The Shuttlebay Continued
The Shuttlebay is a full model kit in and of itself. With so much effort going into making it look really good I new that I wanted OPEN shuttlebay doors. However for common display I also wanted the closed door look as well.
To attack this I glued the Engineering Hull end piece (that forms the door housing and fantail) onto the shuttlebay floor. A bit of Apoxie Sculpt to erase any sign of the seam and I was ready to start.
The first problem was the kit doors. There curve is too flat in the middle and does not match the hull curve. My first thought was to use the DLM door part, however I couldn't think of a way to get the proper open / closed looks.
The Matte in STTMP kind of makes it look like the doors slide past each other. However the TOS Enterprise and ST5 Enterprise present the doors as having sections that flex at the joints and slide back into the hull without apparently sliding past each other. I liked this look a lot more than the section on top of section look and decided to try it that way.
Step 1: Using very low heat from a soldering iron I was able to gently adjust the bend of the Kit doors to match the proper curvature. Here the DLM part helped a lot as I could use its base to judge when I had the curvature correct. A little sanding at their base and everything was nicely evened up and fitting well. I now had properly looking CLOSED doors.
Step 2: Getting Open doors. My first thought was to just take some sheet and make them (and I did prove out the idea that way) but it was harder to match things up. Instead I cut (with a jewelers saw) right along the joint between the third and fourth sections (measured inwards from the door edges) of the door on each side. This left me with 2 open door sections that correctly matched the hull and almost looked right and a center section.
Step 3: If you look closely where the doors join you see a narrow strip detail along the length of the join line on each side. This needed to be added to my "open doors" This was accomplished by adding a piece of strip stock. The strip is also where the line of red dots will go.
Unfortunately the strip and the red dots are highly visible so you can not just slide the centerpiece up against the cut off ends. When they are together that strip and extra line of dots jumps out at you in the middle of the sides of the closed doors and totally does not look right.
This led to step 4: I used the two open door pieces to carefully cut a matching set + 1 additional section door ends out of 0.020 sheet. In other words the cut off door ends consist of the last 3 sections. The 0.020 pieces were cut as 4 sections wide. These pieces were marked with the door seam lines in pencil and then the jewelers saw was used to put the grooves in, matching the originals. Once completed the pieces were gently curved under low heat to match the door curve.
Step 5: Now for the tricky part. I took the last section at the right and left of the door center piece and filed it down from the out side by 0.020. This allowed me to glue my THIN door ends in place with a 1 section overlap and preserve the appearance of the door being all one piece. For added strength and stability, I placed a pad of 0.020 sheet inside the curve of the door and then put a blob of Apoxie Sculpt on the pad. In this way I could hold the doors in place on the fantail and then press the blob up against the inside of the doors. Once the epoxy set up I had a fully stable closed door assembly.
Step 6: The final trick is to glue the "open" doors in place .020 inside of their original location. The "thin" outer door ends then slide right over top of the inner "open" doors.
It really works and looks good both ways!
Just when I thought I had the construction details all complete, I noticed I was missing a couple of ceiling details. That is the ceiling cross beams for the elevator area and the center raised strip detail in the hanger bay. (See page one accurizing descriptions Shuttlebay - 6,7. Below you can see them both in place.
The crossbeams run directly across the light strips as seen in the stills and Mr. Probert's drawings. They have beveled ends to match neatly into the side wall beams. They are 0.020" thick by 0.040" wide strip stock.
The other detail is the raised strip running along the ceiling area between the light strips. To make this I cut a 0.080 wide strip perpendicular to the v-grooving out of 0.040" thick 0.080" V-groove panel. After it was cut, the ends were given a slight filing to match into the center raised detail. Then the backs of the strips were filed/sanded down to produce a strip thickness of 0.025". Then they were glued in place.
Since I was working on the ceiling and have a copy of PNT's etched brass sheet I looked at some of the detailing pieces. Included with the kit is a roof section panel with detailing. However this will not fit a properly sized shuttle/cargobay as it is sized for the original kit part. I liked the detailing so I cut the section into three pieces and applied them to the two vertical ceiling sections as a bit of added detail interest. You can see the result in the picture below.
It has been a while but I have finally almost finished the shuttlebay! This little minikit has probably taken as much time as half the work I did everywhere else. The only thing still waiting till final assembly is the railings. These are so delicate that I will add them just before the final glueup. Where to start? First the custom TOS shuttlecraft were painted and then detailed with a set of custom decals from JT graphics. To this I added my own custom decals for the panel details under the nose and on the rear. For the ST5 shuttlecraft I used the aftermarket ones through Federation Models instead of the kit parts because the details and decals were better. For the basic look I tried for the floor details and paint colors that wre as close as I could judge to what we see on screen. I will let you judge the final result. I am really pleased with it.
After masking for window details and glue areas the roof got its final paint finish.
To finish off the control room looking down the length of the bay I added a small engineering detail panel on the front of the desk that looks out from the window. Finally I put in some lighted panels to the front and back of the center compartment detail at the center of the hangerbay roof.
One other thing I did not like on the kit were the turbolifts in the cargobay. They just didn't look right. I instead made some custom ones from white evergreen tubing with detailing around the top. To these I added a custom decal which matches the onscreen shots. These will be lit by LED's top and bottom so they glow like the onscreen look. Another divergence from the kit I used the cargo containers, and travelpods from DLM for added interest. The decal detailing that DLM supplies with these are superb! One sneaky thing. I buried a very strong neodymium magnet in the docking port of the travel pod. This way with another magnet behind the docking port or ports on the hull I can stick a travel pod where I want and remove it at will. After painting, decaling and arranging the contents it looks like this.
Looking at the details here is my cargobay. The markings are per the screenshots including the floor color. Since I did not want to open up the hexagonal doors I made custom decals to match with the on screen look. You can see one of the holes I drilled in the floor to allow lighting the turboshafts. One of the custom turboshafts is shown installed. On the right you can see the details of the raised elevator I added. Without a raised platform it is almost impossible to see a shuttlecraft down on the elevator deck from the hangerbay doors. I have the shuttlecraft facing the rear to show off the rear details that I laid in with decals. Note also the added vertical struts on the far wall that the elevators ride on. You can see the notches cut into the one real elevator to allow it to match into the missing side wall. The other unique feature is the 3 high cargo bay backwall. I based this on some set photos that used to be on Mr. Proberts site since this view is never seen in the movie.
Here is a side view of the hangerbay. Note the slanting panel alcoves that were done for the workerbees. I also added the black detail around their openings to represent the seals on the openings per Mr. Proberts detail drawings. The observation windows were opened inot slots and then a PNT Models PE piece put in for the window framing. Behind this is a thin acetate sheet for the glass and a light box to give the illusion of depth. I added a paper with printed wall details on the back wall of the light box so that as your angle of view changes your eye will catch details changing. It even works looking through the hanger doors. Both TOS and ST 5 shuttles are shown as they could easily have been slowly making the cutover and we never see which are really there. You can also see one of the travel pods on the elevator deck. At this scale decals are really great for adding micro details to things as small as the shuttlecraft and travelpods.
Here is an outside view of the shuttlebay. You can see the light boxes that were added behind the observation windows to provide indirect lighting on the windows. Done this way it made it easy to add the paper with colored details (a door and some panels and wall section dividers) and then protect the door with Future. When an LED is placed over the lightbox it looks really good from inside the bay.
And now the real question: After all of this work (just to see if I could) WHAT CAN YOU REALLY SEE FROM THE DOORS???
Darn! Maybe it was all worth it. The final pictures will be done after final assembly and the LED lighting is in place.