Build Log: Part 4
The Shuttle Bay, continued
Finished up the photo etch applications to the shuttle bay, which included a few extra of the tiny little people (surprisingly hard to get loose without warping). To get the rear wall aligned and the PE parts lined up right, I attached it to the port side shuttle bay wall.
I then primed the parts with Tamiya fine white primer (three light coats); once this was completely dry I masked off the lower sections and re-primed using Revell light grey. The film used a green-grey color on the walls and railings, which I thought just looked ugly. Light grey is very neutral, and very appropriate for a navy vessel (particularly one that had as many brushed-steel highlights as the interior of the Enterprise). I painted the control room window a darker grey to give it some contrast, and later I’ll do some other color highlights on some spots. The cargo bay hatches will get decals and some paint highlights as well, but I’ll cover that later.
Behind the control room windows on each side I created a small light box using styrene sheeting, and colored the sections visible through the windows using some extra decals from another kit and a few spots of paint. I also added one of the PE persons behind one window to provide a proper silhouette. The light box will be illuminated from beneath (since the floor won’t be visible) using LED tape, and I’m debating opening one or more of the lower side ports/doors to let some light in from the floor level there as well using the same light strip.
I covered the windows using canopy glue (un-diluted, same consistency as out of the bottle) applied with a medium brush from behind so there wouldn’t be residue on the interior walls.
Most of the rest of the work for this entry was done on the arboretum.
I began with a coat of London Grey on the walkway, and a black-brown color for the ground where growing things would be. A bit of sky grey covered the floor beneath where the water would be. I did not use the trees on trunks that were supplied with the kit, but I left the conical ones in place, and gave those a coat of beige brown. Benches got a little slap of light ghost grey.
I then applied the water with a double-fill of Woodland Scenics blue water effects (it’s a clear blue fluid that dries to look just like water). This worked just fine, but I’m sure other brands would be fine too.
I gave the water a day to cure, and then applied the fore and aft wall decals from HDA Modelworks, which gave a nice dose of detail over the PE parts. The HDA decal did have some trouble fitting over a bulge on the aft wall, I had to cut it free and apply it to the face of the part (you can see it on the left side of the image above). The PE texture is still there, but it gets lost a bit behind the decals. Based on my experience, if I were to do this again, I’d do one or the other, but not both. I’d probably skip the HDA decals and paint the PE part while it’s not attached, then paint a back color on the wall before applying the PE part.
When applying decals, I first gloss-coat the surface to make it good and slippery (a matte finish will grip your decals and potentially tear them – with HDA’s stuff that’s not a big risk since they use a good, durable film), and I also use a couple of solutions from Microscale Industries, “Micro Sol” and “Micro Set”. Both are very handy in avoiding silvering and achieving the “painted on” look. Micro Set goes on first, before the decal, to soften it up and have it adhere to the surface really well; Micro Sol goes on after the decal is securely in place, and it further softens the film and really gets it to settle in very well. Often this results in a temporary “wrinkly” look for the decal, but as it dries it will tighten up. Just be careful to get it in exactly the right place before letting it dry, or you may never get it up without destroying it.
I then took some fake rocks made from fragments of cork (these came from a terrain set for WW2 1:100 scale models, but you can chew up a wine cork just as well, or cat litter works perfectly too) and glued them in some random spots away from the holes where the trees would go.
Once the glue was dry, I brushed white glue over the ground previously painted brown, took some fake grass (again from WW2 infantry models, it’s called “flock”) and applied it in small sections so I could catch it before it dried. To apply it, take a small spoon (I saved a few from my daughter’s ice creams) and put some flock on it, sprinkle it over the glued area. You can be messy as you want here, the key is to cover the glue area well. Tap the arboretum firmly several times on the wall to get the stuff to settle onto the glue solidly. After this, overturn the piece and let the excess fall onto a piece of paper or into the canister, and again tap firmly from above to shake the loose bits out. Repeat until all the ground is covered.
After the ground was covered, I picked a few more spots and applied glue over the grass, then some fake gravel (just smaller bits of cork that look like rocks). After this, the conical trees got glue applied and some very fine forest-green and evergreen colored dust on them.
After the glue dried, the brown of the ground and the beige of the trees showed through a little (this was intentional) and gave an added depth to the features. Unfortunately, the grass also extended over the edge of the ground, over the walkways. Looked a lot like it needed a lawn mowing, really.
A knife would be a little too hazardous for trimming the verge here, so I took a sewing needle in some spring-loaded tweezers, and used a tea light candle to heat it up. Dragging the needle gently along the edge and re-heating the needle when it cooled too much removed the excess grass without too much damage, and I touched up the walkway with fresh paint when I was done.
Next came the trees – I used a single Woodland Scenics tree from a terrain package I had (really any scenery tree will work if the colors and texture are what you are looking for) been using for a 1:35th scale tank model and cut some of its branches off, and got the ends down into points to fit the holes in the floor for the kit-supplied trees. White glue in somewhat generous proportions was used to fix them in place.
I added two figures from the PE sheet (one painted with red and a light flesh tone, the other white with a darker tone), one to each side. Once those were in place and standing properly, I attached the clear ceiling part and glued it down with canopy glue. I’ll later add two short strips of LED tape in warm white to provide illumination into the room, so looking into the windows it’ll be nicely lit.
Admittedly a lot of this detail will not be visible from the windows, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction to know it’s there.
I’ll add the wiring later, once I’m ready to fit this into the secondary hull. Until then, I’ll pop this into a ziplock bag and store it somewhere safe. Hopefully I won’t forget where.