The USS Enterprise (Refit) from Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Build Log – Part 8

Now we're starting to get some larger pieces

Now we’re starting to get some larger pieces

For the next sub-assembly, I’m going to do the engine nacelles, port and starboard. Not too many parts, but we are starting to stray into an area where the parts are rather large.

For starters, I’ve separated all the pieces from the main bags and sanded / filed them smooth. I’m leaving the clear parts on their sprues for the time being. I’m also re-viewing shots of the ship when at warp as well as at rest, to give myself an idea of what parts of the inner grilles will need to be clear and which will need to be opaque (the part for each grille is entirely clear).

The LED inventory

The LED inventory

Since I’ll be replacing most of the clear parts with LEDs (it’s handy that most LEDs are clear dome-shapes to begin with), I’m going to inventory the lights I’ll need and assign a type for each.

Navigation / anti-collision strobe – this is the blinking light on top of the rear of the engine. I’ll use a white SMD for this.

Forward flood lights – these are at the bottom of the front of the engine, facing the saucer. 2mm white tower-LEDs will work here.

Warp crystal – the blue dome just behind the forward section on the top of the nacelle. I’ll keep the clear part for this, but I will drill it up from beneath and mount a blue LED in here. It’ll be dark under impulse, blue under warp power.

Inner grilles – these are black when under impulse power, and glow blue (remarkably close to Cherenkov radiation in hue) when at warp. I’ll use two strips of blue LED tape in each engine for this.

The yellow needed some pretty severe sanding to get it to fit inside the nacelle fin.

The yellow needed some pretty severe sanding to get it to fit inside the nacelle fin.

Thruster lighting – the yellow rectangular area on the outer fin of each nacelle will also be lit. A small yellow LED will suffice here.

Rear spotlights – the ship name and call letters were lit on the studio model from an external source, in such a way as to make it look like they were receiving illumination from floods on the thruster fins. To replicate this, I’ll use a “Raytheon” style setup, with larger white LEDs inside the nacelles, removing the light blocking around them so their light will shine through the piece, making it look like they’re being lit from outside.

First step for this was to separate all the parts and sand / file them clean, then mask off the areas which would be needed for direct-contact gluing and so on. Masking didn’t have to be precise, but it’s always better to be more thorough where you can. Since most of the clear parts will be replaced by LEDs, I left them on their sprues for now.

Note to the "Army Painter" people - put a clearer designation on the can, instead of just the cap.

Note to the “Army Painter” people – put a clearer designation on the can, instead of just the cap.

Vallejo stuff - first time I'm using it, it's nice!

Vallejo stuff – first time I’m using it, it’s nice!

I then light-blocked the interior of the parts with a matte black, using Army Painter for this – I have had mixed results with AP brand paint, mainly that it doesn’t get along well at all with Citadel satin finishes. I get crinkles like crazy when putting the two together. I wasn’t going to be using those here, so I didn’t spend a lot of worry on it.

 

 

 

You can make out the crinkling on the masks a little here

You can make out the crinkling on the masks a little here

Once the AP Black interior was dry, I primed the insides and outs with Vallejo Surface Primer, flat white. This is my first time using this stuff, and I’m quite impressed so far. It goes on very light, so it’ll take several coats to completely even up the color distribution. It also lies very evenly, and settles fine into detail work, so I’m quite happy with it so far.

I can see that the masks are getting some cracking / crinkling, so I might have some sanding ahead of me when I remove those. For now, the parts will be allowed to rest and cure for 24 hours while I plan out the circuits.

The white primer is sitting really nicely here!

The white primer is sitting really nicely here!

Speaking of which, since I’m going to be doing a “power up” cycle like in the films, this means I’ll have several circuits for the lights which will need to be kept separate. The shuttle bay had the benefit of being entirely dependent on the interior lighting, so it all ties into one set of leads that will connect to the interior window lighting. The engine nacelles are a different story.

I’ll separate them out like so, I think:
1. Front floodlights
2. AC strobe
3. Warp strips and dome crystal
4. Thruster
5. Raytheon floodlamps
#1 and #5 might end up on the same circuit. Not sure, I’ll have to go back and re-watch those sequences to be sure.

Reference shot - notice the blue grilles in the nacelles, and the blue dome on top.

Reference shot – notice the blue grilles in the nacelles, and the blue dome on top.

Tomorrow I’ll connect up my resistors to the LEDs, and add leads to each lamp / strip for both engines, and start fixing lights in their places. Probably will also glue some parts together. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

 

USS Enterprise – Build Log Part 9USS Enterprise – Build Log Part 7

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