Star Trek Bits 'n' Pieces

Soon to be Updated with New Material

(27 Jan 02)

As before: This page will eventually hold a few interesting bits of Trek material related to the care and feeding of starships and certain 24th century devices which are very electrical and dangerous (mainly, props and other technical goodies. I'm not giving away any secrets here, just showing a few of the more esoteric elements that I/we deal with on a daily basis. You may also see a few interesting FAQs posted here; I've seen some rather interesting discussions over in rec.arts. startrek.tech, and have attempted to set a few things straight when particularly thorny tech matters come up.

If and when any of the old sketches pop up, they'll be copyrighted Paramount or Viacom; just to let you know

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The Latest (but still very old) News:

20 Jun 99: I've posted a review of the re-release of Revell-Monogram's USS Voyager model kit a couple of times, but here's the place to find it anytime it scrolls off rec.models.scale, or rec.arts.startrek.tech. I've also posted the Voyager paint scheme below in glorious Federal Standard numbers.

The plastic kit business as it relates to Star Trek may be in a bit of flux come the end of 1999. The latest word is that the licenses for both Revell-Monogram and AMT/Etrl expire at year's end, and it's uncertain as to whether any new kits will be developed by either company. Revell-Monogram has expressed interest in the Delta Flyer, however, so we'll have to stay tuned. Ertl produced both the Enterprise-C and clear-molded Yamaguchi prior to the company being acquired by Racing Champions, Inc., after which large numbers of layoffs occured in the kit development division. Since that time, some of those let go from Ertl have been offered their jobs back, and we'll have to wait and see what happens there as well.

 

Revell-Monogram USS Voyager Limited Edition Kit Review

Like everyone else, I'd waited patiently for the new and improved USS Voyager kit from Revell-Monogram. I might have had a bit more reason than most to chew my nails, but now the wait is over. The sculpting, fit, and detail problems with the previous edition are well known, so I won't go into those in depth except where it relates to the current fixes. This review will examine all major structural areas of the ship and the important details in each of those areas. I must say at the outset that the central theme of this review is not to trounce Revell-Monogram for errors or omissions (communication with the ship's illustrator/designer would have nipped a few problems in the bud), but rather to offer a few bits of helpful information to all the model builders out there who might wish to go a few steps further in super detailing this slick Starfleet vessel. Even those who do nothing more than build the stock, out-of-the-box kit may find the historical notes entertaining. To R-M's credit, they have made a welcome effort to make Voyager the kit we hoped for in the first release. They could have simply left it untouched, but they took another shot at it.

 

PRIMARY HULL

The two largest pieces make up the primary hull. As noted in other reviews, there aren't too many changes. The small quarters and lab windows have been properly divided; though slightly uneven, they're fairly crisp. The bridge (Deck 1) remains slightly misproportioned in the top view, but acceptable. The raised panels should be about half their thickness, but that's okay as well, unless you'd like to go nice and easy with some 400-600 sandpaper to lower them. The four little rectangular depressions aren't depressions, and should be filled; they are covered by markings, though. The little nit in the center of the bridge should be sanded down flat. The airlock at the back of Deck 1 is "missing," but is supplied as a decal. My original intent was for an inset pair of holodeck-type doors. The three overhead windows on each side of the bridge ceiling aren't divided, but you can try to split them with some teeny styrene strips. Overall, the bridge detail is just a bit "thicker" all around than on the real miniature.

Deck 2 still lacks its structural reinforcing strips, but these can be added with styrene strips sanded to look like half-rounds (Evergreen now makes them, great). The little sensor platform squares could use just a bit of scribing to separate them into more distinct shapes. The four forward lifeboat hatches are misaligned; they really follow the outer curve of the deck. See the highly upgraded instruction sheet for photos of the five-footer shooting miniature. The missing horizontal windows appear as decals; use them.

The phaser strips remain a bit high, but not worth sanding down too far. The actual phaser strip is highly corrugated along its sides, much like the Enterprise-D strips. At Tony Meininger's Brazil Fabrication and Design, where Voyager was born, the phaser strips for the five-footer were sculpted and cast in a fairly flexible urethane to bend around the master mold part, rather than cast in a stiffer resin, as many of the other hardware bits were.

The sensor strips around Deck 8 and elsewhere are a bit soft, but the detail is there and should look good after painting with the base color and accents. Again, the instruction sheet is very detailed on these pieces. The RCS thruster quads are generally clean, especially on the lower hull half. The docking ports really should be inset, with a second inset to indicate the split round doors (see "Scorpion Pt. II" for that great close-up!), but the draft angle on the hull top wouldn't allow it. Thankfully, there are docking port decals, but if you want, cut those rectangles out, back them up with some .020 or .030 sheet with a hole for the doors, and then back *that* up with some .020 with a center scribe line for the split. Use the name/number decals in any case.

