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 RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS 
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:18 pm
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Location: Pawtucket, RI
 RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
I loved to build models as a kid...still like it, though I have a lot less time to devote to it.

Anyways, AMT had re-released an old and all-time favorite kit:

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This is the 18" USS Enterprise that hasn't been made since the early 80s. I have built several throughout my childhood; the first in 1974---my first glue-together kit! I had also converted one into the USS Constellation using a candle to create burn marks like it had in The Doomsday Machine. Being young and inexperienced, they usually didn't come out to good, but I loved them just the same.

This 40th Anniversay re-release is identical to the original kits-which unfortunately means all the inaccuracies of the original kits also remain. Fortunately, we live in a world of after-market accurizing parts and decals. Also, thanks to the Internet, I found some very accurate blueprints and a host of hobby forums full of tips to construct a veritable studio-accurate model.

This is going to be fun :D


Tue May 05, 2009 7:47 pm
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Location: NH
 Re: RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
Very cool.

I love the modern trend of re-releasing old model kits and toys in their original packaging.


I was never really into model making, though I did do a few snap-together models in the early 80s. I think I may have even been part of a model kit club for a while, something you signed up for and they sent you a kit monthly. If so, I only got two or three out of it. I recall doing a Space Shuttle Columbia, a Dukes of Hazzard "Dukes Digger", and maybe another. I also got a Dukes of Hazzard "General Lee" that I still have but never put together, as it was a glue kit and I was fearful of not having the skill to do it at the time.

Anyway, love the packaging on that Enterprise kit.

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Thu May 07, 2009 1:30 pm
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 Re: RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
I built the Columbia as well, probably not too long after the first launch in 1981. It was the complete set with orbiter, fuel tank, solid rocket boosters, and launch gantry...huge kit!

RE: Enterprise Packaging
Evidently AMT felt many people would be attracted to the retro feel of the original box art, and went further to release the kit in a deluxe metal tin for about $10 more. It's has the same dimensions as the "regular box" and comes with the same art printed on the lid.


Thu May 07, 2009 2:03 pm
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 Re: RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
i was never good at building models. i tried and tried but...

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Sun May 17, 2009 8:10 pm
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 The Enterprise Project
When I started this project, I wanted to keep a photo journal (digital cameras are so handy!) of all the alterations and modifications I'm making to transform the inaccurate AMT U.S.S. Enterprise into something (hopefully) more closely resembling the Studio model. Since Col. Manning has an Enterprise kit of his own and is thinking of building it, I decided to post my experiences here.

The Enterprise Project

In order to create the perfect Enterprise, I needed accurate references. There are many reference books with photographs of the ship available for purchase everywhere, but you can find everything you need on the Internet for free. When I first built this kit back in 1974, there was nothing at all. For me it was pretty much just the box art to go by. This was my very first "glue together" model and I got it for my 9th birthday. I had only built one other model--a snap-together General Urus figure from the previous Christmas. As you can imagine, a 9 year old with his first tube of model glue--it was pretty much a disaster.

General Ursus was my very first model kit
Image

Reference Pictures
http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/
Here I found screen caps from every episode of Star Trek including the remastered TOS. A true treasure trove for Trekkies!

Blueprints
These blueprints are a must. Due to their size, I purchased some 81/2 X 14 paper which was the perfect size. Make sure to set the printer paper to 81/2 X 14!

CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

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Last edited by Beastball on Sun May 29, 2011 10:35 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sun May 29, 2011 9:38 am
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 The Enterprise Project
More blueprints

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Last edited by Beastball on Sun May 29, 2011 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun May 29, 2011 9:40 am
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 The Enterprise Project
This is a nice one!

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If you find a need for even more reference material than this, you're in luck! The Internet is bursting with it. Even pictures of the actual 11ft. studio model itself.
Now that I've gathered my necessary references, I needed to compare the model to it and determine what needs changing and where to get the replacement parts. I'll go over that and where to get them as they come up.


