Polar lights Enterprise 1701 Refit

1/350th Scale

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The Shuttlebay

Like a lot of people I have started with the Shuttlebay.  Thanks to Starseekers inspiring photos of his scratch built shuttlebay and cargo deck I really wanted to do something similar but without (hopefully) so much scratch work. My main desire was to use as much of the kit walls and roof as possible while achieving a look as close as possible to the mattes and photos.  

Based on his research and my own measurements I convinced myself that the expanded assembly would indeed fit in the Engineering Hull and still allow for lighting.

In addition to the main accurizing details I decided to add a control room facing aft for the hanger/elevator complex.  This makes a lot of sense and is never seen in the movies so it could be there.   I also decided to make the windows for the control rooms along the walls of the hanger area above the workerbee areas real lit windows instead of the molded in detail of the kit.

In order to make the 4-container wide back wall I decided I was going to need the parts from two kits in order to make one rear wall assembly. Primary reason; the need to cut apart the rear cargobay wall and assemble a proper 4 bay wide wall. This would set the primary width for the new bay. If you look where the thin black line points you can see that I carefully cut one bay from each piece right at the edge of the column so that I could glue things together as invisibly as possible.

Using the glued plastic piece as a master I used simple clay molds to cast several duplicates in epoxy resin.  A single horizontal row was cut from one of the copies and then added to the other full piece.  Once I was satisfied with the fit I glued the two resin pieces together and then attached them to a flat .040 piece of evergreen for easy attachment to the walls.

Using the existing kit floor as a template and the glued together 4 bay kit part to set the required spacing,I laid out the floor outline and hole pattern for each section of floor in 0.08 evergreen. Up to the hanger area.  For the hanger area I kept the door end dimension and semicircular aft section the same and then slanted the walls to match from the door end to the widened elevator area.  Here you see the widened version next to the original kit part.

In order to do this I first used the new back wall to set the new cargobay width.

Using the unmodified wall section, I first lined the wall of the cargobay up along the outside edge of my sheet.  Next I marked and drilled the holes for the wall alignment pins.  With the wall in place I put the rear wall in place and then lined up the other wall.  This is easier to do if you have a vernier caliper and can just measure and mark off the lines (which I did).  Make sure to leave a little extra at the front to act as a floor for the vertical wall to the next section.   Note, once the holes are drilled for the cargo floor you can line up the original floor against each edge and use it for the guide to drill the alignment holes for the turbolifts.

Once you have the rear cargo bay laid out the elevator cection is easy.  You measure the original kit floor and the elevator area is “X” inches less in width than the cargobay floor.  You then measure your new cargobay floor and make the elevator section the same amount less.  Measure the hole locations and drill them.  Make sure to leave an extra amount on both ends (lengthwise) to allow for the vertical walls joining the sections.

See below:  The cargo section is in the lower right, the elevator above it and the hanger to the upper left.

Once the elevator area is laid out I extended its outer edge lines to the left.  I next measured and marked the center line.  This prepared for the next step of doing the hanger floor.  In order to do the hangerbay section:

1) Draw a centerline on the original kit part.

2) Then carefully line up the original kit part on the centerline laid out extending from the elevator section.

If you look at the picture above you can see the original floor lined upon the centerline. Once this is carefully lined up, I then traced the semicircular end up to and just past the small square steps that are before you reach the first alignment holes. With this done I could now take the original floor and line it up on a slant so that the step matched at the front and the edge of the elevator area floor matched at the back to the new width. Once lined up I traced the edge and used it as a guide to drill the alignment holes. Once again you need to leave a little extra at the rear for the vertical wall between floor sections. Note: as you may notice this layout is a mirror and the piece once cut out must be turned over so that the correct side is up to match the walls! 

Once I had all of the individual sections cut out I next cut the hangerbay walls away from the elevator section. This is done right in front of the last rib of the elevator section. You can now fit the floors to the wall sections and cut and glue in the small vertical walls of the floor piece to make it a complete floor again.  

Note: If you are going to add the doorways through the cargobay door sections at the upper catwalk level it is much easier to do this drilling and filing before you glue the hanger walls back onto the main wall sections. 

Once the floor is complete you can use it as a guide to glue the hangerbay walls back onto the elevator / cargo walls.  Remember that you will need about a .015 shim between the hanger wall and the elevator wall to fill the gap left by the jewelers saw when you cut them apart.  Once together it all should look like this.

The roof is the second place where I combined two kit parts to avoid some scratch construction.   I found that if you cut off the side flanges of two of the cargo bay clear illumination pieces and glue them back together you almost  compensate for the increase in width.  

All that was then required was the addition of some thin filler strips and the result was a roof that had a good looking light strip and all of the ceiling detail of the original kit.  The addition of a strip across the rear completed the assembly.


