Nacelles and Pylons
How do we
Make a Stand for this Thing Anyways?
As others have noted the molded in Copper Flux grills on the front sides of the nacelles are both the wrong outer shape as well as being flat where they should be curved from top to bottom in a cylindrical curve. The DLM parts have a more correct outer shape but still lack that gentle cylindrical curve.
Soo... I used the DLM parts but altered them first. I found that by cutting the groves in with a 0 .020 thick jewelers saw blade both widened the groves for a more proper grove width to ridge with ( the DLM groves seem a shade too narrow) and allowed me to sand in the top to bottom curvature. By alternately sanding and deepening the grooves I was able to alter the contour while preserving the grooves.
One final adjustment is needed. As seen in the studio model photo below, the grooves and flanges do not come all of the way to the base. So I will need to add a 0.10 base piece to match this up.
Once the flux pieces were complete I thought I was done, then the close-ups from the Christies auction came out and called my attention to the fact that the rear join of the pylon to the nacelle was not quite right on the kit. The cylindrical shape along the bottom of the nacelle that the pylon attaches to, extends a bit to far at the back. As well it does not allow the flat plane of the pylon rear edge to extend right up to the nacelle. Comparing the modified part on top to an unmodified one on the bottom you can see the difference. Interestingly once you do this mod the small trapezoidal boss detail on the side matches in to the overall shape almost identically to the same boss on the studio model.
First I filled the rear of the bulge with ApoxieSculpt to make sure that I had a solid backing for my sanding. Then the tip was sanded back to match the studio model. A small groove was dremmeled in (top nacelle) to allow for the extension of the pylon rear edge once it is permanently attached to the nacelle. And here is the finished join temporarily fitted together'
Modified Kit Studio Model
Again I thought I was done and then came another round of discussions on the side profile of the nose and the size and shape of the various bosses along the top of the nacelle. You ever notice that an error that you haven't noticed doesn't bother you at all and then when someone calls your attention to it, it becomes glaring and really bugs you. Starseeker pointed out the slant of the nacelle front was off (too steep). He was right. This can be corrected by cutting per the diagram below.
Once the cuts were made I had an upper nose piece (upper left cut-off section in the diagram above) I glued .100 stock to the cut-off nose pieces keeping the inside edges flush for alignment purposes. These pieces were then glued back onto the nacelle proper. Once the nose was back in place I carefully used some small plastic wedges to bend the front of the nacelle outwards to the proper slant to match up with the lengthened nose., and then carefully glued the wedges in place.
The next step was to fill the gaps with apoxie sculpt and then sand all of the profiles smooth again.
At this point you have the side pieces redone but now both the front grill and the top grills will be too short. The front grill needs a bottom extension and the top grill needs an extension to the wide portion just before it begins to neck down. Here is where having a spare kit to rob for parts helps. I cut the appropriate sections off of the grills from the spare kit and glued them into each of the grills as needed. Some carefull sanding and filing to fit and you again have grills that match the main nacelle pieces.
The last step is fixing the side wing which will need to be lengthened to match the extended nose. More apoxie sculpt. To limit the amount of filing I made two plastic guide pieces to help form the wing out of some spare stock. Black plastic electrical tape was used to keep the epoxy from adhering to the forms. Here is what the process looks like.
I had thought the top profile was Ok. Further discussions and rechecking on mine and Gunstar1's part have convinced me otherwise. If you look at the accurizing page you will see that the raised quarter round detail to each side of the top grill needs to be taller and the middle bulge on the top of the nacelle needs to increase in heigth as it approaches the front to match. Grrrr. I built up the Front Quarter Rounds by adding a piece of 0.040 square stock along the inner edge and then to get the required profile I used percurved (bent around an exacto knife handle using boiling water for heat) 0.010 sheet stock to form the quarter round and leave that nice open edge detail at the rear.
After proper trimming, filling the front solid and sanding to match the inner edge to the existing inner edge this is the result. I have mounted it with an unmodified other half for easy comparison.
Modified Kit Comparison Studio Model
More Nacelle work on the top bulges to follow.
Next I turned my attention to the details along the top surface of the nacelles. For ease of reference I will refer to these as the Front Quarter Round, Thick bulge and Central Thin Flat Detail.
Making the Front Quarter Round was detailed above. The Thick bulge needs to be built up at the front to almost the height of the Front Quarter Round. It more or less stays this height and then gently slopes down to where it meets the rear surface of the nacelle. This was built up in the following fashion.