Sun May 29, 2011 9:42 am
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 Re: RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
Very cool! I can't wait to see how this project unfolds. I don't know when (or IF) I'll get around to building (or finding for that matter) Enterprise, but hopefully your project will serve as an inspiration to me Beastball. I really do love that ship! Looking at those blueprints reminds me of how much fun it was watching TOS back in the 70s and early 80s on Boston TV channels. Really a special time for me...

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Mon May 30, 2011 9:28 am
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 Re: RE-ACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND...OF SORTS
Oh yeah! Channel 56 used to show Star Trek thoughout the 70's I think exclusively; no other channel carried it. 56 was the sole home for CDF, Lost in Space, and Star Trek. It was my (and I'm sure your) absolute favorite station!

RE: the Enterprise kit
The modifications I'm doing aren't overly complicated, but they are extensive. Even if you decide NOT to build your kit and just observe what I'm doing, I am wide open to suggestions and constructive criticism you or anyone else looking at this thread may offer. I am not some uber model builder by any stretch. By posting this here I may end up with a better result.
Also, you may decide to build your Enterprise straight out of the box and not do anything like I'm doing--and that's fine especially if you haven't built a kit in a long time. It's not a bad kit and its easy to assemble.


Mon May 30, 2011 10:14 am
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 The Enterprise Project
Oh, Those Pesky Gridlines!
One of the most controversial (at least in the hobby community) aspects of the AMT Enterprise are the upper saucer gridlines. Why did AMT put them on? The studio model didn't have them, right? Well, technically it did, as you can see on the blueprints. However, they were penciled on and extremely hard to see on TV. If they were barely visible on the 11ft studio model, they should be totally invisible on a model as small as the 18" AMT kit. 

Image

Luckily, the latest re-release of this kit has omitted the gridlines...If you have and older version like the one above, you'll have to remove them with a blade and sandpaper.
Oh, and while we're at it, we might as well remove the entire top three decks on the saucer including the bridge; they're horribly inaccurate. Replace them with these resin parts from Federation Models:
http://www.federationmodels.com/

Accurate Part's TOS 18" Bridge
by Federation Models/Accurate Parts

Image

Accurate Part's TOS 18 Series B/C Deck
by Federation Models/Accurate Parts

Image


So it looks something like this:
Image

Image

While this replacement part is 1000 times better than what the kit provided, I'm not entirely convinced it conforms to the blueprints. I may modify it a bit with some putty at a later time.


Mon May 30, 2011 10:23 am
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 The Enterprise Project
The lower saucer also has a few inaccuracies to be fixed:
There are three round divots surrounding were the lower sensor will go. I'm not sure what they're supposed to be; phaser banks perhaps. Whatever they are, they're not on the 11 footer so they have to go. Fill them with putty and sand smooth. You'll also see outlines for windows over the entire ship. Sand those off because we'll be applying decals for them. See those three concentric rings? They're wrong too; they're not supposed to be raised detail, but rather indented. We'll be sanding them off and scribing our own in, using a compass.

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Another thing that is wrong: See that lip that's about 1 inch in from the edge? It's much too severe.

Image

Image

That's better! Noticed the scribed concentric circles, too.


Mon May 30, 2011 2:19 pm
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 The Enterprise Project
The angle of the saucer section's leading edge is too steep; the contour is all wrong. By fixing this, the saucer's profile will be improved greatly. Let me show you:

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In order to fix this, we'll need to use putty--but not regular tube putty. We'll need to use something stronger.
Milliput

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Milliput is a two part putty that can be molded like clay, doesn't shrink, hardens rock solid, and can be cut or sanded into shape. Slice off an equal part of each; knead and roll in the hands for at least 5 minutes until the colors merge and become uniform and no streaks can be seen. It will become warm and pliable.

Image

Basically, all you do here is mold the Milliput around the edge with your fingers until you roughly get the desired angle. When it dries, you can use sandpaper and files to make the angle smooth and precise.


Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:20 pm
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 The Enterprise Project
The lower sensor dome provided by the kit is hard to describe, but pitiful does come to mind. We won't be using it, so putty over those two guide-pin holes.

