Sunday, 9 September 2018

Boldly Modding the Enterprise D (Diamond Select) - Part 3 - Paint Tests

Having stripped the model down without completely destroying it, it’s time to address the windows. From a distance, the painted lines do a decent job, but close-up they’re noticeably wonky. They’ll look terrible once drilled so I need to mark them all out accurately using a combination of reference photos and blueprints.

Marking new windows over the old ones would be messy and difficult to follow. I think about using the base grey plastic to represent part of the hull patterning, perhaps using green-grey for some highlights, so I experiment on a concealed part of the neck before testing a few sections of the saucer. I’ve bought two model paints – Vallejo 153 Pale Grey Blue and 106 Green Grey – that should reflect the colour of the original studio model (rather than the more complex, bluer aztec effect of the Generations refurb).

Turns out that the contrast between the base plastic and the blue-grey is too great. Also, I’d still need to strip off the black paint of the remaining windows anyway – better to paint the entire thing and start from scratch. This will make painting around the decals more fiddly, but should work fine.

After consulting some reference pictures, I decide the green needs to be on the panels I’ve test-painted. With some kitchen roll, a dab of water and a firm rub, the acrylic-based paints come off easily, giving me confidence to experiment further.

I like the look of the test, although it’s very light compared to the base plastic. I press ahead – worst-case-scenario, I need to completely repaint afterwards, but I still get a blank slate for marking and drilling the windows.

It takes a while but eventually the whole saucer is covered (I left the rim and the area around the bridge unpainted so it’s easier to handle) and I like the result a lot. The phaser strip comparatively looks a lot darker now – I may paint it olive green to more closely match the studio model, but we’ll see. It’s a balancing act between copying the original colours and reflecting the onscreen ship after multiple lighting passes, etc. Right now, I’m considering sealing the model at the end with some sort of ‘pearlescent’ varnish spray to give it a slight metallic sheen, but that needs research.

For now, it’s patchy and needs another coat (especially in the grooves), but I’m satisfied with the overall effect. Painting around the decals isn’t ideal but it’s doable and the result from two standard colours looks much better than I was expecting.

The next stage really is to mark all those windows!

N.B. The diameter of the saucer from left to right is approx. 320mm. The AMT saucer (1:1400 scale) is around 340mm, so some rudimentary maths tells me that the Diamond Select version is er…, just a minute…, hmm… *carry the one…, *check with the wife…, *edit incorrect answer from blog post..., yes = 1:1487.5!


  1. Hi there. Did you ever end up finishing this project? I have a spare of this model and I've been thinking of repainting and adding windows to mine. I would love to see how your efforts went.

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