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AMT USS Enterprise Command Bridge (1991) build Options
Coser
#1 Posted : 02 October 2020 15:55:55

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As I am stumped currently on my Star Destroyer build, I thought that it would be a good time to bring this venerable effort out of storage. This is the original version of the kit, there is a more recent version which finished off the entire circle of the bridge, but this initial version misses off three of the consoles between the turbolift and the viewscreen so you can get a flatter look into the bridge.

I have the two "Paragrafix" PE sets, both the main one for the bridge consoles and the one with the better graphics for the screens. There are some major flaws with this kit as it was issued, and I will be doing all I can to rectify these as I go - hopefully turning this "Sow's Ear" of a kit into something approximating a silk purse.



The box art. This is stated to be a 1:32 scale kit, so it may be a good size fit for the recent Polar Lights Shuttlecraft Galileo kit, I'll add that comment later when I have one of those myself. The kit does include three figures - a seated Kirk looking like he is leaning forwards expectantly, a standing Spock with his arms loosely at his sides, and a standing figure of Sulu with his arms crossed. They are understandably not the best figures, but are good when you consider when they were made. I just wish they had included more of the crew, would have liked Chekov and Scotty at least, with Uhura really rounding out the set as the Communications officer was rarely away from her post.

Not only does this kit suffer from the lack of some of the key officers, it also suffers from the lack of a FLOOR! That's right, there is no floor to this kit. You get the central raised area with the helm consoles and Kirk's chair, and the raised circular sections around the outside - complete with steps down to the floor - but no actual floor!

I am remedying this rather glaring omission with a sheet of plasticard, and I suppose this makes another decision slightly easier too, but more of that later.

The instructions are rather basic, rally just telling you where each of the raised sections go to form the circle, and which of the consoles go where in a rather more general fashion.

In general, the parts are rather thick, the displays and controls are all decals, and the module that incorporates the screen is not accurate. The screens and controls are taken care of thanks to the two PE sets I have, but the screen is going to take a lot more work again. There used to be a replacement for that available online, but unfortunately the maker of that passed away a few years ago and I cannot find anyone who has taken over his product line and makes them any more.

Anyway, on with the build.



The main PE set. This includes the console grills, so often used to repair things on the bridge. The base kit just uses decals to simulate these grills. There are missing details on the backs of the chairs supplied with the kit, and all the control panels are included here. I like the two 'mirror universe' door panels that are included, but considering that none of the crew are in those uniforms, I'm probably not going to use them.





The PE for the screens, along with the new graphics for them and a set of the scanner devices as seen on the science station and others.



Starting with the raised area for Kirk's char and the helm, there is a tab at the back which fits under the raised communication section behind it. Clockwise from that is the turbolift doors, then the three 'missing' consoles (First Engineering, then two labelled in the kit as Environmental and Main Screen Left) then the viewscreen. The kit instructions then label them as Main Screen Right, followed by weapons control, assistant navigational, and finally science before returning to communications.



I started taping them together into a circle, following on until I had the complete deck structure.



This is where I realised that the fit on these parts is not good. Whether that was down to the original components, or warping over time, I do not know. But the first time I tried to glue them, there was about a 1/4 inch gap between the last two sections.

So I took the tape off, and tried again. This time, I glued the captain/helm piece to a sheet of plasticard, and glued the communications section directly behind it. then I added the other sections, only gluing them to each other and not the plasticard.



When I got to the screen sections, they were a little off still, but not as far. This is as good as it's going to get. However there are some slight gaps where some of the pieces join.



There are some concerns I have about this. Mainly the fact that the horizontal faces are textured, to represent the carpet, whilst the vertical faces are not. With even the small amount of filling I have to do, it will be obvious where the joins are. As I cannot texture the plasticard I have used for the floor, I might as well sand the top flat once I have finished the filling and just use the paint to do that job.

However, the consoles fit to the outside surfaces of these raised sections, meaning I will have gaps between some of the consoles - and of course, my luck is that the gaps in the raised sections are going to be where the consoles are, not where they're missing!

Of course, the gaps are not huge. I will easily be able to fill them, but I'm concerned it's going to make the painting more difficult as I will have to touch up these gaps after installing the pre-painted consoles.



One of the consoles as supplied. The raised rims for the grills are far too prominent, but not to worry as they are going to be replaced with the PE grills anyway.



First stage in altering the grills. I used my pin vice and drilled a hole near each corner. I then used my scalpel upside down as a panel line engraver (The tip broke on my engraver, and this is the best I can do until the new one arrives.) to follow the inside of the raised detail on the kit part. As my scalpel is not actually designed for this, it's a long, slow process. I put something on the TV for a bit of company, and slowly but surely I worked my way through the thick plastic.



When I had completed the removal of the section, I tidied up the edge slightly with a needle file. The edge doesn't have to be perfect as it will be covered by the new grill anyway.



I then sanded off the raised plastic that was the edge of the grill. The width of that section gives me room enough to glue the new grill in place without worrying about filling in gaps, and gives a little 'wiggle room' so that if I'm not perfect with the placement it doesn't matter.



And with the new grill glued in place.



And compared to the decal supplied with the kit. (I know the decal is crooked, but it's not going to be staying.)

