34 inch Polar Lights Enterprise 1701 - refit and 'A'
One of these was donated free to the James Doohan Memorial Exhibition
in Linlithgow in July 2007. Contact details:
Annet House Museum, 143 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EJ, Scotland U.K.,
international +44(0)1506 670677 or UK 01506 670677
enquiries@linlithgowstory.fsnet.co.uk, www.linlithgowstory.org.uk
1st Apr - 31st Oct, Mon-Sat 11am - 5pm, Sun 1pm - 4pm

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An outstanding kit from Polar Lights which, with a careful lighting job, makes up into either the refit version or the 'A' version - and it's 3 feet long!

This article will take you through my build process for each of the two variants

Note - I'm building two side-by-side, so if there appear to be too many parts in some of the shots, don't worry!


article contents

jump to

engineering

hangar

deflector

primary hull

nacelles

finish

effects shots


required parts list

cost (UKpounds)

l.e.d.'s

All Nichia's from PlusOpto: 3mm white x 44, 5mm white x 26, 3mm blue x8, 5mm blue x 17, 3mm re/green low output x 5 pairs, 5mm yellow x 10, 5mm lilac x 14, 5mm red x 2, 3mm red x 2

109

switches

15 x spdt, all wired as st's, 5 x dpdt

24

strobe

Vellmans adjustable l.e.d. strobe kit from Maplins

12

structural

about 0.25sq.m. 0.5mm plasticard, about 100ml quickset epoxy, 1x1220x650x9 mdf for stand

14

power supply

mains to 5V, 2.5A transformer, 24 variable resistors, verroboard, 31-way Centronics D-plug & socket, 12m 21-core cable

49

packing

4x (1220x960x9)mm mdf with some 75mm thick styrofoam for form fitting cradle

14

paint

500ml acrylic spray in black x 1, chrome x 1, white x 2, Tamiya matt and gloss white x 4 each, aluminium, JN green, JA green, dark yellow, black, NATO black, olive drab, mid blue, masking tape, Maskol liquid

39

kit

Polar Lights

35

sub-total

296

labour

104 hours

1560

total

1856

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hangar and engineering

The lighting requirements make the secondary hull the most complicated sub-assembly, and this is made worse by the assembly procedure involving the pylons, and because this is the common terminus of all the wires, and also because of the power transfer socket.

As a first step, I did a tape-up job of the bits to see what space I had to play with. Here's the view looking through the front towards the stern, with the engineering/hangar assembly installed.

And a side view. Note the mm-size clearance towards the hangar doors.

View from aft

This is the space under the mid-section hangar deck town to the keel. 30mm is fine for the power transfer socket and wiring, but most of a stiffening bulkhead will have to be removed.

The warp conduits have to be glued to the hangar bay top, then located in the floor when you put the top on - you'll have to have a tool to maneauvre them into place through the roof light space.

The outside of the arboretum roof. The inside is all painted by now of course - mine has oranges and lemons on the trees! The red outline is a tracing of the overhang from the engineering box. The white paint makes the l.e.d. housing opaque. The l.e.d.'s have the front dome trimmed off - helps them sit straight and diffuses the light better - and are then tacked on with a tiny blob of clear epoxy. Use DEVCON as it's got about the same refractive index as the acrylic.

Hangar bay roof lights. Same fixing technique as above.

View from the bottom of the hull, looking up into the floor of engineering.

There are 4 l.e.d.'s attached externally on each side of the engineering module - these provide light to the external hull windows. This is the view when the bottom left hand hull segment is removed. As you can tell by now, I continuously check for fit.

Here's the engineering module complete. I'm doing two at a time of course - one for each ship version. 4 roof l.e.d.'s, 8 external hull l.e.d.'s and 3 arboretum l.e.d.'s = 15 in total so far.

The top one hasn't been taped up yet. Note the styrene I-beam section glued over the forward roof light - this gives room to mount an l.e.d.. The l.e.d. should be located between the two warp conduits and pointing forwards/downwards at 45 degrees. This diffuses the light nicely inside while leaving the warp conduits dark for self-illumination.

The styrene I-beam must not come closer than 30mm to the front of the engineering box, so that it misses a roof support member.

