Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Star Trek DS9:- Operation Return Diorama - 'micro' build log pt.5

   The Operation Return saga continues with the Jem'hadar cruiser very kindly supplied by D-Whale. I rescaled and lightened the template, and ran off 20 copies to allow for layers. This is the first page of parts:-
   After what seems like an eternity, all the pieces were edge-coloured, strapped with thin paper strips and joined up. I then cut the ten page 2's along with their layers:-
   I'm using an Eaglemoss model as a rough guide, so that's led me to recess the grey rectangles and have three very narrow strips layered on the lilac grill. If I was only building one of these I'd probably add an extra layer for the 'plates', although the way that the parts have been cut would possibly lead to poor joins on the layers.
   Loads of contouring folds, a gazillion fold scores and a few calluses later, the bulk of the upper wing surface is complete for the ten cruisers:-
   Joining the front section to the main 'wing' section took eight paper strips each, ie 80 tiny bits of paper to connect all ten - lol. Three different colours were required for the edges, adding to the time consumption - tabs just can't be used at this scale due to the bulking effect they have. Cutting the page threes was the next challenge: because I had to lighten the purple, the lines for the white stabilising parts disappeared! I had to go back to the template and fiddle with the brightness, contrast and gamma saturation settings of the image, print off another template, cut round the white parts and draw round the outlines. It's still no excuse for taking 10 days to complete one page! lmao If the galors are the same then I reckon I'll be drawing my pension before I've built 25...
   Page three is finished and I've started on pages 4 and 5:-
   I'm going to add a layer for the recesses on the rear protrusions. If I was only doing one of these I would also layer the mauve grill sections. The strips for the edges of the wings are ~0.5mm thick so I'll probably ditch them and just colour the white that shows.
    Although it's taken another 10 days to complete page 3, I took a couple of days off to turn my phone into a communicator. It would also be much, much quicker to build using the tabs on the template - I prefer to have smooth surfaces so the extra time required is a price I'm willing to pay.
   With the main body complete, the parts for the ventral 'pod' were cut and edge-coloured:-

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Star Trek DS9:- Operation Return Diorama - 'micro' build log pt.4

   Now that I have an infestation of bugs (Jemmie & Cardie) I'm starting on D-Whale's vor'cha design in three colour schemes. I first cut the wing parts and pieces for two upper modules with all the tabs removed:-
   With the wings connected I cut the parts for another two upper modules:-
   I'm still building and attaching modules:-
without instructions so it's kinda slow going for me - even with my Eaglemoss model as a guide.
   I added all the top modules and cut the parts for the section joining the wings to the nacelles:-
   I connected the nacelle struts and then cut some underside module parts:-
   I discarded one of the base layers as three were too thick. I also remembered to cut out the X sections. I fitted the bulk of the underside modules and cut the parts that I'd missed as well as some pieces for the nose section:-
   With the heads on I went back to some of the really tiny detailing pieces:-
   I'm finally onto the nacelles:-
   I eventually managed to shape the nacelles with a combination of wrapping the rounded edges around a pin and then getting the final shape by pushing the joined rings onto the tip of needle-nosed tweezers. I had to ditch the additional relief details as the parts were just too small. So, the finished ships are exactly 2" in length and ready to be kamikaze-ed by Jemmie bugs:-
   Paragon's Steamrunner is next - thank-you Paragon :). Once again I didn't need to change the name and registry as they're illegible at this size. My reference pics show this ship as being fairly smooth, but I've printed each template twice just in case I need any recesses or protrusions. I cut the first page of parts:-
   The central piece for the bridge had to be trimmed a bit, but I completed the saucers then cut the second page of parts and some layers:-
   Everything connected gives me two 40mm long Steamrunners:-
   Next up is the Federation attack fighter. I found some orthographics for in interwebland (sorry, I can't give you credit because I can't remember whose they were) and extended the wings to compensate for the tilt before shrinking them. Since they're quite small I'm only using 4 parts:-
   Also because they're quite small, hardly any detail is left. The result of joining the four layers is an attack fighter 4mm long:-
   I'm 'building' 14 of these.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Star Trek DS9:- Operation Return Diorama - 'micro' build log pt.3

