NCC-1987 U.S.S. Tripoli

Historical Starship Database Briefing

There are few Ships of the Line in the long history of the Federation and Starfleet that invoke such an emotional response as the venerated Constitution Class. As the NX/Columbia Class did a century before, the Constitution Class vessels have inspired generations of Officers in the fleet to boldly go out into “the black”. While many think of the Enterprise as the prime example of the class, there are several noteworthy names that not only pushed the final frontier to its limits, but reshaped the quadrant and the political landscape for the next generation of of captains. Of those names, the Tripoli made a name for herself.

The U.S.S. Tripoli, NCC-1987, was apart of the final batch constructions of the Constitution Class before the Enterprise refit. She was able to complete one full 5-year mission that charted an impressive 30 system cluster and made contact with 8 future Federation Member worlds. Upon the Tripoli’s return, the vessel immediately checked into the Chicopee Station Refit yard for the intended upgrade. It was determined that the planned design changes would be implemented over a longer staging timeframe vs a full refit. The Tripoli was approaching its decade mark and was almost a decade younger than the Enterprise and its remaining sister ships.

The Tripoli completed the nacelle refit and was deployed to the tri-sector borderlands with the Klingon and Romulan empires. The vessel was on extended deployment for the next five years, rotating through border stations and long term patrols. The Tripoli was recalled back to the Sol system after a fateful incident with an Orion raider, where the saucer section took major damage after the raider turned and performed a suicidal attack. The admiralty initially had decided the vessel would be scuttled and parted out for the now aging Constitution class fleet now that the construction phase had ended. The Tripoli escaped the scuttle yards after the Lexington refit was canceled and the resources were devoted to the repairs on the Tripoli.

It was clear after days of the Constitution class were numbered. The Excelsior class had passed its trials and the new age of starship design were almost universally welcomed. As the crews of the venerated Daedalus class felt as the NX/Columbia classes began to deploy regularly a century before, the crews of the Tripoli, Enterprise and others began to wonder when their number would be pulled for retirement.

The final master of the Tripoli, Captain Henry Spaniel, was determined to escape the fate that faced their sister ships. After months of debates and lobbying by Capt. Spaniel and the head of the Corps of Engineers, the Tripoli was granted the final refit by Starfleet Command. The third refit was a proposed design for the Constitution class when the results of the Excelsior class were unfavorable. The vessel would retain the new profile characteristics externally, but would reflect the interior system changes that were intended for the Excelsior and her sister ships. These design changes would extend the cruise time of the Tripoli by 3 years and expand the crew to 550 compared to the standard 380-400. As with all good things, there was a catch to the approved refit, the Tripoli would be reassigned to the Corps of Engineers. The Lovell was starting to show her age, and the Tripoli would be her replacement as the new “miracle worker”.

After the final refit was complete, the Tripoli was one of the last of the Constitution classes still in service. The galaxy was changing, the conference at Khitomor had paved the way for a new frontier. The Tripoli’s first mission was to establish a new hub for further relations with the Klingon Empire. Like the Vanguard stations from decades before, the Tripoli would establish a new base that could facilitate further negotiations and provide a safe harbor in case the situation deteriorated.

The Tripoli had been one of the last Constitution classes launched and was the only vessel in the line that received all three refits that were planned. As a result, the ship bares the markings from almost 40 years of Federation livery, from the classic red orange pinstripes, to the 24th century paneling. The Tripoli went on to serve the SCE until she was retired shortly before the first Cardassian conflict.

1/2256 Acclamator class transport

Happy snow Monday!

I wanted to share a completed project I finalized today during our snow/social distancing day. As the news updates hourly with more saddening news, it was nice to take a break and get immersed in one of my grail kits.


A little backstory in this kit. I’ve always been a huge fan of the clone wars and the vessels that came out of the epic. It’s been fun to relive those memories with the new release and working on the ship. I found this ugly Betty at the last brimfield of 2019 in Massachusetts. It is a huge antique festival that occurs several times through the summer.

While walking through the stalls, I happened upon this model rack and saw this in the corner. I knew immediately what it was and I knew I had to have it. This was a grail kit for me and when it was first released it was beyond my budget at the time. After a little haggling, she was safely in my satchel and found it’s way the basement shipyards were it was stored for a nice rainy day.

Fast forward a few months, a few rounds of primer and paint, and several toilet paper raids at the local market, I was able to finalize the project. I hit the ship with a main count of starship grey from tamiya. I added in some generic Aztec decals and was not sure where to go from there. I have swung back and forth on weathering recently and I thought a clean build would be fun. But after letting her sit for awhile, it just looked too toyish and bare. So after a few IPAs, I decided to give it a thorough charcoal wash and weathering session.