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Secondary hull

The blue instrument landing system led's have to go into this 3mm wide by 1.8 mm long space.

Here's the free space from the bac k, highlighted yellow.

Nav and strobe wires will run the same way as the "island" control room lights and the tractors, so space is very tight here

The "island" control windows have to go, and are replaced by clearset resin, cast into the sockets - here is the tape covering the hole to form a casting well. Leave it in place for painting.

The tractor clear pieces, painted and scraped off for lighting.

Another view of the tractor light locations with the hangar innards in place - I was looking at how to stop light leakage from the blue tractor lights.

Here are the tractor windows, and all the wires from the back light cluster - minus ther tractors of course.

The solution is to mount the tractors on the hangar bay side.

We passed the light leak test.

The finished thing.

Back to the wiring.

The power plug and fixing bolt

Outside of the plug - the mounting flange must go on the outside.

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Deflector

The front dish cover is scoured on the inside with 400 grit wet&dry paper to diffuse the light

Left - the backing dish is drilled to accept a 5mm central white l.e.d., which is de-lensed by simply cutting off the nose, and the 8 pairs of legs from 8 x 3mm blue l.e.d.'s.

Right: guide line drawn on the back.

The front cover is lightproofed to give the 'ring of lights'. I used Maskol latex in the troughs, but casting peaks would have been easier - just paint it all, then send the peaks when your done - hint hint, Polar Lights!

Stages in modifi=ying the orange l.e.d.'s for the front deflector thrusters. Grind to an obelisk then cover with mylar to prevent light leaks.

Light test of the thruster l.e.d.'s after they have been bonded internally and the dish drilled through, puncturing the Mylar, to reveal the light. Don't go too far!!

Front view. It was sprayed black then chrome beforehand to prevent light leaks and boost outpuit too.

Everything can be knitted together to give 1 earth lead and one supply each for the white, blue and yellow.

Blue test.... well diffused, thanks to correct aiming of the l.e.d.'s

White test - the central bright spot looks just right.

Cut these disks from 0.2mm plasticard and tack onto the dish parts and leave them there until all the painting is done.

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Primary hull

The top and bottom sensor domes are inset with a 5mm white l.e.d., bonded in with a good puddle of Devcon epoxy, which has almost the same refractive index as the l.e.d.. This diffuses the light evenly through the domes.

The bridge is raised by 2mm to allow extra height to aim the long sensors down onto the primary hull. This was done by external lighting on-set in the movie, but this model has to do it itself!

Cut intermediate rim support lugs off......

....so that the light from the l.e.d.'s diffusdes up and down to the windows.

Bottom dish long sensor l.e.d.'s. Note the hull-hugging angle and purple Maskol painted on at this stage.

Top dish long sensors.

The aiming is refined with a light test before the bridge is fixed.

Inside a dish, with the thruster, strobe and nav light positions noted

Inside the bridge cluster - the one at the back is the lounge, which shows off my desks, chairs, pot plants, etc....

The reactor is made into a sealed-beam unit. I had the advantage of having two side by side, but if you're only making one ship, you might want to skip the grey ring you see here and go for direct Devcon bonding as used on the planetary sensors above. The reason is that the reactor dome sits above the wiring loom as it leaves the primary hull to go down the sail, and just above the impulse cluster. Consequently, space is very, very tight.

The impulse vents are lightproofed with Mylar. Forget the supplied decals - stick on thin strips of Mylar to simulate the shutters. This also looks right when the vents are 'off'.

The vent can be painted at this stage.

I made a lightbox to contain the light from the impulse vents, using 2mm 'I' beam section and .5mm plasticard. This has a central red l.e.d. and one lilac l.e.d. each side. In the books on the movie, the impulse vents have two colours.

The torpedo part is drilled out to accept two 3mm l.e.d.'s

Then lightproofed with Maskol

Sail spotlight positions....

....and internal hotel lights.

The sail can be glued and epoxied into place, and the whole sub-assembly fully painted at this stage.

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Nacelles

Bussard l.e.d.'s are bonded into the clear parts

then light proffed with Mylar and dusted with gloss white. Dusted, I said!