On the lower hull, the defensive shield grid lines are just as crisp as before, though here the transporter emitter antennae are done as negative detail, opposite from the top hull. I would fill in the negative space, cut .020 sheet to match the decals in size, and raise them. The hexagonal EVA pod doors are called out for the first time; see the TNG Tech Manual if you want to build an EVA pod to go with them. The six door panels open downward like a flap valve.

Incidentally, the pointyness of the inset lower hull (Deck 9) is there in the miniature, but wasn't intentional on by blueprints. Tony interpreted the forward lines to pinch slightly.

The AeroShuttle is still slightly flattened fore-aft; see the Playmates toy for a better plan view. The AeroShuttle was designed essentially as a Runabout with wings, so that we could use the existing Runabout cabin set if we needed to see the shuttle in flight. I hear the gears turning out there; yes, it occurred to me, too, to kitbash one! Note: We had to change the name of the vehicle to AeroShuttle, even though it hasn't been spoken in dialogue yet, since "Aerowing" was used in connection with a "Mighty Ducks" airplane toy.

 

ENGINEERING HULL

The draft angle (the fact that some details can't go past a certain angle in the steel mold) has raised its ugly head bigtime on the two engineering hull halves. As a result, the shield grid lines are a bit odd, particularly around Deck 15, as are the engine hardware panels along the belly line. I would recommend sanding most of the engine gear off and scratchbuilding new panels from sheet stock. They're fairly easy shapes; the things that look like soft wobbly octagons, the main and reserve warp core covers, should be sharper octagons with only slightly soft edges. The detail photos should help here. If you haven't kept track of Starfleet style over the last ten years, you'll notice that it's mainly straight lines, slightly curved corners, and slightly softened edges.

The hanger deck and shuttle are welcome additions; the shuttle seems to be our interim large cargo shuttle, with the curved nacelle pylons. Greg Jein built a large miniature of it, though we used it only once or twice, and never reworked the full size set piece to look like it. Lately we've gone back to the regular large TNG shuttle and the new small "speedboat" shuttle that Tom Paris likes to fly (Revell-Monogram, you know a lot of folks want to see this one, and I know where you can get the blueprints <grin>). The kit shuttlebay copies the one quickly cobbled together for the five-footer; the architecture does not reflect what we hope to use if and when we build the real set, but if you want to get closer, scratchbuild a new bay but copy the look of the cargo bay walls. See the second season episode "Maneuvers."

Most of the other hull details are acceptable, and the modeling tips in the instructions about puttying, sanding, and scribing will help in making Voyager one seamless body. You might ask about the landing gear, but we'll tackle that later. The aft hull undercut, the signature curve just aft of the warp core, is a bit too flat, but not objectionable. The aft cargo doors can be sanded off and recut from .010 or .020. The main deflector emitter is now correctly opaque, and the inner dish clear.

The fantail section, just below the shuttlebay, is very sharp, thought the raised shield grid should have been scribed detail. This is okay, especially when it comes to masking and painting. The nacelle wings are equally sharp; again, the raised detail was intended to be scribed, but don't knock yourself out by changing it. The horseshoe shapes atop the impulse engines are a bit thick, and each needs a little dome just inside the curve, but don't sweat this, either.

On the warp engine nacelles, the yellow ochre coils are slightly soft, and the aft structural reinforcing strips are only hinted at. These latter shapes are like the missing ones from Deck 2, and are easily added. The more problematic feature is the shallow panel just above the red Bussard Collector "windows." This panel should be sanded smooth, leaving the thicker one alone. Some photographs of the model were taken before this front panel was screwed down tight (the whole hump lifts off for lighting access), and leave a false impression of the shape.

The clear sections are going to be a lot of fun for lighting, and we've already seen the possibilities for Lightsheet, fiber optic, and LED applications. The decal sheet has already received major praise, and Mike Okuda and I add our own. Mike put all the graphics together in Adobe Illustrator and spent endless hours at the Brazil shop applying the rub-on INTs made from the computer files. These files were provided to Revell-Monogram and became the insignia and the many small hatches and warning shapes. A tip of the hat to Thomas Sasser, who called to ask lots of questions, helped assemble the decal sheet and instructions, and who has added interesting touches like the in-window scenes. For now, I'll stick with my recommendations for the paint scheme posted earlier in various places, and check out the FS numbers in the instructions shortly to see how well they match.