1. A 0.010 sheet was cut to match the existing Central Thin Flat Detail and glued on top of it, all the way to and including the area under where the small dome goes. This defined the final thickness of the new Thick Bulge.
2. Next some 0.030 stock was cut to match the shape of the Thick bulge and fit around the existing Central Thin Flat Detail. This was cut in half so the nacelle halves could stay separate and the glued in place. Now this piece was sanded down to its final edge contours (sides curved over), matched to the raised center detail and rear area sloped.
3. Finally a new Central Flat detail was cut out of 0.040 stock and carefully fitted and drilled for the small dome part. My present plan is to cement this in place after the nacelle is assembled. Here you can see the altered Nacelle (rear) next to the original. Notice the height differences.
Lastly I found that the little detail bosses on the U shaped pieces that go on the rear of the nacelles did not match the studio model. At first I thought they were just completely wrong, then I noticed they were very close if I swapped the right for the left. Of course they did not fit that way due to their inner edge not matching the contour of the vertical fin that fits up their center (its asymmetrical left to right). A small amount of filing and they can be made to fit with only a little bit of filling being required when they are finally glued together. I have Thomas's PE sheet on order and we will see which wins out for final use.
My only real quarrel with these is that the raised linear detail that runs up the top surface of the pylon stands out from the general surface too much. After looking at multiple photos of the studio model, It seems to me that this detail was either flush or virtually flush with the surface. To this end I sanded it down until it virtually wasn't there while maintaining the scribed line detail. The top is an untouched pylon while the bottom has the raised detail sanded away.
Finally I cut through the support flanges as you can see in the lower example so as to provide room for the wiring and possibly an armature.
Stands and Internal Armatures
OK the original stand and supports that come with the kit really suck in my opinion. They look terrible in comparison with the sleekness of the ship. I would like the model to be able to light up and sit on a tabletop rather than a wall mount so a solid support is necessary for both wiring and structural reasons. On the other hand I have also not been sure I liked the approach of using a vertical support rod up through the engineering hull. The ship tends to look like its impaled ( although short of having it float it seemed like the only practical way).
Playing with ideas I think I have come up with an alternative that will make her look a bit more like she is flying. I will support her from the side of the engineering hull (like one of the options for studio models) connecting right about where the docking port is, but use a base that sweeps up to make the connection. here's what I am hoping it will look like.
I am still playing with the exact contours of the base, but I like the effect!
In order to make this work I will have to have an internal armature that can be supported from the side and firmly support the ship while providing a hollow connection for the wires to run through.
I have started with the idea that a flat platform at the top of the engineering hull would provide a solid support. Luckily there is enough room above the Shuttlevay assembly to permit this. However the top front horizontal brace will have to be removed and the current strut that comes down to the shuttlebay will need to be shortened to provide the needed space. Also I will add several vertical bulkheads along the top of the engineering hul to provide the required firm seating against the armature.
My firts start was to modify the Engineering Hull top piece and construct a mockup out of wood to check fits and things. Here you can see the added bulkheadsand the form of the main armature.
I worry slightly about the balance of the overall assembly so I am building in a support that will run up the dorsal and attach to cross supports for the saucer. The saucer will have two supports angled so that they do not interfere with Raytheon's interior spot lighting approach in case I use it.
Ok good idea but this approach has some problems. The diagonals interfere with the lower saucer side spotlight areas. The armature is almost impossible to fit in place up through the dorsal and then connect with the saucer. After a bit of a re-think I found out what the problems were.
1) The connection between the main support piece and the bar going up the dorsal needs to be a straight line slant so that it is easy to slip in place even when the dorsal and engineering hull are already joined. These slants also allow the bar to bend and go into the saucer in such a way that it does not interfere when attaching the dorsal to the saucer.
2) The piece that bends over to the side for the side support arm attachment does not need to be so complex. It can be just a bent over section of the main horizontal.
With this in mind I redesigned the armature and added the bars which will help support the nacelles.
Here we see the new armature by itself.
Next it is inserted into the engineering hull, dorsal and lower saucer. The support arm will attach to the section sticking up vertically. My current thought is a 1/16 th inch walled steel tube will be welded on to extend out of the engineering hull. This will then slip into the support arm and be held in place with a set screw.
Finally we look at the top view showing the saucer supports and mockups of the lower saucer light spills as well as the upper saucer light spill to make sure there is no interference. It works. Now I need to go to my local machine shop and have this duplicated in steel.
Continue to Page 9 for the details on the construction of the real armature.