Return to the BUILD
“In this phase of the assembly, you put together the first three deck panels of the saucer section as well as fitting them to the lighting kit.“
Materials: Everything here is plastic, except for the Transporter Emitter Pad and Deck Panel C which are metal.
Fitting Parts to Deck Panel B
Carefully remove six (6) Escape Pod Covers (lifeboats) from the sprues.
I recommend using sprue cutters or sharp hobby knife here to have as clean a cut as possible. If you want to, you can remove all of the covers from the sprues here. I just went in smaller batches so I would not lose any of them:
From the back side of Deck Panel B (marked ‘U3-09’), fit these Escape Pod Covers into the matching openings, as shown.
These Escape Pod Covers are trapezoidal, so they should only be inserted the correct way with the wider ends towards the window openings. Also, these covers have small ‘nubs’ around the edges of them so they can be pressed firmly into place and they kind of hold themselves there:
If you want to, you can remove all of the windows from the sprues here. I just went in smaller batches so I would not lose any of them.
It is also worth mentioning here that I sanded all of these windows down already. See The Windows page for more details:
Insert the fifteen (15) Dark Windows into these slots from the back of Deck Panel B. This pattern was based on the TV show.
Using tweezers is especially helpful here. Also, you do not have to follow their pattern of unlit and lit windows. Extra pieces of each window (black and clear) are provided so you can add these windows in any pattern you choose. I just went with the pattern in the instructions:
Finally, insert the fifteen (15) Windows into the remaining slots of Deck Panel B:
Based on testing, I know these black windows will leak light. Therefore, I cut small pieces of black electrical tape to mask them off:
I know other builders are trying out Liquid Electrical Tape to light block these windows. I had a spare Stage 4 so I also gave it a try:
I have decided that I am going to stick with my electrical tape solution. Not only is the liquid tape more difficult to accurately apply, it is extremely flammable, stinks, and contains Methyl Ethyl Ketone (Butanone). MEK is not very nice stuff. Model cements typically contain MEK as it melts polystyrene plastics. That is why I avoid using plastic model cements as much as possible. Therefore, I will pass on trying to apply it to hundreds of these windows over the next two years. If you choose to use the liquid tape, please do so in a very well ventilated area and do not breath the fumes:
To add a little variety to the colors of my windows, I used a turquoise Sharpie brush marker to ‘paint’ the insides of a couple windows:
Completing Deck Panel B
Fit the two LEDs from one of the Panel Lights cables into these notches on the rear of the Reflector Panel B (marked ‘U3-09-A L’).
The Panel Lights cables are all the same and are all marked ‘B’, so you can use any of them here:
While holding the LEDs in place, fit this Reflector Panel B assembly (with the LEDs facing down) to the back of Deck Panel B, and align the three screw holes, as shown:
Secure the Reflector Panel B to Deck Panel B with three (3) BP screws.
With these parts now joined, the reflector will keep all of the escape pod covers and windows in place:
If we hook this Panel Lights cable up to the PCB and Battery Box up (from the previous stage), we can test the lights at this point:
Note the two windows I ‘Sharpie’d’ a different color. It is a subtle difference and that’s what I wanted:
Deck Panel A
If you haven’t already done so, carefully remove two (2) Escape Pod Covers, eighteen (18) black Dark Windows, and seventeen (17) clear Windows from their respective sprues:
As before, from the back side of Deck Panel A (marked ‘U3-10’), fit these Escape Pod Covers into the matching openings, as shown:
Insert the eighteen (18) Dark Windows into these slots from the back of Deck Panel A:
As before, I masked these dark windows (and the Escape Pod Covers) off with pieces of black electrical tape to prevent light leaking through:
Insert the seventeen (17) Windows into the remaining slots of Deck Panel A.
I colored a couple of these windows as well:
Fit three LEDs from the two remaining Panel Lights cables into these notches of the Reflector Panel A (marked ‘U3-10-A L’):
Fit this Reflector Panel A assembly (with the LEDs facing down) to the back of Deck Panel A and secure with three (3) BP screws:
Finally, fit the loose LED into this notch of the Reflector Panel A:
UPDATE March 2022: After a recent trip to see the real 6-foot studio model in person, I realize these Transporter Pads are the correct color already. I have since stopped adding this wash to them and removed it from those pads already washed. I will leave this mod here for those who still wish to do it.
This Transport Emitter Pad was a little too ‘clean’ for my tastes, so I went over it with a light coat of Vallejo Game Wash – Black. This is a very thin ‘paint’ which fills in lines and details. It also gives it a worn look. I applied it across the entire part, then used a barely damp cotton swab to wipe the top layer off the high ridges:
Remove the backing paper from the Transporter Emitter Pad and stick it into the matching recess of Deck Panel C (marked ‘U2-05 L’):
Carefully remove five (5) Escape Pod Covers from their sprues and, from the back side of Deck Panel C, fit these Escape Pod Covers into the matching openings, as shown:
Fit the two screw tabs of the Deck Panel A assembly to these two posts of Deck Panel C, aligning the two screw holes shown:
Secure Deck Panel A to Deck Panel C with two (2) DM screws.
Be sure the last LED we fitted above is captured in its appropriate notch here. This is also your friendly reminder to try using 3-in-One Oil on all screws going into metal:
Testing the Lights
Retrieve your Battery Box and PCB from the previous stage. Connect the following cables from these panel assemblies to the PCB:
- Panel Lights cable from Deck Panel B to the socket marked ‘B’
- Panel Lights cable from Deck Panel A & C assembly to the sockets marked ‘A’ and ‘D’
Reminder: For testing purposes, these Panel Lights can be plugged into any of the larger sockets (A, B, C, or D).
All your Deck Panel lighting should now be powered and lit up:
Once you are satisfied with the lighting test, disconnect all cables from the PCB and safely store these parts for later use.
UPDATE: As I was completing the stages of Issue 10, I decided to change the wash color on the Transporter Emitter Pads to Vallejo Game Wash – Sepia. As sepia is more brown, it feels a bit more natural than the black wash. Since this is acrylic-based, a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol removed the old wash even with the pads installed on the Deck Panels. Then, I just painted the new wash on and wiped off the ridges:
The first hull panels of our Enterprise D are completed! All of those tiny windows give my fingers a dexterity workout. We will have to do this many more times, so we will get better each time.
Stage 5 – 3x Deck Bases, Main Shuttlebay Door