Making the Arboretum Rec Deck and Officers Lounge
I need tiny things lots of tiny things! or how to learn that pebbles are boulders.
My first step was to grind off all of the various trees, bushes, benches and bridges. My wife is a landscape designer and the first thing that we both noticed was that there were no private spaces or the illusion of things being bigger that reality in the kit layout. Running with this thought I laid out a completely new water and pathway pattern that partially used some of the kit features. Having never done this before I decided to build up a trial layout on a bent sheetmetal replica.
Looked pretty good so I went for it. This arrangement provides more varied terrain, and allows for many private areas. it also blocks lines of sight for the illusion of greater size. I wanted an illusion of greater water depth, so I added some 0.06 sheet to a section of the floor. This allowed me to grind the water area deeper. In retrospect it was probably wasted effort as it may be undetectable looking in the windows. Here you can see the grinding complete and the pathways drawn in. I also cut openings for 2 doorways on each wall where the pathways exit. The final step was paintng the exterior black for light blocking.
In order to further the illusion of natural space I photographed some tree covered hills with blue sky above and used these to create "mural" paintings for both long walls. These were glued to the walls and then the contours of the landscape were built up using Apoxie Sculpt. Boy I have learned to love that stuff! A trip out to my gravel driveway and I came back with rocks and boulders for my landscape. Read really really tiny pebbles.
I found as I was building the "real" arboretum that having the first attempt as a model really allowed me to keep what I liked and improve some other things as I went along. I recommend this to anyone who has not tried this before.
Now that the contouring was complete The next step was adding greenery. I used the tiny green lichen (and glue) that is sold for model railroad layouts. You sprinkle it on and pat it in place.
Using really tiny branch tips from the "lichen" trees sold for model railroading I was able to make an assortment of trees and bushes. With their addition you can see how the space has visual interest as well as privacy spots. I also made up an assorment of scale benches with backs so people could relax. If you look really close you can also see tiny spots of paint to simulate the look of flowers in the greenery.
In order to support a slightly barrel vaulted roof, I sanded off the alignment nubs and glude on two strips to the outside along the top edges. This provides a firm seat for the flexed plastic that forms the roof. A decal of a sky and clouds scene was then applied to the roof to finish off the ceiling.
And now for a look at it in the Hull.
That's it for now. Once I get some custom Sky decals made up I will be able to finish the ceiling and add the lighting.
The Rec Deck
Looking at the large windows this area seemed to beg to be tried. Then I saw Krako's and I knew I had to try this. Just think of the challenge of fitting something that would look right into the hull when we all know the real set wouldn't have fit.
For my attempt I decided to start with a floor layout as close as I could get to the real set with a little forced perspective added. I started with the floor and wall plan form "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise" and movie stills. In the movie there are 3 dorways and 4 wall sections along the side walls. To get things to fit I had to reduce this to 2 and 3 respectively. Likewise the height was going to be a problem. In the real set the side walls slant up and out at the bottom and then inwards and then angle inwards again near the ceiling. To make things work I decided to eliminate the upper angular section.
Given these decisions I ended up with the following floor plan. This preserved most of the look and detail while allowing things to still fit.
The next step was to assemble the floor and put in the various levels, chairs and tables. In order to help things look right I reduced the floor layer thickness and step heigths by one half compared to what should have been the correct scale thickness. hHere you see the floor after masking and painting. Once the custom decals are done I will add the black game feature down the center of the main floor.
Next it was time to build the walls. I used some 0.080 V-panel for the walls with clear styrene for the bottom most row to allow me to do the lighted panels seen in the movie. After the basic wall structure and brace partitions were assembled, I added the bulkheads and the blue panels over the doors. Room was left behind the walls and the bracing panels were spaced to give the illusion of the spaces seen in the rec deck scenes.
Finally It was time for the back wall. First I used 0.005 sheet to build up the receding panel effect in the center that forms the background wall for the viewing screen. I then addecd a brace to the built up section with the .080 V grove sheet (now in vertical mode). To round things out I added 90 degree end walls to come back and meet the side walls out of sight. This provides both strength as well as the added receding space to either side of the turbolifts.
The hardest part was constructing the edging for the lower center alcove where the pictures of the enterprise are. I built it just as seen on screen and made a smooth curving backpiece so I can add the enterprise images via decals. Once all of the custom decals are done I will add the turbolifts and the permanent main viewing screen.
Once I had the back wall built I could add the balcony and railing at each side that you can barely see in a couple of movie shots. It took a while to figure out what they really were. But in fact they match the balcony at the windows in form and railing type. OK now that the pieces are done we add the decals for the various screens and the game strip, glue things together and voila, a rec dec.
The last element is the outer wall of the saucer. The kit wall section must be altered in two ways. First the ridge and alignment fingers on the inner surface will need to be cut off to allow the rec deck to fit. To do this I added new alignment fingers before removing the originals. This will make later saucer assembly easier. After cutting out the inner ridge (its at the wrong height and thickness), a new balcony floor was glued in place. Now the hard part. This balcony is supported on shaped pillars and has cylindrical railings. These were built from scratch and carefully fitted to the balcony and the rec deck floor to provide the movie look. You can still see in the picture below where a spacer block was used to get all of the railings the same height.
When these are added together you get a very close representation of the movie set.
And now a view of how it fits in the overall saucer.
I'll try a picture looking in through the windows as soon as I figure out how to make it come out lit and in focus properly.
The Officers Lounge
Here's a small part that needs little alteration but is an incredible pain to detail. To aid assembly I made two small additions to the kit parts.
1) I added a thin wall along the front edge to better fit the part to the saucer hull.
2) I added a buildup of apoxie sculpt along the perimeter of the part on the upper saucer interior to make a fitted socket for the part. While not strictly necessary I just did not like the finicky way it had to be put in place and I worried about light leaks.
After looking at the movie stills I concluded that the lounge has two wall colors, a slightly warm off white and a very light tan. Just to keep things interesting the wall behind the left hand sofa (looking in the windows) is tan with a set of vertical white stripes. The floor is clearly gray and the chairs that slightly brownish orange color. Chair cushions are light tan (matches the wall color) and a matching gray for the floor. Some table surfaces are black.
My painting sequence was floor, tan wall color, off white wall color, chairs, table tops, brown for dirt where the bushes go. At each stage, post the floor, the existing color was masked and the next color added. Then that color was masked and the next done. In this way no masks were removed until the paint job was complete. I have never placed so many tiny strips of blue painters tape before, but it worked. All except for the dirt color were airbrushed on. Lastly the prepainted pieces of .005 sheet were glued in place as the chair cushions.
Not liking the viewscreens showing the nacelles, I have used hubble space images instead. I also added a portrait of the enterprise on the one wall that you never see in the film. here is what it looks like after the painting and pictures. All that is left is adding the bushes. Although it is harder to tell in the digital photo, you can see the back wall is light tan with the two vertical bosses framing the doorway openings in white.
Finally we see it with in the finished condition with the bushes and greenery added.