Image

Instead, we'll be again using a replacement part from Federation Models.

Accurate Part's TOS 18" Pilot Lower Sensor
by Federation Models/Accurate Parts
Product Description:
Replacement sensor array.

Image

...Yes I realize it's the lower sensor dome from the "Pilot Version" of the Enterprise, but that's all they had left. Besides, all it's really missing is the small bump in the center--which can be easily added.

Here's a shot of the lower sensor dome from the "restored" 11ft. miniature in the Smithsonian
Image

Look at how much better this replacement part is compared to the kit part:

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The kicker is both the upper and lower sensor parts in this 2008 re-release kit is actually an improvement over what I had in the 1974 version. That kit had those two parts molded in TRANSPARENT GREEN! :o

Lower sensor dome in place

Image

We're getting there!

Image


Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:31 pm
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 The Enterprise Project
There's still some more detailing to do on the saucer section, but we'll leave that for now and turn our attentions to the secondary hull (engineering section).
One thing I remember happening with the secondary hull is the spine splitting over time. This was caused by the constant pressure of holding the warp drive nacelles in place. 

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To prevent this from happening, the spine has to be reinforced--but how? One option is to use Cyanoacrylate, better known as "Super Glue". It is extremely strong and can bond almost anything to anything else, and it might do the job. However, the problem with Super Glue is it has very low shearing strength; meaning if there's any bending or twisting, it probably won't hold in the long run. I really don't know how much bending force those nacelles put on the spine, but there is a outward push that forces the spine to separate.
What I've decided to do is to reinforce the spine from the inside using wide strips of styrene. (It's always good to have extra sheets of plastic handy for scratch building or modifying). I use Evergreen brand styrene sheets and strips.

Evergreen sheets and strips come in many sizes and thickness.
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By gluing these strips to the spine, the splitting problem should be solved!

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At this time, we must consider the stand on which the model will rest on, since it attaches to the bottom of the secondary hull. I'll say it right now I don't like it and never did. I thinks it's ugly and worse--it's flimsy:

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All it has is that one little pin to hold the model in place, and I can tell you from experience that all it takes is a slight jarring for the model to topple over (unless you glue the model to the stand--ugh!). I want something that looks better and more importantly, I want something more secure.  
Wood makes a nice solid base. The particular piece I'm using is 7 inches wide and 1 inch thick, so it's wide enough and heavy enough to make a very steady base. 
Image

It started out as a simple square block. Locating the center, I drilled a hole to accommodate the clear acrylic rod that will support the model. This rod is a little over 1/4 inch thick and about 18 inches long. I may cut it down some when the time comes to display the model.

Image

Next, using my friend's chop saw, I was able to roughly round the corners. After that, some sanding to smooth the edge. Finally, using my friend's router, I made an attractive edging. Some more sanding to make it glass-smooth and this is the result:

Image

I haven't decided whether to paint it black, stain/poly urethane it, or leave it as it is.--Oh, and I glued a piece of green felt to the bottom!

Image

Now that the base is finished, I had to modify the model to accommodate it. I drilled a hole the same diameter as the acrylic rod in the bottom of the hull. I drilled it at the exact same point where the guide-pin hole was for the kit's stand. I believe this to be the gravity center of the kit and will balance well.

Image

I want to reinforce that hole, but I'm not sure how I want to do that yet.
I then inserted a pencil into the hole to mark where the rod will hit the top of the hull. I fashioned a sort of receptacle out of wood that will hold the rod in place. I used a bit of Gorilla Glue to attach this piece to the hull. Beware of using too much Gorilla Glue because it expands as it dries.

Image

Notice the strip of styrene to reinforce the side of the hull.


Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:39 pm
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 The Enterprise Project
To anyone who has been following this thread and wondering why I haven't posted any updates since June 5-- I've taken some time off to do "Summer things". I've not spent much time at the computer at all and have only come to this board once or twice per week for a quick look.

However, I will resume posting updates to this Enterprise Project in the near future, so don't think I've abandoned this thread.


Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:19 pm
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