Warp clear parts are bloomed with 220 grit wet and dry...

then sprayed with white, black and chrome in that order....

they are then sanded with 220 grit again, revealing a silver surface inside to reflect a little light back in (so it gets a chance to come out again), and white on the outside so it looks good when switched off.

Light boxes are made for the inside of the nacelles out of these parts (1cm grid)

The finished boxes (two pairs for me!)

The radiator purge lights are installed in a support. They have clear windows - thanks, Polar Lights!

Three blues and two purples, with earths commoned up. As for the deflector and impulse, there are two colour options, so I have two as well.

Thruster lights are installed with the same technique used for the dish.

Cut this off and backfill after assembly.

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finishing

Here's the main sub-assemblies out in the garden drying in some rare Scottish sun, after being washed.

Now we've got a ship's worth of parts. Note that the nacelles and saucer are already painted. For the Aztec pattern, the template supplied in the kit is fine - I just copied it onto acetate, cut a few out and used that. No nead to stick it down - as long as you practice first. The paint if semigloss white and chrome in 7:1 ratio on top of matt white, on top of white primer.

You can pull all the wires at this stage. Always rationalise each sub-assembly so that the wires are minimised - I only have one earth here, for instance. You'll have to drill uot some wire hiled in the pylon anchor points - just be careful to miss the plug-and-socket fixings, as they add the much needed strength.

The nacelles are mounted onto the pylons with the help of shaped packers - cut some styrofoam to 42 degrees and, with everything flat, this'll hold it correctly while it sets into the final 54 degree angle.

Here's the mounting jig. This also doubles as the floor of the packing crate. Just glue the blocks under the model as it lies upside down. My saucer blocks are L shaped to restrain sideways movement. The important heights are:

saucer blocks - 58mm
nacelle tail - 21mm
nacelle nose - 15mm
spine - 125mm rising at 45 degrees to 165mm

Here it is in the cradle. I've got the hull bottom clipped into place as a splint while glueing, but it isn't glued yet.....

....because there aree some gaps to fill.......

....and a wee bit of final wiring!!

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Effects pictures

Here we go - some of these were shot in the models own light, in a completely dark workshop against black cloth. The top of the stand is just visible below the belly. I'll do a nice shot of it on the stand when I get some labels printed next week.

Just off the bow. Spot the difference? Here we show off the two lighting options on the deflector. The other double option switches are for thye impulse drive, the warp drive and the torpedoes. The full function list is in the last picture which shows the box (next week!)

Lovely shot - note the shadow cast by the phaser ports under the dish, the thruster posrt on the deflector, the dish and the warp nacelle tails.

Stern shot, with the bottom taken in it's own light. The strobes aren't showing up too well here - the first of this section caught them - but they are really bright and with an adjustable flashing interval.

Another view from aft, with the bottom in it's own light.

Top, showing off the beautiful floodlighting of the dish caused by the long range sensors. This had to be done in post-effects in the movie - but you could have this one which does it for itself!

The bottom is taken in it's own light, with the warp nacelles caught in the first (purple) colour configuration.

The Aztec pattern is caught nicely here - barely visible when looked at straight on, but razor sharp under the right conditions.

Not proud of the shot, but it catches the warp core, right at the front end of the model about 7cm short of the front of the deflector, nearly a foot away from the shuttle bay doors.

Here it is on the stand. The threaded rod runs between the nut glued into the lower hull and the 'L' shaped structure on the right of the upright. This gives space to tighten the retaining nut with your fingers. The offset position balances the model perfectly. Model and stand together weigh in at about 9kg. The switch functions are, left-to-right;

top row

master

off / on

reactor

off / on

blue

hotel

off / on

white

lounge

off / on

white

arboretum

off / on

white

navigation

off / on

red/green

strobe

off / on

white

spots

off / on

white

planetary sensors

off / on

white

long sensors

off / on

white

bottom row

hangar

off / on

white

ILS tractor

off / on

blue

thrusters

off / on

yellow

deflector

off / charge
off / sweep
white/blue

impulse

off / idle
off / thrust
lilac/red

warp core

off / on

blue

radiators

off / on

white

bussards

off / on

white

warp

off / charge
off / warp
purple/blue

torpedoes

off / open
off / fire
red/brighter

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