Thursday, February 28, 2013

AMT Enterprise Complete

With all of the paint on the dish (and not to mention the E's overall front-heavy design), the stand provided with the kit provided NO CHANCE of success! So, for now, I'm supporting the dish with a bag of plaster!  Oh well, at least it's done!

Drying Time!

The neck application was trying but the nacelles attached to the pylons with no trouble at all. Now to wait until tomorrow to take pics and then hang her above my drawing table!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Decals Complete!

What I thought would be a harrowing experience-- applying decades-old decals-- turned out to be a non-issue. These decals went on like a CHAMP! Really, they went on smoother and easier than any model in my recent history.

Of course being an old AMT kit, there had to be some head-scratching moments. They supplied me with 5 pod door hatch decals. But the model has 6 pod doors! And in regards to the fit of the pieces... The neck to engineering connecting was testy indeed!

Anyways, I will create an additional pod door decal, and the rest are in place. I'll be away from the kit for a few days,and probably will attach everything together on Wednesday. I'm almost finished!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Now It's Getting Exciting

Ready for assembly!

...and now for the un-nerving process of attaching the strongback/pylons to the engineering hull. Yikes.

AMT Enterprise: The Details

Well the strong back masks were a success! Sometimes, things actually work right the FIRST TIME!
Today I added the bottom phaser banks to the engineering hull, as well as tidied up the pylons and finished the nacelles. Next I will finish the bridge, apply some red pins striping, and we are finally ready for subassembly and decals!

Navigation Dome and Sensor Array in place!

Phaser banks in place.  I'm really happy with the gray hues on the front by the deflector dish.

Stongbacks finished.  The homemade masks did the job!

As you can see, once they're in place, they fit in nicely.  It's funny how that, as a kid, I never noticed these details in the movies.  Like most people, I just the thought the entire ship was white!  IF ONLY THAT WERE TRUE!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Really Rolling On with the AMT Enterprise

Well, some dreaded hurdles have been smashed through, and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the wormhole. And I won't be needing help from Captain Decker to get the ship through to safety!

Once the two halves of the nacelle were assembled and seams patched,  I was faced with the annoying reality that the relief in the paneling was either VERY shallow or not visible at all.  So, I knew that a smooth, white topside would really be an eyesore, and therefore I made a pattern with tape to act as a mask so that I could add a light hue to the top slick side...

...and here's the end result.  Nothing to jump up and down bout, but it took core of that big white expanse!

Here's a TINY piece of plastic that I painted and cut out, to be glued to the rear top of the engineering hull (phasers).  Yet another detail omitted from the old AMT versions.

And here's that scrap piece of plastic that I used.  It was just the right depth so that when I glued the pieces on, it looked like it was an original piece of the mold, in relief.

Using the same technique, I also added these thrusters to the exterior of the deflector shield housing. Boy o boy! Talk about dicey application!  I had to use tweezers and a toothpick to quickly apply them into position! Still, the end result is surprisingly more rich.

And here's the rear phasers, applied and painted.

On the left, a grayscale, to-scale printout of the graphics featured on the strongback.

After affixing the copy to the topside of some painter's tape using 3M Super 77 adhesive, I'll now cut out the shapes that I don't want to see painted over on the actual piece, and then apply the remaining shapes (like stickers) to the plastic piece to act as a mask.  Once I've applied the darker gray color, I'll then peel off the masks, and hopefully have a nice strongback design graphic!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Closer...

Working on the grey sections of the strong back and deflector dish housing. And yes, it's every bit as eyeball-melting as it looks!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chugging along...

After multiple cotes of neon blue, it looks like the warp chillers are done. Overall, the nacelles are almost there too.

The strong back will be next, and after that, it's subassembly time! Then I'll decide whether or not the 29 year-old decals are worth salvaging.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

AMT 1:537 Enterprise Refit Build Update...

So... as is the usual case, I am continuing with the frustrating but predictable ways of Jeff, a tendency that anyone who's followed this blog (or my previous, belated great blog) will recognize.  Last August, I heralded the commencement of the building of an AMT Enterprise kit from 1984 that I'd picked up on Ebay.  I primed the parts, put the white coat on, and even began painting panels.  And then I stopped. Cold.

