This is a project that started almost nine years ago when I purchased a model kit of the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise from the Star Trek film series. Ever since the original movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (ST:TMP) came out in December 1979, I was enthralled with the big screen presentation of the beloved starship Enterprise from the television series, in a new, sleek “refitted” design.
Being a Trekker from my childhood, and a sci-fi geek in general, the aesthetics of this iconic vessel hit all the “right notes” for me and left an indelible impression. While many in retrospect have knocked the movie, it was a huge success and a visual feast when it was released. With special effects legends Douglas Trumbull (of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind fame) and John Dykstra whose team re-invented special effects with the original Star Wars two years prior, it is hard to appreciate in 2016 how polished and impactful it was in its day.
From the design lines of vessel by designers Richard Taylor and Jim Dow to the idea by Trumbull to make it “self-illuminating”, it simply “made sense” in how it should look to my eyes. Add in a beautiful (yet technically problematic for the cinematography guys) paint job by Paul Olsen it makes, it in my mind, the best presentation of the iconic starship and arguably in the running all-time depictions of a space ship on film.
So this project is an undertaking to make this the most “screen-accurate” and detailed depiction possible at the 1:350 scale.
While the seed of this project, and the purchase of the unbuilt model kit from Polar Lights some nine years ago lay dormant at the time of the 50th anniversary of the original airing of Star Trek series on television, that milestone of the franchise rekindled the boxed up in storage model for me. This will be a long (maybe upwards of a year or more) project to complete. This site is a result of wanting to have a platform to document my work on this project, share it with other modelers, and to act as a journal of this hobbyist and fan’s voyage on this project.
2 thoughts on “Start of the Enterprise Project”
Hi Mitchell, this sounds like a fun and interesting project. I assume you have some experience building quality model kits, particularly spacecraft both real and fictional. Perhaps you can show your fans (well at this point “fan”) some of your previous work. It would provide an opportunity for you to practice photographing your samples and seeing how they look on laptop, tablet and phone screens. Good luck, I’m looking forward to seeing what materializes. Pun intended.
Unfortunately I don;t have any photo examples of past models I built. I had not actually made any spaceship models before, mostly aircraft. The last one I built was around 12 years ago, and that was an exact reproduction of a F-4 II from the VMFA-333 “Trip Trey” known as the “Fighting Shamrocks”. The woman I was living with at the time, her father flew for the 333 in Vietnam, and as a Christmas gift for him that year, I made his Phantom. His second wife managed to boost and loan me some photos of him in front of his plane so I could get the lettering on the canopy rails correct with his call sign (“Gator”, he was a graduate of Florida State).
And I poured over photos from his squadron so I could match the squadron markings down pat. Micro-scale luckily had a base set of Phantom decals of the “Trip Trey” so I was able to 100% nail it.
Needless today, the guy actually had tears welling up when he unwrapped it. Not to pat myself on the back but it was a museum quality build.
While I have not done any modeling to speak of in the intervening years, I hope the skill-set is not too rusty. That’s another reason why this will take a while to build. Because I will be doing a lot of test building some scratch-built pieces and detailing stuff, which should help to make sure when I finally move on to the kit itself I am back up to speed.
I anticipate shooting a tons of practice paint on some scrap styrene as well. Particularly when I get to the exterior panel detailing on the Enterprise. Which consists of 5 colors of overlapping pearlescent and “interference” lacquer paints.
As to photographing it all. I will be snapping stuff with my Sony digital SLR as I am building (and practicing) some these small detailing parts. That has prompted me to look into finally purchasing a small table-mount try-pod for my SLR. I hop to have something on that front in txt few weeks to start testing out some macro photography and videography as well. So once I begin in earnest I can snap and shoot stuff to post here as I blog about what I’m doing.