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USS Excelsior NX-2000

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All this time, I thought my saucer masters were done. Turns out the profile for the upper master is slightly incorrect. The outer ring of the saucer at the base of the dome in NOT horizontal. It actually has a shallow gradient  from the base of the dome to the lip of the side wall. 


First, a vertical cut into the lip of the dome's base needs to be cut in...






Here a paper template is being made to cut a 1.5mm thick by 1/2in wide ring. This will show how the fit is on the master, and determine if there needs to be any adjustments before cutting the styrene ring.




Waiting on my styrene sheets to arrive. When the ring is cut, it will be shaped down to the outer edge in a shallow arching taper. Once the shaping is complete, this section of the skin has 2 recessed/grooved rings in its surface for detail. No special tools - still all by hand and drafting tools.

Edited by Vidar_710
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  • 3 weeks later...

There was an issue with the profile of the top saucer master. One problem led to another, so I'm going to fix it.


The dome is too big, and it also has some issues with dips and valleys in its surface.

To fix it, I need to remove it.





The diameter is too big, so the required material to be removed is scribed in.



After the excess material is removed, the dome was cemented onto a 1mm thick piece of sheet styrene to bring it back to its profile height.



A hole was cut into the new base so resin can be poured in to strengthen to dome for the re-work process...



The resin was poured in increments, then slosh cast to get the resin into every crevasse.



After all the resin was poured, I taped the hole closed, then hand roto cast it to coat all the inner surfaces with resin as much as possible. Just before the resin cured, I clamped the dome down on a flat surface to ensure it didn't warp from the heat of the curing resin.

At the top, you can see a scaled image trace of the dome's profile from the ILM Excelsior plans. From this, I'll make a screed blade to pull filler around the dome to level all the imperfections in the dome's surface.

Pics of that to come...




Edited by Vidar_710
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  • 2 weeks later...

Some progress on fixing the upper saucer's profile.


A ring cut from 1mm thick sheet styrene.



The ring is cemented to a .5mm base of sheet styrene, then the downward taper is ground in by hand with a Dremel



The ring is filled to smooth out its contour.



... then sanded to shape.



To correct to bad shape of the dome, as screed blade was made from scaled images of the original ILM Excelsior plans. You can see there's quite a bit of work to do.





The first layer is always the roughest. Sever more passes will be needed to built up to the correct contour, and smooth it out with various grades of filling products.



Quite a bit of work to do to get it refined.



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  • 2 weeks later...

After a few layers of the courser filler, it get a sanding to smooth it out.



Checking the domes contour against the screed blade to verify my progress.



A creamier self leveling layer of filler is applied.



Then sanded smooth...



Red glazing filler is applied to fill scratches and shallow dips in the dome's surface.



A stacking jig is installed to ensure everything falls into place correctly.



Resin is poured into the base of the saucer to help hold it shape, and give it strength for the vacuum forming process when pulling the part. 1023201351a_HDR.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bounds







After filling the saucer with a tad of over-fill to ensure the resin can be feathers into the hull shape, it is sanded to shape.



Now the new tapered lip ring is glued back into place. This will be filled and sanded to shape after it fully cures.



More to come as I add the dome back on, then refine it back to the over-all upper hull.












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The remastering of the top half of the primary hull is finally finished.


Here, the layers and layers of screeded filler are shown after sanding to a smooth finish.



First coat of primer to check for flaws.



After several applications of sanding and primer layers, it's done. Here the screed blade is placed to show the new dome profile, and the edge ring now has its downward taper.



Now on to another part of the ship. Perhaps the nacelle struts.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Next up, giving these nacelle strut parts the drastic face lift they truly need...



There is so much to re-shaped, and detail to be scratch built to get these right. Once I fix them, the new masters will be molded, then new casting will be made with brass tubing to route electric wiring. Steal rods will also to added within the new castings to provide strength and prevent sagging for years to come.



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  • 2 months later...

Little news.

Haven't worked on Excelsior since before the holidays. The Hobby Room is getting a good cleaning and re-organized before I can build anything.


