The old grey girl herself, here modeled in (what else?) 1/1400 scale by Starcrafts Models. Back in 2007, I was taking new pictures of some of my older kits for a revamp of the Novahobbies website. When I pulled out the original TOS Enterprise, I was really shocked at the actual quality of this model. Between the not-too-hot assembly and paint job I had slapped on this kit, the years in storage, the heat and travel abuse, this kit was looking pretty rough. Paint had flaked and chipped, the gloss coat had yellowed (and was applied horribly anyway), and the warp pylons had begun an enexorable downward slump down to almost halfway to the secondary hull. Drastic intervention was necessary……
Here she is with all the paint stripped off the hull. I use easy-off oven cleaner for this. It’s great stuff, but always use it outside, and WEAR GLOVES! Not only will it take paint off resin, but it will also remove a few layers of epidermis if you leave it on your hands. After the paint was gone, I used boiling water (which will also take skin layers off) to correct the sagging nacelle pylons.
Here’s a shot at some of the casting issues I was too impatient to fix or too dumb to notice when I first built this kit. The model didn’t have too many casting issues, but this was a glaring pair on this nacelle. A little 2-part putty and some careful work with a file and scriber took care of these bubbles.
As a side note, I’d like to mention the age of this model. This particular casting was done back in the 1997, I think, before Starcrafts began pressure-casting their work. From what I understand, current models of this ship are cast under pressure to reduce ugly things like this.
The deflector dish was also in a sad state. The dish was molded in one piece with its spire, which meant that the mold seam cut right through the center of the dish. The original piece, being slightly mis-molded, had mismatched sides on the rim that I had never bothered to fix at the time. When I came back to it in 2007, I decided to make a stab at repairing the dish so it was somewhat more presentable. I removed the center spire and made a new one out of 3 different diameters of plastruct rod and tube, then I drilled out the hole in the dish and press-fit the spire in place. A few minutes’ work with a sanding block rounded out the sides of the dish itself. While not perfect, it’s acceptable for this scale.
The warp nacelle pylons had been in such dire straits when I started this rebuild, and I didn’t want my work to go to waste in just a few years’ time with sagging nacelles again. After some thought, I found some thin brass stripping in the hobby shop that had almost the same width as the pylons themselves. Alone, the brass is easily bent. But when glued to the top part of the pylon, the resulting laminate was much stronger and more than a match for the relatively heavy resin engines. I blended the two with putty to make a seamless looking (albeit very slightly thicker) pylon, then shot the whole model with primer.
The final hull coat is Testor’s flat light aircraft gray. You can see the slightly thickened pylons in this photo. The kit comes with decals to replicate the rectangular vents here, so that’s what I’ll be using.
Here’s the ship alongside the sister build I was doing at the time….the Coronado class through-deck cruiser. Details are almost done by this point. I picked out the engines using a red base coat, followed by yellow painted radial spokes to try to replicate the fan blades, and finally a clear red coat over the top of that. This has worked nominally well, but if I were to do it again I would first use orange for the spokes, and try to paint them MUCH thinner than I accomplished here. Or I would forgo the spokes completely and use copper for the base coat and clear red over that like I did for my Dreadnought and Tug models.
By the end of 2007, the U.S.S. Enterprise was ready to depart her refitting station and head back out for a couple more 5 year missions. You can see more finished pictures of her on my gallery page here.
Interestingly enough, I am these days sorely tempted to put this ship back on the bench and refresh her paint job, then give her the same grid and rust-ring pattern I built for my TOS-era tug, the U.S.S. Egeus. While not high on the priority list, I think it’s something that might have to happen this year. We shall see.