I gave it a few layers of dull coat to cut the sheen down and I was p,eased with the results. This was a 100% paint job as I didn’t dissemble the kit.i used a medium black charcoal and red charcoal to simulate the grime that the vessel would have endured through the clone wars. I decided against too much red as I wanted to show this ship at the opening shots of clone war.

I decided to use some silver paint to highlight the raised sections and bumps in the hull to give some contrast to the ship. It’s hard to display a paint scheme that’s almost entirely grey so I welcomed the pattern breakup. I was displaced with the decals layout as they were placed during the “clean” phase of the model. But as happy accidents occur in every build, the clean plates act to further breakup the grey.

Overall, I am really satisfied with the ship. I may go back and make a landed base for it instead of the stand but I wanted to stop while I was ahead and not tinker any more with it. The following shots are the final product displays and I tinkered with a few filters for the last four shots.

1/1000 trek lost era dual build

Hello everyone and happy Sunday!

I wanted to share part one of a new build log that will include a review of the repop enterprise refit model and accompanying decal sheet and the Soyuz class resin parts kit. Since there will be a fair amount of crafting time for the next few weeks I figured I’d make a new blog entry out of it!

When I found out about the new refit kit I originally did not plan to pick it up. The TMP was never my favorite enterprise and the last version of the model I attempted to build did not go as planned. I saw the build video from the folks over at allscaletrek and I immediately ecumenical interested in trying the new kit and the revised decals that were released. I also thought this would be a good time to try my Soyuz build I was able to snag on discount recently.

I won’t go into the ship kits too much, those have had many reviews and not much has changed on the refit. I am surprised that the model cast is still crisp and had minimal flashing on the spruces. The decal sheets are what really surprised me. I pulled out the sheets and took an overview shot. The decal set comes in four sheets, divided between the reliant and the enterprise model. I had thought I would need to get two decals kits for the Soyuz, but to my surprise, it appears that I have enough decals for both ships, which the exception of the nacelle wallpapers.

Below is the overview of the Soyuz parts. I can’t tell you why, it I e always enjoyed this ship design dispute it’s bulkiness. The resin kit comes in around 20 pars and the instructions are very detailed.

The kit will require some trimming and sanding on the primary hull but should be straight forward with the instruction sheet. I did some initial cutting and sanding after I soaked the parts in the soapy mixture and scrubbed them down.

I set out all the spruces to do an initial base coat today. I intend to work on both kits at the same time to chronicle my progress.

Here is the last two photos for today. The refit will be straight out of box build so I will detail that part of the build more when I get to the decal placement.

R4-HN (Henry) Bandai 1/12 R4 Review

Happy Sunday everyone!

I wanted to share a quick build I finished over the holidays to bring into the new year! As many of us will admit, everyone loves an astromech. My personal favorite has always been the R4 unit. The cone shape dome(?) set it aside from the other units and I always wanted to get one for my desk!

Bandai produced this model and after staring at it in my cart I desired to take the plunge. As this is only my second figure kit, I figured it would be a welcome change of pace from hull grey and Aztec decals!

Here is the overview of the parts in customary Bandai organization. I immediately noticed the extra parts for an R2 unit. At first I had one the model lottery and received a double kit! Alas, my luck didn’t play out that direction! From what I can gather , the droid astromech kits have some crossover parts to go along with the unique droid features. From what I can tell, you can almost complete the R2 dome with the left over kit parts. The kit does not have decals, only stickers. An odd feature but as this was a fun side project, I was not going all out on this kit.

Here is Henry after completion. The sticker panels will really help put some detail to the model. What surprised me with the kit was the level of layering for the parts. It really adds dimension to a simple kit.

The final pictures are of the completed model. It was a fun build and certainly would consider getting another astromech if one catches my fancy. Henry will find a nice spot next to my phase one clone trooper!

Thanks for reading! As always, comments and suggestions welcome!

P.s. the droid is named after our lovable little tripod cocker spaniel!

1/72 TIE Fighter

Happy thanksgiving weekend everyone!

I wanted to share a quick weekend project I completed this weekend. It’s a straightforward out of the box build TIE fighter that has landed. I had an extra base from a falcon build so I decided to make this one landed with the pilot camping out. The fighter was heavily weathered with muck pens and it was a fun jump back into the Star Wars world and take a break from those federation greys.

Enjoy!

NCC-22731 U.S.S. Buenos Aires

Historical starship database brief:

Excelsior Class Refit III

After the first conflict with the Cardassian Union in the mid 24th century coming to a close, Starfleet Command (SFC) conducted the traditional performance review of fleet personal and equipment during hostilities. What was discovered was startling to both Starfleet and the Federation council. The fleet was woefully ill prepared for long term/large scale engagements. The reliance of the workhorse Excelsior and Miranda classes displayed that the fleet would was falling behind its competing powers in the quadrant.

