Return to the BUILD
“In this stage and the next, new and previously assembled hull panels start to form a superstructure around the upper saucer skeleton.“
This is going to be a monster of a stage! We are going to be adding many panels to the saucer skeleton and dealing with the wiring.
Materials: The Battle Section Skeleton 2 is metal, but the rest of these parts are plastic.
Magazine – Issue 6
- Assembly Instructions: Building the Model
- Episode Guide 1.20: Heart of Glory
- Episode Guide 1.21: The Arsenal of Freedom
- Episode Guide 1.22: Symbiosis
- Episode Guide 1.23: Skin of Evil
Placing Escape Pods and Windows
Carefully remove eight (8) Escape Pod Covers from their sprues and fit them to the back of Deck Panel U3-11, as shown.
Then, carefully remove twenty-two (22) Clear Windows and twenty-two (22) Dark Windows from their sprues and fit them into the back of the Deck Panel, as shown.
It is also worth mentioning here that I sanded all of these windows down already. See The Windows page for more details:
Placing Larger Windows
Cover the top four Dark Windows with a Sticker to hold them in place.
I cut this Sticker down to fit better:
Carefully remove five (5) Clear Long Windows and five (5) Dark Long Windows from their sprues and fit them into the longer slots of the Deck Panel, as shown.
Fun Fact: These longer windows are supposed to be for the Captain’s Quarters. However, we don’t see these longer windows on screen as the production redressed the crew quarters set for many different crew members. Just for fun, I changed the order of these windows from the instructions:
And, as I have done before, I used pieces of black electrical tape here to seal off the Dark Windows and reduce light leak:
Fitting a Light and Securing the Windows
Take one of the Deck Panel Light cables and gently bend the two LEDs on the end so they are 90° from the cable.
I did not do this just yet as I have found it is better to bend the LED leads *after* they are installed.
Fit Reflector Panel U3-11-A over the backs of the windows, aligning the screw holes to the matching posts, as shown:
Insert the two LEDs of the Deck Panel Light cable under this square notches of the reflector panel.
Be sure these LEDs are fully inserted and resting in the notch. You will have to lift the reflector panel up a bit to slide them into place. Once seated, slightly bend the leads of the LED away from the panel, as shown:
Then, I gently bent the leads of both LEDs straight up from the panel. This will make installing the panel to the skeleton easier in the next step:
Secure the center holes of this reflector to the panel with two (2) BP screws, as shown:
Take two more Deck Panel Light cables and insert one LED from each into these side notches of the panel assembly. Secure the rest of the reflector panel to the Deck Panel with four (4) BP screws.
Again, you will likely need to lift the reflector away from the panel to slide these into place. Here, the first LED is installed:
Next, we can secure this first LED using two (2) BP screws, as shown:
Then, we repeat the previous process on the other side of the panel using another Deck Panel Light cable:
Installing the First Saucer Hull Section
Retrieve your Upper Skeleton assembly from Stage 17. Slide the cables of this Deck Panel assembly through these holes of the skeleton.
Over the course of attaching all of these panels to the skeleton, I am going to change things up a bit to route wiring better and try to keep my panels flush and straight. First, I gently bent the outer LEDs of the Deck Panel assembly up away from the panel, as shown:
Next, I brought the panel over to the very front center of the skeleton (both being upside down) and aligned the wires of the LEDs we just bent into these slots in the skeleton (arrows below). I also loosened the BP screws of the panel to be able to pull one center LED out (circled below):
Then, I ran the LED I removed to the other side of the gap between the Upper Skeleton sections and secured it back into the panel (circled below). I could then bring the panel up to the skeleton, pulling the wire slack through, and align the screw holes, as shown:
Secure the center of the Deck Panel to the skeleton using two (2) DP screws.
I needed to bend the leads of the side LEDs a little towards the center of the skeleton to let the wires go through the gap correctly:
This is what our first deck panel looks like from the top:
Next, fit the other LEDs of these Deck Panel Light cables into these notches at the top corners of the Deck Panel assembly.
The leads of these LEDs also need to be gently bent down into the skeleton. I have not bent this one yet:
On this side, the leads are bent correctly. I just wanted to show the difference before and after, but both sides need to be bent:
Finally, gather the three Deck Panel Light cables and tape them together using a Sticker:
With our first panel mounted, we can even test the lights. Grab your Battery Box and PCB, then hook up the three Deck Panel Cables to any of the 4-pin sockets. This is what we should see:
Fitting Deck Panel U3-10
Retrieve your larger Deck Panel assembly we built back in Stage 4 and remove these two DM screws, separating the panels.
