Polar lights USS Enterprise NCC-1701
Star Trek The Motion Picture Refit
1/350th Scale

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Do you want the Refit?, do you want the 1701-A?,
do you want a screen accurate paint job?...

Do You Care As Long As It's An Enterprise?

Ah all them questions.
But there are ones that may need answering gang so here we go.
So then, i'm no expert on anything but I tell it as I see it.

So, to hark back to some advice I gave someone a long time ago.
"You are not going to build the perfect model. You will fail. Accept this and move on!".

You can only do the best you can and each successive model
will be better as you apply those things you have learned.
The paintwork on this thing is a serious learning curve.

Never, EVER be afraid of a model kit. I'll be honest with you here gang,
if it intimidates you and/or you think you do not have the skills to build

*insert kit/model name here* I would have to ask
"how do you know if you don't even try?"

Go ahead and build it people.
Success or failure, you will have learned something yes?

To business with masks and paintwork and
we'll stick with the Orbital Drydock mask set here.

The Motion Picture Refit Enterprise has the most annoying paint job I know of
and to replicate that in some way, shape or form is enough of a headache for anyone.

So to save time and get one thing out of the way, will this masking set give you a shot at that?.
In my humble opinion, it may get you 50% of the way there if accuracy is what your after.

If however you are someone who will be happy with a basic paint job
then okedoke and skip ahead to where I start painting this on page 28.
Which I haven't written at this time so be patient.

For those still here and hoping i'm going to tell you how to get it exactly right,
please skip ahead to where I start painting this on page 28
because I really don't know how to paint it exactly right.

So this here masking set, where does it appear to be right
and where does it appear to be wrong?

Well the upper saucer appears to be there with the main aztec.
the part where it surrounds the B/C decks up the bridge has some strange patterning to it.
This bit in the instructions.

Going by photos of the TMP model once it had finished filming,
the pattern appears to be more uniform in the manner of radiating stripes.
The Trekmodeler paint guide seems to agree with this.

The lower saucer masks appear to be cut in the same pattern and they can
be worked with to give a very close to the proper pattern.

So far so good.

The planetary sensor array...erm, this bit...

is present on the masking set.

Not absolutely there in terms of bang on accuracy
but it's a pretty good start.
The pattern as laid out in the Trekmodeler paint guide is
as on the nail as I think one can get.

The deflector housing masking is present and again
pretty much there as I think it's going to get.

Now if one is going for a simple two colour aztec scheme
then what you have with this part will fit the bill.
To better replicate the studio model,
it will take about 5 different paint layers so some copying
and extra masking will be required.

The nacelles are fairly well represented on the masking set
and not too bad with the pattern layout.

Particularly good it seems, are the parts for getting the
less than easy to sort out fine striping on the rear of the nacelle
as you can see in this pic.

Again, so far so good.

Sadly this is where it kinda falls apart in respect
of getting that 'Motion Picture Refit' paint job.
To explain:
The secondary/engineering hull for example.
Now the TMP Refit looks like this in black and white
and you can see the differing areas of pearl paint.

The same thing on the Enterprise 1701-A looks a bit like this.

And the pattern as per the masking set is like this.

You only get one set of masks for the secondary/engineering hull in the masking set,
so it would seem a bit like this:
Using the masks to get a decent start in replicating
the paintwork on the secondary/engineering hull of the 1701-A,
yep, it'll do for that if one is not too fussy.

Using this set to get the aztec pattern as per the TMP Refit?
Forget it, not going to happen.
This is one part that you will have to mask off all by your lonesome if you want the proper Refit pattern.

The neck and pylons suffer from the same 'it's close but it's not right' kinda deal.

In order pic wise:
TMP Refit, 1701-A and masks.

So in final analysis for the Orbital Drydock masks bought as is...
For the sheer amount of masking you get at the price of the set

Masking cut and application method of transfer tape

Quality and clarity of instructions

Now assuming that complete or close to accuracy to the studio model is your goal here...
Accuracy of aztec to the 1701-A

Accuracy of aztec to the TMP Refit

Now all that said, it really depends on you, dear modeler, as to what you want.
For example, would you be happy with a simple two tone aztec?
Say matt white base and something like Tamiya pearl white or even clear pearl
over the top of that after applying the masks?

Well if the answer to that is yes,
then this is, absolutely hands down the masking set for you.
everything is here for just that kind of job without argument.

Now let me be clear here,
In a way I can understand why both the Aztek Dummy Set and this one
have their shortcomings in areas like the secondary/engineering hull,
pylons and neck as these are the areas where
things differ from the Refit to the 1701-A paint job wise.

To accommodate both would need two different sets and a serious rethink on behalf of the producers.
And also involve either two different sets or one set with a lot of wasted vynil that the end user (you) are having to pay for.

Not an easy thing to get around I think you'll agree.
That said, the Aztek Dummy masks do note on their instructions as said before

"These templates are meant to give you a two-tone pattern.
Should you want additional levels of detail to your aztec-ing,
they will provide a great base to add more variations, and:
These templates are only the beginning.
There will still be much left to be painted after you're done with these."

So I can say that there's no claims made to the 'this is all you need deal'
and the claim by Orbital Drydock that theirs is:

"This is the most complete detailed Aztec & paint mask set available."
Is neither fully correct or incorrect.
It is a matter of perspective here and that depends on what you,
the buyer and builder want.

The choice gentle beings, is yours and yours alone.

Let's be honest, money is the thing here is it not
and a balance has to be struck.
So it's a have a good think and ask yourself what you want to do
in terms of finish for this big ole beast
and proceed from there.

I can't tell you what to do or what would be the
best option and neither would I try to be so
conceited and say anything of that ilk.

I hope this info will help in some small way though and
I wish you luck in your own builds.

As for this build, more on that later...
I'll see you lot next update so take good care of
yaselves and go easy out there now.

Page 31, MORE secodnary hull sodding about!
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