Friday, October 26, 2012

KBoP, Part 8

Okay, last time I said there would be lighting in my next post. As Kirk told Maltz, "I lied."

Actually, I've been designing and testing lighting, as you might guess from the breadboard visible in this picture, but this post is about exterior improvements to the upper hull. At right you see where the old detail is removed and partly replaced. I forgot to take a "before" picture, so the next picture shows the same area on my old AMT KBoP.
I built when it first came out in the '90s. The engine deck has this raised structure with a trapezoidal recess in it that looks like a docking port. Maybe it's a port for transferring power or fuel. If it's for transferring power, it'd be like the PTO on a farm tractor, and the KBoP does have some similarity to a farm tractor. But I digress...

One thing that bugs me about the AMT kit is the molded in tubing detail on either side of the raised structure. If the tubing were tight against the hull, it wouldn't matter, but it isn't, as you can see in this studio model photo. It's minor perhaps, but it bugs me, so I'm fixing it. About an hour to remove the old detail and putty and sand, and about an hour to add new detail.

You may notice differences between the filming miniature and my model, like the shape of the plating or the location of tubing attachment points, but that doesn't bother me. One would expect no two KBoPs to be exactly alike once they've been in service for a while, and it's not like there are no inconsistencies on screen.
Here's a more direct view of the re-detailed area. I mostly tried to get the new detail to be symmetric. The small boxes the tubing emerges from had to be drilled out to provide a toehold for the tubing, and holes also had to be drilled into the sides of the central structure. The tubing, by the way, is .030" Evergreen styrene rod. Once formed and in place, the ends were cemented in place with Tenax.
And here's how it looks with a coat of Tamiya primer. It was practically impossible to get thorough coverage in the recesses without getting too heavy a coat elsewhere, so the red putty still shows through.

I've been trying to sharpen the relief of the hull plating as well. The angle of the hull coming out of the mold results in hull plates that taper off instead of having sharp relief, so I undercut them in places. Naturally I removed too much material, so I ended up filling some gaps with Bondo spot glazing putty and forming new grooves. I've also been giving attention to the windows to get them geometrically precise. As you can see, these windows still need work. A common problem for starship modelers is rough windows, and the cure is patiently retouching them until they appear perfectly even. You do not want the windows in your starship to look like they belong on Fred Flintstone's house!

I also used some liquid cement to smooth out  rough spots. Overall, my treatment of the hull plating is still a bit rough, but once it's painted an weathered, I hope it looks good. Besides, it's not a Federation ship. Starfleet crewmen must spend most of their time removing every speck of dirt from the ship and buffing the hull with carnauba wax to get the ship looking like the refit Enterprise in ST:TMP.

Next time: Lighting. I promise. Or your money back.

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