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Refit Enterprise

July 15, 2012

And so we find ourselves in the ‘dead zone’. The house has been on the market for 6 weeks. We had a dozen showings in the first month or so… but since the July 4th holiday and the extreme heat hit… there’s been nothing. The kids’ early summer camps are over and we didn’t schedule a vacation trip because we didn’t know where would be. We’re in limbo.

I decided that since I don’t have much in the way of house projects (kitchen cabinets came out beautifully), I’d take advantage of the downtime to build the Polar Lights 1/350 scale Starship Enterprise that’s been sitting in my closet for nine months. This is the ‘refit’ version from the Wrath of Khan… one of my favorite movies as a kid. (They have a similar version for the Reliant that I’d like to do next.) I haven’t done a ‘model’ like this in years and given it’s size – nearly 36 inches long with a saucer section nearly a foot and a half across – it was a good excuse to learn to airbrush. Some of the pine wood derby cars in Jack’s cub scout troop were very professionally finished. This will help me teach him how to do it for his next competition. (Plus, Grace really likes going the model store with me. I see rockets in our future.)

I opted not to light the model for simplicity. Again, I haven’t built something like this in 20 years and I invariably screwed up every paint job. As of today, all the major assemblies are together and I’m painting. And just like as a kid, I’ve screwed up the paint job. I sanded the final matte coat before applying some Pearl White – assuming that the Pearl White was an actual color that would provide uniform coverage and hide the sanded areas. In reality, Pearl White is virtually clear and adds a pearlescent shimmer to whatever is under it. So all the scuff marks were very pretty… and entirely too obvious. *Sigh*.

On the flip side, the HVLP paint sprayer I used to paint the inside of my house gave me enough experience that I quickly developed a reasonable airbrushing technique. (Not claiming expertise yet. Need a lot more practice for that.) I bought a Paasche  H single action airbrush and hooked it up to my Porter Cable pancake air compressor (which I bought for use with a nail gun when I was remodeling the master bath). I’m using Model Master acrylic white paint for the base coats, Tamiya White Pearl (TS-45 spray cans) for the required pearling effect and Model Master and Testor enamels for the accent colors. There are an enormous amount of decals that go on this beast. I will post some pictures when I get a few minutes.

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