Tuesday, April 2, 2013

KBoP Part 14

Previously on Klingon Bird of Prey...

Did I say next time I'd finish the lighting and close her up? If I did, I lied again. Instead I've been ensuring that this project will go on longer than I hoped, by incorporating more detail that I had planned on.

I decided with all the detail packed into other areas of the ship, the forward hull needed some more attention. There's a hatch on top, which is used in ST:IV, and although the movie set is a poor match for the filming miniature (there is no way to reconcile the differences), there is a hatch on it too. At the size stated by Nilo Rodis, the hatch on the filming miniature is a lot bigger, but of course the set was built smaller. This is nothing unusual, since movie audiences aren't equipped to make precise size comparisons. Fans figure this stuff out later with screen grabs and CAD software and such.

The hatch is about a scale six feet in diameter on this model, pretty generous! The series of pictures at right shows how my approach to adding an open hatch and some interior detail evolved along the way. My first thought was to score around the inside of the raised ring to remove the hatch, in hopes of using it. I've tried this kind of thing before and it generally doesn't work, especially removing such a small part. At worst, it's good practice at precise cutting.

Here's the opened hatch, and as you can see, the raised ring was damaged by the cutting.

My first thought was to re-establish the raised ring, and build up a round airlock, using this vinyl hex tubing. Where'd I get it? It's the rod that you twist to operate miniblinds.

I wasn't too happy with how that was going so I made a replacement ring from brass tubing. To do this, I jury-rigged a lathe. I chucked the brass tubing in my drill press and ran it down into a hole of matching diameter I drilled in a wood block clamped to the table. I ran the tubing into the hole a distance equal to the width I wanted for the ring. This way the wood block provided a steady support so I could use the tip of a #10 blade as a parting tool. I turned on the drill press, a neat little curlicue of brass came off, and into the hole dropped this neat little brass ring. Well, not perfectly neat: I deburred it with a sharp #11 blade.

I also made a replacement for the hatch, shown here on my fingertip with the original. I used the same diameter brass tubing to punch out a disc of sheet styrene. The original hatch also has a small disk-shaped projection near the edge. I reproduced this with a thin slice of styrene rod, which I glued in place over a hole I drilled, which helped with locating the little disc properly and will provide an attachment point for the hatch. I recall Panther tanks had a hatch that went up a little on a vertical shaft near the edge and then rotated out of the way. This hatch will open that way.

I forgot to mention, there's another ring of brass tubing inside the aforementioned one. It gives more detail and provides a ledge to support the hatch when it's closed. At right is the hatch in the closed position. I just wanted to verify it would fit; it was pretty tight.

Here's how I ended up using the bit from the miniblind. I hollowed out a hatch using my drill press as a crude milling machine and scribed a slot around this opening for a sliding door which won't be needed as the door will be shown open. Then I cut the piece to length and shaped the top to the inside curve of the forward hull where it will go, filed out a slot for a photoetched ladder, which I folded and superglued in place, and primered the whole thing.

Next time: I'll finish up with the hatch and maybe one or two other detailing goodies on the forward hull, then get all the lighting installed and close this baby up. I hope.

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