The Engineering Hull
The two hardest parts of the accurizing for the engineering hull are the forward portion and the fantail.
Lets start with the front. The deflector clear part needs no alterations, however it must mount correctly into the next section back in order to look right. This section is the one that has the three energy field attraction sensors molded into it. In order for the two concentric rings of the deflector part to be of equal width (like the studio model) the part must be mounted 0.040 inches forward of the position that the kit alignment nubs place it. Rather than eyeball this during the glue up and to make assembly easy I added small pieces of 0.040x0.040 stock to each alignment nub.
Once in place the deflector parts rings now look just right.
Now on to the outside of this white part. Two things need to be corrected to match the studio model.
1) The paired ridges in front of the energy field attraction sensors are parallel in the kit part where the distance between them should narrow towards the front. (See the black lines)
2) The finger details on the flats of the domes of the energy field attraction sensor need to be redone to their proper shape to match the studio model. Instead of a molded detail on the flat face they should be a detail which rises in height as it approaches the forward pointing finger at the top outside of the assembly.
To begin, I first filed off the ridges. Then I filed their base into the proper converging lines so the ridges can be rebuilt.
0.040x0.060 (0.060 vertical) strip was used to build up the ridge detail in the proper position. Once these pieces had set and any gaps filled with apoxie sculpt I gently sanded the ridges to their final contour as seen below.
Having already glued the flattened domes in place I sanded off the finger detail to prepare them for redoing the feature. The molded in detail is close in overall shape but lacks the inward slant to the outer edges of the short outer fingers at the widest portion. My first attempt involved trying to make the detail from scratch. This did not go well.
Instead I took the parts from my spare kit and cut the finger detail away from the main dome piece. Next some delicate filing thinned the back of the detail with the thinnest part of the profile at the tips of the fingers. This produced the proper wedge shape as in the studio model. Finally I sanded in the slant profile to the outer short fingers producing something very close to the studio model.
Studio Model Modified Parts
In order to properly match things up I also had to extend the little finger at the outermost top by approximately .060 inches to match everything up. It took looking through 6 different photos ranging from the shot above to various screen shots to ascertain the proper shape for this detail and try to reproduce it. Once I was done however I really liked it better than the original kit look.
The next piece is the piece that forms the base of the three energy field attraction sensors and contains the rear set of concentric ring detailing. As molded the rear, outer, ring is too narrow and the inner ring thus shows as being too wide. After doing some careful scaling from studio model shots I was able to determine that the outer ring was 0.030 inches too narrow. So I decided to add a piece 0f 0.030x0.030 strip to the leading edge to fix it. Easier said than done! First how to get a nicely curved piece to add. Second how to put a spacer in place to allow gluing the strip at just the right height without gluing the spacer in place too and still leave a hollow groove under the outer ring
Here is what I tried which worked very well in the end. As a spacer I carefully inserted 5 layers (thin strips) of blue painters masking tape on top of the inner ring. This amount of spacing made the top surface of the strip being added just a little bit proud of the outer ring surface to allow for later sanding to match.
Next I used boiling water to gently pre-curve sections of the 0.030x0.030 evergreen strip to very close to the final curvature. These were then cut to fit into each of the sections. The pre-curving the strip made the fitting and glue up very easy.
After final sanding the rings were now their proper proportions. And here is the fully assembled front end look.
In the midst of all of this I moved the two slot windows just above and forward of the large Arboretum windows on the port side only, forward 2mm to bring them into the proper position.
This left me with the final accurizing alteration, the docking ports. These were drilled out with a 0.25 in. drill and the backs sanded flush with the main hull surface in the same manner as those on the torpedo deck.
For the doors I used PNT Model's brass PE sheet. The door detail on this sheet is hyper accurate. The door is in two parts, a ring and the main door. To assemble you place the ring on top of the door and then touch super glue to the edge to make them one part. I used the inside corner of a carpenter's square to keep the ring and door aligned while gluing. This produces a door that is exactly as seen on screen. The combined assembly is then 0.014 in. thick To mount the door I needed a backing piece and a spacer ring. The door in the on screen shots is not against the light slot. It is about 9 inches behind it. To achieve this at scale with a 0.014 in. thick door required a 0.040 spacer ring.
First I glued the brass door to the backing piece and then I located the ring by slipping it over the brass door. Once in place you just apply liquid glue to the outside of the sandwitch and let capillary action glue things together. You can see the backing / spacer ring and the assembled door / backing/spacer in the pictures below.
You will notice that there is a flat filed into the circular backing. After making a custom piece I always worry how I am going to get it aligned and in place correctly. In this case you can align the interior of the door assembly with the hole just by using the shaft of the 0.25 in drill bit. The question was how to get the door seam nicely lined up and vertical when you are gluing it from the back. I very carefully aligned things from the front and held things in place with tape. Then I glued a flat straight strip to the hull resting against the flat of the door assembly. This worked nicely. I used the same technique with the dorsal ports and the saucer dome port except that the alignment strip was the hull flat itself where it transitions at 90 degrees just above the docking port.
In redoing the docking ports I really wanted to have the light slots on either side of the doors. To do this I used Krako's idea of filing in groves from the back. After carefull measuring I have concluded that the slots should be 0.158 in. tall and 0.020 wide (depth of slanting filed slot at the port opening. When you use these dimensions the slot meshes well with the thickness of the hull material for the correct scale onscreen depth. To put them in I ground down a small flat file to this width. After marking some guideline I carefully filed in two slanting slots.
Next the light slots will need to be light blocked, painted white and then filled with clear epoxy. The backing piece will also be light blocked so thee is no spreading glow from the light slot. After some tests I have concluded that the best reliable light block is Gloss Black Enamel. This then is over-painted as needed with either silver or white per application. Finished photos coming soon.
For light blocking some aluminum foil was carefully glued in place with eboxy and then painted white to better reflect the light.
Note also the reworked outer spotlight port. Due to the pull requirements of molding the main piece the spotlight does not aim against the base of the pylon as it should. I found that a drill bit leaned against the base of the pylon provided the correct angle. I then redrilled the hole. This left me with that inner hole to fill in, so I left the shaft of the drill bit in place and then used apoxie sculpt to fill in the hole (beige area) and leave a slot at the proper angle to illuminate the pylon.
The only remaining issue is the hanger doors being the wrong shape and I have covered the fix for this on page 3.