Let’s Neck!

Well, not literally neck… at least not with any of you…..ewww.

Ok, I admit it. I’m pathetic.  I have once again managed to neglect this little blog thingie in a super colossal kind of way.  In fact, judging by my lack of activity, it’s easy to assume I haven’t been doing a damn thing.  Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not quite the case.  I’ve been doing lots of things…just not updating  this blog like I said I was going to.  My apologies…again.

Anyway, “What about the Enterprise?”, you ask.  Well, things have been moving forward.  I think when I left off before she looked a bit like this.

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The secondary hull was  basically assembled without the dorsal or any of the other fiddly parts up front.  The shuttle bay looks pretty cool though, does it not?

So, what I really needed to do now was start getting that darn neck wired up and ready to install.  The first step was to figure out how to rig up my photon torpedo launcher.  I decided to use two LEDs for each tube.  One white, and one red.  These will be programmed so that the red LEDs can ramp up slowly…this should have the effect of mesmerizing the viewer just before  a shockingly bright white pulse sets them off into a epileptic seizure as the tube “fires”.  Ok, maybe that’s a little over dramatic, but you get the idea.  I made a little jig to hold the stacked LEDs and wired them up.

 

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The whole thing was painted black-ish and power tested.

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And of course, here comes the white blast!

 

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The next trick was to squeeze this into one of the dorsal halves along with all the other lighting.  I lasered out a diffuser for the portholes and edge lit it with one LED.  Another 5mm LED serves to illuminate the lower ports, along with the docking ring.  The dorsal spotlight is installed as well.

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The other half was wired up in a similar fashion, and after a couple nights of continuous testing, the two halves were glued together.

 

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Now, the astute viewer will notice the apparent build-up of Ave’s Apoxie sculpt on the back of the collar at the top of the dorsal.

 

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Why is that?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Way back yonder when the DLM impulse engine was installed on the saucer, it was noted that the replacement engine was a different shape than the original.  That would be because it’s more accurate…otherwise, what other reason would it have to exist, right?  Well, the different profile creates a gap with the neck where it meets, thus explaining my bit of sculpting there.  However, another problem is now created.  The piece of grooved “trim” on each side  needs to extend higher up to match the new shape.  I pondered for a while on how best to accomplish this.  I decided the best way to approach it would be to sand the whole piece down smooth, then replace it with a new one of the right size and shape.  I did a rubbing of the original, then scanned it, and traced it into vector format in CorelDraw making the necessary shape corrections as I went.  Then, you guessed it, I went running to my favorite go-to tool….the laser.  Rather than styrene, I used a special plastic made especially to play nice with lasers.  I engraved them, cut them out, and sprayed ’em with abit of primer and.. VIOLA!  new trim pieces ready to install, grooves and all!

 

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And of course, installed on the dorsal.  Spiffy!

 

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I now turned my attention to the deflector housing.  Specifically, the four LEDs needed for the reaction control thrusters.  Surface mounts were used here.

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Yes, I know.  It’s time to replace that nasty looking ESD mat I was working on.

The deflector LEDs were mounted into place as well.

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Just add neck and deflector housing, and here’s the result!

 

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What do you think of that test harness I wired up to plug into the bottom?

And of course,  the obligatory “in the dark” shot.

 

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The dish has way more of a hot spot in the picture (of course) than in person.  Different exposures don’t seem to help much.  Maybe a bit of HDR magic would make it look right….hmmmm

Speaking of the dish.  For diffusion, I used a piece of 1/16″ acrylic with a diffusion pattern engraved onto it.  I took some pictures of it, but seem unable to find them at the moment.  When I do, I’ll be sure to include them in a future post.

Ok, that pretty much does it for now.  I’ll be finishing out the sanding and puttying of the secondary hull now in order to get some white primer on it…and, of course, sealing up all the light leaks.  Then it’s on to the nacelles!

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