the class as if it had just been launched.





All in all, it’s been a long, strange journey. Back in 2003, I bought one model kit, with the intent of building the Production Enterprise–that was the full extent of the plan at that time. Little did I dream that this one kit would snowball into MANY kits,  including the pilot Enterprises.
At this rate, I may end up building the entire fleet!

One Response to “Lessons Learned”

  1. rob spadoni Says:

    just found your site. fantastic! are you one of the leading authorities on ‘the old girl’? looks like it. do you have any interest in the TOS props? is that your model you’re building? magnificent. all the best, rob

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