It's always gratifying to see the end result of a lot of months' work shaping a big ship like Voyager, whether it be the five foot shooting model, the CGI version, or the plastic kit. There are lots of other details to discuss, and as time goes on, I'll add to these notes and post them.

 

VOYAGER PAINT SCHEME

The following FS numbers are taken from the Floquil Military Color Reference Guide, June 1995. In some cases the guide does not cover more generic model paint colors, and the modeler is urged to search and experiment. All color call-outs indicate the last four digits of the FS designation. The prefixes to those FS numbers vary depending on finish: "3" for matte, "1" for gloss. Assume all paints are matte unless specified. If the modeler follows these numbers, the result will be a very acceptable replica of the starship Voyager. It is well known that the video image on one's home television screen is absolutely no gauge for recreating the look of the 5 foot shooting miniature or CGI model. The actual colors of the model are sometimes "tweaked" in the transfer from film to tape, so the "real" colors of the ship are an approximation at best.

Some of the colors are, of course, meant to represent lighted areas of the model. If you're going to take the plunge and electrify your kit with Lightsheet panels, LEDs, grain of rice bulbs and whatnot, you probably know already not to paint those clear parts! (Tinting them is another matter, and there are lots of nice transparent color paints on the market)

OVERALL HULL: (-5526 Deckhouse Blue) Various areas of the hull are a slightly darker shade of this color; mix to taste. This color was checked mercilessly against an actual color sample of the original Voyager paint on a piece of styrene from Brazil Fabrication and Design. Haven't had a chance to check this against the recommended colors in the kit instructions, but I can assure you that the hull paint really has a lot of blue in it. Note: The only known commercial mix of Deckhouse Blue is from Floquil, but only in enamel, so you water-washup acrylic users (like me) will have to prepare a custom mix.

PHASER STRIPS: (-6357 Concrete) or (-6165~ Ger. Lt. Gray) I've painted phasers on the Enterprise D a bit warmer than the actual miniature shows; I just happen to like a gray with a touch of brown.

SMALL SENSOR PLATFORMS (U/L): (-5630~ I.J.A. Gray)

RCS THRUSTERS1: (-2473~ SP Daylight Orange), (-7030 NATO Tricolor Brown), (-0115~ Orange Ochre)

CENTRAL DEFLECTOR DISH2: (-2473~ SP Daylight Orange) (-0115~ Orange Ochre)

AUXILIARY DEFLECTOR2: (-2473~ SP Daylight Orange) (-0115~ Orange Ochre) The eight panels in the deflector hollow, supplied as a decal, are also the orange ochre, in case you feel like masking and spraying these as well; some folks like a challenge. ;-)

SENSOR STRIPS & LARGE INSETS: (-5189~ USN Blue Gray) Accent individual sensor instruments with copper and dk. gloss blue (the kit instructions show the sensors quite well and give very detailed callouts and colors).

LIFEBOAT HATCHES: (-3613~ Panzer Int. Buff) or (-7778~ French White) Actually, I'd stay with the Buff, just to give the hatches a bit of a warm constrast to the hull.

BRIDGE MODULE TOP PLATES: (-3531~ Israel Tan) The capsule shape surrounding the twin turbolift caps is a slightly darker shade.

IMPULSE ENGINE EXHAUST VENTS: (-6357~ Concrete) Cut this with a little white to match value of hull color.

LIT WINDOWS: (-7778~ French White/gloss) This doesn't need to be all that bright, actually, so feel free to dim the white down a bit.

UNLIT WINDOWS: (-6152~ Panzer Dk.Gray/gloss) Conversely, unlit windows aren't jet black, hence the grayer color choice. Both window colors should be gloss to "reflect" the nature of the transparent aluminum glass.

WARP NACELLE COILS (LONG): Copper metallic (to represent the engines off); or Lt. Ultramarine Blue (to represent the engines on).

BUSSARD COLLECTOR COILS (SHORT): (-3434~ UP Armour Yellow)

BUSSARD COLLECTOR INTAKES: Watermelon Pink, no corresponding FS number, to represent the lit collector "windows." Add a touch of red for a slightly darker lit appearance, or start with a deep red and airbrush lighter values to simulate the lit collectors.

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1: Use Orange Ochre overall, outline entire quad and thruster nozzles in Daylight Orange, and fill nozzle interiors with NATO brown.

2: Use Orange Ochre overall, outline antenna components in Daylight Orange. Slightly darker shades are used to fill some antenna panels.

 

Thanks to Rob Caswell (starshipmodeler.com) for preserving this list whilst I hunted about for my original copy, which must have fallen down a black hole or erased itself from my hard drive, or both.

Email: rick@ricksternbach.com

Last Updated: 27 Jan 02

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