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.
Creating the UV Resin Windows – Upper Saucer
As I mentioned on my Resin Windows page, I decided to use Solarez Thin-Hard UV Resin to create my windows. It has a nice, thin viscosity so it flows easier into the window openings and minimizes trapped bubbles.
To begin, I first made sure all of the window holes were clear of any debris or flashing. This was accomplished by running a simple wooden toothpick around the edges of the holes:
Using the same Deck Panel U3-19 (Part 49A) from the previous section as an example here, I then taped the outside surface of the panel with a piece of UV Resin Tape. Try not to push the tape down into the windows, but make sure it is securely sealed around them. We want the outside surface of the windows to be as flush as possible to the hull, but we do not want the resin to leak around the window opening:
Next, I carefully poured the UV resin into each window opening from the back side. I only fill each window to the thickness of the Deck Panel itself, not up to the raised lip around each group of windows.
TIP: Using a bottle with a needle nozzle is extremely helpful here. Start squeezing the bottle until a little resin comes out and wipe those first drops on a napkin. Keep pressure on the bottle so the resin never ‘sucks’ back up into the bottle between windows. This will help reduce bubbles:
To check for bubbles in the resin (and there will be), I placed the panel on top of a napkin with my phone’s flashlight turned on underneath. As a makeshift ‘light box’, this makes it so any bubbles are easier to see and remove:
I used the pointed end of a plastic flexible dental pick to remove any bubbles from the resin. I found this to be an even better ‘bubble removal’ tool than my original choice – a toothpick. The most important bubbles to remove are the ones at the bottom of the resin ‘pool’ near the face of the window. Any bubbles left here will become holes in the window surface. Be careful not to damage the UV tape while fishing for bubbles!
With the bubbles removed, it was time to cure the resin. It is important to know that UV resin heats up and shrinks as it cures, and if you use too much UV light too quickly, this may cause your windows to sink into the Deck Panel.
To prevent this, I started off by only using a two (2) second burst of UV light on the outside surface of the windows with my Solarez High-Output UV Flashlight. I then waited fifteen (15) seconds and lit them up again for another two (2) seconds. As Solarez resin cures very quickly, I only wanted to ‘set’ this outside layer. I found that a quick double shot of UV exposure cures the outside layer of the resin quite nicely and helps make for flat, flush windows.
CAUTION: UV light is not good for you. Protect your eyes from any stray UV light with some appropriate UV Safety Glasses. You should really protect any exposed skin as well. As these photos meant to be examples, I only turn it on long enough to take the pictures. I do the real process of curing the resin off-camera with gloves on. Use UV lights like this at your own risk!
After waiting another fifteen (15) seconds for the resin to cool, I finished curing the windows by shooting UV light on both the inside and outside window surfaces for about forty (40) seconds, splitting the time between both sides.
TIP: The Solarez High-Output UV Flashlight I use is powered by either a rechargeable 3.7V 18650 Li-Ion battery or two CR123 Lithium batteries. Either way, as the battery loses power, the UV light output will be less. Lower light output means longer curing times, so keep this in mind as you go. A good method for checking for fully-cured resin is to try and ‘scratch’ the inside of a window with a wooden toothpick. If the resin is sticky or scratches easily, additional curing time is required.
With these resin windows now fully cured, the final step is to gently peel the UV Tape off the Deck Panel. I did this by slowly peeling the tape back at a sharp angle (close the panel surface). If you find that the tape adhesive sticks to your windows, this is likely because the resin has not been cured long enough – make sure you have fully cured your windows by following the timing above.
TIP: The longer the tape sits on the panel, the more chance it has to possibly damage your panel’s paint. I recommend completing one panel at a time.
Here is the first Deck Panel with our new resin windows! The entire resin window process takes me anywhere from 3-7 minutes per panel depending on how many windows there are in each one, but your results may vary:
The rest of the resin windows in each saucer panel can be completed in the same way:
Blacking out the Windows (and adding some color)
UPDATE: I have since created shareable digital versions of my 4-foot studio model Dark Window window lighting pattern in a single PATTERN GUIDE!
We still need to black out any windows we do not want to be lit. As with with the original plastic windows, we can chose any lighting pattern we want, but I thought I would make my build match the highly detailed 4-foot studio model as close as possible.
First, I printed out my upper saucer Deck Panel Layout diagram in larger detail across nine sheets of paper. However, I quickly noticed that my diagrams (which are based on Rick Sternbach’s fantastic 1996 blueprints) did not quite match the window layouts of our partwork model. It turns out that our window openings are almost exactly matched to the four-foot model, which was perfect!
Searching through the television series, I grabbed a ton of screenshots of visual effects shots of the four-footer, such as this overhead view from Season 3, Episode 13: Deja Q:
Using these screenshots as a guide, I adjusted my printed sheets with the missing or extra windows, as well as which ones should be dark:
Continuing to use Deck Panel U3-19 as an example here, I took a picture of the appropriate panel in the diagram with my phone and reversed the image. I could then use this reversed image to act as my painting guide:
I carefully painted the backs of each window I want to be dark with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black acrylic paint (I have found that Tamiya paints are great for hand brushing). I frequently held the panel up to a bright light to make sure the paint was thick enough to block any light and that no light was leaking around the edges of these windows:
I like to add contrast to my models, so I also used a Turquoise Brush Sharpie to ‘paint’ the backs of a couple windows to appear more blue:
TIP: There may areas where the reflector does not quite cover the back of a window, such as seen here on Deck Panel U3-18 (46A). In these situations, I found a few pieces of Scotch Tape stacked together worked well to act as a diffuser:
Re-installing the Escape Pod Covers
Because I ‘blacked out’ my Reflector Panels earlier, I no longer need the electrical tape to seal the Escape Pod Covers. Instead, I seat them all the way in and use tiny drops of super glue to secure them into place. My goal here was to try and have the Escape Pod Covers end up slightly raised above the panel surface, as shown:
That’s is it – after re-attaching the Reflector Panel, this Deck Panel assembly is now complete and it ready for re-installation!
The same process can be done on all of the saucer panels. Here is an another example showing my front center upper saucer Deck Panel U3-11 (19A) completed to match the four-foot studio model:
WINDOWS – Bridge/Deck Two – Resin Windows and custom window patterns on the upper decks