After the after action assessment, the drive to produce new ship classes to replace the aging fleet commenced. With the new designs still years from completion, SFC and the corps of engineers reviewed the fleet for a stopgap measure to bolster fleet operations. The Excelsior Class was in its final deployment stages. At nearly a hundred years, the vessel had been slated for its final refit phase but that had been postponed due to a lack of perceived need. After the conflict, the design plans were approved for the final Excelsior design to be implemented by converting a third of the active vessels with upgrades used in the larger Ambassador class explorers.

The third refit (R3) design included several upgrades: Armor plated dorsal sections on the nacelles, a redesigned neck which included a third shuttle-bay, complete overhaul of ship systems, uprated weapon ports, and an upgraded bridge module. The Buenos Aires was relaunched after pushed 6 month refit. Capt. Jose Palurik was selected to command the vessel as it was dispatched to the Romulan border for trial runs.

The Buenos Aires performed well, the design updates made use of common sense upgrades that could be applied to other Excelsior class vessels. The main objection from many in SFC was its refit time. The projected time for the final refit of the scheduled ships was almost 10 years, which would draw away resources from the modernization program. After completion of a handful of refits, including the Lakota and Melbourne, the R3 program was halted. Tensions had once again cooled and it appeared the Alpha Quadrant would have a lasting peace.

The Buenos Aires and its fellow R3 variants participated in the following turbulent events, marking a dark chapter in the elegant ships final years. The design functioned better than the prior two design variants in relation to similar size opponents, with a favorable survivability rating and firepower capacity. With the positive reviews, the unfortunate truth became evident, the Excelsior Class was old. The modernization program had implemented new designs that were developed by Buenos Aires and the new face of the fleet was now a reality. The Buenos Aires was retired in the following months after the conclusion of the Dominion War, having served with distinction for almost 45 years.

An enterprising journey: A 1/1000 Disco-Prise kitbash

Happy Monday!

I wanted to post a full on blog post for the kitbash process for this model. I’ve documented the build to display the different stages of the model to illustrate my process. I have never been that great at kitbashing so this was challenging build to get out of the box so to speak. I have set out a few goals for the post:

  1. Organize and showcase the different steps on the build.
  2. Show the process for others interested in trying this project
  3. Work through trouble spots and try new methods for model work over the last year
  4. Enjoy the finished product.

With that, enjoy the post.

Gathering the victims for sacrifice:

As many of you surely felt, as soon as I saw the Enterprise on season 2 of Discovery, I knew I had to have a model of her in my favorite scale of 1/1000. I spent more time than I’d care to admit analyzing if I could effectively make the ship by bashing these two lovely kits above. After dreading the initial startup, I broke the ship into manageable parts: saucer, engineering, nacelles. I figured that I could scratch or modify the additional sections to make an approximate replica.

After looking at the two saucers, I decided the refit had the size and detail I was wanting for the ship. I took that and the pylons from the refit kit, while the nacelles and secondary hull were taken from the TOS kit. I then completed a rough layout to get the sizing in my head. I wanted to match the profile shots from my reference photos.

After confirming and measuring my pylon locations. I removed the TOS nacelle struts and filled in the location on the hull. I pinned and glued the pylons in place.

After letting the parts dry for a day. I worked on putting some detail on the hull. I had initially thought I was going to leave the TOS shuttle bay intact but after playing around with the fitting I noticed I could get the refit bay on and would be able to putty and sand down the refit bay to get a long after section like in the show. I used some styrene to create the bottom portion of the bay and add a few panel details to the secondary hull and nacelles. I also used the extra production bridge to make the sensor dome look more TOS.

At this point, I hit the piece with a quick shot of primer to see how I was doing. I also began the putty work around the pylons and shuttle bay.

With the base secondary hull in line, I needed to figure out the impulse deck. This is the biggest change on the shows version of the Enterprise and if the model were to get it right, I would need it in there. I determined if I could get the offset in the rear saucer, I could use a combination of decals and styrene to flesh it out in the top.

I had some extra clear nacelle pieces from the nx-01 and used those for the impulse deck. It wasn’t perfect but it fit the bill. I used styrene to build out the rest of the impulse deck with putty to seal and blend it to the hull. after I was satisfied with the construction, I hit it with another primer coat.

I moved forward after another week of not looking at the ship. I wanted to have fresh eyes on it for the next part. I felt satisfied that the ship matched my profiles and it would be recognizable. The next stage was to determine paint and decal schemes.

I went with my go-to hull color for federation vessels, testors gull grey. I used a gunmetal from Tamiya, ts-42, for the trim pieces. I was lucky enough to find another pair of cooling fins from another TOS and added them to the lower section of the nacelles. It was a nice touch and nod to the source as I had elected to stay with the kits endcaps. With the paint done, I came to a crossroad. I wanted to add some weathering, but I wasn’t sure how it would come through. I’ve had mixed success with trek ships. I decided to go for it, figuring I could manage another success.