   The next ship on the list is the USS Defiant. I cut all the parts in one go:-
   10 pages of A4 parts were reduced to a surface area of approximately 4" x 2". I joined the parts from pages 1 through 3 to form the nose and the aft hull:-
   I joined the parts for the superstructure of the hull:-
   I then attached the shuttlebay and engines:-
​finishing with the upper deck containing the bridge. This gives me a USS Defiant measuring 18mm (<3/4") from tip to tail:-
   Now it's time for my Nemesis - the Excelsior class. When I built Wolf 359 this ship was a royal pain in the ass. And now I've got four of the damned things to build;). Oh well, here goes...
    I'm using Clever Santoro's designs again, starting with the design for the USS Excelsior. I don't need to change any names or registries as they're illegible this small. I'm starting, as always, with the saucer:-
   The two saucers were built and I cut some of the parts for the secondary hull:-
   I left the front underside with a margin for ease of mounting the shuttle bay. I then connected the main secondary hull parts and cut some more random pieces:-
   I joined the primary and secondary hulls and that left me with the nacelles to cut, build and connect:-
I used the edge of my steel ruler to shape the nacelle halves and a toothpick point to shape the upper ends. This gives me two MkI Excelsior class ships at a length of just over 2" (52mm):-
   I made a start on the Mk.II's, but I'm already pulling my hair out -lol. There are just too many pieces that are miniscule, and the saucer rings don't want to behave. I've still got parts left from the Mk.I so I'm going to try a mix 'n' match - the only real differences are the additional impulse engines and that weird bulge on the secondary hull. If my plan fails then I'm off to Utopia Planitia for a crash course in starship construction ;);-).
    I redid the saucer with a mix of parts from the Mk.I and Mk.II:-
   As the top of the saucer has a smaller diameter than the bottom, I stuck it onto a thick piece of card so that the rim could be angled properly. The photo shows the top part from the Mk.I, but I swapped this for the top from the Mk.II then connected all the rings, the two halves and the extra impulse engines. I then cut the rim and the parts for the sensor array and bridge superstructure:-
   I used the Mk.I impulse engine block as the Mk.II version was too fiddly to work with: one edge would've been <0.5mm wide. 
   The saucers were finished off and I cut the parts for the secondary hull:-
   The majority of these are Mk.II parts, but some may be swapped if the Mk.I parts are easier to work with or better looking at the smaller scale. 
   I swapped the housing for the nacelle pylons and kept everything else. The secondary hulls took a bit of poking, prodding and coaxing, but I completed them and connected them to the primary hulls:-
   On the home stretch, I used the Mk.I nacelles and struts and just added the red vane from the Mk.II design. And my four Excelsior class ships are done:-
   Below are the USS Fredrickson and the USS Hood:-
   I'm using two designs for the Cardassian Hidekis; Paragon's and Arbiter Bri's. I cut all the parts even although there was a good chance of losing them with a heavy breath:-
   Two down, two dozen to go:-
   As always, magnifying them makes them look a bit of a pig's ear, but they pass muster with the naked eye. 
   And finally I have a fleet of Hidekis:-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

USS Bannockburn NCC-1314.

   I was brought up in a wee town in Ayrshire called Maybole, which is the ancient capitol of Carrick. This was the seat of the 4th Earl of Carrick, King Robert the Bruce. The 700th anniversary of The Bruce's most famous victory, the Battle of Bannockburn, has just passed, and in honour of this I'm building a non-canon Federation starship - the USS Bannockburn NCC-1314. I'm using Clever Santoro's Nova design in four layers. I'll also be making a stand with this extract from the Declaration of Arbroath - "For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."
   Starting with the front of the upper primary hull I cut these parts:-
   I joined the various sections and blackened the edges of the layers where appropriate. The 'darts' on the trailing edge were sealed by bringing the adjacent edges together and joining them with paper strips. I then cut the pieces for the rear of the upper hull:-
   Again, I coloured edges where needed, joined the layers and strapped the parts onto the main section. Then I cut the parts for the underside of the primary hull:-
   I joined all the layers and attached the underside to the upper side. With that done I cut the pieces for the bridge:-
   After the bridge was built and connected I moved on to the secondary hull:-
   This was when I noticed a mistake on the bridge where the raised ring around the sunken section was missing. I corrected this before attaching the top half of the secondary hull:-
   I had problems aligning the bottom half and also working out a way to connect the deflector. Eventually I added an extra strip of grey card to the top of the deflector and curved the internal rim to fit the dish. To align the two halves of the secondary hull I had to apply PVA, put the halves together and then bind them with thread to bring the edges together and hold them while the glue dried. Fitting the decks on top of the secondary hull also proved to be problematic as the square edges didn't join with the round hull. A bit of trial and error trimming solved this. That left the nacelles to be connected, starting with the pylons:-
   The pylons were joined to the hull and I cut the parts for the nacelles:-
   For the base of the display I used Ninjatoes' template from his USS Enterprise D to cut a balsa Federation insignia. For the stand I adapted Martin Saenger's display for the USS Grissom.
   The base turned out to be too small for the stand so I doubled it up with another balsa section with an extra 10mm around the edges. To angle my ship I pierced it with a blackened toothpick, which also gave a bit of extra height.
   From the front:-
   From above:-
   From the side:-
USS Bannockburn NCC-1314