The Enterprise 1701-D page

ERTL's USS Enterprise-1701-D is a large model, but there are some very big gaps to fill and some moulding distortions to fix if the thing's to look straight, and some engineering effort required to light the thing - but it's worth it!

Disclaimer: the ERTL model is licensed to Paramount. I don't sell the models, I just light them and build them for customers who have bought them.

Some factoids.......

average number of windows 850
fiber optic plugs 4.85m, acrylic sheet 250cm.sq.,
lead shot per nacelle 75g (= 150g), lead shot in hull 85g; total about 240g (about a pound!)
led's used: 40; cost: £97

I had to calculate the number of windows of various sizes, as there are 6 different width/length combinations due to the low clearance at the saucer rim and window length. From this table, I cut them out for insertion into the holes after painting.

I made paper masks for the phased array phaser strips and Aztec pattern - here are the relevant dimensions of the ellipses....

The windows were drilled with a 0.9mm drill then punched out with a sharpened screwdriver tip. 850 windows takes about 2 nights, I found.

The saucer top, with all the windows punched and the lifeboat positions marked for photographic purposes - I would have to refer to this as a guide later, as grinding off the incorrect Aztec pattern would remove the lifeboats. The top of the saucer is sprayed lifeboat buff, then each lifeboat is individually masked, then the hull is sprayed.

This is where the shot needed to balance the thing is calculated - about 240g, distrubuted around the back generally. This is with the hull poser plug jammed right up against the deflector dish, too.

With the shot mass found, the volume required is also now known, and the bulkheads can be mapped. Note the inward pointing led's for the deflector and the 14 stagger on the deflector bulkhead/reflector. The pylon top covers are cut from 0.2mm thick ribbed plasticard - very similar to what's already moulded on the pylons.

Here's the engineering shot bulkheads - configured like this, they obscure the minimum number of windows.

Here's the power plug installed, right behind the deflector bulkhead - note the 'I' beam 'grip strips' surrounding the plug, to give the resin a good anchor.

Three stages in the construction of the upper warp engine. Fron left to right: the horseshoe rib contains the resin/shot mix and keeps it clear of the warp clear parts; the nav lights have to go in before the resin/shot mix; 75g of lead shot are bonded in with resin.

The bottom of the warp engined contains all of the led's, as the bottom will also route all of the wires.

A small plastic block is added to the sloping pylon mount (inset), and drilled to take 4 pins. The pins are wired to the led's inside, and connect to single wire strands outside. Those wires run along groves cut into the top of the pylons, and are covered by the ribbed plasticard cut-outs.

All wired up and light-proofed.... note the four single wire tails....

A quick light test (actually, it's about the umpteenth).....

Here's a schematic of the wire path through the pylon top. The pins guarentee that the wires won't touch when they emerge from the nacelle

The wires are pulled through holes drilled on top of the pylons - I've cut a notch in the pylon lug to clear the pins in the nacelle socket.

The nacelles are fully painted at this point.

The wires, just prior to cutting the four channels in the pylons. The black outline demarks the ribbed area of detail that will be clad with the ribbed plasticard, covering the wires.

The engine assembly is glued up on a flat surface. Of course, I've got 3 sets here.... The tops are now wired to the bottoms, and hence lie beside the nearly complete assemblies.

The tops are glued on, finishing this stage. This is a tricky bit as it's possible for the cear parts to fall inside. I cut a deep groove with a scribing tool to help avoid this, but be careful.... Note the loose wires.... these were gemtly pulled through to pull the engines into place.

All wired up and covered.

The upper and lower saucer l.e.d. hotel light clusters. The shine horizontally, to reach the saucer edges.

Sail light positions - the square torpedo l.e.d. is fragile!

These customers didn't want the shuttle bays open - otherwise there would have been a shuttle bay in here!

One day, about half way through.

The engineering hull is wired up, and all saucer wires are passed through the upper engineering hull piece like a collar. The wires are then taken up though the sail, then the sail is assembled.

If you don't do it in this order, you've painted yourself into a corner.

The lower saucer hull is glued to the sail, and the upper engineering hull is glued to the lower. Noted the taped wire bundle emerging from the saucer/sail join.

The top saucer half is wired up and glued to the bottom half - so we now have a model in two parts, attached by wires.

If the wires joining the two halves are as short as they should be, this is the only way to handle the assembly. By carefully holding the deflector dish upto the hole, and carefully placing fingers into the socket on the engineering hull, the deflector dish can be maneuvered into place.....

....and pushed forward into position. Stuffing cotton wool into the small void behind it jams it forward until the glue sets.

The saucer/sail assembly is glued to the engineering hull in a lego jig.

Here's what 850 windows looks like.

The windows are pushed into place on the painted model. Shouldn't take more than 3 nights and half-a-dozen fingernails!

The end result. This is an old one with coloured engine parts - newer ones have clear parts (which is correct). Note the muted colour scheme and subtle gloss-on-mat Aztec pattern - when I get round to it I'll do some nice pictures of that.

Spot on - good balance between hotel and engine lights. This was photographed under it's own light in a dark room.

Nice shot of the deflector.

The finished article.

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