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“Two differently sized shuttlebays are a distinctive feature of the Enterprise-D’s battle section. Fit both sets of shuttlebay doors here, and continue to develop the saucer skeleton.“
Fun Fact: Stage 16 on the Paramount lot is where ‘planet hell’ filming sets resided. It was fondly named that by the cast and crew. This is where exterior planets, caves, and larger interior sets were built.
Since I knew I was going to do some airbrushing in this stage anyway, I took a moment to darken the Main Impulse Engine exhaust. For me, it was just a little too bright red when not lit. It only took a few light coats of Tamiya X-19 Smoke acrylic paint to tone down it down nicely:
I feel this is much better, and it still lights up red just fine!
Expanding the Upper Skeleton
Retrieve your Skeleton assembly from the previous stage. Fit the Upper Skeleton 7 to this side of the Skeleton assembly.
When working with the skeleton frames, be gentle. They are metal, but can bend easily and cause warping of your saucer section:
Secure this part of the Skeleton in place using four (4) BM screws, as shown.
This is your friendly reminder to try using 3-in-One Oil on all screws going into metal:
For some reason, these Shuttlebay Doors were painted in a dark grey color. However, on photos of the studio models I found, they should be the same color as the Main Shuttlebay on top of the saucer. Perhaps they were in shadow when they designed our model, who knows:
To make them match better, I airbrushed them both with the same Citadel Air Administratum Grey acrylic paint I used before for the hull:
Retrieve your Battle Section Rear Neck assembly. Carefully bend the rubber-covered leads of these two LEDs up towards the upper reflectors and away from the shuttlebay openings, as shown:
Take the Shuttlebay 3 Doors (the larger one) and fit it into this matching opening, align the screw hole, and secure it with one (1) BP screw.
You may have to wiggle this in there a bit as the lower reflector tends to get in the way:
In the same way, take the Shuttlebay 2 Doors and fit it into this matching opening, align the screw hole, and secure it with one (1) BP screw.
Ignore the paint on the back of this part, I was testing whether to brush the paint on or airbrush them (I ended up airbrushing):
From the outside, the doors should look like this:
I did test these for light leaks and they both leak a bit, so I covered the edges of the doors with pieces of black electrical tape. I needed to remove the lower light reflector panels to get to all the edges and replaced the panels when I was finished:
The back of our battle section neck is now complete and it is looking great! Store this assembly somewhere safe, but keep the skeleton nearby as we will need it in the next stage.
Stage 17 – Upper Skeleton 8, Skeletal Supports, Battle Bridge, Deck 8 Base