So, I hadn’t built a model in a while. The last one I built was a 1/350 of the Enterprise (NCC-1701-A) by Polar Lights. The brand name is rather deceptive there in that there really aren’t any lights included with it–not that I was expecting any when I got it.

It turned out to be a most excellent model, with some detail that I hadn’t expected. It included a full shuttlebay, complete with a couple of shuttles, the officer’s lounge just behind the bridge, and the botanical garden in the primary hull that we never actually saw in the movies.

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It came out pretty well, in the end. The biggest hassle, besides making the thing stay together and not fall apart on itself due to size, were the Aztec decals. These are decals which add detail to the model. Basically, in this case, it made the hull look as though it had actual plating. The entire hull was skinned in it.

So, it’s been a couple of years since I had completed it and I decided that I wanted to go do another model. This time, I would do the works with it: lights, Aztec decals, and even spray the hull instead of brush with the paint.

Hence, I got an Enterprise (NX-01), again from Polar Lights. I began a few weeks ago. The very first thing I did was paint parts. Spraying model parts is so very easy and quick. I can’t believe I hadn’t done it with a model before.

I primed the interior pieces of the model with black and then two coats of white. This was so as to reflect the light given off from the LEDs, to disperse it throughout the hull.

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Between that and some clear coat, that pretty much covered the bulk of painting for this sucker. I’ll have to go back and do some touch-up once assembly is complete, not only to get spots I very likely missed where parts meet but also so as to get rid of light leaks.

I had found a nice spray color for the hull called Champagne Nouveau by Krylon. I had some initial trepidation about putting regular ol’ spray paint on a model like this, but spraying portions of the part tree seemed to yield pretty good results. So, I went for it, and this is how it came out:

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A pretty good approximation of what I think the hull of the NX-01 looks like.

So, this weekend I began the fun task of soldering! I got two different lighting systems for this. One was a pre-built LED system to light the nacelles and certain other portions. It also included blinky nav lights. I got LED strip tape lighting to take care of the windows. I had been inspired by a video I saw on YouTube, and he seemed to have pretty good results with the tape.

Problem was that the pre-built system required 4.5V and the LED tape required 12V. I found in playing with it that the LED tape actually lit pretty well with 9V. So, I decided to go with that as my primary input voltage. I had to get a voltage regulator to bring this 9V input down to 4.5. I could’ve gone with a voltage divider for the job, but I didn’t want a lot of variance–might’ve burned out the control board on the pre-built system. At least, as of today, it’s working quite well. I had soldered for most of Friday and half of Saturday. The real headache was soldering the terminals of the sections of LED tape and then putting wires on them. Then, I started wiring it up a section at a time, testing all along the way.

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It’s been a pretty cool experience, thus far. I think the bit that’s going to be the real “fun” will be the Aztec decals. I learned a few lessons from constructing the 1701-A, and I think this time I’m going to cut the decals into smaller and more manageable pieces. We’ll see how that goes.

Oh, well…for now, I’m going to retire from all of that for the weekend. While I’ve been soldering, I’ve been watching some Knight Rider, Quantum Leap, and started in on Breaking Bad. The later is a pretty good series, thus far. Obviously, not quite the sci-fi goodness that are the first two, but very entertaining drama. Apparently, it’s on A&E. Since we cut the cord from cable/satellite, I don’t know where these shows come from anymore.

But, now…time to do some mindless first-person shooting with some Call of Duty 4. An oldie, but a goodie (and much better on PC!).