Polar lights USS Enterprise NCC-1701 Star Trek The Motion Picture Refit 1/350th Scale
It's all a bit intense...
So Here's Some Intense Waffle To Begin With. We'll Get To The Pics Eventually... Honest!
Whatho gang! Right then, some faffing about to get done in the name of testing, so let's be a gettin' to it.
So first up, a review of the Trekmodeler Refit Paint Guide. This PDF based and lengthy tome put out by The Team At Trekmodeler.com So to business then...
PDF guide on CD of how to paint the 1/350th Polar Lights Enterprise Refit 1701 and 1701-A Cost $35 plus $3.00 shipping worldwide at current time of this scribbling.
So then, this here document is, to quote the site blurb at trekmodeler.com:
"For decades, modelers and hobbyists have been attempting to recreate the look of the 'Star Trek The Motion Picture' USS ENTERPRISE NCC-1701(Refit). We at trekmodeler.com are no different. With this guide you will be able to recreate the beautiful paint effects that were achieved on the 9 ft studio filming model built for Star Trek TMP."
Yes I know it was about 8'4" long rather than 9' but that's not the sort of thing I worry about so much. Unless 8" really, seriously matters that much in in a life changing way, in which case that's a self-esteem issue, not a modelling one.
Moving on... The whole deal stacks out to 154 pages with text and illustrations that will take the painting process from go to whoa for the Refit.
Now this comes on a disc and there are some who may ask as why on physical media (cd) rather than download? The file is 32.5MB in size so I would suppose that a download thing is not completely out of the question but that's something for the vendor to sort if folks would rather have that.
Not fussed meself so monies ponied up via PayPal and a bit of waiting ensued while it flapped its way across the Atlantic to merry old England. Which after a week or so, it did just that.
So, was it worth waiting for? Did it answer all those burning questions behind the Refit pearlescent look?
Did it contain anything that hasn't already been posted somewhere online?
Is it worth the money? Will it automatically make you a god amongst scale modelling life kind?!?
The answers from my perspective being... Pretty much, I'd say yes, yes and no, could be, Nope unless you think you already are in which case you and David Merriman will get on like a house on fire.
I say pretty much worth waiting for as it's really a bit of a unique thing, at least from an SF modelling perspective.
Unlike say, the military modelling mob, who are up to their collective asses and sinking fast, in reference books concerning their given passion, the SF modelling side, not so much I have to say.
Therefore it's a bit of an oddment and there's not exactly a baseline to compare it to.
That said, answering the burning questions about pearlescent paintwork and is this info posted online somewhere? There has been what must amount to several hundred threads on modelling boards,
concerning the paint job on the Refit Enterprise.
What colour's? Where to get and how to apply? What pattern?
What is this Aztec thing and are human sacrifices required?
Well I can’t tell you the answers to all those but I will tell you that all the pertinent info you will likely ever require is either spread out over all those hundreds of threads or contained in this here single publication. which ties nicely in to...
The value question. That's a thing which is a personal matter but consider this: To assemble your own paint guide with all you need to know, let's just say it requires being a member of, oh say five message boards. Now boil that down to the threads that contain the relevant info and then taking all that and reconstructing in to a format that will give you all the info you need without having to go anywhere else and wearing a trench in the deck between your place of modelling and your place of surfing the net to get that info you have suddenly forgotten because the cat needs his/her feed.
How much time do you think that would take? At a rough guess I’d rate that at somewhere in the 100 to 150 hours at absolute best. Think how much time it takes to read say, 10 posts on a board thread. Multiply by a few hundred and then add all your own scribbling/drawings/notes/whatever else you need and finally bring it all together in to one document that needs nothing else.
Getting the idea? Thought you might.
Now all that said, there are some who will not need all this info and fair enough. All I can say is that if you want it all in one place, hands down this is it.
