This page is part of my Model Remodel series of articles.
DISCLAIMER: If you choose to attempt any of these modifications, you assume all risks thereof. I just wanted to share my experiences here. Neither Fanhome, nor myself, are responsible for any damages that may occur.
NOTE: I plan on adding LED strips to light the inside my Enterprise, so I needed to allow this light to reach the windows. However, if you are going to use the stock LED lighting in your model, this section can be skipped and you can continue on to the resin WINDOWS section.
Preparing the Reflector Panels
I began preparation of my Reflector Panels by soaking them in 91% Isopropyl Alcohol for about a day to loosen the silver paint. Then, I used an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining paint. After rinsing the panels with water and drying them, the panels were nice and clear:
To help minimize light leaking through the reflectors to places we don’t want it to (such as panel gaps and around the Escape Pod Covers), I decided to ‘black out’ sections of each reflector.
For these pictures, I used Deck Panel U3-19 (Part 49A) as an example. As the Deck Panels and Reflector Panels are all uniquely numbered, it is easy enough to find the matching pieces. Here, I fitted Deck Panel U3-19 and Reflector Panel U3-19-A (49B) together:
To see which other parts of the model this Reflector Panel U3-19 is also supposed to light up, I used my Deck Panel Layout diagrams to find the neighboring panels. This particular Deck Panel assembly fits under the left side of Deck Panel U2-10 (51A), as shown:
Knowing how this Deck Panel connects to other panels revealed that the upper end of this first Reflector Panel U3-19-A is not used to light any windows at all (it just sits under some Escape Pod Covers). To block light from passing through this ‘non-window’ section of the Reflector, I determined the edge of the ‘windows’ area and then masked this with some electrical tape on the smooth ‘outer’ surface of the panel. Blacking out this outer side of the panel should help light from leaking in through the sides.
TIP: I like to use electrical tape for these types of situations as it flexible and can stretched a bit to match curved lines:
With the edge of the ‘windows’ area properly masked off, I used low-adhesive painter’s tape to mask off the rest of the Reflector Panel. Painter’s tape does not like to curve, but it can be torn off the roll by hand so it is easier to apply to the remaining sections:
Next, I airbrushed the exposed outer surface of the Reflector Panel with Vallejo Model Air Black 71.057 acrylic paint. I kept adding layers of paint until I could no longer see any light through the reflector:
Once this paint dried, I removed the tape. We now have a Reflector Panel with the ‘non-windows’ section light blocked:
Regardless if we use the custom lighting I have planned or the stock LEDs, the clear section of these Reflector Panels should be diffused. Diffusion will help hide the details/lettering of the Reflectors and softens the LED lighting. I first tried using the same Krylon Frosted Window Finish I used on the Bussard Collectors, but in my opinion it just did not hide the Reflector lettering well enough:
Instead, I found that airbrushing a light coat of Vallejo Model Air White 71.001 acrylic paint on the clear smooth outside face of the Reflector Panel resulted in a much better diffusion:
This same process can be repeated for the rest of the Reflector Panels. It may be helpful to lay all of the saucer panels out as they would be assembled to see which parts are covered by each reflector and mark the reflectors appropriately:
Here is example of how I marked a the front center Reflector Panel to see which areas should be painted black to block the light:
Once I masked off the ‘blacked out’ sections of each reflector, they were all painted black. Here, I have started to remove the masking after painting:
This was followed by the light coat of white paint to diffuse the clear sections of each Reflector Panel:
Finally, here are all of completed Reflector Panels:
WINDOWS – Upper Saucer – Replacing the tiny plastic windows with UV resin