Well, here we are, NEXT YEAR, and I've gotten sick and tired of looking down at that old model box, but not so tired that I would put it away in the garage, aka the Sarlaac Pit.  No, I decided to make it happen, and also I made some hard decisions regarding not lighting it after all.  What? No lights?  Yeah, I don't have the resources right now to pull it off, and also, Spock would've been proud of the big-time logic I exercised:  the model will be suspended above my drawing table, up by the ceiling, and so if I were to put a bunch of LEDs in the thing, then what in heck was I gonna do every time I wanted to light it up?!  Climb up on a chair to push a button?  Or spend a fat wad of cash on some remote control to activate the lighting?  Fooey, I told myself.  I'll do all of that on the big one, the Polar Lights kit, that's still sitting on the floor it its box... right next to the old AMT kit that I'm now grinding up!

So here's some pics.  I've been doing battle with seams and putty today.  And speaking of putty, thank heaven for 3M red putty.  It's a hundred times better than Squadron putty-- dries super fast to a sandable state, and by God it IS sandable!!!
Engineering hull, before I filled the window holes with Micro Kristal Klear.

the "neck," which has proven to be a mega-pain in the rear.

Looking at this dish, I remember why I took a 5-month break from it!

Ah, good ol' AMT Star Trek models.  Wouldn't be like old times without some MEGA open seams!  What's really annoying is that I had to mask off the rest of the hull while I tended to this seam.  Also, the relief in the paneling is so shallow that it's basically invisible on the underside.  So, I guess I'll be whipping out a stencil for that.

Top and bottom, and twice for each nacelle.  The end result, though, is really nice and I'm glad I went through the trouble of  going over these seams.

Seeing this image of the dish reminds me just why I decided that I had to finish it after all.  What a beautiful design, and even after over thirty years, it's beautiful-- not at all dated.

New project underway...

So continuing with my drive to be as productive as possible during my time off, I've started on a new painting. Since my family visits Disneyland often and my wife and have lots of nice memories there, I'm going to paint the "partners" statue and setting from the hub in front of the castle. Again, I'll be using acrylic paint to get the job done. So far I've mapped in the color blocks. Next will be digging deeper into value relationships and more complex color!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Little Beatles Painting Done

So I'm on a little vacation from work, and I promised myself that I'd be creative a bit.  There's few things worse than squandering a vacation, you know.  When my leave is to be over, I want to feel like I was productive, and that I've a few things to show for it, to sort of commemorate the experience.  I like punctuation on my sentences, in other words.

Well, I took a break from one "exclamation point," the building of my 1:537 Enterprise (which will be completed during my leave also), to do something I hadn't done in about 6 years or more: painting.  I told myself to not be too grand, to do something that I could actually complete in a decent amount of time.  I also knew that those constraints meant that I'd probably be using acrylic (not my favorite).  You know what they say about acrylic:  the good thing about it is that it dries fast... and the bad thing about it is that it dries fast.

So I gave myself about three days. I worked in spurts of around 3 hours or so each night, and restricted myself to only using mars black and titanium white.  Again, to simplify things and keep myself under control.  Trust me, I need to be kept under control!

For a subject, I chose the Beatles.  Of course, I've always loved their music, but what made me select them as my subject was a moment recently when I was watching a Youtube video of their 1965 Ed Sullivan Show appearance, right around the time of the release of the movie "Help!".  I really dug how they looked at this stage in their careers-- the mop tops were still sort of there, but growing out, the black suits, the blurriness of the image as they moved.  One particular shot caught my eye: a close-up of John and Paul singing "Ticket to Ride."  The composition, the strong value contrast, the drama of their expressions, and the motion blur-- all of it was perfect.

And so I quickly set about knocking this one out.  I made sure to not allow myself the option to "make it perfect."  Why? Don't I want to make it perfect?  NO.  I am so obsessive that nothing I ever do is totally right to me;  every model I build, every picture I draw, or anything I paint.  The only way anything ever gets done is if there's a situation in which I'm having to give it over to someone else, or it has to be ready by a certain deadline.  I guess when those conditions are met, I give myself the permission to not care about it anymore, to let it go.

So, even this morning, as I looked at the painting and told myself, "Yes, it's over," I still wanted to work more on it.  But I've got to have fun in this life, and spending forever continuously fidgeting with a picture (and then creating more problems that I REALLY DO have to fix) is not my idea of fun.  And so, to quote Paul, I had to "Let It Be."

Here's a little slideshow, made from pics I took every couple of hours each night while painting.

16 in x 20 in.  Something to hang up in the den.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Little Tour of "The Lair"

     Well, the way I see it, Walt Disney in the 1950s let the TV viewing public see him in his office once a week, so the least I can do is showcase mine own lair, the product of decades of accumulated obsessiveness and love!