The other roof sections were much easier.  Since the ceilings were flat and smooth towards the walls, all that was required was the addition of some .040 stock edge glued to match the surface and widen the walls.   Now all of the alignment pins of the walls had all of their original mounts back in place for easy assembly!


1) I cut the rear ceiling section free from the rest of the roof.

2) I cut off the back end of it to match the new vertical rear wall.

3) I altered the cargo light strip by combining two kit parts.  Note the two center walls are glued together once the flange was removed on their matching sides. I also cut it free from the elevator section piece.   I then cut the length short to match the new ceiling length

4) With the separate ceiling pieces taped in place on their walls and the walls taped to the new floor I could see that the light would fit with the small filler strips added.  I glued things together .

5) For the elevator and hanger areas there were just small gaps.  The front holes of the hanger area still worked.  So I added strips as shown and then marked and drilled the new alignment holes.

6) Once things were set I placed the walls in place on the floor and then the elevator/hanger ceiling in place on the walls.  Taping things in place I added the two ceiling panels (still separate) of the cargobay and taped them to the walls with the light strip inplace between them (taped in).  This allowed me to glue the cargo ceiling to the elevator ceiling piece and add some braces for strength.  Lastly I added a brace strip across the rear of the cargo ceiling to rejoin the two pieces at the rear.

And now the results:

With the added width I also had to use some u channel to replace the door tracks on floor and ceiling between the elevator section and the cargobay.

With the basic walls floor and ceiling complete, I have turned to detailing the walls.  To add the beams, I custom fit a beam section into the elevator area and then one for the cargo bay.  Once the originals were made and checked (took several tries) I made a set of jigs to allow me to assemble and cut to size a set of repeatable replicas.   Each beam has a small top brace section that lays against the appropriate roof so that the beams can be assembled to the side walls independent of the roof.   Again this makes the final painting and assembly easier.  .  Beams are .03x.04 stock

To make the beams I used the following jig to consistently cut the end of the beam to match into the slanting wall at the bottom.  It also worked to cut the matching ends for the short cross beams.

This next jig allowed me to align the cross beams at the top for the cargo beams and top and middle for the elevator beams while I glued them together.  The main beam slides in and is held along the main slant as you can see from the partially inserted section.  Either 1 or 2 braces could then be inserted to align and glue up against the main beam.  Lastly the cross beams were trimmed to length.  This allowed me to make many duplicates that all fit the same.

And here are the results with all of the beams in place.  A bit of a pain but I like the way it turned out.

Next the workerbee bays needed to be corrected.  After completely cutting away the existing area for the 3 workerbee docking stations (I left the final service bay intact as it closely matched Mr. Proberts mattes.) I scratch built two 3 bay sections with the correct 15 deg. slanting walls. In one I cut the appropriate 6 sided hole so I can show one workerbee out of its docking station.  The rest are flat walls.  I know its sacrilege but I will just cut the workerbees in half and glue them to the walls to simulate the docked view.  Life’s an illusion.  See below, on top is the original wall with the modified wall underneath.

With the main wall construction complete it was time for the last small details.  First I drilled/filed out the doorways (airlocks) in the upper level of the cargobay/elevatorbay bulkhead.   Then I filed out the windows that face onto the hanger bay (above the workerbee bays).   I enclosed the rear of the windows with a roofless room so that I could light them indirectly.  Just before painting I will glue a piece of acetate in for the windows and complete the outer surface with the PE part.

Although no view actually shows it, it seems to me that if I were directing traffic in the hanger area I would want an above and rear facing control room.  I added one on the wall section near the ceiling at the rear of the elevator area.

The last detail to add was the elevator and its support rails.   0.040 x 0.040 evergreen strips were used for the elevator support rods on each side of the elevator bay as you can see on the first level of the elevator area.  A small sheet of .040 evergreen was cut to fit and carefully notched to fit around the vertical side rods as seen in the movie.  It is supported on two tubes hidden underneath.

The PE railings for the walkways will be added part way through the painting so as not to gunk up the parts.

OK I admit it, I do not like Mr. Proberts notion of what a good shuttle looks like.  The top half of the Vulcan shuttle does not work well as a general shuttle and looks NOTHING like the previous tradition of shuttles with nacelles.  For this reason and because real ships are slow to trade out equipment AND BECAUSE I JUST LIKE THEM, I scratch built 3 TOS shuttles to include in the shuttlebay with the ST5 shuttles.  Put things together and here is what it looks like.

After I looked at this I decided I needed more cargo pods.  Also after spending so much time on the TOS shuttles, I decided to put two on the main hanger floor.

Looking in past where the Hanger doors will be.

Note the control room at the top rear of the elevator area.

Next steps final touchup, priming and painting decaling etc.   OK Now what do I do next??

Click for page 1...don't say i didn't warn yaPage 2, right here, right now!Now if you click, you'll wind up at page 3, honestWaddya 4Yea verily, 'Tis page 5Egad's page 6...Narf!Yep, we upto number 7 already

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