If you don't need it and/or don't want to replicate the finish on the Refit Enterprise or Enterprise -A because you’re happy with the Aztec decals or just are not that bothered or do not wish to replicate the pearl effect then this is most certainly not for you and it will be a waste of money buying it and those are the facts from my limited perspective.
As with all modelling, it's up to the builder as to how far they wish to go. Unless you’re one that requires have absolute accuracy with no compromise, in which case this guide will be of no use to you either and you should speak to a therapist about your obsessive tendencies.
What sort of information does it give you? It VERY comprehensive with lists of suppliers that you can get paints from, what brands, tools required, masking and paint techniques, patterns for all the surfaces of the Enterprise and colour call outs,
mixing lists for the colour's that you can't get in ready done form
off the shelf, which is most of them.
To have this or not comes down to a choice and a few questions that only you can answer.
The quality of the TrekModeler teams stuff speaks for itself and this is their way of doing things. Go have a look at this link: Trekmodeler's Photobucket Thing For The Refit They Built.
And judge for yourself then ask if that's what you want to try and do on your model. If so then this guide is as good a starting point as you will get in one hit. Getting to the finish line, well that's down to you heroical/slightly insane types.
As far as what they get right in this guide and how correct or otherwise it is, I'll leave you with a quote from 'Creating The Enterprise' eBook by Paul Olsen, He who painted the original studio model and speaking in reference to a YouTube vid showing the paint work of a TrekModeler Refit build.
"Simpler than what I did, but very effective and got the colors bang on"
Upside: As good a starting point as you are likely to find for replicating the more than slightly complex paint job of the Refit Enterprise in one document. Clearly laid out with fairly decent step by step chapters with the text backed up by diagrams/photos. ____________________________ Neither up nor down side: Some of the illustrations are a little bit on the crude side but their intention is fairly clear. ____________________________ Downside: Let's be honest, these days more than ever, $38 is not cheap for a PDF/eBook no matter how ya slice it. _____________________________ Potential downside: The paints and equipment they speak of are not always available outside of the USA so it is up to the reader to find the equivalent where they are assuming they can.
Oh as a side note, the above is something which, at times, American based board posters on modelling sites would do well to remember.
Just because you can get it, doesn't mean anyone can
and not all modellers are based in the USA.
Just a thought.
Now that waffle is done, on with the show!
So first up, to test some paint pottering about with what I can get here in the UK. The base white i'll be using is Tamiya White Fine Surface Primer.
The top saucer from a blue plastic chase 1/350th Refit kit will be the sacrificial lamb for this turn out.
So first test, primer applied liberally to part.
As per the refit paint guide and a bit of good sense for a decent finish, the primer was given a rubdown with a fine grit sanding pad, 6000 grit to be exact. One of these...
The before and after..
Silky smooth so all good.
So then to the frisket film, a quick scan of the aztec from the stock kit instructions, a bit of fiddling about and a print out. Then more than a bit of scalpel work.
The gridlines on the saucer marked in with pencil and then masking applied.
So to the pearl paints. These are pearlescent lacquer bought in, 100ml amounts which is about 3.8oz in blue, red green and gold.
That's the often stated colour's for this beastie so off we go.
Blue applied then a small frisket with just squares cut out and this was used by hand to airbrush the red, green and gold.
Once done then all masking removed. I stuck to the front of the saucer for this turn out.
Now one thing to note which I found out and it may seem a bit obvious but, frisket and shiny paint do not mix.
It seems to take about 10 to 15 mins but if the paint is a glossy finish,
then the frisket has a tendency to leave some of the adhesive behind
no matter how careful you are about removing it.
The best you get is any satin finish is rendered matt.
Also, the pearls will lift I think due to the adhesive spread so the entire finish is marred. Never the less, this was the result.
So as a piece of precision work, it's crap. As a first shot however, it showed the possibilities and got in some practice with unfamiliar paints.
The second and third tests with the registry decaling stuff is on the page 25 so away with thee to that one!