I'm much happier with the PE grill than I ever would have been with the decal, so on to the next one.



And the first console is finished. I have put some masking tape on the part just to show where the floor level will be, The area under the tape gets glued to the back of the raised floor components, so therefore won't be visible on the finished model. I may remove a strip of the tape to ensure when it's painted the paint goes all the way to the floor, but I don't need to trim that much, and don't want to reduce the glue area that much.

Well, that's two grills done, seven more to go. Then I have to ensure I have the correct console (I'm writing on the back of them in marker) to put the correct PE details on them. The supplied parts are flat topped and the PE adds much needed detail, but I need to ensure I have the correct layout for the correct console in the correct position in the circle.

That's as far as I have gotten so far. I'll get on with the other grills and update when I have completed the top surface of one of the consoles.
Current Builds
Eaglemoss: Ecto-1, BTTF Delorean [Installing Mods]
Hachette: T800 Endoskeleton
Agora Models Shelby Cobra 427 [Plate 031]
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AMT 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge [Installing Mods & Lights]

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Deagostini: R2-D2 [Never getting batteries]
Markwarren
#2 Posted : 03 October 2020 14:45:21

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Looks a very nice project, will be following this one.Love

Mark
darbyvet
#3 Posted : 03 October 2020 15:16:32

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Cool. the paragrafix set really makes this kit come alive.Will be watching with interest.Did not know it didnt have a floor.

Carl

CAThompson
#4 Posted : 10 October 2020 16:17:46

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Looking good so far?

Christopher
Current builds:
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Coser
#5 Posted : 10 October 2020 20:56:24

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Thanks. Progress is going to be painfully slow on this, even for me. The age of the kit means I am looking at a lot of time correcting the parts - removing the large, inaccurate frames around the displays, adding in the scanners at the science stations etc, and working on the terrible fit of the parts.

For example, I have used a permanent marker to write on the back of the consoles which console the instructions say it is. Then I happened to mix up the communications console and the science console when I was dry fitting them - and they fit better that way round.

The way I am supposed to fit them, there is a gap between the upper, larger displays. The opposite way round there is a minimal gap between the consoles. So I am now checking which console fits best in which position, giving the smallest gap possible on each side, and will re-mark them accordingly.

As I am going to sand off all the raised display edges anyway, it actually doesn't matter which one goes where until I cut out the places the displays are going to go (One has a slightly different arrangement on the smaller, middle displays) so I can swap the actual mouldings around to get the best fit.

Then I am going to have to practically re-build the section of the wall that has the screen built in as it's almost completely wrong and you can no longer get the aftermarket part that would have corrected it. The screen section is in a recess that will have to be cut off, a new screen added flat to the back, and new angled sides and top/bottom made out of plasticard.

I really wish Polar Lights had made a new version of the kit, but I am certain one won't be announced until two weeks AFTER I finish this project!
Current Builds
Eaglemoss: Ecto-1, BTTF Delorean [Installing Mods]
Hachette: T800 Endoskeleton
Agora Models Shelby Cobra 427 [Plate 031]
BanDai 1:5000 Imperial Star Destroyer
AMT 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge [Installing Mods & Lights]

Finished Builds
Deagostini: R2-D2 [Never getting batteries]
Coser
#6 Posted : 14 October 2020 21:47:03

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I now have all the lower vents installed in the console parts, and have now started working on the display sections of those parts.

For now I will post pictures of the half sized part that represents the single console to the right of the main screen, but everything I do on this part has to be copied to the four parts that are twice this length with an angle in the centre.



So this is the single console part brought up to the stage I left off at last time.



These frames are where the lower displays are. As with the grills, they are surrounded by really large, raised rims. I will need to remove the raised section and cut out the flat plastic behind them so I can fit the new etched frames and later the new graphics and lights.



Leaving me with a nice border of intact original part, I have cut out the hole so I can now glue in the brass sheet which will give me the correct look for the lower displays. The graphics go in from behind, and will be installed once I have all the consoles modified and painted.



Brass is now glued in. I used a low viscosity superglue applied with a cocktail stick. The join will be strengthened later when I add the graphics which will be added to some clear styrene sheet before being glued in from the back with some Micro Kristal Klear.



The last stage for now is removing the raised lines for the upper displays. I still have three of the double consoles to get to this stage before I will continue, and I will have to see if juggling their positions helps the joins between them before I complete the lower displays as the brass etch for the lower displays has one set that is specific to a certain console. Other than that the parts are interchangeable so I want to nail down which part goes where before I stick the etch on.

After that, I will mark out the areas to be removed for the upper displays and add the much smaller rims to them once I have the cut-out sections correct.

I have also now received the washes I was waiting on for my Star Destroyer thread, so will probably get the colour test for that done sometime over the weekend, weather permitting.
Current Builds
Eaglemoss: Ecto-1, BTTF Delorean [Installing Mods]
Hachette: T800 Endoskeleton
Agora Models Shelby Cobra 427 [Plate 031]
BanDai 1:5000 Imperial Star Destroyer
AMT 1991 U.S.S. Enterprise Bridge [Installing Mods & Lights]

Finished Builds
Deagostini: R2-D2 [Never getting batteries]
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