These DM screws will not be re-used, so you can save them or discard them. Be careful not to disturb the Escape Pod Covers in Deck Panel U2-05 that will be exposed once this smaller panel is detached:
Separating these panels will free the LED that was inserted between the screws. On the smaller panel, I bent the leads of the three attached LEDs straight up, as before. This Deck Panel U3-10 is the one we will attach next:
Bring this Deck Panel U3-10 over to the Skeleton assembly and run the two LED cables through these gaps, as shown.
Contrary to the instructions, I find it easier to do this with both the panels and skeleton upside down:
As I tried to fit this panel, I was not happy with the way the wires were being squished, so I loosened the screws on the back of the reflector panel and removed this LED:
Next, I fed this LED through the same slot we used for the previous panel’s side LED:
Then, I re-inserted the LED and secured the reflector panel screws again:
Finally, when I brought the panel up to the skeleton, the wires fed through nicely:
Secure this panel to the skeleton with three (3) DP screws:
From above, this is what my first two panels look like attached. If you have more gap between the panels, you may need to loosen the DP screws and firmly squeeze the panels together and re-tighten the screws. The lower edges of these panels will be covered by the saucer rim which will align them even more:
Fitting Deck Panel U3-09
Retrieve your smaller Deck Panel U3-09 assembly, also built in Stage 4. Loosen the screws on the back of the reflector panel and pull out this LED, as shown:
Bring this panel over to the Skeleton assembly and pass the Deck Panel Light cable through this part of the skeleton, as shown:
Feed the disconnected LED through back through this gap of the Skeleton assembly:
Insert the LED back into the Deck Panel assembly and re-tighten the reflector panel screws, as shown.
The leads of this LED will also need to be bent straight up away from the panel:
Fit this Deck Panel assembly to the skeleton, as shown:
Secure the panel into place with two (2) DP screws:
Here is our panel installed next to the others:
Fitting Deck Panel U2-05
Retrieve the metal Deck Panel U2-05 section left over from the beginning of Step E. Carefully remove two (2) Clear Windows and three (3) Dark Windows from their sprues and fit them into the back of Deck Panel U2-05, as shown:
As always, I covered the Escape Pod Covers and Dark Windows with black electrical tape. The Clear Windows are still loose, so I needed to be careful not to dislodge them while handling the panel:
Fit this panel assembly to the skeleton in the location shown below.
You may notice I loosely installed one of the BM screws here to keep the panel in place for the next steps:
Slot this free LED into the top notch of Deck Panel U3-10, as shown.
You may need to spread the panels apart a bit to get this to fully seat:
Slide the plug end of a new Deck Panel Light cable between the Deck Panel U2-05 and this rib of the skeleton:
Slot one of the LEDs on this cable into this top notch of Deck Panel U3-11, as shown:
Secure Deck Panel U2-05 to the skeleton with six (6) BM screws, as shown.
This is your friendly reminder to try using 3-in-One Oil on all screws going into metal:
Further secure the outer deck panels to this metal panel with four (4) EM screws, as shown.
These screws will tighten up the panel gaps and hold the two LEDs in the top notches in place:
Gather the wires shown below, bundle them together, and wrap them with a Sticker:
We can test the new window lights added here by attaching the Deck Panel Light cable installed at the beginning of this step to our PCB and Battery Box. Two windows and the loose LED should light up:
Here is our panel installation progress so far. The more panels we add, the better the gaps seem to be:
Starting on the Dorsal Phaser Array
Fit the three posts of the Dorsal Phaser Array I into the matching holes on top of Deck Panel U2-05, as shown:
Secure this array in place from below with three (3) DP screws:
Beginning the Battle Section Skeleton
Retrieve your Battle Section Skeleton 1 from Stage 15. Fit the Battle Section Skeleton 2 (from this stage) to the bottom, aligning the screw holes as shown:
Secure these two skeleton parts together with ten (10) BM screws, as shown:
This was a really long and complex stage. We have been introduced to the wiring of the saucer skeleton, which I feel is going to become more involved as we add the remaining deck panels. I will do my best to explain my build process along the way!
Stage 20 – Deck Panel U3-12, Windows/Reflector/Lights, Escape Pod Covers, Battery Box