An Enterprising project

So as all three of you who read this may know, last year I bought an enormously expensive, fantastically screen-accurate 1/350 scale replica miniature of Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise.

I bought this because:

#1 I’m a freak

#2 I’m a trekkie (see reason #1)

#3 It’s part of my midlife crisis dollars at work

#4 It’s fucking  AWESOME

see it?


Anyway, Since I  am an expert miniature builder myself, I took the challenge to match this replica with my own build up of the movie version of the Enterprise. Specifically, as it appeared in “Star Trek:The Motion Picture” (1980 d-Robert Wise)

I’m using the same scale as the replica I bought of the T.V. version (1/350 scale)

It’s a kit put out by Polar Lights 3 or so years ago. It’s an extremely accurate, BIG model kit.The trick in replicating the movie version of the Enterprise is finding a way to render the enormously complicated paint scheme. You see, when they switched to the big screen, The special effects people realised that they needed to modernize the Enterprise with more intricate details, since the camera lenses and film stocks of 1979 picked up so much more than what was available in 1966. One way to accomplish this was to create the most elaborate paint scheme ever devised for a miniature. The famous “aztec panels” cover the entire surface of the vessel, in varying irridescent shades of blue, gray and gold. When viewed, it produces a mother of pearl shimmery effect, almost opalescent.

Here are a couple of pics of the work-in-progress. Many more can be found here.


So far, it’s been about 5 months of work* at about 80 hours all told. the reason it’s so lenghty is because each layer of paint requires a stencil, or “frisket”, which must be hand cut. There were 6 panels with 5 layers each for the engineering hull, and 9 panels (pie shaped) for the saucer, with 2 layers each. It takes from an hour to 4 hours for each frisket cut. 30 seconds for the actual spray application of paint, then an hour to carefully peel off the used frisket which, since it’s basically destroyed by the paint, is un-reusable.

Above is a shot I took as I was applying the second frisket to the lower saucer. Note the first layer was already applied.  Incidentally, the base paint coat is flat white.

all photos here:

*Well now you know how I spent my memorial day weekend 🙂


9 responses to “An Enterprising project

  1. Nice, but if you want to make it accurate, shouldn’t you be using all fiber optics like Doug Trumbull and his crew used?

  2. Wow, I’m impressed. I would NEVER have the patience to do that.

  3. I think that is so fantastic handsome mans. I bought a Millennium Falcon when I was young and because I was so little at the time it looked huge! Its great when you see models like this in shops that anyone can buy, but I always think there is a greater satisfaction when you make things like this yourself. I can appreciate the time and effort as my dad builds model ships and its a labor of love with him. The details in yours are splendid my friend. I cant wait until its finished. It looks absolutely wonderful.

  4. BTW Did I mention once again how sexy you look in that first picture! I’m stuck to my seat! Phowarrr!

  5. Kory – You know I love you, and you’er a hot man, BUT…

    B I T E
    M E !

    Craig – Yeah the only thing that keeps me going is the DESIRE for the finished product which increases exponentially the more I get done. Still, at this point, I just WANT IT TO BE THE HELL OFF MY DESK.

    Mark (Romach) – Baby, I looove you 🙂
    I’m getting the strong desire to do the enormous, extremely accurate, detailed MILLENIUM FALCON that came out last year by fine molds. That may be my next challenge. But I’ll sell it once it’s finished. I could get 500.00 to a grand for an A-1 buildup.

  6. Oh I am jealous as hell now! But excited too, cant wait to see that one! Wish we were closer and we could have done one together!

  7. Does the model come with a tiny Sulu?

    Since he came out he’s suddenly my favorite character on the show. Still waiting for my wedding invitation though.

  8. I had a chance to congratulate George Takei a few months ago. I shook his hand and said “Thanks, George, for coming out.” or some such thing. He was really nice. Said something about remembering to get Timmy’s invite into the mail.

  9. I met George Takei at a fundraising party for Al Gore when he was running from pres

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