I will have to rely on my description as the photos either did not save or the bottle of wine erases them. The hull was too dark! I tried to rescue the attempt and after clearing off a more than enough charcoal for 3 ships, the ship went into mothballs for another week.

After steeling myself to take another crack at the ship with decals. I felt myself getting back into the grove. With the decals and clear coat. I was able to give a weather, but detailed, hull panel view. With the detail decals, I was able to hide or distract some of the more critical defects and get back on track.

I had decided to go with an unorthodox registry and pattern. I figured this is a “what-if” vessel and I wanted to have fun with it! Again, I let my guard down and almost came into another disaster. After a great decal session, I went to clear coat to seal, and I did not account for the humidity in Massachusetts that day! I woke up to find a nice frosty constitution class vessel!

Again, I worried that this ship would find an honored place on that “shelf” we all have, the one where doomed vessels go to sleep. But, I figured I’d do so research to try and remedy this glazed donut. I used a combination of alcohol and water with q-tips and cotton balls to polish and clear out the haze.

After my latest misstep, I was able to round third for the home stretch. I was able to apply the rest of the decals without incident and clear out any lingering glaze. On the final construction piece, I altered the deflector to have a prong system with a donated s-foil.

After finishing the last clear coat, I took some time to reflect before her photo shoot. The model retained the elegance of the TOS and refit, while giving it a modern appearance. I think the disco version is the best version of the constitution class. It has the fast lines of the refit and jjprise, but still fits into the prime universe look.

Thank you again for reading through this build journal. It was a tough challenge but I encourage anyone to try to recreate the vessel! It was a great challenge to stretch my skills and was able to turn out a great display piece!

Cheers!

Kit review: 1/2500 Shenzhou: Part 4 Final thoughts

Happy Monday everyone!

I wanted to share my finished shots of the Shenzhou model. I’m still working up a back story but I figured I’d show off the finished photos of the project.

Final thoughts:

• Round2 hit another home run with the kit. It was easy to build and the decals laid out better than the discovery kit. It begs to be in a larger scale.

• The decal sheets are crisp and well detailed. The only compliant again arises with the registry. Please make it separate on later issues.

• This is about as small as I’ll go for scale models. At times, my butcher’s hands were a little clumsy with the parts.

Enjoy!

NCC-1930 U.S.S. Garriott

STARFLEET SECURITY FILE: 20190804.1800

FILE STATUS: PENDING FULL DECLASSIFICATION

SHIP PROFILE:

U.S.S. Garriott

Crossfield Class (Refit)

Capt. Bernard Shaw

In the late 2250s, Starfleet and the Corps of Engineers (SCE) faced a crossroads in warp drive development. Rumors of stirrings in the Klingon Empire and the unsettling vacancy from the Neutral Zone by the Romulans spread concern through Starfleet command. It was decided to push forward with an unique form of propulsion through the research of notable scientists [REDACTION] and [REDACTION]. If successful, space travel would be fundamentally changed and the power scale tipped firmly to the Federation.

Four vessels were commissioned as the initial test beds for the experiment, the Crossfield, [REDACTION], [REDACTION], and the Garriott. The Crossfield and Garriott were the first completed space frames, and proceeded with the standard shake downs for long term develop. Their engineer staffs were not advised the true nature of the drive system. They were slated to be upgraded with the new [REDACTION] drive to facilitate research when the Battle of the Binary occurred forcing the Federation into open war with the Klingon Empire.

Due to problems with the [REDACTION] drive, the first two vessels were commissioned as standard warp drive capable vessels. Captain Shaw was assigned the Garriott and conducted combat operations along the border. These high profile assaults were designed to distract attention from the research and mission profiles of the [REDACTION] after the destruction of the fourth sister ship occurred.

After the war, the Garriott was put in spacedock for repairs and retrofitting of the saucer mechanism to continue the propulsion tests. The Garriott suffered through several delays and again was put out for patrol due to the internal crisis with [REDACTION] and the Red Angel Affair. The Garriott coordinated with the Enterprise and again acted as a decoy to [REDACTION] during the event.

After the destruction of the [REDACTION] and the classification of the [REDACTION] drive. The propulsion tests were discontinued for undisclosed reasons and the subject became taboo in command. The glaring omission to this attempt to conceal the truth was the surviving crew of the Garriott, the Crossfield was destroyed during the crisis by remote [REDACTION]. While Shaw and his crew did not know the extent of the experimental system, they and the Garriott were a glaring hole in the coverup. The Garriott was tasked to conduct a long mission survey in they Vega Omiri sector. Upon their arrival, the ship was joined by the Enterprise and scuttled. Official reports indicated the vessel was caught in an ion storm and subsequently destroyed.