I found a great vacuum form table with a heat box included large enough to make parts for all sections of the ship. It should be here sometime in March.


Before I can vacuum form the hull sections, all the masters need to be fitted  with 1/4" - 1/2" bucks to lift the masters off the table for a clean pull.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

Dabbling a bit on the Excelsior primary hull super structure master. Something about it looked off - not proportional to me for the longest time, but I never sat down and worked it out. I set up one of my images to my projects scale and went over it inch by inch. The length is dead on, as is the width.




Then I discovered what the issue is... The side chines are too short! They need to be extended forward.

 Master over the scaled tracing...



Easy fix. just trace out the extensions for the top surface, then fill in the rest of it with Apoxie Sculpt.


Pics to come!


This hunk of resin is the original Lunar Models part that has already been heavily modified. Just one more thing to get it right.



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Here, the new leading edge shapes of the chines is set with a piece of sheet styrene then back filled with Apoxie sculpt. While I had it out I preened the leading edge of the superstructure forward of the bridge.








In discovering the chines, it turns out the impulse crystal trench needs to come forward qtr in as well.



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Good grief! Though I haven't posted here I have been continuously watching this thread now for quite a while (as many others have as well I guess). Have I been quite fascinated with the work until about page three so far, the work portrayed here on page four just blows my mind. I always thought I was anal about shape issues and the work necessary to get it fixed but this here is just absolutely crazy. Amazing work and an admirable effort put in the old gal. One can really see that it is a labor of love for you.


I wonder what you would do to "fix" the Enterprise-D?! (I confess that Enterprise-version is the one that I like the most (well ... along the the more sporty E I think)).


Awesome work. Keep it up!

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Here you can see where details have been chiseled or ground away to the new 1/4" more forward position. The chines are all done and feathered in, and the bow surface of the superstructure has been more refined.


This is a master that will also be vacuum formed in clear.



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The impulse crystal trench is used to size a clay plug to fill in the new position while resi is added.




Cleaning up the leading edge of the trench recess with Apoxie Scuplt.




The plug goes in snugly.




Resin is poured in to back-fill the upper tear.







After the resin goes off, the plug is removed to reveal the new trench recess.




After much filling, sanding, and blending the new contours in, it's been cleaned and ready for Primer.




Pics of new primer to come.





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Here the master is re-primed. The scratch built bridge dome, and 3D modeled Impulse Crystal is placed, along with paper templates for raised plate surface details that will be glued on the clear vacuum formed pull of this master.


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Pretty much finished up all the master work on the superstructure.


Using 1mm x 1mm Tamiya grid tape, I scratch made the raised detail that circles the Impulse Christal Trench and recessed details aft of it.



Here, the paper template is used to trace out the shaped of the raised plate the bridge dome sits on in the middle of the round section. The straight section is the spine that runs aft away from the rear of the bridge.



Grinding away any plastic that isn't the raised bridge plate.



All the parts for the top of the superstructure are complete, except the two fins that flank behind the Impulse Crystal, and the Impulse Engine exhaust ports. They will be constructed during the actual construction phase of the model. The two fins are in the process of being 3D printed.



More to come!




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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

Problem with the angle of the outer edge of the saucer. Studio model shows it more vertical.




Cleaned off the ledge to add the wider ring that will correct the angle.




New ring added.




Here you can see the corrected angle to the edge of the hull before the filler is applied.




The ring is masked, then Smooth On Filler Dough is used to fill in and make a new surface contour.




First application is smoothed in...




Another layer or two is expected, then putty will be applied and sanded in before primer is applied.


More to come.



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Second layer of sculpting dough applied to built up to the proper contour.



Then sanded to shape, a putty layer applied, then sanded again...




Red fine filler applied to fill in scratches and low areas.




Then final sanding




Re-priming to come, and I'll finally call correcting the saucer section (top and bottom halves) complete.


BTW, all this work done on a kitchen Lazy Susan.  😉



Edited by Vidar_710
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