Monday 3 September 2018

Boldly Modding the Enterprise D (Diamond Select) - Part 2 - Stripping down the Stardrive section

After the nightmare of dismantling the saucer section, I was prepared for a difficult time with the rear. However, the plastic around the main impulse engine was lifting before I began, so I decided to plough ahead and get the whole ship ripped down.

A small cover under the neck reveals a screw and some helpful soul at the factory squirted some glue in when they tightened it. I’ve got a good sized phillips screwdriver but it’s in there tight and I start stripping the head after a few tries.

The two parts that make up the neck creak a lot, but I manage to twist the top part around so I can get a look at the electronics. Using pliers, I grip the impulse engine LED and pull. It cracks in the middle, but it comes away giving me better access.

I can now twist the entire top part around counter clockwise, and undo the screw. I do my best to avoid snagging the delicate wires on interior plastic tabs and eventually it comes free.

I then push the glued screw from its housing by pressing it to the table and applying pressure. Beyond a few cracked tabs and the broken impulse LED, the two parts have come apart cleanly.

Turning the ship over, I bar off the four tabs surrounding the battery cover and remove the screws – this enables me to separate the two sections around the deflector but the backside is still secure. The nacelles have to come off next.

The four round tabs on the underside of the nacelles are a nightmare, but they eventually come off. All are glued and secured tightly via a tab at the back.

One of them snaps a little but it’ll go back on fine. I remove the screws and am able to take out the clear blue covers.

Small tabs and glue hold the nacelle housings together around the yellow parts at the front. A little prying and snapping later and they come apart. With the tops off I can now access the screws attaching the lower half to the main hull. I decide to leave the circuit boards screwed into the nacelles for now.

With the nacelles removed, the two halves of the main hull separate easily. I unscrew the battery compartment which lets me get at the deflector dish and the main PCB.

Once separated, I peel the sellotape from the nacelle wires and remove the connector and its wires from the cobra head. The electronics are now completely separated from the main hull and the only notable damage to them is the broken impulse LED – looks like a little bit of soldering might be required yet.

I then return to the saucer and carefully remove the impulse engines from their housing. The entire lower section is now free.

The upper part is trickier, with cables and silicone to negotiate, but eventually I get everything stripped away, including the reset button. For the moment I leave the bridge module attached to its LED.

With the ship now stripped, it’s time to begin looking at the windows. I’ve found some tiny drill bits online and will experiment when they arrive. Before that, I’ve decided to remove all the windows and redraw them more accurately. Misaligned ones will be much more noticeable when they’re physical holes in the plastic.

This next bit is going to take a while…

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