Friday, July 5, 2013

1/1400 Saber-class NCC-81623 USS Da VInci, Part 2

I gave the model its first coat of primer. A relatively hard thing to fix is the loss of saucer edge detail near this RCS quad. I filled the gap with gel superglue and hit it with accelerant, then sanded and added more. I also puttied. After it's primered again, we'll see how much more work it needs so that the repair is unnoticeable.
Some areas don't need much help. Here you see only two little spots of putty on the saucer underside.
The edge of the engineering hull behind the saucer edge has a more serious defect, what appears to be a two-part mold problem. The area just needs the usual  filling, sanding, primering ad infinitum.
The largest bubbles and some more two-part molding defects were on the warp nacelles. Nothing too bad.
Pretty much the same thing as the other pic of the engineering hull, eh?

Next time: all primered up and smooth and ready for painting. But it's going to have to wait two weeks till after vacation.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

1/1400 Saber-class NCC-81623 USS Da Vinci

Here's the beginning of a new project I hope will be brief. I acquired a Starcraft 1/1400 scale Saber. It's one of the new starship classes seen in Star Trek: First Contact. In the Starfleet Corps of Engineers books, most of the action takes place on one of these ships, USS Da Vinci NCC-81623, which this model will represent.

EDIT (28Feb2014): I've heard from another modeler who used Klean Strip on resin and it ate into the resin. Like the advice given on a lot of products, test on an inconspicuous area to make sure it's safe. This product also works really fast, so you should not have to leave it on long.

Since the kit was previously finished, the old paint had to go. The paint stripper really looks like vomit, but has a very different nasty smell.

Incidentally, it was possible to use this stripper only because this model is resin. Out of scientific curiosity, I put some onto painted styrene. Here's the result:
It strips the paint, then turns the plastic into taffy. Back to the Saber...

Here's how it came out after soaking in stripper and scrubbing with a toothbrush dipped in lacquer thinner. Cleans up real nice. It was also possible to pop the nacelles off. I let the joint soak in acetone, then used a pair of slip-joint pliers and a piece of inner tube to pry off the nacelles without marring the surface.

It was bugging me that there are some symmetry problems with this kit. This is an older Starcraft kit and not quite state of the art any more. It was assembled just fine; in fact, there were locating pins for the nacelles. In this picture you can see where I had to sand down a panel that stuck out too far. Easy fix.
The starboard nacelle's pylon overlaps some lifeboats, and the port nacelle's front face is too far forward. Mostly this is an easy fix also, requiring just a bit of sanding. The mating surface to the pylon on the underside of the saucer, however, is a bit proud of the surface and needs to be carefully sanded to avoid wiping out the lifeboat detail. In fact, I had to re-establish some of this detail by scraping with an x-acto blade and using a scribing tool.
Here it is fixed. You can also see a dark stain on the underside of the saucer. Looking at it closely, I realized it's composed of paint that filled in thousands of tiny bubbles, and it won't be visible once it's primered. Another symmetry problem that needs to be addressed is the dogtooth detail on the leading edge of the saucer. A little bit of sanding will rectify this.

Next time: Primering and filling and sanding, oh my!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

baQa'! pay' QapHa'taH beghwIj 'ach vItI'laHbe'!

Translation: Damn! Suddenly my deflector is malfunctioning but I can't fix it!
One of the LEDs burned out, so the deflector ring is wov on one side but wovHa' on the other. There's no way I can get in there to fix it. At least the poS side isn't completely Hurgh. Do'Ha'!

EDIT: There was a grammatical error in the title. The subject noun beghwIj ("my deflector") should not have preceded the predicate verb QapHa' ("malfunctions"), so I fixed it. I also made the verb QapHa' into QapHa'taH ("is malfunctioning"), since the malfunction is ongoing. Also there is an error in the lower callout in the photo. I copied and pasted from Bing to MSPaint. Apparently due to different coding between Bing and the pIqaD font I have loaded, the pIqaD came out different. Fortunately, most of us (myself included) can't read it. Of course, now that this happened, I'll have to learn how to read Klingon in pIqaD.